September 26, 2018: Immigrant Rights Activists Protest Saleforce’s Dreamforce Convention, How a Tech Company Plans to Make Concerts More Accessible for Deaf Attendees, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Seeks 80,000 Unpaid Volunteers

By Ian Zelaya September 26, 2018, 8:35 AM EDT

1. IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ACTIVISTS PROTEST SALEFORCE€'S DREAMFORCE CONVENTION: To protest the detention of asylum seekers at the U.S. border, immigrants rights activists have brought an 800-pound cage to Salesforce’s Dreamforce convention in San Francisco. The cloud computing company has a contract with the U.S. government. Fast Company: “This cage first debuted at Burning Man to protest data analytics firm Palantir’s work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)–the organization directly responsible for working with immigrants, and that includes the separation of families. Today, the cage has been rebranded to criticize a business relationship between Salesforce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In March, the company announced a contract with CBP to ‘modernize its recruiting process, from hire to retire, and manage border activities and digital engagement with citizens.’ Activists from a number of organizations (including Fight for the Future, Color of Change, Demand Progress, Defending Rights and Dissent, Mijente,, RAICES, and Sum of Us) have chosen a different means for engagement. It includes not only today’s protest at Dreamforce, but also an open letter to the C.E.O., and encouraging Salesforce customer companies to speak out against the contract. ‘A lot of people are surprised when it’s brought to their attention,’ says Evan Greer of Fight for the Future. She said organizers are especially focused on winning over companies that Salesforce will highlight during the conference. But demonstrators will reach out to individuals, too, such as handing out stickers they can wear. ‘We’re definitely going to be encouraging attendees to make their [views] felt as well,’ she says.”

2. HOW A TECH COMPANY PLANS TO MAKE CONCERTS MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR DEAF ATTENDEES: Deaf people enjoy attending live music events as much as people who can hear, so Not Impossible Labs, in partnership with Zappos, is making events and venues more accessible—specifically with a “vibro-tactile” vest for the deaf community. Billboard: “The deaf perceive music mainly or entirely—depending on their degree of hearing loss—through low-end frequency vibrations from drums and heavy bass, which rumble through their entire bodies. For this reason, says Not Impossible’s director of technology Daniel Belquer, ‘When they go to a [traditional] live concert—which they love, because of the social aspect—they can feel left out.’ The deaf community stages its own concerts—but those, by contrast, can be difficult environments for their hearing friends and family members. Often, to get the most out of the bass vibrations, ‘they put the speakers facing the floor,’ says Belquer, and dance barefoot. ‘The sound is really loud, a lot of low end. … People of hearing, when they go to these venues, they don’t feel well.’ Belquer, a classically trained composer who began researching sound vibrations in 2012, became obsessed with the idea of creating a technology that would, in C.E.O. Mick Ebeling’s phrase, ‘increase audio inclusion’ by allowing deaf and hearing music fans to experience the same concert in a similar way. Three years of experimentation led to the ‘vibro-tactile’ vest I’m now wearing in Not Impossible’s backyard. I’m among a handful of press and music industry insiders getting a private demo ahead of the launch of the new product, called Music: Not Impossible, which got its official unveiling with a private performance by Greta Van Fleet during the Life Is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas. … Music: Not Impossible represents the first time they’ll bring a product to mass market, with big assists from Avnet, an electronic manufacturing firm, and Zappos Adaptive, the online apparel company’s accessible division.”

3. TOKYO 2020 OLYMPICS SEEKS 80,000 UNPAID VOLUNTEERS: Less than two years before the start of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, organizers have begun their search for 80,000 unpaid volunteers to staff the venues during the games. Associated Press: “The closing date for applications will be in December, although Tokyo 2020 organizers say they have not set a specific date. Olympics volunteers are unpaid and typically must provide their own lodging, but they are given uniforms and free meals on the days they work. The volunteer program has been a staple of the Olympics. Many volunteers relish the behind-the-scenes work, and many return to do it several times. But the program also has detractors. At every Olympics, volunteers sign up, get the uniforms, and then don’t show up for work—or complain about being unpaid even though agreeing to those terms. The Rio de Janeiro Olympics two years ago had problems finding volunteers, particularly among the poor and working class who could not afford to work for free. ... A review of the volunteer system several years ago by the Associated Press indicated using unpaid volunteers saved the IOC and local organizers about $100 million—perhaps more. The IOC generates almost $6 billion of revenue over a four-year Olympic cycle. The IOC says about 90 percent of the money goes back to national Olympic bodies, sports federations, and local organizers."


CHICAGO:  The Lynn Sage Foundation’s 11th annual In Good Taste campaign will take place October 1-31. More than 175 local restaurants and bars will donate proceeds from select dishes, desserts, and drinks to breast cancer research. Diners can also add a donation directly to their bill. 

HOUSTON:  The fourth annual Houston Press Tacolandia taco festival, presented by Mission, will take place October 27 at the Water Works at Buffalo Bayou Park. 

LOS ANGELES:  The 32nd annual A.F.I. Fest will take place November 8-15 at the T.C.L. Chinese Theatre, the T.C.L. Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre, and the Hollywood Roosevelt. The festival will open with the world premiere of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Perry J. Cohen Foundation’s inaugural Art With A Heart gala will take place September 27 at Mandarin Oriental Miami. 

NEW YORK:  The 20th annual Hudson River Park Gala will take place October 11 at Pier 62. Jay Leno will host the gala, which will honor Claire Danes, Alicia Glen, and Scott Rechler, and feature a performance by Natalie Merchant. 

Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research will hold its Angel Ball October 22 at Cipriani Wall Street. Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown will emcee the event, which will have performances by Morris Day and the Time and Julia Michaels. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  The fourth annual Teen Impact Awards, honoring 71 teens in the bleeding disorders community who are making a positive impact, will take place October 11 at the Crystal Ballroom. 

SAN FRANCISCO:  George P. Johnson has acquired San Francisco-based experiential marketing agency Kenwood Experiences. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Brand engagement agency RedPeg Marketing has appointed John Millward chief innovation officer and Kristin Kidman vice president of client services. 

YOUR NEWS: What are you doing? Tell us:

JOB BOARD: Post a job or find a job:

With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from

Feed the Sheet:


Advertise with BizBash:


Sign up for the BizBash Daily - stay current with the event industry.
Your email inquiry will be sent to 3 venue