This Week in Los Angeles: a 'Black Panther'-Inspired Cocktail, a Breakup-Theme Art Exhibit, the New Oscars Production Team

West Coast bureau chief Claire Hoffman recaps the week's biggest event news.

By Claire Hoffman February 8, 2019, 7:16 AM EST

Los Angeles-based mixologists Cocktail Academy created drinks inspired by this year's Academy Awards nominees for Best Picture. The Black Panther cocktail, dubbed "Vibranium," features cognac, hibiscus-infused absinthe, fresh lime juice, sorrel-cherimoya syrup, and butterfly-pea-flower extract. Red sorrel and black lava salt are used as the garnish. Look for more Oscars-inspired drink ideas and other pre-Oscars coverage in BizBash in the coming weeks.

Photo: Courtesy of Cocktail Academy

Welcome to BizBash’s Los Angeles-based column, where West Coast bureau chief Claire Hoffman recaps the week’s biggest local news. Got a tip? Get in touch!

Moves & Milestones
Oscars producers Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss have announced the production team for the 91st Oscars. Lighting designer Robert Dickinson returns for the 30th time, and head writer Jon Macks is also back for his 22nd telecast. New additions include production designer David Korins, music director Rickey Minor, and writers Mitchell Marchand, Mike Reiss, and Beth Sherman.

In April, the Los Angeles Times will bring back its standalone food section for the first time in seven years. Focused on dining and entertaining, the section will be led by Peter Meehan, the former editor of Lucky Peach magazine.

The U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles Chapter has named Ben Stapleton executive director. 

In Case You Missed It
We took a look at the Renaissance-inspired catering for the Recording Academy's official Grammy Awards after-party, which takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday night.

We also checked out Digital Entertainment World in Marina Del Rey earlier this week, learning how marketers and event planners can appeal to Generation Z. (Fun fact: 50 percent of young adults are willing to spend more on a brand whose values align with their own.)

In the News
This year's Grammy Awards telecast is making a conscious effort to balance speeches and performances. CNN: “The Grammy format has 'evolved over the last decade or so, as audience desire has changed and shifted,' said Jack Sussman, CBS' executive vice president of specials, music, and live events. Sussman acknowledged that the overall surplus of award shows is a likely factor in declining ratings, diluting the experience. But he stressed that a few major awards presented by industry peers—the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys being the others—still possess a level of prestige that sets them apart.”

In other Grammys news, Ariana Grande will no longer perform at the ceremony due to a disagreement with producers. Variety: “Grande felt 'insulted' after producers initially refused to allow her to perform '7 Rings,' the latest single from her album Thank U, Next. A compromise was reached whereby '7 Rings' would be part of a medley, but Grande pulled out after producers insisted that the second song be of their choosing."

Tyra Banks plans to open a 21,000-square-foot model-theme amusement park, dubbed Modelland, at Santa Monica Place later this year. Entertainment Weekly: “The details of the attractions are still pretty unclear, but Banks clarified to WWD that it won’t just be a pop-up attraction, it will include clothing for guests to wear created by Hollywood costume designers and stylists and won’t include daily runway shows. ... She envisions the space becoming a location to celebrate birthdays, dates, and group gatherings like bachelorette parties.”

Surprise Event Metric of the Week
87.5 million—the record number of people who traveled through LAX in 2018; it's a 3.5 percent increase over 2017's numbers. Hollywood Burbank Airport, meanwhile, served 5.2 million travelers, its largest number since 2007.

Venue Buzz
Located at the Westfield Century City, the latest location of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House is opening on Saturday. The restaurant, which has large windows and outdoor seating, has four private rooms that hold 14, 24, 30, and 50 guests, respectively. Some of the rooms can be combined for larger events, and a semiprivate space holds 40. Known for its hand-cut steaks and fresh seafood, the Los Angeles location will also offer a wine list with more than 2,000 options.

“It means you can hit the parties by 8:15!”
—Oscars director and co-producer Glenn Weiss, after vowing that the telecast will not run longer than three hours. He made the remarks during Monday's annual Oscars nominee luncheon, where producers warned winners that they will have no longer than 90 seconds to get to the stage and give their speeches.

On the Scene
We checked out the Breakup Bar, Severance wine bar's anti-Valentine's Day pop-up. In addition to a “wall of broken relationships” art exhibit, the space is screening breakup-theme movies and serving cocktails with names like “I Dealt With Your Parents for Years.” The tongue-in-cheek pop-up is open until February 14.


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What's Next
This weekend's big news is, of course, the 61st Grammy Awards, taking place Sunday night at the Staples Center with host Alicia Keys. In addition to the official after-party, highlights from the weekend will include the Recording Academy and MusicCares' annual benefit gala honoring Dolly Parton, plus the Recording Academy's pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton. And on Sunday night, Steven Tyler will host his annual viewing party to benefit Janie's Fund at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood; Jane Lynch will host and Aerosmith will perform.

In non-Grammys news, Netflix will host the premiere for The Umbrella Academy, starring Ellen Page and Mary J. Blige, at the Arclight Hollywood on February 12. Meanwhile, Modernism Week Palm Springs, which is expected to draw more than 126,000 attendees, kicks off on February 14; the 11-day event will involve more than 350 lectures, parties, home tours, and other events.

And on February 13, ILEA Los Angeles will host a fund-raising gala for the Search Foundation, which assists event, meeting, and hospitality pros in crisis. The gala takes place at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

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