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March 6, 2017: Women's March Organizers Hope Strike Draws Similar Turnout, Introducing VR to Consumers Is Complicated for Marketers, Musicians Call on SXSW to Apologize and Amend Clause

1. WOMEN'S MARCH ORGANIZERS HOPE STRIKE DRAWS SIMILAR TURNOUT: Organizers of the Women's March in protest of President Donald Trump are hoping that the massive turnout and momentum from the January event will translate to their next international protest: a women's strike, which is slated for Wednesday. BuzzFeed: "Organizers of Women’s March have asked supporters—including the more than 500,000 women who signed up to their lists after the January 21 protests—to take three actions next Wednesday: Don’t work, at the office or at home; don’t shop if you can help it, except at small, women- and minority-owned businesses; and wear red. They’ve named the strike 'A Day Without a Woman,' and say it’s the fourth of ten protest actions slated for the Trump administration’s first 100 days (others included a letter-writing campaign targeting legislators, which attracted the half-million signups, and protests at town-hall events, 740 of which were attended by Women’s March supporters, organizers say.) If next Wednesday’s strike draws large numbers, it will be another show of strength for a movement that coalesced within weeks of Donald Trump’s election victory in November, and which draws on the organizing experience of the labor movement. If the strike fizzles, critics will likely say the Women’s March was a single day of post-election catharsis, rather than a durable new political force. Organizers have acknowledged that walking off work requires more sacrifice and commitment than taking part in the the original March, which took place on a weekend. ... Women in more than 40 countries have planned solidarity events. Cinzia Arruzza, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the New School and member of the National Organizing Committee for the international wing of the strike, credits activists abroad with much of the work of building the global infrastructure for the March 8 action."

2. INTRODUCING VR TO CONSUMERS IS COMPLICATED FOR MARKETERS: Virtual-reality experiences are becoming more mainstream at venues and events, which is why many marketers are considering integrating the technology into their brands. But the cost of VR and and the possibility of poor reception from audiences can be a downside for trying to market it to the masses. The New York Times: "Virtual reality videos, which give users a sense of being transported to another place, where they can walk around and interact with that environment, often start at $500,000 each to make, according to Forrester Research. And if a company tries to trim back on some of the niceties with an eye toward the budget, the target audience can quickly take note. For instance, Charlotte Tilbury’s 360-degree video for its Scent of a Dream fragrance was criticized by commenters on YouTube for lacking a story line. 'Let’s hope it smells better than the advert looks,' one person wrote. The e-commerce giant Alibaba created a virtual shopping mall in November, which fell flat. 'Why would you do something in V.R. that you could do easier in real life?' asked Stephanie Llamas, a vice president at SuperData, which provides data for the digital gaming industry. The key, marketers and researchers said, is connecting with people emotionally and offering them an experience they wouldn’t normally have in the real world. Dos Equis, the beer maker, created one of the more elaborate virtual reality experiences with its 2014 'Masquerade Party.' Viewers were transported into a party that included flamethrowers, acrobatic dancers and a dominatrix, and interacted with other guests to solve the evening’s mystery. More than 27 million people viewed the online interactive film. It wasn’t about selling beer, said Ari Kuschnir, the founder of M_ss_ng P_eces, the production and entertainment company that produced the video. 'It was about taking you on a journey and making you feel something.'"

3. MUSICIANS CALL ON SXSW TO APOLOGIZE AND AMEND CLAUSE: Shortly after musician Felix Walworth canceled his SXSW appearance last week after tweeting a picture of a contract that threatened to deport international bands playing unofficial shows, numerous musicians have signed an open letter to festival organizers demanding a public apology and an amendment to language in the clause. Spin: "According to these artists and dozens of others who also signed the letter, the controversial clauses of the SXSW contract, regarding the hundreds of bands from abroad that perform at the festival each year, represent SXSW’s collaboration with the Donald Trump administration and its 'campaign of fear and hate toward non-citizens.' According to the festival’s organizers, who have released multiple statements on the matter, the issue stems from a misunderstanding of standard provisions that have no nefarious implications, and that have been in place at SXSW since 2013. Matthew Covey, an attorney who specializes in securing visas for foreign artists who hope to perform in the U.S., speculated that the festival organizers included the deportation line to cover themselves in case the government ever decided to crack down on the international acts that perform there. 'A few years ago SXSW…took the stand that artists could enter the U.S. to perform at SXSW without employment visas under a narrow exception to the law carved out for performances that are effectively auditions–‘bona fide industry showcases,' he explained in a written statement provided to SPIN. 'This change of policy has been hugely positive because it made SXSW much more accessible to independent artists, and has allowed SXSW to grow as an extraordinarily vibrant forum for international and world music. The problem however is that the applicability of the ‘showcase exception’ to SXSW is something of a legal grey area, given that SXSW is kind of an audition, but it’s also kind of a party.'"


CHICAGO:  The third annual Lincoln Park Wine Festival will take place May 20-21 at Jonquil Park. The event will offer ticketed wine tastings, an open-air market with wine and food pavilions, and live music. Event sponsors include the Golf Channel and Green Mountain Energy.

LAS VEGAS:  Grant a Gift Autism Foundation’s eighth annual Race for Hope and Fun Walk will take place April 29 at Town Square.

LOS ANGELES:  Grand Park's annual Downtown Bookfest will take place Saturday. Honoring Emily Dickinson in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles's Big Read, the event will feature a pop-up bookshop and activities including a photo booth with Victorian-era props and an area to make books with dried plant specimens.

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The International Rescue Committee's annual Refugio Gala will take place March 16 at the J.W. Marriott Marquis Miami. The event will honor Spanish Broadcasting System C.E.O. Raúl Alarcón Jr. and actor, musician, and I.R.C. voice Jencarlos Canela.

NEW ORLEANS:  The Louisiana Children's Museum has announced that construction for a $45.5 million, 8.5-acre campus in New Orleans City Park will begin in late 2017 and open in 2018.

NEW YORK:  The fifth annual Young Scientist Foundation Gala will take place March 13 at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park. The event is hosted by chef Floyd Cardoz.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will host its 20th annual ASPCA Bergh Ball on April 20 at the Plaza Hotel. The event will honor Linda Lloyd Lambert and feature Isaac Mizrahi as master of ceremonies. Samantha Ronson will DJ throughout the event.

DoubleTree by Hilton Times Square West is now open. The 37-story hotel has 612 rooms and 1,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space that can accommodate 75 guests.

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

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Disney will open a new family-style raft attraction, Miss Adventure Falls, at Typhoon Lagoon Water Park March 12.  

TORONTO:  In celebration of its "Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story" exhibition, the Royal Ontario Museum has partnered with J.Crew to create a limited-edition apparel line. A press preview of the collection will take place Thursday at the museum.

Plant-based eatery and bar Hello 123 is slated to open on Queen Street West this summer. Run by Kupfert & Kim founders Mark Kupfert and Daniel Suss, the venue will serve health-focused dishes and beer, kombucha, and cocktails on tap.

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With contributions from Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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