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November 29, 2017: CNN Will Boycott White House Christmas Party, Grammy Nominations Embrace Diversity, Event-Planning Idea Start-Up Enjoius Raises $1.4 Million

1. CNN WILL BOYCOTT WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS PARTY: CNN won't be attending the White House media Christmas party this year, based on its relationship with President Trump. Politico: "'CNN will not be attending this year's White House Christmas party,' a CNN spokesperson said. 'In light of the President's continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests. We will send a White House reporting team to the event and report on it if news warrants.' The annual event, scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m., is typically seen as a time when reporters and their bosses can mingle freely with administration members, but Trump's posture toward the press has been uniquely aggressive. Since Trump began his run for office, CNN has been one of his favorite targets. He has often criticized the network as “fake news” and alleged that the network makes up stories. ... Past holiday parties have been off the record, but it’s not clear whether that’s the case this year. It was not specified in the invitation, and the White House has not responded to request for comment. If possible, relations between the administration and CNN have grown even more fraught lately. Sources at the network told POLITICO that a Trump tweet last weekend criticizing CNN International was viewed as especially galling, because of the belief that it imperiled journalists working in dangerous locales or countries hostile to a free press."

2. GRAMMY NOMINATIONS EMBRACE DIVERSITY: The nominations for the 60th annual Grammy Awards were announced Tuesday, with significant categories—including Album of the Year—offering the most diverse group of nominees ever. Los Angeles Times: “Combined, genre stars Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar received 15 nominations, and one-time rapper Childish Gambino, the musical alter-ego of actor Donald Glover (‘Atlanta,’ ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’) received five nods for his more recent, funk-leaning work. Each artist received nods in the top categories of record and album of the year, acknowledging the central role hip-hop and urban music hold in contemporary pop music. Additionally, nominations in the Grammys’ four general categories of record, album, song and new artist illustrate the broad-based diversity at work in today’s pop music, with nods to artists of color and women, with a notable absence of white males among the top artist nominees. ‘I think the nominations are a reflection of a very savvy current voting membership who really do have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in music,’ Academy President Neil Portnow told The Times on Monday. ‘I think they’re also exhibiting good judgment about what represented excellence in music this year.’ Jay-Z leads this year’s nomination slate with eight surrounding his ‘4:44’ album, followed by Compton’s Lamar with seven and R&B-pop singer-songwriter Bruno Mars with six.”

3. EVENT-PLANNING IDEA START-UP ENJOIUS RAISES $1.4 MILLION: Enjoius, a start-up that provides event professionals and consumers with tools and ideas, has raised $1.4 million in funding from Los Angeles entertainment and TV executives. TechCrunch: “Founded by former Comcast media executive Christopher Cunningham, Enjoius launched after Cunningham had his own struggles planning a friend’s 40th birthday party. After some investigation, Cunningham uncovered a $200 billion market for party and event planning (including weddings). Since 2014, Cunningham has been perfecting the service, adding a number of event professionals and signing up vendors that sell their wares through the Enjoius site. For consumers, Enjoius is a lifestyle platform where hosts and hostesses can get ideas for how to throw a party. From ‘getting personalized event design services that makes it easy for them to get step-by-step advice and hire the right pros all on one platform to giving them tools to help them be successful and tools to reduce stress,’ Enjoius is a one-stop party shop, says Cunningham. … Now, with his $1.4 million in hand, Cunningham is ready to explore money-making options, like taking a cut from the sales of home goods and party products merchandised on the site, and through subscription services where brands actually use Enjoius as a marketing platform for their stuff.”


Event and association marketing agency Mdg will renew and expand its partnership with Feathr, an audience growth and monetization software built for events and associations. The extended partnership will allow Mdg clients to get full access to Feathr’s product suite, as well as access to their data and campaign reports from a secure login to their cloud-hosted Feathr account. 


COAST TO COAST:  Loews Hotels has appointed Robert Rivers general manager of Loews Boston Hotel and Hans Ritten general manager of Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel.

BOSTON:  Kimpton Nine Zero hotel will undergo a full renovation that will be completed this winter. The hotel is slated to transform its 190 guest rooms, lobby, and 2,400 square feet of private event and workspace. 

CHICAGO:  The seventh national tour of Speed Rack, an all-female speed-bartending competition that raises money for breast cancer charities, will come to Thalia Hall December 10. 

HOUSTON:  Canadian restaurant Moxie’s Grill & Bar has opened its second U.S. location in the Galleria. The two-story venue, which offers a chef-driven menu from Brandon Thordarson, has an open kitchen, an outdoor patio and bar, and a second-story wraparound patio. 

LOS ANGELES:  Viceroy Santa Monica will host its annual Silent Disco Party on December 2. Guests are encouraged to wear ugly holiday sweaters, and there will be performances by DJ Gentle Giant and DJ Miss Ninja. The requirement for entry is one unwrapped toy, to be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica. 

NBC has signed a multi-year deal with Dick Clark Productions to broadcast the Billboard Music Awards beginning in 2018. 

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has appointed Sharon Lockwood general manager. The hotel is in the final phase of a three-year, $320 million renovation and brand conversion project. 

NEW YORK:  Hudson Yards has signed on London-based catering company Rhubarb to open two restaurants and an event space in the development. Eater:

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

PARK CITY, UTAH:  The St. Regis Deer Valley, located on the slopes of Utah’s Deer Valley Resort, has appointed Grant Dipman general manager. 

TORONTO:  In support of the hospital’s donation drive this holiday season, SickKids will drive a Milk & Cookies truck to local events and neighborhoods from December 4-23. For a suggested donation of $10, people will get a Le Gourmand chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk from Sheldon Creek Dairy. Locals can track the food truck through a dedicated website and app created by RL Solutions. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Arlington-based ConnellyWorks, Inc.—a PR, marketing, and event agency—has named Laura Smith director of learning and engagement. Jamie Lien has been promoted to director of executive events.

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

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