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July 30, 2015: Tech Companies Asked to Commit to Gender Equity at Events, Investigation Finds Contaminated Waters at Brazil’s Olympic Venues, Could Facebook Spin Off Standalone Events App?

1. TECH COMPANIES ASKED TO COMMIT TO GENDER EQUITY AT EVENTS: A new initiative asks tech event planners to commit to having equal male and female speakers at conferences and events. But the “50-50 pledge” effort is helping planners by providing a database of women in the industry qualified to serve as speakers. Fast Company: “’The missing piece here is not that there aren’t qualified speakers; the missing piece is that they’re hard to find,’ says [Nir Eyal, a behavioral design expert who organizes the Habit Summit.] Too often, he says, event organizers simply look to speaker lists at other events, relying on the social proof of those established names. ‘We have to break this cycle that perpetuates male speakers.’”

2. INVESTIGATION FINDS CONTAMINATED WATERS AT BRAZIL’S OLYMPIC VENUES: Viruses and bacteria from raw sewage are contaminating Brazilian waters that are supposed to serve as venues for various water sports at the 2016 Olympic Games. Associated Press: “Brazilian authorities pledged that a major overhaul of the city’s waterways would be among the Olympics’ most significant legacies. But the stench of raw sewage still greets travelers arriving at Rio’s international airport. Prime beaches remain deserted because the surf is thick with putrid sludge, and periodic die-offs leave the Olympic lake littered with rotting fish. … Brazilian officials insist the waters will be safe, but the AP testing over five months found not one venue fit for swimming or boating, according to international experts, who say it’s too late for a cleanup.”

3. COULD FACEBOOK SPIN OFF STANDALONE EVENTS APP?: Facebook Events has amassed 450 million active users, the company announced in an earnings call, and as it continues to enhance the services the product might be ready to spin off as a standalone app. TechCrunch: “There’s a huge opportunity there. Right now, Events works well for organizing birthday parties, protests, and club nights, and it’s easy to invite people. But with all the data about all the Events going on and everything we’ve RSVP’d to in the past, Facebook could help people discover Events they weren’t invited to. It’s been experimenting with some discovery modules buried inside its website and app, including Popular Nearby and Popular In Your Network. But they’re haphazard, randomly showing Events from the next few weeks out of order.”


ATLANTA:  Peter Mayhew, Stephen Amell, and Edward James Olmos are among the 400-person guest list at this year's Dragon Con, which will take place on September 4-7 in downtown Atlanta. The sci-fi and pop culture convention is expected to attract more than 65,000 people. Atlanta Journal Constitution:

AUSTIN:  The Austin City Limits Music Festival, which will take place on October 2-4 and 9-11 at Zilker Park, has announced the daily music schedules and a one-day pass option. CultureMap:

BOSTON:  Tim Terceira is the new general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences in Boston.

CHICAGO:  A Night for Green Beauty, an event that showcases natural beauty lines, will take place at Venue One on August 6.

DENVER:  The Grand Hyatt Denver and the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center hotels will undergo a combined $10 million renovation of their meeting and event spaces.

LAS VEGAS:  The Life Is Beautiful festival, set for September 25-27, announced the return of its Learning Series. Zappos C.E.O. Tony Hsieh, CW actors Kat Graham and Justin Baldoni, and model and transgender activist Geena Rocero are slated to speak during the three-day event.

Pizza Forte has opened its second location at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.

LOS ANGELES:  After last year's inaugural Big Bite Bacon Fest received mostly negative feedback, the event will return to Long Beach's Queen Mary on Saturday and Sunday with more vendors and longer tasting sessions. Los Angeles Daily News:

Local event listings from the new Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Wine on Harvest Moon, a benefit for the Deering Estate Foundation, takes place October 24. Its theme this year is "Spirits, Spells & American Lore.”

NEW YORK:  About 5,000 people attended Diner en Blanc, the world's largest pop-up picnic, at Pier 26 on Tuesday night. Associated Press:

Local event listings from the new Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Fan fests including this weekend's GeekyCon and last month's Walker Stalker Con are expected to be an economic boom for Orange County's tourism industry. Orlando Business Journal:

PHILADELPHIA:  A group of 240 people are camping out at the Philadelphia Zoo during Pope Francis's visit in September.

SAN DIEGO:  Times of San Diego: “The San Diego Tourism Authority announced Wednesday that it booked 57 future conventions during the fiscal year that ended June 30, which will result in more than 1 million hotel room nights through 2033. The results are the best for a single year in a decade, according to the SDTA.”

SAN FRANCISCO:  Budweiser's Made in America Monument Series will have a second concert, headlined by electronic dance music group Cash Cash, on August 15 at Crissy Field.

TORONTO:  Starbucks Canada will host a pop-up “Sparkle Shop,” designed in partnership with YouTube celebrity LaurDIY, on August 8. Held at the Starbucks outpost at 319 Queen Street West, the event will allow customers to sample the new Teavana Sparkling Tea Juices and add glitter to sunglasses, nails, hair, beards, and more.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Boeing announced that it will donate $20 million to the Kennedy Center to go toward its $100 million expansion project. The Washington Post:

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, Anna Sekula, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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