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September 28, 2017: Justin Timberlake Finalizing Super Bowl Halftime Deal, Live Nation Launches Facebook Bot for Events, New York Film Festival Offers Mix of Highbrow Cinema and Industry Events

1. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FINALIZING SUPER BOWL HALFTIME DEAL: Justin Timberlake may be returning as the Super Bowl halftime show headliner next year, which would mark 14 years after his infamous performance with Janet Jackson in 2004. Variety: “It’s hard to believe this February will mark 14 years since Timberlake’s baring of Janet Jackson’s right breast during halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Could Super Bowl LII, slated for U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Feb. 3, 2018, being televised by NBC, be the site of Timberlake’s long-awaited return? Although the former boybander is inching closer to the gig, the 2004 controversy still engulfs the singer. The so-called ‘wardrobe malfunction’ caused a ‘chilling effect’ crackdown by the FCC on objectionable broadcast material and served as a launching pad for a fledgling site known as YouTube. Sources also tell Variety that Timberlake is expected to release a new album at the beginning of 2018, which would make the Super Bowl timing optimal. Internet chatter began to surface last month and reached fever pitch on Wednesday that Timberlake – despite the NFL’s insistence he’d been banned for the incident – is being considered for the halftime slot alongside pal Jay-Z, with whom he toured in 2013 as part of their ‘Legends of the Summer’ U.S. dates. The rapper was a featured performer on Timberlake’s ‘Suit and Tie,’ the first single from Justin’s album, ‘The 20/20 Experience.’ One major TV music executive even insists a buzzworthy reunion with Jackson can’t be completely ruled out, though that seems far-fetched.”

2. LIVE NATION LAUNCHES FACEBOOK BOT FOR EVENTS: Live Nation has launched its own Facebook Messenger bot, which uses A.I. technology to notify people about upcoming concerts, help them buy tickets, and planning group outings. Billboard: "Live Nation promotes approximately 26,000 shows per year, while Facebook boasts a user base of 1.3 billion people. The app is designed to help fans pull up events at nearby venues, search their favorite artists, or browse through curated featured events. The app is designed to learn the preferences of the individual users and build a fan profile to serve up events they might want to attend in the future. The Messenger bot also makes it easier to coordinate events with friends, enabling multiple users to chat within the bot and make group purchases. Once fans find an event they’re interested in, they can purchase tickets within the Messenger bot and link their Live Nation account to expedite check out. 'Concerts are extremely social experiences, and we’re excited to introduce a concert discovery tool that embodies that social spirit,' said Lisa Licht, Live Nation's Chief Marketing Officer tells Billboard in a statement 'Whether fans choose to interact with our new bot one-on-one, or get their friends involved in the planning, we think they’ll have a lot of fun finding shows to go to.'"

3. NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL OFFERS MIX OF HIGHBROW CINEMA AND INDUSTRY EVENTS: The 55th annual New York Film Festival kicks off today, and is expected to deliver an equal mix of Oscar buzz with its main slate of films—and a unique lineup of industry events other than screenings. New York Times: “But for the full New York Film Festival experience, you need to look beyond the main slate. The festival has long incorporated additional programs that are now as crucial to the event as its splashier selections. This year’s include a number of restorations, a tasty Robert Mitchum survey and assorted onstage chats, including one with Ed Lachman and Vittorio Storaro, two superstar cinematographers with work in the main slate. Mr. Lachman—whose extraordinarily expressive range is on view in Todd Haynes’s period-hopping ‘Wonderstruck’—remains committed to shooting on film. The equally adept Mr. Storaro, who shot ‘Wonder Wheel,’ has worked in digital. One program to explore is the Spotlight on Documentary, which features several worthwhile offerings, including ‘Arthur Miller: Writer’ and ‘Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold,’ two views from the inside. Both were directed by relatives of their subjects — Rebecca Miller pays repeated visits with her father, Griffin Dunne checks in with his Aunt Joan — which gives them great intimacy. They’re not remotely hard-hitting (why should they be?), although each revisits tough times and critical jabs and stings. Both documentaries lean on reminiscences, their own and those of their subjects, and make expressive use of archival images, including some wonderful home movies.”


COAST TO COAST:  A second North American leg of the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience featuring Ramin Djawadi will take place fall 2018. The composer will lead an orchestra and choir performing music from all seven seasons of the HBO series. After traveling to Europe, the tour will go to 25 cities in North America, starting with Vancouver on September 5, 2018, and ending with Toronto on October 14, 2018. 

LOS ANGELES:  The Southern California chapter of Autism Speaks will host a benefit on October 21 at Union Station.

Starting in November, the City of Beverly Hills will launch its BOLD Holidays campaign. The two-month initiative will feature festive light installations, activities and events, and extended shopping hours. 

Marriott Irvine Spectrum has named Chris Harrison general manager. The 271-room hotel is slated to open in December. 

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach has named Chintan Dadhich general manager. The 290-suite, nautical-theme hotel is slated to open October 10, and will have 20,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space. 

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa has enlisted staff and guests to donate to Hurricane Irma relief efforts with a variety of events and promotions. Events will include a Chefs for the Keys event on October 6 at Riviera Beach Marina Village, and 10 percent of revenue from sales at the hotel’s 3800 Ocean restaurant will be donated. Meeting planners who book a meeting space now through November 17 can opt to donate 5 percent of the master bill to the Palm Beach County Food Bank. 

Kimpton's Surfcomber Hotel in South Beach has appointed Sharee Hines director of sales and marketing. She joins the 186-room design-inspired property from within the boutique brand company, having most recently served as director of sales for Kimpton Ink48 Hotel in New York. Prior to that, she held several roles at Kimpton Hotel Eventi, also in New York, for more than six years.

NEW YORK:  Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit focused on restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in public schools, has announced additional special guests for its annual benefit on October 18 at PlayStation Theater. The lineup now includes Mike Myers, Darlene Love, Bettye LaVette, and Bernie Williams. 

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

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Andretti Indoor Karting & Games will begin its soft opening today. The 150,000-square-foot entertainment complex has a multi-level electric karting track, 12 lanes of bowling, more than 120 arcade games, laser tag, ropes course, a full-service restaurant, and 10,000 square feet of event space. 

Rosen Hotels & Resorts will collect items Friday for relief efforts in Puerto Rico. The collection will take place at the Rosen Plaza hotel. 

TORONTO:  This year’s World Press Photo Exhibition, which presents the best visual journalism from the past year, will run October 3-24 at Brookfield Place. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will hold its second biennial American Portrait Gala November 19, honoring five individuals who have made an impact on the nation’s shared history, development, and culture, and whose portraits reside in the museum’s collection. The 2017 honorees are former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine K. Albright; medical doctor and H.I.V./AIDS researcher David D. Ho, M.D.; artistic director, choreographer, and dancer Bill T. Jones; film director, producer, writer, and actor Spike Lee; and actress Rita Moreno. Honorees will be presented with the Portrait of a Nation Prize during a seated dinner.    

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

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