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01/09/2019
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January 9, 2019: C.E.S. Rescinds Award for Women's Sex Toy, Hotels Are Turning Lobbies Into Co-Working Spaces, Kevin Hart Makes Another Apology to L.G.B.T. Community and Says He Probably Won't Host Oscars

1. C.E.S. RESCINDS AWARD FOR WOMEN'S SEX TOY: C.E.S., which kicked off in Las Vegas on Tuesday, has revoked an award it gave a sex tech company for innovation in robotics, stating the women’s pleasure device was too “immoral.” Motherboard: “Lora DiCarlo, a startup that raised over $1 million in funding last year and developed eight technology and robotics patents in partnership with Oregon State University Product Development Lab, was named a C.E.S. 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Robotics and Drone product category for its Osé personal massager (formally called Vela). On October 10, 2018, the company received a congratulatory email from CES, naming it an honoree in the robotics and drone category. By October 31, C.T.A. emailed Lora DiCarlo’s team to inform them that the association was revoking the award, citing the entry terms. … ‘There is an obvious double-standard when it comes to sexuality and sexual health,’ Lora Haddock, the company’s founder, said in a statement. ‘While there are sex and sexual health products at C.E.S., it seems that C.E.S./C.T.A. administration applies the rules differently for companies and products based on the gender of their customers. Men’s sexuality is allowed to be explicit with a literal sex robot in the shape of an unrealistically proportioned woman and VR porn in point of pride along the aisle. Female sexuality, on the other hand, is heavily muted if not outright banned.’ Try as it might to separate itself from adult industry consumerism, C.E.S. was founded alongside—if not thanks to—the sex tech industry. From the 90s until 2012, C.E.S. coincided with the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, and the two shows grew up together as consumer tech like home video cassette recorders and displays developed with an evolving porn production industry in the 90s, and attendees to C.E.S. wandering over to meet porn stars at the Adult Entertainment Expo. Since its beginnings, companies showcasing wares at C.E.S. also often showcased ‘booth babes,’ scantily-clad women hired to show off the products. Nowadays, you won’t see as many booth babes on the showroom floor. But that doesn’t mean that the male gaze is gone from the show. Today, C.E.S. technically allows adult companies to showcase, but not on the main showroom floor. They have to set up their demos and displays in conference rooms and hope the main crowds wander in. Last year, visitors could make their way to a separate room to demo virtual and augmented reality porn, and pole-dancing robots were an attraction at a nearby strip club, meant to coincide with the event.” https://bit.ly/2Rg7Jh4

2. HOTELS ARE TURNING LOBBIES INTO CO-WORKING SPACES: Hotel lobbies doubling as spaces to socialize and work is nothing new, but now, some hotels are targeting business travelers by turning certain parts of their lobbies into official co-working spaces (a trend BizBash covered in our Winter 2018 issue). The New York Times: “Traditional hotel business centers these aren’t. Yes, they offer practical amenities like office supplies, printers and, of course, coffee. But they also have a laid-back ambience and convivial feel of the shared working spaces popping up around the globe under the banner of the start-up WeWork. The new hotel business centers seem to have struck a chord among business travelers who find that they’re probably getting less work done in busy hotel lobbies, said Lorraine Sileo, the senior vice president of research for the travel research company Phocuswright. ‘Lobbies are distracting because there is so much going on, with people coming in and out and also socializing,’ she said. ‘These new work spaces are meant for productivity.’” https://nyti.ms/2REl8Pd

3. KEVIN HART MAKES ANOTHER APOLOGY TO L.G.B.T. COMMUNITY AND SAYS HE PROBABLY WON'T HOST OSCARS: On his SiriusXM podcast Straight from the Hart, Kevin Hart made another apology to the L.G.B.T. community for past homophobic tweets and standup material and implied he probably won't host this year's Oscars. NBC News: "'I don’t have time to prepare and do it correctly,' Hart said on his podcast. 'The microscope on me is so, is so f---ing thick that they’re looking for everything. So anything, anything that I say that’s not appropriate, that’s wrong ... you’re gonna pick me apart,' he added. Hart was announced as the host of the 91st annual Academy Awards on December 4, but stepped down within two days after the offensive jokes and tweets resurfaced. At first, Hart posted a video to Instagram in which he didn't apologize but said the world was getting to be 'beyond crazy.' He has since apologized and did so several more times on his podcast Monday. But he also defended himself, saying the beginning of one of the jokes that came under fire opens with: 'I wanna say that I have no problem with gay people. I don’t have a homophobic bone in my body.' He was referring to a joke in his 2010 comedy special Seriously Funny, where he told audiences his biggest fear was his son coming out as gay. ... The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which runs the Academy Awards, did not immediately respond to NBC News for comment. It's still unclear who, if anyone, will replace Hart as host during the show, which will air on ABC on February 24." https://nbcnews.to/2CWZw8q

* LOCAL NEWS *

AUSTIN: Jordan Peele’s horror film Us will have its world premiere at the opening night of SXSW on March 8.

CHICAGO: For the eighth edition of Expo Chicago, New York-based design practice Snarkitecture will bring its traveling interactive installation, The Beach, to the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier from January 19-February 3. The installation offers an open room filled with more than a million antimicrobial and recyclable plastic balls, as well as deck chairs, lifeguard chairs, and umbrellas.

LAS VEGAS: Bellagio has debuted an outpost of Sadelle’s, the New York-based vintage-style restaurant from Major Food Group. The 10,000-square-foot restaurant serves bagels, smoked-fish platters, sandwiches, all-day caviar offerings, and more.

LOS ANGELES: “Museum of Drunk History,” an exhibit inspired by the Comedy Central series Drunk History, will be open at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills from January 9-20.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA: Key West’s Mile 0 Fest will take place January 29-February 2. More than 70 artists representing “Red Dirt” and Americana music are slated to perform.

NEW YORK: The N.Y.C. Hospitality Alliance Awards will take place April 8 at Tao Downtown.

Travel Leaders Group has acquired U.K.-based event management firm Yes.

USA Today: “The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog will open its doors in midtown Manhattan on February 8, just a few days before the start of the popular 142-year-old Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The space, located in the Kalikow Building at 101 Park Avenue, will house one of the world’s largest collections of canine fine art."

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

SALT LAKE CITY: RainFocus, an event marketing platform based in Lehi, Utah, has secured a $40 million strategic growth investment from J.M.I. Equity, a growth equity firm that invests in software companies.

TORONTO: DX3, a conference for retailers, marketers, and tech innovators, will take place March 6-7 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The event will feature more than 50 industry speakers and 50 interactive exhibitions.