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New York Awards Inaugural ‘Made in NY’ Grants for Female-Focused Projects

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New York City has handed out its first-ever “Made in NY” grants for film, TV and theatrical projects that are driven by or focused on women.

The grants administered through the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment are part of a larger initiative across the city to support women in business ventures. MOME has awarded $1.5 million of a $5 million fund to be distributed over a three-year period and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts. It is believed to be the first gender-focused arts grants bestowed by a major city.

Out of 544 submissions, a panel of experts selected 63 projects to receive finishing grants ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. The list of recipients includes 14 stage productions, 11 documentary features and four narrative features, in addition to short films and webisodes. The selections are to be unveiled Thursday morning in a presentation at the Daryl Roth Theatre in Union Square.

Alicia Glen, New York’s Deputy Mayor of Housing & Economic Development, said the goal was to help kickstart women as entrepreneurs and creatives in the arts and entertainment sector that is so vital to New York’s economy. It’s also a response to the wave of female empowerment initiatives in the entertainment industry and frustration at the lack of real movement toward gender parity.

“Women continue to have an enormous challenge in getting the money they need to do their projects,” Glen told Variety. “That’s a challenge we have to do something about. It’s not going to happen organically, or it already would have.”

The grants are essentially “free money,” Glen added. The city makes no claim to any interest in projects supported by the program. Glen sees the money as undoubtedly paying big returns by giving a boost to a budding superstar or two who will go on to launch prosperous businesses in the city.

“We will get it back in a million different ways,” Glen said. “If they’re successful, they’ll build companies or portfolios, or work to grow our creative economy. That’s a good return on investment.”

The media marketplace has outsized impact because of the nature of the product, Glen said.

“The entertainment and creative sector itself is so diverse,” she said. “Everybody touches entertainment and media and news every single day.”

From a cultural perspective, it’s the right time to showcase projects with distinct female voices at the center. The projects selected for grants run the gamut of “very serious to super-fun,” Glen said. The breadth of material submitted for consideration was a pleasant surprise, she added. Members of the jury that selected the projects included producer Daryl Roth, actor Daphne Rubin-Vega and playwright Amy Fox.

“This is an exciting way to celebrate the diversity of the talent of the women out there and the stories we have to tell,” Glen said.

Source: https://variety.com/2019/biz/news/made-in-ny-grants-film-tv-stage-city-1203151712/

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Woodstock 2019: Lineup, tickets announced for 50th anniversary concert festival

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The lineup for Woodstock 50 is officially here.

Jay-Z, The Killers, Chance the Rapper, The Black Keys, Halsey, Robert Plant, Miley Cyrus, Common, Janelle Monae, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile, and Jack White’s The Raconteurs are among the big-name artists scheduled to perform at the official 50th anniversary concert festival on Aug. 16-18, 2019, in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

According to Rolling Stone, original Woodstock performers Santana, John Fogerty (of Creedence Clearwater Revival), Dead and Company (featuring John Mayer and The Grateful Dead members), John Sebastian, Country Joe McDonald, Canned Heat and Hot Tuna will also be on hand to celebrate the 1969 festival.

Tickets go on sale April 22, according to woodstock.com. Prices have not been announced. Camping packages are expected to be offered.

Watkins Glen is located in the Finger Lakes, about 80 miles southwest of Syracuse and 150 miles northwest of the original Woodstock site in Bethel, N.Y.

Woodstock organizer Michael Lang previously said the festival will be centered around The Glen racetrack with three main stages on the 1,000-acre lot. The site was previously used for Summer Jam in 1973, drawing 600,000 but Lang said the 2019 Woodstock concert will have about 100,000 tickets to prevent traffic and other issues.

According to The Poughkeepsie Journal, Lang — who organized the original Woodstock concert — announced the golden anniversary lineup Tuesday night in a secret session with Fogerty and Common.

Woodstock 50 Lineup

Day 1 (Friday, Aug. 16):

The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Robert Plant, John Fogerty, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Run the Jewels, The Head and the Heart, Maggie Rogers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Anderson East, Princess Nokia, John Sebastian

Day 2 (Saturday, Aug. 17):

Dead and Company, Chance the Rapper, Black Keys, Sturgill Simpson, Greta Van Fleet, Portugal. The Man, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Dawes, Margo Price, Country Joe and the Fish, Rival Sons, Emily King, Soccer Mommy, Taylor Bennett

Day 3 (Sunday, Aug. 18):

Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Cage The Elephant, Brandi Carlile, Janelle Monae, Young The Giant, Courtney Barnett, Common, Vince Staples, Judah and the Lion, Earl Sweatshirt, Boygenius, the Zombies, Canned Heat, Hot Tuna, Pussy Riot, Cherry Glazerr

A competing event at the original Woodstock site on the same weekend, dubbed the “Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival,” was scrapped last month and replaced with three smaller concerts at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Performers include Ringo Starr and Santana.

An estimated 400,000 people attended the first Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, held Aug. 15-18, 1969, at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm near White Lake in the Catskill Mountains. Performers included Richie Havens, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Arlo Guthrie, Santana, Joe Cocker, the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The iconic concert was revisited in 1994 with a modern lineup of artists like Nine Inch Nails, Sheryl Crow, Metallica, Cypress Hill and Red Hot Chili Peppers in Saugerties, but Woodstock ’99 — held at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, N.Y. — ended the fun with riots, fires and allegations of sexual assault.

Source: https://www.syracuse.com/entertainment/2019/03/woodstock-2019-lineup-tickets-announced-for-50th-anniversary-concert-festival.html

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4 ‘Toy Story’ Tropes That I Hope ‘Toy Story 4’ Avoids

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Toy Story 3 was an ideal end to a perfect trilogy, a rare beast among massive movie franchises with obscenely large marketing potential.

But the trailer for Toy Story 4 feels alarmingly underwhelming; overly familiar, full of ideas that were previously explored in the franchise, some very thoroughly indeed. For example …
A false paradise

The previous three films saw Buzz seduced by fictional space adventures, Woody by the allure of celebrity, and the entire gang by the promise of a relaxing life at daycare. These all turned out to be unobtainable fantasies, with the real paradise dwelling in the imagination of a child.

Are we going through the motions with the carnival we see in the trailer? It’s a traveling playground, after all, a potentially perfect place for a toy to retire. If there’s some crazy dark secret hiding under the surface, it’s going to ring a little hollow.
Which brings me to ….

A secret villain

Disney movies have recently adopted an increasingly predictable twist, in which a nice person offering an opportunity reveals themselves to be a villain in the final act. This is fine, but it’s getting to be somewhat overused; I’m starting to miss openly evil villains, one-dimensional as they may be.

There is no antagonist to be seen in the trailer (other than the creepy doll and her gang of ventriloquist dummies, who look to be a secondary threat). If Bo Peep turns out to be secretly unhinged due to her abandonment issues or whatever, it’s going to be pretty disappointing.

We’ve already been there with both Stinky Pete and Lotso, and Lotso was really pushing it.

A toy’s purpose

Woody’s having another “mid-life crisis?” Really? He already had one when Andy ripped his arm, forcing him to acknowledge his age and making the idea of immortality behind a glass case seem very attractive, until Buzz reminded him that toys only exist to make children happy.

And again in Toy Story 3, when Andy went to college and Woody had trouble letting go, even wanting to follow his former playmate. Presumably, he’d be gathering dust on a dorm room shelf, helplessly watching as Andy masturbates and experiments with drugs.

And Toy Story 4 looks to be recycling this concept, with Woody seemingly thinking about adopting Bo Peep’s care-free, independent lifestyle. Like parents that are done raising their kids, and spend the rest of their days getting drunk on cruise ships, Woody might be done with children for good. Or is he?

Probably not.

Separating Buzz and Woody

It’s a bit disappointing that we’ve never seen Buzz and Woody spend much time together since the first film. Since they dealt with their massive conflict, the two are almost always separated by convenient plot devices, with one invariably going on a rescue mission to fetch the other. Again, this looks to be the case with Toy Story 4.

It might just be that the dynamic between the two toys isn’t interesting anymore, now that they’ve worked out their drama. Perhaps a bit of ideological conflict will allow the two to share more than a couple of scenes in this film.

Regardless of how tepid and cliché-ridden this trailer looks, I do have faith that the creative team at Pixar will deliver another animated masterpiece. The studio has been a little shaky recently, but hopefully Toy Story 4 will be closer to Coco than The Good Dinosaur.

I’m going to cry during the credits, regardless.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danidiplacido/2019/03/19/4-toy-story-tropes-that-i-hope-toy-story-4-avoids/#59ec82057eab

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Times Square is about to get a new 46-story tower that is basically a giant LED billboard on one side

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Contractors have started work on a project that will light up New York’s Times Square even more.

TSX Broadway, as it is known, will be a “branded beacon,” 46 floors of retail, entertainment and accommodation. The building, on the corner of 47th Street at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, currently houses a DoubleTree Hilton hotel and the landmark Palace Theatre, which will be restored and lifted 30 feet to accommodate an experiential retail outlet.

Upper floors will have a performance stage over Times Square, a restaurant with large terrace and a hotel with more than 600 rooms.

According to David Orowitz, a senior vice-president at developer L&L Holding Company, the entire building will be like a giant advertisement for one of the most-visited places in the world, with around 380,000 pedestrians walking through it each day.

“The whole building is essentially (an advertising) sign, and the side that is facing Times Square is a single sign comprised of LEDs into the building itself that runs up the entire 46-story building,” he said in an email to CNBC.

Now that preparation for the demolition of the hotel is under way, executives are at work finding an advertiser that will help it recoup some of the $2.5 billion it has raised for the new building, set to open in early 2022. And it has hired Andrew Essex, a former ad exec and CEO of the Tribeca Film Festival, to negotiate a deal with a single customer to advertise on the behemoth, including the naming rights to the building, the retail and entertainment spaces and the billboards.

“It’s part Super Bowl, part experiential mega arena, part center of commerce, part social network,” Essex told CNBC by phone, adding that he expects to have a deal signed this year.

It would have to be a brand that has the right entertainment value, Essex added. “Events must become more eventful, otherwise people stay home and watch Netflix, ” he said. “So what does it take to get people out of the house today?”

Project mock-ups show a retail space with multiple floors, one of which shows an Apple-like store, though Essex would not comment on discussions.

The company isn’t disclosing the value of any deal, but naming rights alone tend to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The rights to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and host of this year’s Super Bowl, are reported to have cost the auto maker $324 million over 28 years, for example.

Naming rights
Naming rights for venues are nothing new, but this deal is different because it likely includes retail and performance spaces, Essex said. “The entire superstructure, the retail space is fungible. So could one have an esports arena? Can the stage be indoor (and) outdoor? Can you broadcast or stream directly? There’s quite literally no limit to what’s possible, because nothing is already purpose-built,” he said.

Marketing veteran and CNBC contributor Mike Jackson said his approach would be to look for several partners. “I could see them trying to get partners like Apple or Amazon or one of the telecoms to really maintain a huge presence … as things like 5G (high-speed mobile communications) come on board to deliver that integration of the retail space with the advertising platform, as well as the ability to use that broadcast venue in the theater, ” he told CNBC by phone.

“If I’m … Apple, I don’t want to just buy signage or sponsorship. I literally have to think long term, because I’ve got to believe that that building is going to have a huge innovative presence for the next 20 to 25 years,” said Jackson, principal of consulting firm 2050 Marketing and CEO of vehicle services company Motus One.

Data and 5G
Data will be an important part of the tower, and with 5G integration, more complex ways of advertising become possible. Location-tracking technology that serves ads to people after they’ve left a store is already used by retailers.

For Dave Etherington, chief commercial officer at Place Exchange, a programmatic exchange that automates the buying and selling of digital outdoor media, it’s a move forward for hitting people with advertising when they’re outside their homes.

“Traditional out-of-home media companies (are) now playing a much more … active role in thinking about physical spaces in the way that they work with venues and cities (and) in the way that brands can help fund experiences,” he told CNBC by phone. “It’s not unusual to see the Facebooks, the Googles, the Spotifys using out-of-home as the main channel for their branding.”

Retail experience
Retailers want to entice them to shop in the brick-and-mortar world. Makeup brand Cover Girl, for instance, opened a flagship Times Square store on Black Friday 2018, with the goal of creating “the ultimate shared beauty experience,” according to an online release.

But with many people abandoning malls to shop online, Jackson is concerned about whether TSX will be able to attract a high-end retailer. “The thing that scratches my head is … obviously the foundation of that is going to be to fill the retail space with the high-quality brands that would also have the wherewithal, both from a financial standpoint as well as from a creative standpoint, to do something innovative in retail.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/18/times-square-is-about-to-get-a-giant-new-billboard-called-tsx-broadway.html

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