Special Events

In brief for Aug. 30, 2006

Get the skinny on dining room trends … Benchmark Hospitality International, which manages 31 award-winning hotels, resorts, conference centers and condominium resorts, reports its five top dining trends for 2006, culled from observations from their properties. Findings include: the demise of low-carbohydrate diets in favor of smaller servings with less trans fat and the use of organic ingredients, fresh herbs and healthy oils in home-style cooking. For the complete list, click here

Stiff rules for award show swag … Despite the IRS's crackdown on previously tax-free gifts for celebrities, beauty companies assumed free pre-Emmy pampering for the famous was still fair game. Victor Omelczenko, a spokesman from the Los Angeles office of the IRS, warned: "If the service is not given out of the compassion of one's heart, the provider must report the fair market value of the services, and the recipient must declare it as income." Maybelline New York, Victoria's Secret, Frederic Fekkai and Sonya Dakar are among the companies that provided free services--such as facials and hair styling--in an attempt to cultivate celeb clientele. Gavin Keilly, an event planner with West Hollywood, Calif.-based GBK Productions, which hosted a gift suite at Los Angeles' Sofitel Hotel this year, assumes that pampering cannot be taxed, unlike other gift-bag goodies, such as trips to Hawaii and diamond-studded watches. He said that with 80 reservations, the suite at the Sofitel hotel was shaping up as one of the best Emmy events ever for GBK …

Here comes the bride … and Ashton Kutcher? With much experience distressing unaware celebrities with practical jokes on his show "Punk'd," Ashton Kutcher is going to the chapel for more laughs. According to Entertainment News Network, Kutcher's production company, Katalyst Films, is set to produce a reality TV series following the antics of uninvited guests at weddings, a premise similar to the 2005 hit movie "Wedding Crashers." A team of actors will be hired to confuse and amuse wedding guests--the actors from the movie, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, are not involved in the TV series. Six hour-long episodes have been picked up by executives at NBC …

Transporting lobsters on a plane … After the scare involving liquid explosives on planes, new flight regulations have changed many things--among them, shipping lobster. With most liquids and gels banned from planes, companies such as Nova Scotia-based Clearwater Seafood were unable to sell and transport lobster for a week, according to National Public Radio and CBC News in Canada, since the popular crustacean needs frozen gel packs to ship. But quick thinking has lobster back on the menu. Now vacuum-sealed bags of frozen carrots and peas will keep lobster cool. The vegetables, according to Clearwater Seafood’s biology department, stay frozen longer than gel packs …


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