The Beverage Tasting Institute & The Rum Lab Partner For Chicago Events and Have Partnered To Offer Rum Enthusiasts An Exclusive Weekend Of Rum Events On April 30th, 2016 in Chicago is celebrating the 2nd Annual MidWest Rum Festival. This year the event will be held in Chicago, Illinois. Last year, more than 20 Rum brands participated and over 600 people attended the inaugural event in Louisville, Kentucky. This year will the event will be enhanced by adding a Trade Program and some Tiki flair.22961-midwest-rum-festival-design-1803x2000

The USA is considered one of the most important countries in the entire rum industry. Before the American Revolution, rum was the most consumed spirit, and now an awakening is occurring. The Rum Lab – program focused on becoming the Official Rum Expo throughout the northern USA. and have partnered to offer rum enthusiasts an exclusive weekend of rum events on April 30th, 2016 in Chicago. For the first time ever, Chicagoans can learn, be inspired and have fun at the Midwest Rum Festival featured at the Bottom Lounge. Rum fans, customers, trade, tourists and Chicagoans alike are invited to attend exclusive tastings, educational seminars, workshops and a distinguished award program. Tickets for the event can be purchased at:

Rum has recently enjoyed a renaissance and a surge in popularity with bartenders and consumers using this versatile spirit in new ways. The goal of this partnership is to create a specific week during the year where those interested in rum can experience as many events around the rum industry,” said Federico Hernandez owner of “Tasting competitions and rum festivals are key to educating the public and we want to drive awareness and interest in this spirit through our events.”

During the weekend of April 30th, attendees will taste, learn and enjoy new rums from craft and boutique distilleries. has produced one of the most prestigious rum competitions for over 23 years, the International Review of Spirits. Producers submit their rum to Tastings’ expert judging panels to be reviewed and rated based upon high-quality, industry benchmark standards of excellence. Over 1,000 rums have been rated by the judges in blind tastings throughout its history. Attendees of this year’s event will be able to see and taste many expressions rated by the judges and learn how rums are differentiated by style, category, distillation, and blending.’s Director Jerald O’Kennard adds, “We’re excited to be able to help consumers find the best tasting rums through our reviews and now they can taste them for themselves this new showcase, the Midwest Rum Festival.

The team are the producers of the Taste of Rum Puerto Rico official national rum fest, and also the California Rum Festival. All events attracting hundreds of people from, trade, rum aficionados, tourists & locals.

The event is divided in two sessions. (1) Spirit Industry (2) Rum Aficionado “General Admission”.

The Spirit Industry Session consist of a 2 hour program offering industry professional the opportunity to: (1) Network with brand representative, (2) attend training seminars, (3) taste a wide variety of rums (4) Mingle with industry colleagues.

The Rum Aficionado “General Admission” Session consist of a 3 hour program offering the attendees the opportunity to: (1) Taste new rums (2) attend brand seminars (3) enjoy pleasant music, (4) and 1 Complimentary Food Coupon to be redeem at venue restaurant.

Cover Charge includes*: (a) 2 oz. complimentary tasting snifter glass (b) 24 tasting tickets to redeem for spirit samples (c) 1 free food coupon to redeem at restaurant. Note: Each ticket is equivalent to .25oz. pouring of neat rum or 1.5 oz of a single cocktail blend your brand would like to offer at booth. / The Spirit Industry Session will run differently. Please contact us for more details.

After Party – Kupulau Hula Event consist of a 3 hour party offering the attendees the opportunity to: (1) Enjoy amazing surf music by bands &/or DJ’s (2) try “buy” a variety of tiki drinks punches made with a combinations of rums that are participating at the event (3) enjoy art work by a variety of craft artists.

Fashion Exhibition: Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective to Open at San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museum

All Images courtesy of The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco) will present the world premiere retrospective of the late Oscar de la Renta’s work (March 12, 2016 – May 30, 2016, Herbst Exhibition Galleries) – the first major survey celebrating the life and career of one of fashion’s most influential designers. The exhibition is organized in close collaboration with the House of Oscar de la Renta and the designer’s family, and is curated by André Leon Talley, former American editor-at-large for Vogue and a lifelong friend of de la Renta.MS_24

I am honored and excited to be the curator of the definitive Oscar de la Renta retrospective exhibition at the de Young museum,” said André Leon Talley. “This privilege is exceedingly important for me after years of close friendship with Oscar, as well as a strong working relationship during my life at Vogue. My goal is to highlight the extraordinary depth of Oscar’s creative aesthetic from his earliest designs for Jane Derby throughout the five decades of his remarkable career.


Oscar de la Renta with Andre Leon Talley

Included are more than 130 ensembles produced over five decades. These garments are organized into several thematic sections: Early Work; Spanish, Eastern, Russian And Garden Influences; Daywear and Eveningwear; and Ball Gowns and Red Carpet Ensembles. The presentation traces the rise of de la Renta’s career in Spain, where he gained his first commissions; his formative years spent in the world’s most iconic fashion houses; and his eventual role as a designer for many of the most influential and celebrated personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Ensembles in the exhibition will be drawn from the designer’s personal collection, the archives of the House of Balmain, public and private collections from around the world and the Fine Arts Museums’ costume collection. Viewers will see gowns worn by dignitaries and celebrities that include former First Lady Laura Bush, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Taylor Swift, Karlie Kloss, Nicki Minaj, Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Rihanna and Amy Adams.


Sarah Jessica Parker


Superstar Opera Singer Renee Fleming

Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014) left his native Dominican Republic at the age of eighteen to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. While living in Spain, he became interested in the world of design and began sketching for leading Spanish fashion houses, which soon led to an apprenticeship with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Later, he left Spain to join Antonio Castillo as a couture assistant at the House of Lanvin in Paris. In 1963, he came to New York to design the couture collection for Elizabeth Arden. In 1965, Oscar de la Renta founded his signature ready-to-wear label and is among the world’s most prestigious fashion brands. (For more information please visit

Both our company and our family are proud that the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are organizing the first full-scale retrospective of Oscar’s work,” said Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta. “The Museums’ outstanding collections, augmented by open access to our archives, all viewed through the curatorial eye of Oscar’s dear friend André Leon Talley, will convey well the unique artistry that Oscar brought to the world of fashion.” Continue reading

WNET Launches First Theatrical Imprint, American Masters Pictures

Documentaries Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Richard Linklater – Dream is Destiny and Maya Angelou: Still I Rise World Premiere at 2016 Sundance Film Festival

At the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, WNET, parent company of New York’s public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, announced the launch of its first theatrical imprint, American Masters Pictures, for documentaries co-produced by the American Masters series, executive produced by Michael Kantor.

WNET American Masters Pictures Logo

WNET, parent company of New York’s public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, announced the launch of its first theatrical imprint, American Masters Pictures, for documentaries co-produced by the American Masters series, executive produced by Michael Kantor. (PRNewsFoto/WNET)

The first three films under the banner have their world premieres at Sundance: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady‘s Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (Day One), Louis Black and Karen Bernstein‘s Richard Linklater – Dream is Destiny (January 26) and Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack’s Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (January 26). The three documentaries will have their exclusive U.S. broadcast premieres on PBS as part of the American Masters series with Lear and Angelou slated for fall 2016 (check local listings). Cinetic Media negotiated the deal on behalf of the Linklater filmmakers. Non-broadcast rights for all films are still available.

Additional American Masters Pictures documentaries currently making the festival circuit rounds or in limited theatrical release include Nancy Buirski’s By Sidney Lumet and Amy Berg‘s Janis: Little Girl Blue. Films in production include Hedy: The Untold Story of Actress & Inventor Hedy Lamarr (w.t.) directed by Alexandra Dean and Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me directed by Sam Pollard.

When Michael approached me with the idea for American Masters Pictures, I thought it was a natural progression for the series, which has always worked with independent filmmakers,” said Stephen Segaller, vice president of programming at WNET. “Our commitment to the independent film community is real and we want it to continue to thrive.


WNET is New York’s flagship PBS station. (PRNewsFoto/WNET)

I’m thrilled to launch American Masters Pictures at Sundance Film Festival, the premier festival for indie films. There is a huge appetite for documentary films now, and we want to reach as many people as possible,” said Kantor. “Our goal is to support filmmakers and their films every step of the way. We can help them tailor their distribution strategies from film festivals to limited theatrical release, broadcast, online, DVD, VOD, OTT and everywhere viewers can see our incredible films.

Launched in 1986, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. The series’ 30th anniversary season on PBS begins January 29 with Elaine May‘s Mike Nichols: American Masters and continues with Jon Brewer‘s B.B. King: The Life of Riley (February 12), George Scott’s Carole King: Natural Woman (February 19), Joe Lauro‘s Fats Domino and The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll (February 26), Yap FilmsLoretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl (March 4), Berg’s Janis: Little Girl Blue (May 3) and Jim Brown‘s The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End (w.t.) (May 27). To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, the American Masters website ( offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, photos, educational resources and more. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and is also seen on the WORLD channel.

Websites:,, @PBSAmerMasters,,,, #AmericanMasters