Kids have been photographed on Santa's lap at shopping malls for decades, but in the age of cell phone cameras, parents who snap their own sometime find malls aren't happy about it.
Many mall operators hire outside companies to run the Santa photo spots. Cherry Hill Photo takes the pictures at the Westfield Culver City, and other Westfield malls in the Los Angeles area. The firm has a sign on its Santa set that states: 'Personal Cameras and Cell Phone Cameras are not permitted. Visits are always welcome.'
“It turned me 'Bah, humbug!' for a moment,” said Angie Sanders, a stay-at-home mom from Tarzana, who saw a similar sign when she took her 3-year-old son Mason to sit with Santa at the Northridge Fashion Center. The cheapest Santa photo package she could buy there was $25. More than she was willing to pay.
"Because $25 is more money than you spend on one gift," Sanders said. "I just felt it was so unfair."
Worldwide Photography shoots Santa photos at the Northridge Fashion Center and other malls operated by the General Growth Properties, including the Glendale Galleria. From Worldwide's statement regarding photos with Santa Claus:
Courtesy of Uber/In The Moment Photographs
Uber partnered with The Home Depot in ten U.S. cities to bring Christmas trees to customers on-demand.
Steven Fox has lived in San Francisco for seven years and always brought out a small plastic Christmas tree at this time of year. But with a newborn in the house, he thought it was time for a real one.
So on Thursday, he clicked on the Uber app on his smartphone, $135 dollars was deducted from his credit card, and 10 minutes later, a truck pulled up carrying a noble fir.
“It was magic,” said Fox. “There was a truck that pulled up with a woman in a Santa hat with a black box with a white bow on it that was addressed to me. It said, ‘To Steven, from Uber SF.’ The guy opened the back of the truck, pulled out the tree from the tree stand, and wished us happy holidays.”
In 10 cities across the U.S. — including Los Angeles — Uber partnered with The Home Depot, which hired independent drivers, to deliver Christmas trees to customers who used the company's ride-sharing app.
Alex Pitt Photography (via The Hollywood Sign Trust)
Hollywood leads the way in government's new look at the economic value of arts and culture.
Just how much do arts and culture contribute to U.S. economic growth? The federal government has decided it wants to know – every year.
On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released estimates from the first Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA).
It showed that $504 billion or 3.2 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. Not surprisingly, Hollywood played a leading role.
The motion picture and video industries contributed more than $47 billion in value to the economy in 2011. Advertising placed second with $41 billion, followed by Cable TV production and distribution, and television and radio broadcasting.
"Our agencies got together and said let’s try to find a way to identify all of those goods and services, those commodities and industries within the economy that represent arts and cultural production," says Sunil Iyengar, Director of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts.
Following the lead of the nation’s largest cable company, Comcast, Time Warner Cable is offering HBO, plus 20 other channels for $29.99 dollars, so they can watch their favorite shows such as Game of Thrones.
Cable TV with HBO for less than $30 a month? It sounds too good to be true for those who can't live without "Game of Thrones" or "Boardwalk Empire," but that’s what Time Warner Cable has started promoting to new customers, at least for their first year.
Following the lead of the nation’s largest cable company, Comcast, Time Warner Cable is offering HBO, plus 20 other channels, for $29.99 dollars a month. (It’s also offering a $19.99 “Starter TV” package without HBO)
Analysts say the promotion is a direct response to what is known as "cord cutting" — the move to cancel a TV subscription.
"We believe the restructuring of the bundled service is an attempt by Time Warner Cable to restrict its huge TV subscriber losses,” read a Zacks Equity Research post this week. “A recent analysis by Leichtman Research Group, Inc., revealed that the cable TV operators in the U.S. are gradually losing hold on the pay-TV market.”
In this June 6, 2013, photo, job seekers Antoinette Zinnerman, 39, left, with her daughter, Kennesha, 19, middle, inquire for positions at the 12th annual Mission career fair in the skid raw area of Los Angeles. According to the latest UCLA Anderson economic forecast, unemployment is expected to finish this year at 8.9 percent and fall to 8.2 percent next year.
California's economy has developed a widening jobs gap between coastal and inland regions, according to the final UCLA Anderson Forecast of 2013, released Thursday.
Overall, the forecast says California's unemployment rate will finish 2013 with an average of 8.9 percent, and that will fall to 8.2 percent next year.
"Along the coast from Marin to San Diego, including a sliver of Los Angeles County known as the Westside/Silicon Beach, California employment gains are outpacing the U.S.," UCLA senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg writes. "But move off the coast and the situation is quite different."
The sectors that inland California has long relied on for jobs — government, logistics, manufacturing and residential construction — continue to decline, writes Nickelsburg.
He cites an energy boom in Kern County and the new medical school at the University of California, Riverside, as exceptional bright spots in the inland California economy, but his report — entitled "Californillachia?" — compares the inland regions to "the Appalachia of yore, anemic to no growth and dominated by lower wage employment."