I have a bit of an attitude about food trucks. Living in LA, I tend to take them for granted and also tend to focus on the basics: taco trucks. I am in fact the Foursquare mayor of my favorite truck, where I can get a ceviche tostada or a plate of tacos and a Jarritos soda for less than $5. High-end food trucks have of course become a big deal in LA, but given that we live in America's most spread-out metropolis, they seem to be able to operate without too much trouble.
Down deep, New York has serious LA envy, so in the last few years, food trucks have become thick on the streets there. New Yorkers are competitive eaters (unlike Angelenos, who are basically happy to subsist on a diet of burgers, tacos, sushi, steak and the occasional cleansing bowl of arugula), so of course they can't just emulate LA food-truck culture, they have to transform it into something that might be worthy of a Harvard Business School case study.
Earlier this week, I took a tour of the Staples Center to check out a substantial technology upgrade throughout the facility (it's called StadiumVision). AEG joined with Cisco and Verizon to improve the way that programming and information can be displayed on HD video screens around the stadium. This ranged from theming and special offers on menu displays at concessions to e-commerce possibilities in the luxury suites.
It was all very interesting and a pretty fair example of high-level business collaboration. AEG, Cisco, and Verizon are hardly small players.
But it was also a glimpse of things to come. I can certainly remember the good old days of sports venues, when advertising, branding, and marketing was far more limited. Now, LA and AEG could very well be on the verge of building a state of the art football stadium Downtown, called Farmers Field. Ambitions for technology to "enhance the fan experience" are running high. The screens could be more numerous and much larger. And there could be a lot more mobile interaction, right down to the level of watching the game via a dynamic live feed to an iPhone app. From what I heard, that's the Holy Grail — you're at the game, but you can hold the game in your hands.
See if you can figure out the model for Obey Giant's contribution to the Occupy Movement's graphic identity.
Yesterday, KPCC's new blog editor, Tony Pierce, and I were discussing the lack of any truly iconic Occupy Movement images. They've got plenty of signs and slogans. "But where's...noted LA public artist and occasional graphic agitator Shepard Fairey in this?" We asked.
Well, ask and you shall receive. Fairey's Obey Giant site now has five supportive posters available for free download. I've respected Fairey's desire to have these used only by participants in the Occupy Movement and have depicted just one here. The rest can be seen at the site.
It will be easy enough to figure out which public figure served as the model for the poster that's pictured, once you check out the entire selection. But see if you can guess, without looking at the entire lineup.
Not what you want to see at a protest about banking and finance in Downtown LA.
At the outset, I think it's important to remember that the Occupy Movement, from Wall Street to Downtown LA and everywhere in between, has been rational and peaceful. But there will be some cranks who worm their way into any happening of this scale. I spotted the sign above as I was leaving Occupy LA a few days ago. I wasn't happy to see it. But I wasn't surprised, either.
It gets worse. ReasonTV found someone at the Downtown LA protest who was willing to actually talk out loud about the Zionist banking conspiracy. In front of a camera.
She got fired.
Ever since there have been banks and international finance, there have been crackpot conspiracy theories about the intermingling of money, Jewishness, Zionism, UFOs, secret underground labs, black helicopters, the world government, vampires...
AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
The Federal Reserve Building in Washington, DC.
The Federal Reserve publishes its so-called "Beige Book," a snapshot of the economy taken through the lens of the Fed's district banks, eight times per year. It is booor-ing. You may not even want to read the executive summary of the latest version. Luckily, you don't have to, because I've broken it down into bullet points. And I've assigned my own grades, on how the various parts of the struggling economy are doing. (The Fed, needless to say, doesn't hand out grades.)
•The Big Picture
"...overall economic activity continued to expand in September, although many Districts described the pace of growth as 'modest' or 'slight' and contacts generally noted weaker or less certain outlooks for business conditions."
Translation: Stuckflation, an economy going nowhere, for the rest of the year.