Monday, February 28, 2011

The art of coffee-making: The Southwest Regional Barista Competition

Southwest Regional Barista Competition, March 4-6 
It's considered the Iron Chef of barista competitions. This weekend, Hollywood will play host to the Southwest Regional Barista Competition #SWBaristaChamp, proudly sponsored by the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® for the second year in a row. Professional and amateur baristas from Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah will descend upon Siren Studios to compete for six spots at the United States Barista Championship in Texas later this spring, and for a chance to represent the U.S. in the World Barista Championship (oh, yes, there is such a thing!) in Bogota Columbia in June.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thinking About 2006 E3 Panel Discussions on Gaming for Mobile Phones and High Speed Broadband Networks

In 2006, I wrote an article for the June 2006 Main Street News that was released in May 2006 shortly after the 2006 Los Angeles Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in which I predicted (based on my own observations, listening to KenRadio, and speculation on various blogs) the advent of the iPhone with its various features, and how mobile devices would become extremely important within the urban environment. I wrote:

"The advent of mobile mapping and location specific technology will become an effective way of marketing destinations within commercial districts, with the ultimate goal of spending time and money in Main Street communities. The future will provide for a WiFi-enabled smart phone that provides voice, video, broadband Internet, multi-megapixal camera, GPS and streaming music with applications for local search, mobile mapping and podcasting. In effect, it would be an all-in-one Swiss army knife device for Main Street visitors and tourists, a virtual guidebook and survival kit that fits in the palm of your hand."

The iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs in January 2007 and released in June 2007. In my Main Street June 2006 article, I also turned my attention to the direction of mobile gaming on "smartphones." Wandering the exhibit halls of E3 and having conversations with several of those preparing games for mobile phone and even mobile phone manufacturers at E3 2006, I wrote the following:

"At the 2006 E3 in Los Angeles, it became apparent that companies were developing mobile gaming devices that will employ wifi technology in branded mobile phones or handheld devices. Any such device in mobile phones could use locational awareness."

What was also interesting at the time of E3 2006 was the state of mobile phone gaming as discussed at two panels on May 11, 2006:

"How Mobile Game Creators are Using High-Speed Networks and High-End Handsets to Make Wireless Games Better" moderated by Julie Ask of Jupiter Research with panelists from Gameloft, Glu Mobile, Artificial Life and Electronic Arts Mobile.

"The Wireless Revolution: Where to Seize Opportunity i the New Mobile Game Marketplace" moderated by Eric Goldberg from Crossover Technologies with panelists from Hands on Mobile, JAMDAT Mobile, Vivendi Universal Games Mobile, and Capcom Mobile & Interactive Media.

Despite the overall theme of highspeed broadband networks, neither of the panels wanted to think about how mobile gaming might evolve with faster networks. Their biggest concern at the time was the difficulties in selling sophisticated games and making money on mobile phones. What they were noticing was the popularity of casual gaming, and what that meant if that was the future of mobile gaming. Here are pictures that I took of these two panels.


Now fast forward to five years later with E3 here for June 7 - 9, 2011, the 3rd of 3 years under its current contract with the LA Convention Center, and think about how game applications for the Apple iPhone and Android smartphones now define mobile gaming.The use of casual games like Farmville and others within Facebook have transformed mobile gaming and created its own marketplace for virtual goods within the context of such games. One thing the 2006 panels got right was the advent of casual gaming with Angry Birds being today's poster child. However, I do not think anyone could have predicted the number of games available from the Apple and Google application stores and the impact it would be having on the game industry during the past year.

Then we have SCVNGR with Google venture capital that is attempting to provide a game layer to the popularity of checkins using GPS technology that became popularized by Four Square (and other early adopters) and now Facebook Places. In some ways, SCVNGR could represent an answer to the question that was asked by Eric Goldberg's E3 panel: "What new gameplay possibilities will come with more pervasive WiFi and WIMAX coverage? Speculating on where the mobile gaming industry will be in 2016 with pervasive and true 4G networks. I can see greater use of location technology, augmented reality, and other uses of the camera beyond QR codes that will create a whole new dimension of gameplay on smartphones.

For those coming to Los Angeles in June 2011, take a look at ExperienceLA and its related smart media for things to do in LA, explore downtown Los Angeles, and be Green by riding Metro to E3 and then using it to see Hollywood and Old Town Pasadena. Best of all, check out the great dining destinations that await you in Los Angeles, and let's hope E3 renews their contract with the LA Convention Center for the years ahead.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Haiku: Pick ExperienceLA as Interactive Host TEDxGoldstar!

I'll be attending the TEDxGoldstar event at the Downtown Independent next week on March 2nd.  I figure since I'll be sharing all the awesomeness to you guys anyway on Twitter and Facebook, I should make a pitch to be an official Interactive Host

The burning question I need to answer?  Tell us why you should be selected as an interactive host for TEDxGoldstar. Please post in a blog. Be creative. We love that.

Literary LA: Free Events

Don't eat your books.
As much as I love a good book, sometimes books are made better when you're not reading them, but experiencing them!  Check out some great - and free! - events around Los Angeles that takes your reading material off the page!  Just try not to eat the books like the zombie to your right...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

FIDM Hosts 19th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 
It's one of my favorite times of the year - FIDM's Museum and Galleries is home to beautiful costumes that have graced our movie screens this passed year.  From the rough and tough of True Grit to the playful qualities of Alice in Wonderland and the gorgeous detail of Prince of Persia and Burlesque, there is much to be admired about the versatility of the exhibition that is currently at FIDM's Los Angeles campus.

Check out a preview of costumes in the slide show below, but it's nothing like seeing the costumes up close and personal.  Did I mention this is a FREE exhibition too?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Dangerous Beauty - a delicious night!

Musicals, sushi and Thai iced tea go so well together, don't you think? It was just another entertaining night in the LA area - this time in Pasadena! (Photo credit:  John Ganun)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Valentine's Photo Contest Winner: Segway Seduction

Congratulations to our Valentine's Photo Winner, Mark Luethi for his winning entry entitled "Segway Seduction"!

Mark recieved a Valentine's Day Weekend Package that includes a pair of tickets to 33 Variations on February 12th at the Ahmanson Theatre, dinner at Cardini Ristorante and a voucher for a hotel stay at the Wilshire Grand Hotel.

About 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda:
A Beethoven scholar is driven to solve the genius’ greatest mystery while her own life rumbles around her: all gracefully underscored by a live pianist sharing the stage. In a journey that spans 200 years, 33 Variations is a sublime waltz between past and present, fact and speculation, art and life, mother and daughter. Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda heads the cast in the new American play written and directed by Moises Kaufman (author of The Laramie Project and director of I Am My Own Wife and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo). 

33 Variations will run January 30th - March 6th 2011. For more details, visit

There were a lot of great photos by our participants.
If you want to see what other great entries we had, please click on the link below:

-ExperienceLA Staff

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Vote for Us! Best Local Blogger on the LA Hotlist

We're competing in the Los Angeles Hot List for Best Local Blogger (thanks for whoever nominated us!)!  Please show us some love by casting your vote here!

Voting runs until March 25th!

-ExperienceLA Staff