See you in the future

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Attention New Yorkers (and designy folks who will be in town for ICFF), I wanted to let you know about this very exciting event I’m helping to organize for NYCxDESIGN: the Gizmodo Home of the Future!

Yes, we are building an actual apartment inside of an old gymnasium and filling it with our favorite products, ideas and people from May 16-21. I’m going to be hanging out there all week (heck, maybe even sleeping there if the bed is comfortable) and hosting events on urbanism, food, transportation, telepresence, and more.

Come say hi and take a sneak peek on Friday, May 16 at the opening party from 7-9pm at 268 Mulberry Street, between Houston St. and Prince St.

Check out the schedule of daily events and parties, or just come hang out during the day—we will have a co-working lounge with comfy chairs and fast wifi, so if you need a place to work, you can come blog along with the Gizmodo team. See you sometime in the future!

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Join me at CAMP

Last year around this time I headed off to a magical adventure in the woods, CAMP. This business conference that is so much more than a business conference was one of my highlights of 2013, and I even included it as an example of what to do right in this article I wrote about design conferences for Communication Arts:

That motto was on my mind this summer when I attended CAMP, a new creative business conference held at a YMCA summer camp in Big Bear, California. About 120 attendees stayed in same-sex cabins and signed up for workshops ranging from social media marketing to foraging and wildcrafting. There was even a camp dance. By the last night, I had learned new skills like indigo dyeing and professional product photography, but it all happened in a setting that was inspiring and invigorating—it made me feel as though I hadn’t sacrificed my work or life to be there. The best part of all: there was not a plastic name badge in sight.

Sounds good, right? This year’s CAMP promises to be even more magical. It takes place May 29 to June 1 in beautiful Big Bear Lake, which is only two hours from LA but feels worlds away. I’ll be giving one of the breakfast keynotes, but you’ll be wide awake because you’ll already have taken your morning polar bear plunge, of course.

Use the secret discount code CAMPlawalker and you’ll get 15% off. Register here, and read more about what I learned at CAMP last year.

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Peep fashion

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Proudly partying with my Peeps on.photo 3
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As I know you know, I love my Peeps, and usually right about now I am falling into deep depression because the Peep season has come to a close. But not this year! For two reasons: 1) Peeps are now going to be in stores year-round and 2) I have this beautiful dress I can wear whenever I need to feel the glory of Peeps around me.

And I will be wearing it all throughout the year.

This beautiful frock was made by Laura Howe, who also designed my wedding dress. She makes a lot of other beautiful dresses, too, not all of which feature sugar-coated confections. Check out her work at Matrushka, and if you’re in Silver Lake, stop by her adorable store and say hi.

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The quintessential LA street

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I snapped this shot the other day during CicLAvia as I was walking on 5th Street (which is a pretty darn magical street) near Irving in Windsor Circle. To me, this represents the quintessential (and perhaps stereotypical) LA street, fringed with tall palm trees on either side to infinity.

Quintessentially California.

It’s also incredibly similar to some other shots I’ve taken recently, like this one which is somewhere in Alhambra from LA’s annual birthday walk. This also says “LA” when you look at it.

Beverly Hills has the best palm trees.

I’ve found myself trying to find more of these typical/stereotypical scenes. This one, in Beverly Hills, for example, is good, but I think the addition of the larger, squatter Canary Island date palms makes for a different kind of look. I seem to gravitate towards streets planted exclusively with slender, swaying Mexican fan palms.

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So for example, I should probably find out where this was shot.

If you see any good shots of “quintessential LA streets” send them my way. I’m on the hunt for the most LA street in LA.

Updates…

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Here’s a great shot of Laveta Terrace in Echo Park by Atley Kasky, which just happens to be the same location that the Golden Road label was shot.

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Posted in creating, designing, growing, riding, walking | 7 Comments

Bosom Buddies invented Parking Day

One of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles is looking back at the shows and movies I grew up with and realizing how many of them were filmed in LA. Something I might have watched a million times now takes on a whole new meaning as it becomes a game of recognizing buildings and streets in my neighborhood that were supposed to be New York or Chicago.

Lately, I’ve been really enjoying “The Greatest Event in Television History,” where Adam Scott recreates the opening credits of ’70s sitcoms in these incredible shot-by-shot remakes. And while I was watching the Bosom Buddies remake, I had just noticed that this famous scene takes place on Wilshire Boulevard—on this weekend’s CicLAvia route—when I realized something else.

Bosom Buddies invented Parking Day:

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A few decades later, people in San Francisco began feeding the meters and turning parking spaces into parks for the day. But Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari did it first.

Here are some not-as-great-quality shots of the original:

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The parking space is still there, of course, right out in front of Lafayette Park, on Wilshire between Commonwealth and Hoover. If someone doesn’t turn this particular parking spot into a Bosom Buddies homage this Parking Day, I’ve lost my faith in humanity.

And because you’ve absolutely got to see the whole show now, enjoy:

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There’s something in the air

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It’s that time of year again, you guys! Easter is only a few weeks away, and it’s going to be even more special than ever before (trust me on this). Head on over to my seasonal Tumblr, PEEP THIS, for more Easter treats.

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A Walker in D.F.

Super tortas
Motorcycles at the market
Best doors and gates orange green and blue
Museum in a former estate
Yellow bus
Sun and moon of color
Pink courtyardColorful cord
The jacaranda really makes it
La Michoacana
Pink fence
Neon weavings
Path to the garage
Nike store tiles
Double stairs
Chandelier
Red bricks
Crazy loud vendors
Metro signage
Best Metro signage ever
A different type of a subway tile.
Red stripes
Best tile mosaic house
Joy Center
JOY
Centro
Gorgeous carvingCheck out the bike
Palace des Belles Artes
Pedestrian is King
Ecobici
La Botica
Best menuAnejo
CHOCOLATE
This is our friend Hector. He makes the best chocolate in the world in this little Mexico City storefront. You should keep an eye on him at @lacasatropical, I hear he might be bringing some to the U.S.
Lebna and chocolate
Glowing tower
Paints
Stripes
Love the "gutters"La Casa Azul
Blue bar
Camino Real
Pink fence
So many colorsLobby
Concrete patterned door
Dressing to match the floors.
Glorious

I was lucky enough to find myself in Mexico City earlier this month to speak at the pedestrian advocacy conference Ciudad Péaton. While there, I fell in love.

Mexico City is like nowhere else on earth in that it’s both European and American, Colonial and Contemporary, Formal and Casual—and it wears all the sides of its personality so well. And the colors. OH THE COLORS. Each block revealed a combination of shades and textures I couldn’t dream up. Although I stumbled upon many special interiors—like Frida Kahlo’s garden, a transcendent chocolate factory, and the Camino Réal hotel—I would say that most of the beauty of Mexico City is how much of the action happens right there in the street, from eating pastor tacos to sipping mezcal to watching musicians to simply seeing a colorfully dressed couple stroll the leafy sidewalks. The residents of D.F. really know how to live, and it shows on every corner.

Thanks to The Lab for inviting me to be part of such an incredible event (500 young people there to talk about walking!) and for showing me around my new favorite place on earth.

More photos here.

Posted in building, creating, designing, eating, speaking, traveling, walking | 5 Comments

Ed Begley Jr. wins the Oscars

Celebrities are always trying to show us how they care about the environment with their fancy Ford Prii, but eco-warrior Ed Begley Jr. (and my walking/biking/bus riding hero) just bested them all: He rode the subway to the Academy Awards tonight.

Begley—who was invited because he’s a governor for the Academy—took the Red Line from the Valley, where he lives in a modest house I’ve written about for Dwell (he’s currently building a new one as part of a new show about sustainable construction). He couldn’t get off at Hollywood and Highland (for out-of-towners: that’s the station right beneath the Dolby Theater, where the Oscars are held) because Metro closes it due to security risks, so Begley had to walk along Hollywood Boulevard from the Hollywood and Vine station—with his daughter in heels.

It’s not a far walk—about .8 miles, or 25 minutes—but since that’s also the route most people take to get to the show, they were spotted by several attendees who were—yes—sitting in traffic.

Posted in riding, walking | 2 Comments

Watch my Pencil vs. Pixel interview

As a professional question-asker, I love meeting people who have good questions to ask me. Cesar Contreras is one of those people, so I was honored to be featured on the latest episode of his web series, Pencil vs. Pixel. We chatted about solving problems creatively, the beauty of living in Los Angeles, and, of course, walking. You can read more here, and download the audio, too, if you’d like to take me along somewhere in your earbuds.

Thanks, Cesar, for a great interview!

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East of What

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It’s a debate as old as time. Or at least as old as Intelligentsia. Some people insist upon calling a large swath of Los Angeles “the Eastside,” which other people don’t think is actually “the Eastside.” This debate has raged on websites, at events, in person, even here on this very blog. Some say “the Eastside” starts east of the Los Angeles River. Others claim it starts somewhere around Western Avenue (that would make sense, right?). Others ask, “East of what?”

But no one—to my knowledge—has ever tried to make an official and binding declaration for where the Eastside is. Until last night.

The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (my neighborhood, y’all) spent a large part of their agenda last night deciding whether or not Silver Lake was considered “the Eastside.” Curbed LA liveblogged the meeting, quite hilariously I might add, and folks chimed in immediately on Twitter with their thoughts.

 

Personally, I think my neighborhood has other, larger issues to address (like the fact that everyone incorrectly spells it Silverlake… can we get a ruling on that???), but as someone who runs a nonprofit called design east of La Brea, I do have some thoughts on the matter.

First, a geography lesson, for those who have no idea what I’m talking about:

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The issue at hand is that some neighborhoods, specifically Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park all have, in recent years, by various parties, been referred to as “the Eastside.” Many people think that calling that area “Eastside” (which I guess is a newer thing, like in the last 20 years or so) is insulting to the generations of Angelenos who established the culture traditionally known as “Eastside,” which originates more towards the actual area named East LA, but has come to encompass many neighborhoods like Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights and many other heights. These advocates would prefer that you equated “Eastside” with “East of the LA River” (although this logic doesn’t totally work because the LA River takes a sharp turn just north of this map and runs East-West. So you’d have to say, “East of the LA River below Griffith Park and above somewhere before Long Beach” or something—I don’t know).

I’ve marked some areas on the map for additional East/West context. Downtown is right there at the center, and in most cities, the downtown is used to define the “East” and “West” parts of the city. In fact, Broadway, which runs a Northeast/Southwest path through Downtown, is where the addresses change from W. to E. [Update: I was wrong, it's actually Main, two blocks away.] I also added two streets, Western and Eastern, which were actually named two centuries ago when they represented the city’s boundaries and don’t mean much now but boy is that fun to look at or what?

As you can see, on pretty much all these counts, there’s nothing really “east” about Silver Lake. Silver Lake is actually WEST of downtown, which I would say already disqualifies it from being Eastside. Some might say that Silver Lake deciding NOT to be “Eastside” is almost a move to make themselves seem more “Westside,” which should have people living in West LA preeeeetty outraged, if you ask me.

While I’m not sure the “ruling” will solve anything (people have their own definitions of neighborhoods and places and those are tough to change), over at LA Observed, Kevin Roderick brings up another important issue:

Calling Silver Lake and environs the Eastside certainly has its fans, and not just among urban enthusiasts who need a label to fill out the anti-Westside narrative and those other newbies whose grasp of Los Angeles’ construction and backstory is so thin they just see west, east and middle. Silver Lake, Los Feliz and Echo Park share enough distinction in common that, despite claiming barely a sliver of the city’s four million population, I’d lump them together as a mini-region if only there were an a useful and adequate name for the place. They don’t belong to downtown, Hollywood or the real Eastside — and the term many like, Faux Eastside, will never catch on. I’ve yet to hear a suggestion that feels real enough to work for both the newbies and for deeper-rooted Angelenos, but I’m still hopeful something will bubble up with more authenticity (and specificity) than Eastside.

It’s funny because when I tell people why I live here, I say something like that. I don’t just live in the walkable, small-town-ish Silver Lake neighborhood, I feel like I live in this three-neighborhood corridor, which pretty much offer all the services I need within a two-mile radius from my house. When people ask me where I live, I always just say Silver Lake, but it might be cool to tell them I consider myself a resident of this entire three-neighborhood region.

And, as we know, people love putting labels on things. So to appease the Eastside proponents, and to help everyone else understand a little more about Los Angeles, I’ve come up with some alternate names for This Area that is Not the Eastside.

New Names for the Los Feliz-Silver Lake-Echo Park Mini-Region

  • Felivecho
  • LoFeSiLaEcPa
  • The West Bank (all three neighborhoods border the west bank of the LA River)
  • Three Lakes District (named for the area’s three lakes: Rowena Reservoir, Silver Lake, Echo Park Lake)
  • Sunset Corridor (named for the street that links all three neighborhoods)
  • East Sunset
  • Sunset Heights
  • Sunset Triangle (both named for the plaza at the center of the region, and for the triangle you make when you draw an area encompassing all three neighborhoods)
  • 101 East
  • The 2/4/704 (named for three buses you can take to get to all three neighborhoods)
  • Red Line West (the neighborhoods in relation to the nearest subway line)
  • Griffith-Elysian (named for the two large parks at either ends of the region)
  • Stairway District (these neighborhoods have the highest concentration of public stairways in the city; would also bring tourism to the area)
  • Coffee District (like the Bicycle District, this area could be known for coffee, or perhaps the Juice District)
  • The Cut (this a very old name for a section of Sunset between Echo Park and Silver Lake where crews blasted away the rock to create a mini-canyon so the road could go through)
  • Edendale (this is an older name for a part of Silver Lake where the film studios were once located, but I don’t think many people associate it with the actual place anymore so it could be reappropriated for all three neighborhoods, which all had film activity; again, would get attention from tourists and history buffs)
  • West Eastside
  • Hipsteria
  • East of What
  • Near Eastside (like Chicago’s Near North, by Pat Saperstein/@EatingLA)
  • Eastside Lite (by Shawna Dawson)
  • Trastevere (by Adam Baer/@glassshallot)
  • Eastside Adjacent (by Jeff Miller)
  • The Mideast Side (by Eric Brightwell, who even has a map, and a very good explanation)
  • Tri-Hipster Area/Tri-Hip (by Seamus Garrity/@masterofleisure)
  • LosSilverDale (by Ed Fuentes/@viewfromaloft)
  • The Weastside (by Ed Fuentes/@viewfromaloft)
  • Brooklyn West (by Avishay Artsy/@heyavishay)
  • Silver Monica (by Dan Koeppel/@bigparadeLA)
  • The Upper East Side (by Tom Marble)
  • Silver Lake Alps (by Larry Gassan)
  • Charneyville (by Mike Kessler/@mikekessler)
  • Steampunk Row (by Mike Kessler/@mikekessler)
  • Williamsburg West (by Mike Kessler/@mikekessler)

Let me know what you think and add yours in the comments or ping me on Twitter to add!

Top image: LA Eastside

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