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LA Utility Box Art


Great to see this happening in LA.  Those ugly boxes are perfect canvases, and there are just as many amazing artists to make them look great.

— AB

Browsing through the end of year lists, as you do, this graphic popped up in Billboard Magazine’s Best of 2013. Apparently, Rock dominated 2013 album sales with over 25%, and was second to pop on singles.

The conventional wisdom of “rock dogs” is that rock is dead, but looking at this, maybe it has just changed form?

Another interesting thing about this is that dance does well on single sales, but is insignificant on album sales.  Maybe the past and the future can get along after all.

— AB



Recently, we’ve been lucky enough to be working in a park.  That has inspired us to think about the concept of “play”. Our friend Craig McAnsh showed us this image of a trampoline bridge in Paris and that really got it started. 

Since then, we’ve started looking further into the concept of rethinking parks and cities, to make them more playful and more fun.  We came across this article in Good Magazine, which led us to the Spontaneous Interventions blog, then to this Pecha Kucha presentation on making a city more enjoyable in the rain.  Jesper Larsson’s rain presentation takes it to the next level by adding conservation.  And on it goes.

The nice thing about this is that it is endless — our imaginations are endless, and so are the things we can do to make our public spaces smarter and more enjoyable. 

– AB

Sochi 2014


The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia are just over a year away.  Right now, the town looks like a forest of cranes, which is to be expected.  Per most Olympics these days the expenditures and capital works projects are humongous with 1,000 new homes and apartments having been built just for the games, a new 6 mile ring road, and a $7 billion road and rail line to link to the airport.  That is in addition to the venues, many of which are located in the so-called “coastal cluster” including the Bolshoy Ice Dome (pictured in this blog-post) and Fisht Olympic Stadium. It’s a huge investment for a ski resort.

The government has imposed some policies to limit profiteering off the games, such as capping the price of hotel rooms, and coming down hard on scalpers.

As for the ceremonies, they have a reported budget of $60 million which is less than London, but that is expected seeing that winter games have a smaller audience than summer games.  According to Russia Beyond the Headlines, we can expect the show to be opened with an actor playing Peter the Great commanding a flotilla of five ships containing characters from Russian fairy-tales.

– AB

EDM Roll Ups


If you follow entertainment deal making, now is a good time to watch what’s happening in the world they call EDM (or “electronic dance music”). There are deals happening all over the place.

Last year, Live Nation started loading the shopping cart when it purchased Hard Events out of Los Angeles, and Creamfields out of the UK. Meanwhile, Robert FX Sillerman, the man who originally rolled up promoters nationwide to create the conglomerate that is now Live Nation (formerly SFX and Clear Channel Entertainment) appeared on the cover of Billboard with the headline “Inside the EDM Arms Racee”.  He has announced a $1billion dollar fund to acquire EDM promoters and has since purchased companies like Dayglow, Disco Donnie Presents, Disco Productions, and the Opium Group of clubs in Miami. Now Sony is getting in the mix, announcing the purchase of leading EDM label Ultra Music.

If you are wondering what all the fuss is about, a look at Tomorrowland might help explain.

— AB

The Bay Lights


On March 5, 2013, San Francisco’s Bay Bridge will be lit up with 25,000 LED’s created thanks to an art installation by artist Leo Villareal.

Each of the LED’s on the bridge can be programmed individually, so that it can achieve the maximum impact of Villareal’s hypnotic lighting designs.  The project has a budget of $8,000,000 which has been funded by donors.

Villareal started in lights when he created a structure at Burning Man to help him find his camp.  He has gone on to do over a dozen outstanding light projects at locations including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Tampa Museum of Art in Florida.

— AB

Syndicate Yourself


I remembered a report that we wrote back in March of 2007 talking about the effects of the Internet on content distribution.  At the time Myspace was still the king of social networks, and Twitter had been around for only 9 months.

Worth a read if you are into mass media theories.

– AB

All City Canvas


Following up from a recent blog entry on Mexican and Chicano murals in Southern California, we were introduced to a amazing project featuring some of the best muralists and street artists from all over the world,  who participated in a public art project called All City Canvas in Mexico City.

The title says it all.  As described by organizer Gonzalo Alvarez of Mamutt, the idea of the project was to obtain “impossible walls” and then schedule the artists like a music festival lineup, so that crowds could gather and watch the art created live.

It worked — they obtained those “impossible walls” in Mexico City, and crowds gathered to watch legends of the genre such as Sego (Mexico), Saner (Mexico), Vhils (Portugal), ROA (Belgium), Herakut (Germany) , Interesni Kazki (Ukraine) , Escif (Spain) and El Mac (USA).

Awesome project — congratulations to everyone involved!

– AB



Having lived in Los Angeles and Mexico City, you can see some amazing murals, sometimes by the same artists in both cities.  Many of the murals in Southern California and Mexico City were inspired by the same cultural movements. The classic examples are Orozco and Siqueiros who have magnificent murals such as Orozco’s  Prometheus and Siqueiro’s American Tropical.  (Note: Rivera’s California work is in Northern California).  These artists provided inspiration for the art of the Chicano Movement which resulted in works such as Judy Baca’s (and over 400 colaborators’)  Great Wall of Los Angeles.

In the last week I went to two LA mural related events: an event for SPARC’s 35th year, and one for the Jose Cuervo Tradicional Mural Project.  Both did a good job of highlighting the entity behind the event, and in SPARC’s case, the deep history of the organization — but I am equally as interested in the current talent of today.  SPARC honored Francisco Latelier and Cuervo honored Jesus Alvarado. It would be great to see more on how this art form is living today, and, equally importantly, can have a viable future for its talents.

At one of the events, I asked a veteran muralist “how is it going?”, and expecting to hear the usual PR event line about how great things were, he said “you wanna know the truth, it’s really tough.”  Considering all the freeways and vast concrete surfaces throughout the city, providing muralists with a tiny fraction of that funding, private or public, would do wonders to the soul of the city and its artistic legacy.  Sadly, it appears there is hardly enough money being put to restoring the existing ones.

On the positive side was the huge public response to MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary street art exhibition in 2011.   Good chance that the phrase “street art” inspires thought on the differences and similarities between its various forms, including murals and graffiti, so I’ll leave you with one point of view on that.

– AB



First there was the TV upfronts, where advertisers got a sneak peak at new TV programs and made multi-million dollar commitments to ad networks based on the network’s lineup. Then there was the music upfronts, where the record labels tried, with mixed results, to get what they thought was their share of ad/sponsor dollars. Now it’s online video’s turn, as major players Google/Youtube, Yahoo!, Hulu, Microsoft, AOL and Digitas plan the “Newfronts” — two weeks of events in New York to try to woo more ad dollars to help finance the production of more original content for the web.

The Newfronts were scheduled a few weeks before TV’s up fronts, but then NBC Universal announced that it will be there too.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two events combine in the next few years, as more content moves online. Regardless, Spring is always a great time of the year to be in New York.

– PG

A recent piece in Forbes by Evangeline Gomez presents stats to show that Latino-owned businesses in the United States are leading the economic recovery, growing at twice the national average, and projected to grow at three times between 2005 and 2015.  This is not a story about big Latino businesses like Bimbo, Jumex, or Cemex.  It is about small business, entrepreneurs and innovators making the most of it in the USA.  If the topic interests you, there are more stats here.

— AB

Apple is at it again, this time stealing a page from Rupert Murdoch’s playbook.

Knowing that fans will always pay a premium to watch their teams take the field, Rubert built his media empire acquiring the rights to top sports assets. Now Apple is attempting the same strategy bidding for the Premier League TV rights – as a way to further adoption of their AppleTV platform…and, could it be…to introduce the long rumored Apple televisions??

Here’s the case against Apple bidding, from our friends at Paidcontent.

— PG