Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

The Walt Disney Concert Hall at 111 South Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, California, is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Center. Bounded by Hope Street, Grand Avenue, and 1st and 2nd Streets, it seats 2,265 people and serves (among other purposes) as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

Lillian Disney made an initial gift in 1987 to build a performance venue as a gift to the people of Los Angeles and a tribute to Walt Disney's devotion to the arts and to the city. The Frank Gehry-designed building opened on October 24, 2003. Both the architecture by Frank Gehry and the acoustics of the concert hall (designed by Yasuhisa Toyota) were praised in contrast to its predecessor, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

  • The Hall was spoofed in The Simpsons episode "The Seven-Beer Snitch"; Gehry voiced himself in the episode where the town of Springfield had him design a new Concert Hall for the town.[12] The Concert Hall was then transformed into a jail by Mr. Burns. The character Snake eventually escapes from the prison while saying, "No Frank Gehry-designed prison can hold me!"
  • The first ever movie premiere at the concert hall was in 2003, when The Matrix Revolutions held its world premiere.
  • The Hall is featured in the video game Midnight Club: Los Angeles.
  • In the opening moments of "Day 6" of 24, a suicide bomber destroyed a bus in the vicinity of the Concert Hall.
  • The Concert Hall held Ellen DeGeneres co-hosting for American Idol during the special week of Idol Gives Back. Rascal Flatts, Kelly Clarkson, and Il Divo performed here.
  • This building was also used in the Iron Man (2008 release) movie briefly for a party for Stark Industries.
  • The finale of the 2008 movie Get Smart was filmed at the Concert Hall.
  • In the promotion picture for the television series Shark, the cast is standing in front of the Concert Hall.
  • In the original pilot of the US TV remake of Life On Mars, the Hall features prominently in the sequence where Sam travels back to 1972. It is an emblem of the ultra-modern landscape that Sam is about to leave behind.
  • On Everyday Italian, Giada De Laurentiis was preparing foods for her family and friends before she went there.
  • "One Hour", a 3rd season episode of NUMB3RS, extensively features the concert hall. The action begins outside the hall, and after a long series of events around town, the FBI winds up going inside the hall in order to rescue a young boy from his captors.
  • It is heavily used and an important building in the 2009 film, The Soloist.
  • Filming was done on location at the Concert Hall for a fictional Boomkat music video in the CW's Melrose Place.
  • The ABC show "Brothers and Sisters" often shows an exterior shot of Senator Robert McCallister's office that includes the concert hall. Also, Kitty proposed to Robert at a fund raiser held at the hall.
  • It was featured in the 2007 film, Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Airports, Las Vegas

McCarran International Airport handles international and domestic flights into the Las Vegas Valley. The airport also serves private aircraft and freight/cargo flights. Some of the general aviation traffic uses the smaller North Las Vegas Airport and Henderson Executive Airport.

McCarran International Airport (IATA: LAS, ICAO: KLAS, FAA LID: LAS) is the principal commercial airport serving Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, United States. The airport is located five miles (8 km) south of the central business district of Las Vegas, in the unincorporated area of Paradise in Clark County. It covers an area of 2,800 acres (1,100 ha) and has four runways. McCarran is owned by Clark County and operated by the Clark County Department of Aviation (DOA). It serves as a focus city for Allegiant Air and Southwest Airlines; McCarran is also the largest operation base for both Allegiant and Southwest. It is named after the former Nevada Senator Pat McCarran.

North Las Vegas Airport (IATA: VGT, ICAO: KVGT, FAA LID: VGT) is an airport located three nautical miles (6 km) northwest of the central business district of Las Vegas, in North Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.It is owned by Clark County and operated by the Clark County Department of Aviation.

Known locally as Northtown, it is the second busiest airport in the Las Vegas metro area and the third busiest in Nevada. It is the primary airport in the Las Vegas area for general aviation and scenic tours, allowing McCarran International Airport to focus on commercial flights. North Las Vegas does offer limited regional airline service. Many helicopter operators including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department use the airport.

The airport is certificated under 14CFR Part 139.

Henderson Executive Airport (IATA: HSH, ICAO: KHND, FAA LID: HND) is a public airport located 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi) south of the central business district of Las Vegas, in Clark County, Nevada, United States. The airport is owned by Clark County and operated by the Clark County Department of Aviation. According to the FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2009-2013, it is categorized as a reliever airport. It was originally known as Sky Harbor Airport, but was renamed in 1996 when it was purchased by Clark County to be used as a reliever airport for McCarran International Airport.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

San Francisco Neighborhoods

The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city bordered by Market Street to the south. It is here that the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the principal shopping and hotel district, nearby. Cable cars carry riders up steep inclines to the summit of Nob Hill, once the home of the city's business tycoons, and down to Fisherman's Wharf, a tourist area featuring Dungeness crab from a still-active fishing industry. Also in this quadrant are Russian Hill, a residential neighborhood with the famously crooked Lombard Street, North Beach, the city's Little Italy, and Telegraph Hill, which features Coit Tower. Nearby is San Francisco's Chinatown, established in the 1840s.

The Mission District was populated in the 19th century by Californios and working-class immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scandinavia. In the 1910s, a wave of Central American immigrants settled in the Mission and, in the 1950s, immigrants from Mexico began to predominate.[69] In recent years rapid gentrification has spread, primarily along the Valencia Street corridor, which is strongly associated with modern hipster sub-culture. Haight-Ashbury, famously associated with 1960s hippie culture, later became home to expensive boutiques[70] and a few controversial chain stores,[71] although it still retains some bohemian character. Historically known as Eureka Valley, the area now popularly called the Castro is the center of gay life in the city.
The Mission District is known for its colorful murals. This 2002 mural by Precita Eyes' Martin Travers was applied to a security gate.

The city's Japantown district suffered when its Japanese American residents were forcibly removed and interned during World War II. The nearby Western Addition became established with a large African American population at the same time. The "Painted Ladies", a row of well-restored Victorian homes, stand alongside Alamo Square, and the mansions built by the San Francisco business elite in the wake of the 1906 earthquake can be found in Pacific Heights. The Marina to the north is a lively area with many young urban professionals.

The Richmond, the vast region north of Golden Gate Park that extends to the Pacific Ocean, has a portion called "New Chinatown" but is also home to immigrants from other parts of Asia and Russia. South of Golden Gate Park lies the Sunset with a predominantly Asian population.[74] The Richmond and the Sunset are largely middle class and, together, are known as The Avenues. These two districts are each sometimes further divided into two regions, the Outer Richmond and Outer Sunset can refer to the more Western portions of their respective district and the Inner Richmond and Inner Sunset can refer to the more Eastern portions. Bayview-Hunters Point in the southeast section of the city is one of the poorest neighborhoods and suffers from a high rate of crime, though the area has been the focus of controversial plans for urban renewal.

The South of Market, once filled with decaying remnants of San Francisco's industrial past, has seen significant redevelopment. The locus of the dot-com boom during the late 1990s, by 2004 South of Market began to see skyscrapers and condominiums dot the area (see Manhattanization). Following the success of nearby South Beach, another neighborhood, Mission Bay, underwent redevelopment, anchored by a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco. Just southwest of Mission Bay is the Potrero Hill neighborhood featuring sweeping views of downtown San Francisco.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Environmental issues - Los Angeles

The name given by the Chumash tribe of Native Americans for the area now known as Los Angeles translates to "the valley of smoke" because of the smog from native campfires. Owing to geography, heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley are susceptible to atmospheric inversion, which holds in the exhausts from road vehicles, airplanes, locomotives, shipping, manufacturing, and other sources. Unlike other large cities that rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (380 mm) of rain each year: pollution accumulates over many consecutive days. Issues of air quality in Los Angeles and other major cities led to the passage of early national environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act. More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles. Smog levels are only high during summers because it is dry and warm. In the winter, storms help to clear the smog and it is not as much of a problem. Smog should continue to drop in the coming years due to aggressive steps to reduce it, electric and hybrid cars, improvements in mass transit, and other pollution reducing measures.

As a result, pollution levels have dropped in recent decades. The number of Stage 1 smog alerts has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium. Despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association ranked the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution. In addition, the groundwater is increasingly threatened by MTBE from gas stations and perchlorate from rocket fuel. With pollution still a significant problem, the city continues to take aggressive steps to improve air and water conditions.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Las Vegas Climate

Las Vegas' climate is a subtropical arid climate (Koppen climate classification BWh), typical of the Mojave Desert in which it lies. The city enjoys abundant sunshine year-round and has an average of about 300 sunny days per year and more than 3800 hours of sunshine, with about 4.2 inches of rainfall, which on average occurs on 29 days per year.

The summer months of June through September are very hot and mostly dry with average daytime highs of 94 to 104 °F (34 to 40 °C) and nighttime lows of 69–78 °F (21–26 °C). There are an average of 133 days per year above 90 °F (32 °C), and 72 days above 100 °F (38 °C), with most of the days in July and August exceeding that benchmark. However, humidity is very low and often under 10%.

Las Vegas' winters are of short duration and the season is generally mild, with daytime highs near 60 °F (16 °C) and nighttime lows around 40 °F (4 °C). The mountains surrounding Las Vegas accumulate snow during the winter but snow is rare in the Las Vegas Valley itself.[14] Several years apart, however, snow has fallen in the valley. Temperatures can sometimes drop to freezing 32 °F (0 °C) but winter nighttime temperatures will rarely dip below 30 degrees.

Annual precipitation in Las Vegas is roughly 4.5 in (110 mm), which mainly occurs during winter but is not uncommon anytime of the year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a metropolitan region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas such as San Francisco-Oakland (12th largest in the country), San Jose (31st largest in the country), along with smaller urban and rural areas. Overall, the Bay Area consists of nine counties, 101 cities, and 7,000 square miles. The nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

The Bay Area is home to many well-known cities. San Francisco is famous for its steep hills, cable cars and historic streetcars, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman's Wharf. Oakland, on the east side of the bay, has the fifth largest container shipping port in the United States. The city is also a major rail terminus. San Jose sits nestled within Silicon Valley, the premier high technology region of the world. Silicon Valley covers several cities in the south Bay Area region, and is home to many of the industry leaders in technology such as Google, Yahoo!, Cisco, Apple, Oracle, and Hewlett-Packard. Major corporations in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and the surrounding cities help make the region second in the nation in concentration of Fortune 500 companies, after New York.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hollywood attractions video

A video guide to the best attractions in the city with year-round sunshine including Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach, Universal Studios, and Disneyland.