Sunday, February 11, 2007

LA225 Website: better late than never!

Back on September 4, 2006, the City celebrated its 225th birthday. Well, today, LA, Inc. has caught on to what we did all last year with 225 Ways to Celebrate LA, and 5 months later, they've launched a site to celebrate the City's 225th Birthday. I'm glad they did it, even if we're half way into the celebration.

Some points to note:

First, the best thing about he site is the 225 special offers. There are meal discounts, event & venue discounts, shopping discounts and my favorite: 11% off at all Macy's.

The 225 Fun Facts leave a lot to be desired, focusing on the county and definitely revealing this site was designed to promote LA to tourists talking about days of sunshine and acting as a "digital booster" (with an entire 225 section devoted to hosting a meeting in LA) The "notable songs" are lacking with only "I Love LA" and "Born in East LA" on the list, and they list famous people born in LA: Julia Child, Oscar de la Hoya, Mia Farrow, Marilyn Monroe, General George S. Patton, Jr., Sally Ride, Duke Snider, Adlai Stevenson, and Venus Williams (wow: 9 people in 225 years are notable). The 225 Historical Facts are informative and make the site worth visiting (besides the 11% off at Macy's).

The 225 Movies section is impressive, though, I wonder if there were more than just these 225 movies set and filmed in LA? And the TV Show section is equally interesting - I had forgotten about Baywatch Nights.

The list of 225 songs about or for LA is good, but it's interesting that a song sung by different artists is listed multiple times. Well, I guess each version could be in your iPod.

The Movie Locations are good, though they miss the Valley locations of Van Nuys City Hall in Liar, Liar, the Ventura Boulevard in Encino setting (across from Versaille) from The 40 Year Old Virgin, and The Sherman Oaks Galleria from Fast Times at Ridgemont High - to name a few.

Overall, the site is good. It shows the world there is a lot that makes up LA. What bothers me a bit is the meshing of LA City and LA County, but that's just the City Nerd in me. I would not call this comprehensive, but is serves a purpose to promote LA to outsiders. There is a lot of information to digest, and the long lists can be daunting if you're not ready to scroll for a while. It's a good start to create a resource for visitors about all there really is to do and see here.
What's missing? First, where are the 225 books about LA - there are at least that many to list? Also, where are the off-beat facts, locations, etc. that make this City tick? The Things to Do section fails to list the Downtown Arts District under "Arts Districts" and under neighborhoods, fails to list dozens that deserve recognition. Also, the shopping districts are only those highly publicized ones and missing are the ones that have unique niches in LA. (Perhaps a reorganization of that section would help.) Also needed is a search form or something to help people sift through the over 2000 pieces of information on the site.

I'm glad to see that LA, Inc. has taken this step to start something for Los Angeles. This is a stepping-off point for good online resources to come.

By the way...
How is it that Mayor Villaraigosa's picture on the homepage of this site, which is the product of a private non-profit that serves and promotes the entire region, not just the City? He's the only real person on the site; this guy is everywhere!

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