Category: Community & Green Trends

Black History Month – Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

Black History Month – Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture


Exterior of National Museum of African American History and Culture

Exterior of National Museum of African American History and Culture


By Patricia Szpekowski

The hopes, dreams and aspirations for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in our nation’s capital have been resilient, remarkable and are now a reality.

Its triumphant opening on Saturday, September 24, 2016  with a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting by President Barack Obama, our nation’s first African American President, illuminated the significance of this extraordinary event that will be remembered for generations to come.


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture Architectural Photrography

Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture Architectural Photrography

President Obama was joined by our nation’s legislators, thousands of citizens and supporters from the United States and abroad to witness this historic occasion. President George W. Bush first signed the African American History and Culture Act in 2003, so the design, assembly and curation of historic artifacts could begin. Some notable members of the Museum Council include former First Lady, Laura Bush, former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, OWN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Oprah Winfrey, Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder, Robert E. Johnson, Grammy award winner, Quincy Jones, along with museum’s founding director, Lonnie Bunch.

Standing at a striking 400,000 square-feet, the Museum structure is positioned on the last remaining undeveloped museum site on the National Mall in close proximity to the Washington Monument. Its strategic location and design subtly portrays the past, present and future of the African American experience in ways that are both tangible and symbolic.

The NMAACH stands center stage as the natural spotlight highlights the beautifully crafted, three-tiered glass and bronze-colored metal lattice design.  Throughout Washington, most of the other museums and monuments are predominantly cast in white marble or concrete and reflect light. The structure’s glory is in its ability to reflect, absorb, and shine, rendering iridescent rays unlike the standard white marble or concrete which typically stays the same. The aluminum panels pay homage to the intricate ironwork that was fashioned by enslaved African American craftsmen in Louisiana, South Carolina and elsewhere.

The architecture is manufactured in a way that allows the sunlight to casts its soft glow on the interior and upper floors, providing illumination on the various exhibits. Ironically, the sunlight is symbolic of the fact that the museum aims to shed light on certain topics, thus creating a conversation about race in hopes of promoting restoration and reconciliation. As the natural light reflects off the structure’s metallic frame, it will serve as an example reminding everyone of what was, what challenges are still relevant, and what we as a nation can aspire to become. Museum Founding Director, Lonnie G. Bunch III describes it saying, “This building will sing for all of us.”


The architectural team of Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroupJJR, and lead designer Tanzanian born David Adjaye, were awarded the honor to design the new Smithsonian Museum through an international selection process. The vision was to envelope the African American’s journey from its exterior to the carefully designed interior exhibit-hall to mirror what he calls a “spatial narrative” of having the building itself tell the story. The story develops at the ground level with the heart-rending history and as the exhibits progress, the rising floors unveil culture. The layout depicts and describes early pains and struggles, while maintaining a sense of future optimism.

The inverted pyramid form is meant to recall a motif in African sculpture and is inspired by Yoruban caryatids, the traditional wooden sculptures of female figures found in West Africa that are often topped by box-shaped crowns. The building’s exterior primary feature and main entrance is a welcoming “porch” that has architectural roots in Africa, especially the American south and Caribbean. Often times, in many African American communities, porches served as a meeting place which embodied southern hospitality. The large porch extends a welcome gesture to visitors of all kind and serves to orient visitors to its entrance within the geometric structure. It is “the first forecourt on the Mall that will have a shaded respite”, according to architect Adjaye.

The interior is encased with symbolism. It spans nine floors with five levels above ground and four below to offer a strong historical and emotional journey. Every aspect of the African American experience unfolds before its viewers — from slavery in Africa, to the role played by black patriots in the American Revolution, the “Segregation Era” and from the Civil Rights movement to today.

Hunted Slaves, 1862 Oil paint on canvas Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Hunted Slaves, 1862
Oil paint on canvas
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Amongst the historic displays and artifacts depicting the African American’s struggles and triumphs are exhibits that spotlight the significant black presence in the military, sports, arts, music and the entertainment industry. It is a place where all Americans can witness and learn about the richness and diversity of their history — a place that binds and unites the American experience and lives on without boundaries of race and culture.

The museum features a series of openings, or lenses, throughout the exhibition spaces that frame views of the Washington Monument, the White House and other Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. By peeking through these framed perspectives, visitors are reminded that the museum presents a view of America through the lens of African American progress.

The journey to the exhibits throughout the museum is meant to be experienced from the bottom up. The stunning ground floor lobby entrance beckons the visitor to avail him or herself to the experience of embracing our nation’s difficult history with the optimism of hope.

The museum opened with 11 inaugural exhibitions that focus on broad themes of history, culture and community. The exhibits on the two belowground floors tell the long and brutal story of Africans in America, from the early origins of the Atlantic slave trade in the late 15th century. Using raw and emotional displays, the exhibits include records of slave ships, and the staggering number of those who perished. There are displays of wreckage from a Portuguese ship that sank off the coast of South Africa in 1794 and shackles found at the wreckage site. Over 400 slaves on board were killed.

The underground spaces also include a Jim Crow-era Southern Railway Car and an Angola prison guard tower. These large exhibits have found a permanent home at the museum. Because of their size, they were carefully placed into the museum as construction began.

Going into modern times, there are remembrances from the Civil Rights movement — a time of protests and change.

The museum also features some of the more than 40,000 artifacts it has collected through the generosity of many donors since the legislation establishing it was signed in 2003. The treasured objects include: badges, banners, Bibles, buttons, drawings, dresses, letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, quilts, and more.  

They depict the documentation of African American life, history and culture, spanning decades, and global influences. There are opportunities to explore and revel in the African American history through interactive exhibitions including an area to record your own history.

The museum’s collections are vast. They are designed to illustrate the major periods of African American history, including: a segregation-era Southern Railway car c. 1920, Nat Turner’s Bible c. 1830s, Michael Jackson’s fedora c. 1992, a slave cabin from Edisto Island, S.C. plantation c. early 1800s, Harriet Tubman’s hymnal c. 1876, and works of art by Charles Alston, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden and Henry O. Tanner.

The upper level exhibits of history, culture and community galleries warrant even more time to soak in the vastness of black contributions to every aspect of American culture, including education, business, visual and performing arts, and sports. The depth of each gallery’s themes runs across all aspects of culture from Slavery and Freedom and A Changing America to Musical Crossroads and Military History.

There is an extensive sports exhibit on the third floor that is enveloped with history-making moments in sports with statues of Jackie Robinson sliding into home plate, Michael Jordan hitting a fade away jump shot and Serena and Venus Williams in a doubles match. The exhibit houses a small theater with three rows of seats to allow patrons to view a short film about the rich history of African Americans in baseball.

As the museum ebbs and flows to be current, the recent accomplishment of Simone Manuel, the first African-American female swimmer to take home an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, has also been recognized.

“After 13 years of hard work and dedication on the part of so many, I am thrilled that we have this good news to share with the nation and the world,” said Burch. “Visitors will walk through the doors of the museum and see that it is a place for all people. We are prepared to offer exhibitions and programs to unite and capture the attention of millions of people. It will be a place for healing and reconciliation, a place where everyone can explore the story of America through the lens of the African American experience.”

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture furthers the Smithsonian’s commitment to telling America’s story in all its dimensions,” said David Skorton, Smithsonian Secretary.

The extensive National Museum of African American History and Culture website at provides a vast amount of information to explore, connect and learn. It is filled with engaging stories and interpretations of the powerful collections.

Entry to all Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. is free. Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture website at


Improving LAX

Improving LAX

Rendering of the Automated People Mover (APM)

Rendering of the Automated People Mover (APM)


By Patricia M. Szpekowski, APR

Are you aware of the excitement taking place at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)?

Progress is happening as Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) continues its $14-billion Capital Improvement Program at LAX.

It is a massive undertaking of more than two dozen projects that began in 2009, with several critical projects expected to be completed by 2023. The LAX modernization program is considered the largest public works program in the history of the City of Los Angeles.

The multi-billion-dollar investment in modernizing LAX also includes approximately $1 billion in direct and/or indirect improvements to ensure the quality of passenger safety and security.

The decision to re-imagine, renovate and rebuild LAX is an important step forward to greatly enhance and improve the travel experience for all who arrive and depart at LAX, the seventh-busiest airport in the world and third in the United States. It is all the more essential to exceed the pace and expectations for LAX, which in 2015 set a record for passenger volume with more than 74.9 million passengers, and will easily top that record in 2016.

Automatic People Mover

Automatic People Mover

The vision that drives this monumental project at LAX affects all aspects of its users, including millions of passengers, 64 airlines and over 50,000 airport workers. The modernization program encompasses vast improvements to: enhance the passenger experience; provide reliable and certain access into and out of LAX, and provide airport access to the latest class of very large passenger aircraft.

In addition, the modernization will continue to have a staggering overall impact on the economy of the City of Los Angeles, with the creation of an expected 121,000 annual construction-related jobs.

LAX has long been recognized as an economic engine for the six-county Southern California region encompassing Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura. Economic effects of the modernization project include direct, indirect impacts resulting from ongoing activities, visitor spending, and international exports.

The projects underway at LAX and those being planned will continue job growth and provide opportunities for small, local and diverse businesses.

There are a host of successfully completed projects. The first major project, the New Tom Bradley International Terminal (New TBIT), opened in September 2013. It includes 18 new aircraft gates, concourse areas, and the new Great Hall, which offers passengers premier dining choices showcasing L.A.’s global flavors, a variety of concessionaires and retail shopping trend favorites, and other guest amenities for a world-class experience.

TBIT Ticketing Lobby

TBIT Ticketing Lobby

Walking through the Great Hall, you’ll see it is a modern engineering marvel. It provides 1,179,000 of usable square feet — nearly 40 percent greater than that of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. It contains over 45,000 tons of steel, enough to build 148 Airbus A380 super jumbo jets or 22,206 mid-sized SUVs. It offers over 310,785 square feet of glass, enough to create a window the size of 6.5 football fields. It contains 405,405 cubic feet of concrete, enough to fill 8,000 cement trucks or to create a one-foot-thick slab of concrete the size of 8.5 football fields.

Also, completed, or underway, are several major airfield and facility projects. A replacement Central Utility Plant went online in 2015. The Terminal 4 Connector, which opened in 2016, helps tie together the southside terminals and international terminal, reduces the time it takes for passengers to reach connecting flights, improving the guest experience. Upgrades have been completed in Terminal 6, and are nearly done in Terminal 2. Other work includes new taxiways and taxilanes, and major renovations and infrastructure upgrades in nearly all the other terminals.

The largest projects still to come include proposed transportation efficiencies. Traffic into and on the roadways in the LAX Central Terminal Area is a major concern, with an estimated 50 percent of air travelers driving to and from the airport by car. Over 6,000 vehicles per hour enter the LAX Central Terminal Area (CTA) during peak periods!

Land Access Modernization Program

Landside Access Modernization Program

The number of vehicles is expected to increase as annual passenger volume continues to break records. The $5.5-billion Landside Access Modernization Program would give airport guests choices that provide a first-class, convenient, and reliable way to access LAX. LAMP includes five major program elements: a 2.25-mile Automated People Mover (APM) that will connect three on-airport stations to Metro Rail and transit services — finally providing a seamless connection to public transportation; a Consolidated Rent-A-Car center; two Intermodal Transportation Facilities for additional parking, ground transportation services, and meeter-greeter activities; and roadway improvements. LAMP would provide the solution to the CTA traffic congestion, and its major elements are scheduled to be delivered by 2023.

There will be a total of six stations connecting new rental car, airport parking and Metro facilities to the airline terminals. Passengers will have short wait times at each of the three stations in the Central Terminal Area providing fast and easy connections to airline terminals with a convenient pedestrian walkway system to the terminals and parking garages.

Another major project is the new $1.6 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC). Phase I of the state-of-the-art facility will open with 12 gates and be in the central part of the LAX airfield, west of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. It will significantly reduce use of the LAX remote gates, where passengers are now bused to board aircraft, and provide additional flexibility when other gates are taken out of service. Substantial completion of the North Gates phase of the concourse, as well as a project to expand baggage handling capacity, is anticipated in late 2019, with additional gates built in a second phase on the south side in the future.

New Terminal 1 Lobby

New Terminal 1 Lobby

Terminal 1 

Terminal 1 opened in 1984 and needs modernization to accommodate the needs of a technology-rich, post-9/11 world. A major $509-million transformation of the 32-year-old Terminal 1 will improve its interior, its outdoor aircraft parking ramp area, and the traffic flow through the Central Terminal Area. The upgrades include: a new state-of-the-art, consolidated security screening checkpoint; a fully automated checked baggage inspection and sorting system; an integrated passenger waiting room/concessions program; refurbished arrivals/baggage claim area; replacement of the passenger boarding bridges; renovations to airline support office space; relocation of the main entrances towards the west end of the building to ease traffic congestion; new ramp pavement and hydrant fuel system improvements. A new, covered skycap area has already opened on the Upper/Departure Level while new restaurants and shops, and several new gates, have opened inside the terminal. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2018.

New Security Checkpoint at United, Terminal 7

New Security Checkpoint at United, Terminal 7

Terminals 7 & 8

This $573-million renovation promises to deliver a superior experience for customers at LAX. When completed, the project will refurbish virtually all the public space in the terminals and offer more of the conveniences and amenities that passengers value. The new-look terminals and gate areas will feature a modern design with relaxed and inviting spaces, including a variety of comfortable seating options and abundant charging stations for travelers’ electronic devices. The expansive ticketing lobby will incorporate the latest technology, such as self-tagging baggage kiosks. These technologies, along with an upgraded security-screening checkpoint, which includes new, automated lanes, will enable travelers to move quickly and efficiently from curb to gate. Seven lanes in the checkpoint, as well as a new United Club, are already in operation. The project is expected to be completed in early 2018.

Up-to-date construction alerts showing Central Terminal Area (CTA) roadway lane restrictions and sidewalk closures, as well as pedestrian walking map and helpful airline terminal finder, can be found at LAX has also joined with Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic reporting app, to provide real time traffic information on conditions inside the CTA and on nearby roadways, and parking structure availability.

Staying up-to-date with all the airport activities is easy, too. Traffic alerts and current airport conditions are posted on LAX’s social media sites at www.Facebook/com/LAInternationalAirport and

While the construction work continues, LAWA is committed to enhancing the overall airport experience and improve guest satisfaction through a new training initiative for its workers and other airport employees.

No doubt, these are exciting times for LAX and the Southern California region. While the modernization projects are extensive and challenging, they are successfully progressing with innovation, the highest of quality and on-schedule. This total transformation of LAX has been designed with you and the future in mind. The goal is to make LAX a premier travel destination that will be ahead of the curve for many years to come.

The Westin LAX Launches Surf Concierge

The Westin LAX Launches Surf Concierge

Couple going surfing off Waikiki Beach

Surf’s up at The Westin Los Angeles Airport, located less than two miles from LAX, the property now gives travelers the chance to ride the California waves. Westin LAX’s Surf Concierge can organize surf sessions between conference calls or new business pitches. And for international travelers looking for a productive way to spend their layover on the way to Tahiti, the Surf Concierge offers the perfect solution. Guests of all skill levels can book their Surf Concierge experience in conjunction with a one-night stay at the Westin LAX. Westin provides transportation to and from the beach along with a surfboard and wetsuit for each surfer. The sessions last 1.5 hours and are led by surf instructors from Campsurf, Los Angeles’ Premier Surf School, at El Porto in Manhattan Beach.

The program was created in response to the increasing number of millennial business travelers coming to the region for Silicon Beach, one of the world’s fastest-growing tech hubs. As their numbers started making up more and more of the hotel’s guests, Westin LAX General Manager Phil Baxter wanted to develop a program that allows these travelers to get the most out of their spare time.

The Surf Concierge also meets a different kind of demand: that of international travelers saddled with long layovers at LAX, a common hurdle that Westin hopes to help guests navigate. The program gives travelers an opportunity to make the most of their time in Los Angeles.

The Westin Los Angeles Airport

5400 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045


Lessons from a Tibetan Buddhist Monk

Lessons from a Tibetan Buddhist Monk

Lama Paljor

Lama Paljor

When I first met Lama Paljor in person, night had fallen over the Kalimpong monastery and I was weary from nine hours of travel to the remote village in the Himalayan foothills. I bent to touch his feet, as is customary when meeting elders and spiritual masters in India. He stopped me, laughing and embraced me in a hug instead. This simple gesture of warmth spoke grandly about the man with whom I was to spend the next three days.

I was introduced to Lama Paljor through TRAS, The Trans-Himalayan Aid Society, when I started my business Tibetan Socks one year ago and was looking for a children’s education program to sponsor. Lama Paljor, through his private school, provides a free primary education to over a hundred children from the poorest families of his village in Sikkim.

Penjo Lo, as the younger monks affectionately call him, became a Buddhist monk at the age of thirteen. His parents were refugees from Tibet and fled to Sikkim, a small Indian state bordered by Nepal and Bhutan. Sikkim has a significant minority of Buddhists who have crossed from the Tibet border to escape Chinese oppression. High in the mountains, multicolor prayer flags silently sing “Om mani padme hum” into the wind, strung from nearly every house and hilltop. It is one of the most majestic places in India, but its villages are home to some of its absolute poorest citizens.

The Pema Tsel Academy, an English primary school offering free education and boarding for children from the severely impoverished local community

The Pema Tsel Academy, an English primary school offering free education and boarding for children from the severely impoverished local community

Ten years ago, Lama Paljor created The Pema Tsel Academy, an English primary school offering free education and boarding for children from the severely impoverished local community. Here, the altitude is so high and the weather so cold, not even sustenance level farming is possible, so the only available work for men and women is laboring on the mountain roads, the conditions of which are so abysmal that deaths from overturned cars are not a rare occurrence.

During my time in Sikkim, I witnessed men, women, and children breaking rocks by the side of roads, wielding heavy loads of rubble, all the while breathing in toxic diesel fumes from passing trucks. The pay for this labor is usually 7,000 Indian Rupees a month, or about $100.

The families are so poor they don’t have the time or means to send their children to school with a lunch. So Lama Paljor started a free lunch program for students, ensuring nutritious meals. Even though the Indian government promises free school lunch to all children in public schools, it is not unheard of for lunch money to go missing. Worse still, sometimes teachers don’t show up to teach at all.

Lama Paljor’s heart shines when he talks about his school and students. His face beamed as he showed me photos and videos of the children, smiling in their uniforms, reciting the alphabet and performing traditional dances during assemblies. The educational quality his school provides and the care for its students’ wellbeing is unique in rural India. With a solid educational foundation, these children can aspire to a better life than the one of hardship and backbreaking toil of their parents.

I spent a total of three days with Lama Paljor and was moved by his graciousness, patience, and generosity. He exemplified Gautama the Buddha’s wisdom in his compassion and awareness he brought to every subtle action: the way he lovingly folded his red wool shawl after removing it, his unsteady but graceful swaying gait.

What stays with me most about Lama Paljor’s character was his child-like innocence and wonderment, stopping to look at a tree and asking aloud how old it might be, his laughter and amusement when a tourist posed for photos mid zip-line. In the three days I spent by his side, he was always smiling, his eyes creased in a state of permanent joviality. At the same time, there was a deep calm emanating from the center of his being. He was perpetually unperturbed.

Lama Paljor has consecrated his life to creating a more peaceful and loving world. From his example, I have been inspired to double my efforts in making whatever small difference is possible through me. Each sale of Tibetan Socks we make provides 12 school lunches to the children at Pema Tsel Academy and it’s their faces I see when I work to build this business so that we can give and do more. The goal is not to make the most money, but to make the most good.


Art @ LAX: Pontus Willfors & Cathy Weiss

Art @ LAX: Pontus Willfors & Cathy Weiss

Douglas Fir Reclaimed

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), in partnership with the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, added two new art exhibitions to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that reference the natural beauty found in the urban surroundings of Los Angeles. Pontus Willfors’ Douglas Fir Reclaimed is a site-specific installation of hundreds of salvaged planks of Douglas fir that have been sanded and chiseled to reveal a ghostly image of a Douglas fir tree spanning the hallway of Terminal 3 Arrivals Level. In the same hallway, Cathy Weiss’ installation, Laurel Canyon, Chaparral Habitat: Native Flora and Fauna, features large-scale, boldly colored woodcut prints inspired by the indigenous wonders of Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. Both exhibitions are on view for the public through June 2016.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House

Hollyhock House Living Room

Hollyhock House Living Room

In February, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House — an iconic architectural masterpiece -— was reopened, in the heart of the vibrant, artistic, cultural, and recreational Barnsdall Park.

A significant part of Los Angeles’ storied architectural history, Hollyhock House -— a National Historic Landmark — was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnificent masterpieces marking his first foray into architecture in Los Angeles. Hollyhock House boasts a lyrical and poetic style of architecture, “California Romanza,” or “freedom to make one’s own form,” which complements L.A.’s significance as a trendsetter in the arts and architecture space. Underscoring its importance as one of the world’s architectural gems, Hollyhock House is now among a group of ten Frank Lloyd Wright buildings that are the first works of modern architecture nominated by the United States to the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

“Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House is a crown jewel of Los Angeles architecture,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Restoring this landmark to its original glory is a great example of how the city can preserve its unique history while providing Angelenos access to art in everyday places.”

The storied history of Hollyhock House begins with Aline Barnsdall, a Pennsylvanian oil heiress interested in producing theater in her own venue. Purchasing a 36-acre site in Hollywood known as Olive Hill in 1919, Barnsdall commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build a theater where she could produce avant-garde plays. Soon after, the project morphed into a performing arts complex that included her residence.

A philanthropist, art collector, political radical, and single parent, Barnsdall deeded the land now known as Barnsdall Park and its Frank Lloyd Wright designed structures as a permanent home for the appreciation of art and architecture to the City of Los Angeles in 1927.

Named for Barnsdall’s favorite flower, the Hollyhock is incorporated throughout the design scheme of the residence. The recently completed restoration is an important historical revelation for first-time visitors and regulars alike. Visitors will be able to see and experience the house in much of its original splendor. Floors, windows, doors, decorative molding, and long-forgotten paint colors have been recreated with utmost attention to detail.

Hollyhock House features self-guided “Walk Wright In” tours on Thursdays through Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for a fee of $7 for adults, $3 for students and seniors with identification, and $3 for children under 12 when accompanied by a paying adult. Special arrangements may be made for docent-led tours, group tours, guided tours, and other engagements by calling 323.913.4031.

Eric Trump, His Family’s Passion and Charitable Pursuits

Eric Trump, His Family’s Passion and Charitable Pursuits

Eric Trump  Photo Credit: Jim McGuire

Eric Trump
Photo Credit: Jim McGuire

Eric Trump is a likable guy. He is an accomplished and media savvy professional, and is very generous in his philanthropic efforts. As part of the Trump team, which includes his controversial father, his gorgeous sister and another brother, he works with them to operate an amazing line of hotels and resorts. While you may think the Trump-hosted reality television show, Celebrity Apprentice, as trashy entertainment, these hotels are the opposite; seriously high quality. The Trump Tower in Chicago is truly the best hotel in a town full of great hotels. What makes a Trump property the best is a combination of service and quality. Everything about the rooms are top of the line: marble bathrooms and kitchens, huge beds with super soft linens, automated blinds and lighting, are all standard issue. The staff are outstanding; friendly, knowledgeable with perfect manners.

The Trump family makes a conscious effort to take advantage of the personality of each location. You’ll feel the aloha spirit in Waikiki or feel the very cool in Soho. Each location reflects it’s own culture and geographical context. In referring to Las Vegas Trump, Eric Trump says, “We built that with 24 carat gold, and it is very Las Vegas. You walk into the lobby and it is bright and energetic, it’s amazing and it’s very contextual to that city. If you look at Chicago — and I spent a lot of time building both of these buildings — and you look at the setbacks on our building, they match the setback and height of Wrigley, it matches the roofline height of the IBM building, and it’s very contextual to Chicago.” Both properties have different interiors too — one is flashy and incredibly rich — very Vegas. Chicago is every bit as luxurious, modern and with architecture that reflects the feeling of the city.

As a family owned company it is excused from the pressure to perform in the way a public company can be expected to grow. The only goal, be it hotel, golf course, residential or commercial property, is to locate the absolute best locations; the physical property and their service has to be the best. Once they find the perfect location they jump in. Eric says, “We build icons and if they can’t be icons then we have no interest. When those opportunities dry up then we are happy to sit back, as a family, and manage our assets incredibly well. It’s not the only real estate model that works; it’s just our singular focus.”

Eric is not all business, all the time; he’s very generous, particularly with regard to his own foundation: The Eric Trump Foundation. Being self aware, Eric realized a long time ago that he was incredibly fortunate to be from a wealthy family with many assets and philanthropic friends. They also have a business platform they can use to raise money for the foundation. Eric started the foundation right out of college when he and some friends arranged a golf tournament -— using the family golf courses — and raised $300,000, all of which went to St. Jude. The next year they doubled that gift, and then doubled again and again. Last year they raised $2.8M for the hospital. Eric has had a lot of fun getting every facet of the family business involved. He’s gone to the contractors building their properties and asked them to donate, as well as giving guests checking into their hotels and golf courses the opportunity to participate in the giving. Each of the hotel locations enjoy competing with each other to raise the most money. Last year over the holidays in Chicago, the pastry chefs worked through out the night to create a gingerbread elevator, called the Gingerbread Express. The elevator had a working fireplace and even a train that went around the ceiling. Each guest who wanted to ride the elevator was asked to make a donation and they were quite generous donating $20 here or $100 there. They ended up raising around $200,000 over a few days on the Gingerbread Express and were the envy of the other Trump properties.

The foundation benefits St. Jude. Every dollar raised is sent directly to St. Jude without a lot of expenses going to fancy PR teams or high-paid “non-profit” executives. Eric picked St. Jude because, he said, that they are the best at what they do. Taking on the worst children’s cancer cases, they have an incredibly impressive survival rate. Through their research they have improved the survival rate of leukemia -— once only 3% in the 1960s, to today’s survival rate of 97%; a very impressive feat, indeed. impressive feat, indeed.

Car Free Los Angeles

Car Free Los Angeles

Street Art. Image by Matt Marriott

Street Art. Image by Matt Marriott

Welcome to Los Angeles! Home of the film and television industry, miles of extraordinary beaches, movie stars, thrilling architecture, and some of the most exciting cuisine on the planet. Oh, and let’s not forget one of our most notorious claims to fame: Traffic. Los Angeles is ranked number one in the United States for car congestion. You may have “rush hour” wherever you live or have lived in the past, but Los Angeles has a plethora of car cram nearly every hour of the day. If you’ve brought your favorite parking lot music mix, you might enjoy time in the car. However, if you’re someone who might not be overly inspired by the idea of disembarking the plane and jumping right onto a jam packed freeway in a car, there’s good news, the city of Los Angeles has a solution: Car Free LA.

To get from Los Angeles International Airport to any part of the greater Los Angeles area, you can always take a cab, or a shared ride shuttle, or, better yet, LAX has a FLYAWAY direct shuttle ranging from $14-$20 round trip, which is your least expensive option. The bus departs from all airport terminals starting at 7am from Terminal 1 and every two hours thereafter until 11pm. It will drop you off at one of four locations: Downtown, the Valley, Westwood or Mid Los Angeles. From the shuttle, there are buses and trains to more specific destinations. To return to LAX visit for pick up schedules from the same four drop-off stations. Natives, perhaps this public transportation system is alarming to you. You may not have even known that one exists. Perhaps it’s time to simply to let someone else take the wheel so you can enjoy a new perspective of the sprawling city in which you live.

Riding in Santa Monica

Riding in Santa Monica

Let Go Of The Wheel

One year ago the L.A. Tourism & Convention Board launched Car Free LA. The program was designed to encourage visitors and natives to explore Los Angeles by some other mode of transportation rather than driving a personal vehicle. Not only was the programmed designed as a green initiative, but also to inspire people to explore Los Angeles without the concerns of gas prices, traffic and parking.

According to L.A. Tourism & Convention Board’s Vice President, Susan Lomax, the program came quite naturally from “friends, family and visitors who either don’t have a car or don’t want to drive.” She also noted many natives found it easier to get around using the Metro, walking or by bike. Moreover, bike use is up 7.5 % from 2011 in Los Angeles County. This information did not go unnoticed, the city is adding an average of 60 new bike lanes per year as a response. Additionally, the feedback prompted the L.A. Tourism & Convention Board to research and develop Car Free itineraries for the exploration of Los Angeles.

When Lomax was asked about those folks who might balk at the idea of traveling for 60-120 minutes by public transportation she shared, “It’s really about having a different experience. Meeting new people. Seeing new parts of the city and simply a new adventure.” Looking out the window while taking any of the Metro trains or buses offers a completely different version of trip or commute. A big bonus is that it’s far less expensive than the wear and tear on a vehicle. So, how does it work?

First, regardless of why you’re in Los Angeles, the Car Free LA itineraries are simple to navigate, entertaining and free. Travel agents beware — you’ve got some competition. At you can select from one of eleven Car Free LA itineraries. Some of the itineraries include self-guided trips to San Pedro, Museum Row & West Hollywood, Downtown, Hollywood, and a LA Music tour. Recently, Car Free LA has launched two new itineraries: Discover Downtown LA Dining and Discover Koreatown Dining, Culture & Shopping. Both of these tours are explored by using the Metro bus, train, light rail, bike or foot. Each of the itineraries will give options for food, activities, shopping, sports, music and nightlife events. While the website has smartly and strategically laid out plans, which are in very close proximity, they realize there are always more options, thus you can either follow their guide exactly or create your own itinerary from other choices on other itineraries.

Visit the Discover Los Angeles website, sign up, and then click the “Getting Around” tab. Click on “Car Free LA.” Click on “Discover Downtown LA Dining.” Let the adventures begin. Choose what sounds best to you for the food portion of your day and click “Add to My LA.” You can click around the site and continue to add things from various itineraries to My LA. All of the selections have transportation options and maps which you can see in the “Experience Builder”. When you’re finished with choosing what you want to do for the day, simply click on “My LA” and print out your itinerary. We took the plunge and abandoned our gas guzzling, pollution machines to explore Car Free LA.

Riding in Venice

Riding in Venice

In this particular two-day itinerary, there is a Car Free, self-guided tour of Downtown LA Dining, which we co-mingled with the Car Free Discover Downtown.  We also wanted to share the Car Free Koreatown itinerary because it is new and unique. Each itinerary has suggested activities and dining options. In addition, the pre-created guides Car Free LA provides you with information on which Metro train or bus to use, and approximately how far you will need to walk. It’s extremely user friendly and fun. All of the options in each Car Free LA category, generally, are within a 15-30 minute walk, bus or train trip and each of the tours. Bon Voyage!

Day 1:  Discover Downtown L.A. Dining

If you stayed downtown at the Biltmore, Hilton or Bonaventure, you can walk to Pershing Square. However, if you stayed at the Andaz, Hotel Wilshire or any other hotel outside of downtown, you will need to take the train or bus to Pershing Square station. Once you land, let the eating begin. Head north out of the train station up Broadway about a block and a half. You’ll come upon the Grand Central Market. GCM is a gastronome spectacle in and of itself, so to narrow things down we suggest hitting up Eggslut. Not only should you visit just because the name is amusing, but because they have saliva inducing egg sandwiches. Generally it’s packed, but worth the wait. Watching the “Fairfax” sandwich (cheddar cheese, egg, caramelized onions, Siracha, mayo and scallions) be constructed is an exhibition. If you’re vegan don’t fret, GCM has a multitude of purveyors from which to choose a delectable that suits you. After you’ve warmed up your belly, take a walk over to Angles Flight. It’s the shortest incorporated railway in the United States. Take a trip up for a dollar and enjoy the fabulous views.

From Olive St., the top of Angels Flight, walk south to 4th St., then north on Grand until you arrive at The Museum of Contemporary Art. MOCA has one of the best collections of European and American art in the country. Check the website to see what exhibitions are current. After your art fill, it’s worth it to walk a couple of blocks further up Grand to see the stunning architecture of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. After digesting mind expanding contemporary art, refer to your “lunch” itinerary. You could walk a little less than a mile to Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo for the some of best udon you’ve ever devoured. Generally it’s very busy, but worth the wait. If you are walked out, take the bus. The Metro Dash A runs down 1st Street. Keep exact change in your pocket, or purchase a TAP card day pass for $5.00. You can ride the bus or train an unlimited amount of times in a day. Basically, for the price of a gallon of gas, you can visit anywhere in Los Angeles. That’s a steal. Sometimes all of the bus stops seem daunting, but don’t worry. You can avoid getting lost by downloading the Go Metro app to your smart phone or tablet. It has maps of the Metro bus and train routes. In addition, there is an integrated map of the city with the Metro stops and lines. If all else fails, simply ask the driver of the bus you’re about to board if they will be stopping at your destination.

Grand Central Market in Koreatown

Grand Central Market in Koreatown

Post lunch take a little stroll, less than a half mile away from Marugame Monzo, to Eighty Two. It’s a unique vintage arcade and bar located at 707 E. 4th Place. Eighty Two holds over forty restored arcade games ranging from 25 to 50 cents each to play. Don’t worry about spilling drinks on games; each one comes fully equipped with a drink holder. In addition, they boast an outdoor patio shaded by trees in order to keep things cool. They don’t open until evening during the week, but are ready for pinball by 2pm on the weekends. Play a little Ms. Pac-Man and kill a few Space Invaders before heading out for a bit of shopping. It is a 21+ venture, so no kiddies for this jaunt. If you want to stay in the classic spirit, you can pop into Raggedy Threads on 2nd and San Pedro. There are also plenty of shops in Little Tokyo to mingle in and around. After being shopped out, you may want to sit in a park and enjoy a little chill time. Head back over to Grand Park.

Grand Park is a stunning park for being located in the middle of a major metropolitan city. It’s approximately twelve blocks long and one large block wide. It’s clean, in a safe location and has beautiful fountains and places to sit and relax.  For your snacking pleasure, there is a Starbucks located inside the park as well. After you feel rejuvenated, if you’re staying downtown, perhaps head back to your hotel to freshen up, for happy hour will be drawing near.

Perch, located on 448 S. Hill Street, is also in walking distance, and has an amazing rooftop bar and restaurant. Perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail. During the week they have a light, but solid happy hour from 4-6pm. On the weekends everything is regularly priced. The menu is French, but not over the top. The house-made cocktails are creative and tasty with a fine selection of wines and beer. Prices are reasonable for a hip Los Angeles setting. If you want a little snack they have a smallish meat and cheese plate to nosh upon, but don’t overdo it, dinner is around the corner — literally. Pair your last sip of vino with the stunning sunset. Stay long enough to see the twinkling skyline if you don’t mind a later dinner.

Discover Downtown LA Dining offers two restaurants within walking distance of Perch and both are incredible. They also suggest Rivera, which is a bus ride away if you’re still in travel mode. Alma is a bit more than a half mile walk from Perch and was named 2013 Best New Restaurant in the country by Bon Apetit. However, if you don’t want to walk too far, and aren’t up for Orsa & Winston’s Japanese fare, try Water Grill. We love this place for its seafood, fresh oyster bar, delicious desserts and no corkage fee. Try the Miso Cod as it is a huge satisfied groan maker at Water Grill. The bread pudding is not to be missed!

Tired yet? Come on, you’ve got one more adventure in you, right? Waddle down to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel and sip a cocktail and breathe in the history. If that’s too senescent for you, there is still dancing to be done at the Edison, music to be heard at Club Nokia, and further cocktails to try at the Mixing Room at the JW Marriott.

Day 2:  Discover Koreatown: Dining, Culture & Shopping

Just three miles west of downtown is the heavily populated and historically significant Koreatown. In the 1930s, the Academy Awards were hosted at the Ambassador Hotel. More than thirty years later, Robert Kennedy was assassinated inside the same hotel. Now the hotel is no longer. It was replaced by Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. We love this itinerary due to its history, food, activities, and shopping.

Line Hotel in Koreatown

Line Hotel in Koreatown

To get to Koreatown there are Metro bus stops and rail stations very close. You can take the red or purple line or the 720 or 920 buses. We suggest the Line Hotel for your hotel. It is directly across from the Wilshire/Normandie Metro train station. It’s chic, large, centrally located, hip, killer food selections and offers free Linus bikes to use. The bikes are sensational since they allow you to literally to scoot to every single place on the self-guided tour. The cultural feeling in this part of Los Angeles is ripe. It is the most populated part of Los Angeles and growing given vast number of culinary and entertainment activities.

Time to explore! Load up onto your bike and head down just a few blocks to Iota Brew Café for a coffee or tea to get revved up for the day. Take a short ride down and see the sprawling 5,000 square foot Koreatown Pavillion. This is where Koreatown began in the 1960s with just a tiny, single shop. From there, mount up and head west on Olympic to the Koreatown Galleria. It boasts over 70 shops and eateries modeled in modern Korean style. Yes, if you speak any language other than Korean, you will certainly be challenged, but it’s a blast. The good news is that all people speak the language of money.

For something a little more mind expanding, which will explain why Koreatown is such an amazing place, head to the Korean American History Museum. Discover the historical significance of Los Angeles to the Korean American culture. The time periods exhibited are from approximately 1848 to the present.

It’s time for lunch! If you’re still up for more culture, hit up a Korean barbeque. Jump back on your bike and head to Park’s BBQ on Vermont Ave. If looking for a little something closer to home after taking long trots through the galleria and museum, it might be time for some good old-fashioned Americana. For another slice of history, visit HMS Bounty for a stiff drink and some pub fare for lunch. It’s directly across from the Robert F. Kennedy School, formerly the Ambassador Hotel. Noteworthy guests from the past and present include Winston Churchill, William Randolph Hearst, Diane Keaton and Jon Hamm.

After such a long day of history, shopping and riding, your body might need a little special pampering. It’s time for you to visit to the Crystal Spa. You might want to drop your bikes off at the hotel before engaging in this treatment. Few people in the United States have experienced a Korean spa. Be warned, it will leave you as limp as a rice noodle when all scrubbed and rubbed. This is a wild and special treat depending on how open you are. When you enter the Crystal Spa they have all sorts of options for massage or simply just heading into the common spa areas which have hot tubs, cold tubs, steam rooms, mineral rooms and warm jade floors to lay upon. There is an admission fee between $15-$30. If you have a “service” the fee is less. We’ve all heard of exfoliation, well, this takes it to a whole new level. When you depart, you will feel like an entirely new person.

Take the new you back to the hotel and settle into a meal at Pot. The food here is stupendous. The Kimchi Fried Rice and Potato Pancakes are musts. They don’t take reservations so saddle up to the bar for one of their specialty cocktails. The hot pots are huge and for several people. Be warned if you order one of the hot pots, you could drown in an ocean of soup.

If you’re not full of food, experiences, history, and exploring, there are plenty of things to keep you out. Head up to Hollywood and “be seen” at Chi Lin. Visit the House of Blues for some live music. Crash a private party at Chateau Marmont, or stay local for one last adventure. In walking distance to the Line Hotel is the Brass Monkey. Karaoke begins at 8pm on Saturday and Sunday and at 4pm the rest of the week. It has a dive bar feel, but an amazing blend of people. Sign up and join the rest of the amateur crooners; it’s a hoot.

After two days in Los Angeles at this speed, you might be worn out. If you’re here for more days of exploration, you better buckle up. Because if you enjoyed these two Car Free LA tours, you’ll love the rest of other guides available on the site, and there are more on the way! The LA Tourism & Convention board encourages and enjoys sharing from locals and visitors. In fact, coming this summer is a new Car Free LA program: Bikes & Hikes Street Art Tour. This new tour was inspired by Bikes & Hikes and Instagram users posting special and alluring photos of their bikes in front of street art @discoverla. Enjoy your Los Angeles expedition and may your bus, bike, train or walking expedition inspire future Car Free LA programs.

For more information visit

Twenty-four Hours in Manhattan Beach

Twenty-four Hours in Manhattan Beach

Surfing at Manhattan Beach

Surfing at Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach is a coastal oasis synonymous with the Southern California way of life. Encapsulating the magnificent Pacific Ocean, 2.1 miles of pristine beaches and breathtaking sunsets, downtown Manhattan Beach is an enchanting place to relax and unwind, whether for a single day or an extended stay.

With the ever-present rhythm of the surf, Manhattan Beach has become the place to dine, shop and sleep in style. Indulge your palette in savory selections from their taverns, cafes, bars & grills and fine restaurant. Discover extraordinary gifts, trendy jeans & clothing, stylish home décor, chic jewelry & accessories, stuff for kids in the toy store & specialty boutiques, a great independent bookstore, and surf shop where you will find some new toys for riding the wave, and clothes for pre and post water sports.

There’s a great Farmers Market held every Tuesday from 11am-4pm with extended hours in the summer.The market is produced by the Downtown Businesses who proudly sponsor the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation & other programs that educate Manhattan Beach children.

Visit for more information.

Two Guns Espresso on Sepulveda Blvd.

Two Guns Espresso on Sepulveda Blvd.



Two Gun Espresso
Enjoy the best coffee in the South Bay at Two Gun Espresso in Manhattan Beach. And for sure, the coffee is worth taking a $40 cab ride to and from the airport to get there. Using top of the line ingredients including Caffe Vita Coffee from Seattle and Straus Family Farms Organic Milk from Petaluma, the shop is run by a two fellows from New Zealand. Coming from New Zealand they are connoisseurs of organic products. The shop is located on Sepulveda and a mile or so away from downtown Manhattan Beach. It’s best to hit them up as you are heading into or out of Manhattan Beach. Be sure to try their signature drink: the Flat White.

350 N Sepulveda Blvd  Manhattan Beach, CA
(310) 318-2537

Wahoo’s Fish Taco
A Southern California original, Wahoo’s Fish Taco located in downtown Manhattan Beach, is a great spot for healthy, affordable cuisine. Fish tacos are the specialty, which come spiced with Cajun seasoning or you can opt for carnitas or carne asada. These dishes come with rice and beans, and delicious pico de gallo. You can also enjoy drinks at Wahoo’s Fish Taco. Tangy margaritas are available to wash down all the good grub.

1129 Manhattan Ave  Manhattan Beach, CA
(310) 796-1044

Pitfire Pizza

Pitfire Pizza

Pitfire Pizza
Pitfire Pizza is new to Manhattan Beach and has quickly become the place to go for families looking for pizza and for beer connoisseurs.  Located in the heart of downtown Manhattan Beach, Pitfire Pizza offers a very enjoyable pizza experience offering seasonal menus. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, then you can order a delicious and healthy salad such as the shredded kale salad with lemon champagne vinaigrette. Some of the recent winter pizzas were a roasted pumpkin pizza made with brown butter, sage roasted winter squash, braised chard and pumpkin seed oil. They are truly bringing a whole new level of creativity, (and health) to pizza making.

401 Manhattan Beach Blvd  Manhattan Beach, CA
(310) 359-9555

Uncle Bills Pancake House
When you wake up in Manhattan Beach do yourself the favor of enjoying breakfast at Uncle Bills. There is magic in the flapjacks at Uncle Bills. I’m not quite sure what they put into these pancakes but they are beyond delicious. Don’t even try to be healthy at Uncle Bills. Go ahead and order an omelet with a side of blueberry pancakes covered in strawberries and cream. Just tell yourself that you’ll run an extra mile on the beach, this food is worth it!

1305 Highland Ave  Manhattan Beach, CA
(310) 545-5177

Manhattan Village

Manhattan Village


Looking for a workout during your visit to Manhattan Beach? There are a variety of options to keep moving. Of course, the ocean is right there for surfing and paddle boarding or, you can ride bikes and run along the beach. If you’re really itching for a pilates session then you should visit formu+La pilates + juice which is located on Sepulveda, a mile or so from downtown Manhattan Beach. After a tough pilates session you can refuel with cold pressed fruit and vegetable juice!

Stand up paddle boarding is a great way to keep the whole family active while enjoying the beautiful Pacific Ocean. In Manhattan Beach Nikau Kai is the place to go. Paddle boarding is a really good work out and is also super fun. The folks at Nikau Kai will guide you through the process of learning how to paddle board and before long you’ll be a master.

If you’re more into reading than pushing your physical limits then you’ll want to check out Pages, a bookstore in downtown Manhattan Beach. Hosting story time and book signings, Pages is the intellectual heart of the city.

Manhattan Village is the main indoor mall in Manhattan Beach and features an enormous Macy’s plus 80 other establishments including See’s Candies, Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids, Tommy Bahama and an Apple store. The shopping center is very close to the airport at the intersection of Rosecrans and Sepulveda. There are plenty of places to grab a bite at Manhattan Village too. We love the coffee at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and the cookies at Corner Bakery. If you’re looking for something more substantial then go to the Tin Roof Bistro which is like a little bit of wine country in the heart of Manhattan Beach, serving steak and salads, salmon or pizza. They have a wonderful wine list too. Manhattan Village is a great way to spend a few hours in between flights.

The Belamar lobby

The Belamar lobby


The Belamar is the ideal place to stay for a quick trip to Manhattan Beach, California. Located on the edge of town, on the corner of Sepulveda and Rosecrans, the property is very close to LAX and a $20 cab ride will get you safely ensconced in their fun, light, airy and spacious surroundings. The hotel has a 50s vibe with turquoise coloring and funky artwork.

The Belamar has a lot to offer. A pool with sunning deck is available to sun worshippers and an indoor gym is available to those who enjoy pumping iron. However, since you’re at the beach you’ll probably want to enjoy the two mile walk or jog to the ocean along Valley Avenue where you’ll find a jogging trail with workout stations and resting spots as you make your way into downtown Manhattan Beach and to the beach.

While staying at The Belamar be sure to book yourself in for dinner at Second Story. Second Story is the main restaurant at the hotel and they also provide room service. Chef Vania runs the kitchen. She is from Brazil and serves healthy, delicious food made with quality ingredients. The cocktails are great too. We enjoyed a perfect gin martini and delectable ahi sashimi set in an elegant surrounding. The space draws a lively, local crowd and can get busy on Friday and Saturday nights. There’s a private area with beehive woodwork that you can reserve for a fun party. Wood accents and lighting that pops set the tone for a fashionable night out.

The Belamar Hotel
3501 N Sepulveda Blvd,
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266




Endeavour Come Home

Endeavour Come Home

The Space Shuttle Endeavour

The Space Shuttle Endeavour has made it to the new exhibition at the California Science Center. The famed spacecraft — which was built right here in Los Angeles — will be on view at the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion at the Science Center. The Endeavour will reside here until the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, a new addition to the Science Center, is completed. Guests of the Science Center can get up close and personal with the spacecraft, (without actually touching) and be educated and inspired by the miracle of atmospheric flight and the exploration of our universe.

The California Science Center was thrilled when selected by NASA to be the guardians of Endeavour, and set about to develop the new Space Center project. Several big name sponsors have come forward to help fund the project, most notably from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation who made a significant donation to the Science Center. Said Lynda Oschin of the generous gift, “Today pays tribute first and foremost to my husband, and his passion for discovery, philanthropy and the pursuit of knowledge. This is Sam’s vision and represents truly everything my husband dreamed, loved and believed in — children, education, inspiration, creativity, science, math, space and astronomy, adventure, exploration, innovation, discovery, engineering and commitment.”

The space shuttle Endeavour is an important part of the history of United States and our country’s contributions to space exploration. The Endeavour completed 25 missions into space, and carried the people and the equipment for the journey that put the first US made component into the International Space Station as well as providing transportation for the first service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Endeavour was all about people too; Endeavour carried the first African American female astronaut (Mae Jemison), the first Japanese astronaut (Mamoru Mohri), and the first married couple (Mark Lee and Jan Davis) in space!

One of the most exciting sections of the space shuttle Endeavor exhibit is The California Story. The space shuttle Endeavour was built right here in Southern California. A local company called Rocketdyne built the main engines in Canoga Park. These are the big round black circular engines in clusters of three at the base of the shuttle. They are literally the parts that power the shuttle up into orbit. As the shuttle took off for each orbit, engineers sitting at the Rocketdyne operations center in Canoga Park would monitor the pressure and temperatures of the engines and report back to Mission Control or Launch Control in Houston and Florida respectively. Clearly this was a major part of the process of launching the space shuttle.

The space shuttle Endeavour was named using the British spelling because it was named after the British ship that Captain James Cook sailed in 1768, on his first voyage of discovery. Rumor has it that even NASA misspelled the name putting the American spelling version on the launch pad in 2007! The space shuttle Endeavour was the last space shuttle in the NASA space shuttle program. It is the end of an era as Endeavour finds her final resting place at California Science Center, and we visit this grand lady, we’ll all get to enjoy learning more about the awesome splendor and wonders of space travel! Welcome Endeavour!

California Science Center

700 Exposition Park Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90037


LAneXt – Making Los Angeles Great for the 21st Century

LAneXt – Making Los Angeles Great for the 21st Century

Urban Greatness

What makes a city great in the world? In an interesting article published by the International Journal of Urban Planning and Policy, the attributes that make a city distinguished and extraordinary involve the four C’s: Currency, cosmopolitanism, concentration, and charisma. Currency conveys a city’s financial drive and value on how it shapes the world; Cosmopolitanism refers to a city’s ability to embrace international, multicultural, and poly-ethnic features that enable people and ideas to circulate throughout the society and community; Concentration reflects a city’s demographic density and productive mass that creates a vibrantly pulsating city, constant with human activity, providing most inhabitants with material well-being and excellent transportation both within its community, and connection to the outside world; and Charisma pertains to the City’s worldwide image and its symbols, logo, and identity supported by a meaningful history.

According to numerous surveys and data from many sources ranking urban greatness, and discussions in the International Journal of Urban Planning, urban scholars suggest that in the United States there are four great cities; New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco. Los Angeles makes the cut because:

L.A.’s Currency — In our age where media shapes mass perception, Los Angeles is the center of image makers. Not only is Los Angeles the entertainment industry capital of the world, it also is one of the highest interconnected cities around the globe, and is the second highest technology center in the country. Our influence and access is partially dependent on an efficient and effective international airport bringing people and visitors, business, and technology into our city daily.

L.A.’s Cosmopolitanism — Los Angeles reflects a unique and large immigrant population, the majority is Hispanic but other immigrants also hail from Asia and parts of the Middle East. To this robust expansive international mix, Los Angeles also has large influxes of American citizens from the East, Midwest, and South as L.A. is a city that embraces the values of freedom, democracy and upward mobility. This ever increasing importance of our international immigrant cultures relies on LAX to connect us to the homelands spread throughout the world.

L.A.’s Concentration — New York City and San Francisco have 24,000 and 16,000 people per square mile respectively, and major mass transit utilization, and excellent airports. Los Angeles reflects a density of 8,000 people per square mile linked together by a more postmodern linkage of freeways and cyberspace; a more sprawling form of concentration but equally dense and productive in the end output. LAX is our world-wide connection, and LAX must thrive in order for us to thrive.

L.A.’s Charisma — Ours is a city with sunny weather, beaches, and Hollywood glamour, providing Los Angeles with enough cache to make it widely appealing. This is made possible due to a fast moving, free and open environment whose appeal and access is linked to the outside world population in part by a world class airport.

Los Angeles is a fantastic city! LAX is the Gateway to our City, yet in the recent past has done only an adequate job of sustaining L.A.’s greatness. During the 1990s and early 2000s many airports around the nation and world undertook building of new airports and major terminal renovations; making their airports more world class. These major new terminals and upgrades included new airports such as Denver’s to the huge redevelopment and modernizing renovations in Atlanta, New York’s JFK Terminal 5, Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Francisco, Chicago, Seoul, London, Beijing, Dallas, Vancouver BC, Miami, Washington DC, and Seattle to name just a few.

But during this prolific period of groundbreaking airport terminal upgrades, modernization, and redevelopment, Los Angeles for the most part stood on the sidelines. Los Angeles International Airport remained functional and the city’s greatness itself helped sustain LAX’s designation as one of the busiest in the world with passenger traffic of nearly 62,000,000 per year. LAX helped lead Los Angeles into the future the past 80 years, but of late, the forward momentum stalled due to a multitude of reasons. Many other airports lept in front of LAX in passenger satisfaction, cutting-edge facilities and services, while LAX ran in place with only modest improvements. LAX was getting relatively dated and tired.

But that is changing in a huge way! The period of modest inertia is ending in a cutting-edge, world-class manner as LAX is in the midst of a transformation that will truly, once again, make LAX the symbol and glamourous Gateway to our fine city!

LAneXt™ — The People Behind the Development Culture Change

Changing the landscape of a hub and an icon of a great city is no easy task. Transforming a major international airport gateway is a major challenge and undertaking. Both require a tremendous community spirit, team effort, and leadership. Los Angeles has the good fortune to have the leadership in place to make great things happen.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was elected and assumed office in July 2005, and reelected in 2009. A seven-member Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) governs Los Angeles World Airports and is composed of public-spirited business and civic leaders appointed by the mayor. Mayor Villaraigosa appointed the current airport commissioners, and Michael Lawson was elected president of the board in 2011. The mayor also appointed Gina Marie Lindsey to serve as executive director of LAWA. Roger Johnson is Deputy Executive Director of Airports Development and Debbie Bowers is Deputy Executive Director of Commercial Development, two key senior management positions in the redevelopment efforts.

The momentum for undertaking the latest push for major airport redevelopment started with the new mayoral administration and the Board of Airport Commissioners. The commitment to move forward started with resolving the myriad of planning, environmental impact constraints, and lawsuits that had hamstrung redevelopment for more than a decade.

“It has taken us 15 to 20 years to get to this point,” said Roger Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of Airports Development. “We did not have the necessary environmental entitlements to move forward until the settlement agreements with all of the lawsuits.”

“Once we settled the lawsuits the next major step was to hire a long-term executive director to help guide the redevelopment,” said Board of Airport Commissioners President Michael Lawson. Gina Marie Lindsey was a leader in the industry, having led the transformation of Seattle –Tacoma International Airport over 11 years. She was hired in 2007 to lead Los Angeles World Airports through this critical stage of redevelopment and revitalization at LAX, one of LAWA’s three airports.

“The airport was under political siege when I arrived as the environment and legal battles had resulted in an atmosphere that was very defensive and risk adverse,” said Executive Director Lindsey. “We had the exterior difficulties of the environmental and legal battles, but we also had to overcome our own internal organizational culture.”

When the team started, they faced numerous environmental and community challenges resulting from the aftermath of a 12-year controversial and contentious planning period. The difficulties were exacerbated by the financial and organizational upheavals the airline industry faced — and still must address — resulting from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

LAneXt™ — The Next Chapter for the Gateway to Los Angeles

“LAX is the portal gateway to Los Angeles and we are creating a showcase of Los Angeles,” said Commissioner Lawson, “ with more efficient and effective operations, functional iconic theme buildings, and concessions that reflect the L.A. Experience.” LAneXt™ is the next chapter in the story of LAX with over $4.11 billion in completed, or ongoing projects, and the largest public works program in the history of the City of Los Angeles.

This major redevelopment project will make the airport more operationally efficient and create the statement of entrance that Los Angeles deserves. Despite the Great Recession of recent years this project is creating 40,000 good paying jobs and pumping nearly $6.89 billion into the local economy without any funds being used from the City of Los Angeles general fund. This major transportation and infrastructure capital improvement program consisting of nearly 25 individual projects is being entirely funded by LAX operating revenues, Capital Improvement Project Funds, fees from passenger facilities charges, and airport revenue bonds.

“The team and project’s goal is to create an urban jewel, enhance customer service, and start with a mindset to develop singular and unique solutions to our vision, and prepare a foundation for others in the future to build upon,” said Lawson. “There are, in essence, nine different airports in one footprint represented by the combination of the nine terminal locations.” The challenge is to give each location an identity and to coordinate the functions and inter-connections between each.

The centerpiece of the LAneXt™ airport improvement program is the $1.545-billion New Tom Bradley International Terminal (New TBIT), which will double the size of the current Tom Bradley terminal to over 2.1 million square feet. This signature project will provide the Los Angeles region with a world-class transportation facility. New TBIT will feature 18 state-of-the-art gates, nine of which will be capable of handling new-generation super jumbo jets at one time, along with new aprons and taxiways on the airside surrounding the new facility. An architecturally stunning Great Hall will house 150,000 square feet of new, premium dining and shopping options and luxury airline lounges. A stateof- the-art, in-line baggage handling system and a new passenger security screening checkpoint with 80 lanes – conceivably the most in one terminal at any U.S. airport – will help departing passengers reach their boarding gates more quickly. For arriving passengers, the terminal’s International Arrivals Hall will be enlarged and more lanes added to expedite the customs and immigration process. The overall project will be major steps forward in airport design, safety, and convenience for the traveling public.

According to Roger Johnson, “One of the primary beneficiaries of the overall New TBIT project is international departures and arrivals. There will be more terminal direct contact gates and fewer aircraft having to use the inconvenient remote pads that require bussing passengers to and from the terminal. Arriving international immigration, customs and border protection functions will be greatly enhanced with many more primary inspection stations that will greatly reduce waiting times for passengers, much more comfortable facilities, and queuing and boarding gate areas that are significantly larger and more efficient.”

Every step of international arrivals is improving significantly and service greatly enhanced from immigration to baggage through customs. Where LAX currently greets international visitors with long lines, cramped space and frustration, the airport will greet them with modern efficiency, higher standards of passenger service, and comfortable, spacious surroundings. Departing international travelers will enjoy shorter lines as the Transportation Security Administration passenger security-screening areas are being consolidated and upgraded; 25,000 square feet of new and improved concessions pre-security screening and 150,000 square feet of concessions post-security screening.

Phase 1 of New TBIT is scheduled to open Spring 2013, which will include the Great Hall and all nine of the new-generation-aircraft boarding gates on the west side of the terminal. Phase 2, scheduled to finish in December 2014, will include the remaining nine new gates on the terminal’s east side, new passenger security screening station, enlarged customs/immigration International Arrivals Hall, and new airline lounges.

Not just limited to LAX’s primary international terminal, LAneXt™ also includes major undertakings in almost all the other airline terminals. One of the first was Terminal 6, as Alaska Airlines moved into this terminal this past spring. The airline labels the terminal as its Modern Airport of the Future facility that will improve efficiency and greatly enhance the customer experience. This $238-million terminal renovation was unveiled back in March, and our last issue of LAX Magazine published a feature on this facility.

In addition to Terminal 6, the other southside terminals are in the midst of major revamping with Terminals 4 (American), 5 (Delta), and 7/8 (United) installing in-line baggage screening systems and renovating the interiors. A total of 60 food-andbeverage and retail concessions featuring the LA Experience began opening in April and will finish by early 2013.

In our discussion with Debbie Bowers, Deputy Executive Director of Commercial Development, new concession excitement is taking place in every terminal of the airport. In addition to the total revamping of concessions in the southside Terminals 4, 5 and 7/8, Westfield Concessions Management LLC was named the new Terminal Concessions Manager for the remaining facilities. Westfield is charged with developing new creative concessions reflecting L.A.’s cultural diversity and cuisine to replace all existing ones in Terminals 1, 2, 3, 6, current TBIT, and the iconic LAX Theme Building, in addition to brand new space in New TBIT. Westfield’s first concessions are scheduled to open in Spring 2013 and be completed in 2014-2015.

The new operators include some of the best local Los Angeles operators and brands available as the goal was to create a truly new L.A.-based dining and retail experience. Local food and beverage, and retail brands and operators such as the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Counter, Kitson, Magic Johnson Sports, Klatch, Hugo Boss, Rip Curl, Chefs Wolfgang Puck, Ben Ford, and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, just to name a few and give you a taste of the exciting shopping and dining around the corner. We will be exploring the new concessions in depth in our next article in this series of LAneXt.

LAX is on track to living up to its potential and serving as a key anchor and icon of the region and fulfilling its role as the Gateway and Portal to Los Angeles and the Pacific. LAX is now significantly contributing to keeping Los Angeles a world-class city and one of the truly great cities of the world. Enjoy the ride!

The Women of Midway

The Women of Midway

The women of Midway Car Rental are a force to be reckoned with, a group filled with strong individuals. The company has experienced huge growth over the last decade, no doubt from the extraordinary contributions by the women you’ll meet on these pages. Who runs the world? Well, we’re getting there with businesses like Midway and the women who run their operations. Some are grandmas and some just out of college; one thing they all have in common is a passion for great work. The next time you pick your rental car, consider the career of the person who makes sure your favorite car is available, your last minute needs are met and who understands when you return the tank a little low.

Cynthia Tejeda - In her 19 years at Midway, there isn’t much Cynthia hasn’t done. Starting her career as a receptionist, she eventually grew into rental operations/management and has now settled into her role as Director of Entertainment and Sales putting her years of networking and industry contacts to good use. When not working, you can usually find Cynthia hiking and spending time with her family.

Nicki Goldstein - Known as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the car rental industry, Nicki has been working with tours for over 40 years, and the last 18 as an Executive Director with Midway. With her colorful personality and ability to build long-term relationships, she is a favorite wherever she goes. Outside of the office, Nicki enjoys spending time with her husband and pets, and spoiling her grandchildren.

Beth Eidman - Beth has been with Midway for 14 years, and is responsible for building the company’s internet sales and branding for car rental and limousine. With her staff of 6, they keep tabs on company business 24/7. When out of the office, Beth enjoys traveling, working out and fine dining.

Elizabeth Alonso - With her boundless energy and enthusiasm, Elizabeth is the Area Manager and driving force behind Midway’s exclusive Beverly Hills, West LA, Santa Monica and San Diego offices — all while leading and developing a staff of 50. In her spare time you can find Elizabeth riding her bike in the Marina, cooking and checking up on her offices. She has been with the company for 10 years.

Caroline Kim - As the Director of Loss Control and Special Projects for Midway, Caroline can be handling a construction project for the opening of a new office one day and chasing down a missing car the next. And that’s just the way she likes it — always facing new challenges! Caroline enjoys finding amazing places to dine in the city and spending time with her puppy when she’s away from the office. She has been with the company for over 9 years.

Sandra Perrichon - With 8 Years with Midway and over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Sandra is the Director of Hotel Sales and point person for key accounts in the Los Angeles area and is known within Midway circles as “The Cruise Director” for her penchant to plan all company related events. She is an avid follower of the Los Angeles Dodgers and can usually be found attending home games with her family on most weekends.

Serena Ho - Serena is the Business Manager/Controller for Midway Auto Group and has held this position for 8 years. Although she is more “behind the scenes” than the sales and operations people, her position is critical to the success of the company. Serena enjoys spending her time off with family and friends and traveling to exotic locations.

Mary Nguyen - Mary is the Human Resources Manager for Midway Auto Group and has been with the company for 8 years. Her primary role is identifying talent that will help the company grow in the future. Mary enjoys spending her weekends shopping and dining in Orange County, and on occasion can be found on a tennis court.

Denise Gonzalez - Known as the fastest phone in the West, Denise manages Midway’s VIP reservation center and works directly with many exclusive clients to fulfill their transportation needs. She has been in the car rental industry for 15 years, with the last 7 at Midway. Away from work, Denise enjoys spending quality time with her family on weekends.

Karina Esquivias - Karina has been with Midway for 7 years and currently runs their flagship office in West Los Angeles as the Branch Manager. An extremely dedicated employee, Karina will go to great lengths to make sure customer demands are always met. During her time away from the office, she enjoys traveling and relaxing with friends.

Lori Eagle - Lori has been serving clients transportation needs for over 25 years in Southern California, the last four with Midway. She deals with many of the biggest names in music and entertainment and loves every minute of it. When not working, Lori is out walking with her 7 dogs, many of which she has rescued over the years.

Kimberley Babcock - Kim has been with Midway for 3 years. She began her career in San Diego working with management to open up the new office, and earlier this year moved to Los Angeles for a sales and business development role. As a former collegiate volleyball player, you can usually find Kim on the weekends at the beach playing volleyball with friends.



Rancho Los Alamitos – Iconic Gardens and Tales of Our Past

Rancho Los Alamitos – Iconic Gardens and Tales of Our Past

Rancho Los Alamitos Entrance atop Bixby Hill, Long Beach, CA. Photograph by Cristina Salvador-Klenz.

This summer history buff will get a new destination with the opening of Rancho Los Alamitos located in the heart of Long Beach. This sacred and historic destination has been overhauled and will be open to the public to tell the stories of the land.

The land was made sacred by the Tongva village of Povuu’ngna. This Native American group lived in the water-rich Los Angeles Basin the tribes flourished. Until the Spanish explorers came upon the native tribes and José Manuel Perez Nieto was bequeathed the land from the King of Spain. Even after several rounds of land disputes, the 167,000-acre land award was the largest ever given by Spain or Mexico.

Aerial Photograph of Rancho Los Alamito1936

In 1833 José Manuel’s son, Juan José, sold his parcel to Governor José Figueroa for $500. His 28,500-acre lot is what is now Rancho Los Alamitos. In 1842 the land changes hands again and was sold to Los Angeles civil leader, Abel Stearns. He fell on hard times during the droughts and floods of the early 1860s. As a result of his hardships the Rancho Los Alamitos was foreclosed.

John William Bixby, ca. 1868.

The year 1878 saw the start of the Bixby era — which brought fame and wealth to the region — with the arrival of John William Bixby, wife Susan Hathaway Bixby, and their young son, Fred from Maine. The Bixby’s moved into the area and in 1881 John Bixby and his partners bought Rancho Los Alamitos for $125,000. They developed the region and upon his death in 1887, John’s heirs inherited the bulk of the land including the central portion, house and barns, and the rancho name. When Susan passed away in 1906, Fred Bixby, his wife Florence, and their children, move into the Ranch house at Alamitos. After splitting the jointly inherited property between Fred and his sister, Rancho Los Alamitos was 3,600 acres. In 1921 they found oil on land that was leased from the Alamitos Land Company. This makes the Bixby family quite wealthy and spurs Florence Bixby on a mission to create one of the great gardens of the era.

Fred Bixby, 1938

Along the lines of the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, Florence hired renowned landscape designers Florence Yoch of Pasadena and the Olmsted Brothers Firm to design the gardens. Elegantly designed and matured by the grace of time, the 1920s and 1930s gardens invite visitors to meander among displays of exotic and native flora and be lulled away to a place where time slows down and inspiration happens.

Native Garden

At the heart of the ambitious transformation about to be completed is Rancho Los Alamitos’ commitment to public education and historic preservation, both of which will be greatly aided by the creation of the new Rancho Center and a complete restoration of the historic Barns Area. The restoration of the Barns Area included relocating and restoring five agricultural structures to recapture the layout and character of the historic working Ranch. Exhibiting a stunning blend of historic and contemporary architecture and using the 1948 horse barn as the historic core for the new larger structure, the Rancho Center was designed by the renowned historic preservation architect Stephen J. Farneth, FAIA, co-founder of the Architectural Resources Group in San Francisco.

Rancho Center public entrance. Building designed by Stephen J. Farneth, FAIA, Architectural Resources Group. Photograph by Cristina Salvador-Klenz.

The Rancho Center will house the innovative permanent exhibition Rancho Los Alamitos — Ever Changing, Always the Same, designed by William S. Wells and Claudia Jurmain. The interwoven themes of “Renewing Possibilities,” “Natives and Newcomers,” and “Borders and Boundaries” extend through the exhibition, which stretches across multiple spaces within the Center and directed the design of the building.

The floor map of the multi-purpose Rancho Room displays the changing borders of the Rancho within the regional context, past and present, while magnificent large-scale watercolor murals by the late renowned illustrator and graphic designer, Dugald Stermer, cover the Rancho Room’s walls and convey the relation between people and place, climate, and the vital role of water. A separate gift store and classroom building will provide additional spaces for special educational programs developed in relation to the site and the Rancho Center exhibition.

Rancho House Dining Room

In its service to over 25,000 yearly visitors, the Rancho Los Alamitos site itself, along with educational tours, and special programs set the stage for new understandings of cultural ecology — of the intertwined paths of people, resources, flora and fauna over time. The use of geo-thermal technology supports the heating and air conditioning systems of the Rancho Center and the Bookshop/ Classroom, minimizing the ecological footprint of the new structures and preserving the tranquility of the site.

Oleander Walk

A History of Rancho Los Alamitos - Southern California Microcosm The story of Rancho Los Alamitos begins long before the Bixby family donated the family ranch to the City of Long Beach in 1968, transforming what had been a working ranch to a public oasis and setting the stage for what Rancho Los Alamitos is today. As a publicly owned ranch with an emphasis on education, the historic open green space of Rancho Los Alamitos has become a quintessential place for people to experience the living and breathing story of Southern California. Rancho Los Alamitos — its inhabitants and landscape — is a microcosm that illustrates the cultural and ecological evolution of the entire region, past to present.

Grand Opening Year Programming - To celebrate the completion of its campus-wide transformation, Rancho Los Alamitos will offer a special Grand Opening Year program, which includes an already fully booked Conversations in Place lecture series featuring distinguished historians Marc Pachter, Kevin Starr and renowned anthropologist Peter Nabokov, among others, and continuing a tradition of award-winning public educational programming. As part of a long tradition of innovative programming, the Conversations in Place 2012 series links the past to the present and features some of the best minds in the country to reflect on topics of conversation occurring “back then” at the Rancho, which still relate to the news today as well as tomorrow’s issues.

Creative Growth

Creative Growth

When starting a business, cash and flexibility are two very important keys to success. One of the most effective ways to launch your business is to take advantage of an incubator office space where you pay as you go thus saving your business from being locked into a lease that may become undesirable within the first few months of operations. Santa Monica based Working Village, a creative and technologically advanced co-working space, located just steps from the beach in Santa Monica offers this service to some of our best local startups and established players.

Working Village has become known for not just selling a desk but selling an experience. The California-inspired space offers a place to call home that thrives with creativity, convenience and style — priding itself on boutique hotel-like hospitality services and the relationships that are created amongst modern social professionals. Working Village meets the needs of micro businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs, tech workers, writers, designers and other savvy professionals.



An Allen’s Hummingbird in North Campus. Photo by Kimball Garrett, courtesy of NHM.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is launching an ambitious new project, a “new urban nature experience” in the heart of Los

One of the hundreds of succulents planted in the North Campus
Photo by Tim Hale, courtesy of NHM.

Angeles. The project will be completed in 2013, and they have now planted the seeds that will fill the urban garden and critter experiment. It will be very interesting to see how nature responds in the heart of urban Los Angeles. The destination currently has two gardens open to the public at varying times for specialized urban gardening demonstrations. When North Campus is completed it will feature a new glass entrance dubbed the Otis Booth Pavilion, and a glassed in pedestrian walkway leading to the gardens. The 3 ½-acre

North Campus includes the currently open Home Garden and 1913 Garden. The select team of scientists and designers who are aiming to teach the Los Angeles community about urban gardening, are also eager to see what happens when we allow nature to take it’s course in an urban setting. The group is looking forward to seeing which plants and animals flourish in the setting. The scientists will offer sessions for kids to come in and learn about gardening. There will be a pond, offering an aquatic urban habitat for turtles, lizards and dragonflies. The Urban Edge, which spans the Museum’s perimeter on Exposition Boulevard, is where nature begins to interface with the Los Angeles streetscape. North Campus opens next summer, but this summer you can watch the development by attending Sustainable Sundays, which consists of lessons in sustainable living at Home Garden and 1913 Garden. Check out the schedule online and enjoy a greener Los Angeles.

“Trust me, after you’ve been in the North Campus and Nature Lab, you’ll see L.A. nature through new eyes — from the window of an apartment to a schoolyard, from the beach to the mountains, from a city park to your own backyard. You’ll see more of the wildlife that is all around us. ”

– Dr. Karen Wise,
VP of Education and Exhibits