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April 21, 2013 at 8:30 PM

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Scenes from around L.A. LIVE


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Lakers fans stream into the Staples Center in Los Angeles and take pictures with this statue of basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar before their game against the New Orleans Hornets Tuesday April 9, 2013. Across the street looms L.A. LIVE, an area of music venues, hotels, bars and restaurants created by AEG, a global sports and music entertainment company. Investor Chris Hansen has said he wants to create a Seattle version of L.A. LIVE around the impending Sonics basketball arena, and members of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce were in town visiting last week to check out the scene.

In the cloud of rumors, speculation and hopeful bids to bring an NBA team and new sports arena to Seattle comes talk of a new entertainment district in SODO. Reporter Lynn Thompson and I tagged along with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce on a tour of the Los Angeles version, L.A. LIVE, a collection of restaurants, bars, theaters, music venues, a museum, hotels and commercial development outside the Staples Center. Built by global entertainment giant AEG, the advertisements and blaring music can be a little much for some, but the improvement and vibrancy it has brought to the neighborhood is undeniable.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Robert O'Quinn shouts rhymes and slogans to passerby's to drum up interest in the VIP Ticket shop before the Lakers take on the New Orleans Hornets in Los Angeles Tuesday April 9, 2013. O'Quinn has seen a huge turnaround in the area surrounding the Staples Center, a neighborhood that used to be plagued with drugs, prostitution and crime. Glitzy restaurants, live events and slick advertising has given it a much different feel. "L.A. is alive. Without AEG, it'd be dead. It's the backbone behind it," he said in defense of the company behind L.A. LIVE's look and feel.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Player introductions whip the packed house of the Staples Center into excitement for their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves April 10, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From left, Michael Roth, vice president of communications for AEG, gives a tour of L.A. LIVE to Bob Donegan, president of Ivar's, City Council members Tom Rasmussen and Jean Godden and Mariners Vice President Bart Waldman during an annual Seattle Chamber of Commerce inter-city study mission Wednesday April 10, 2013. Each year for over 25 years, a delegation of business and civic leaders from Seattle takes a trip to another city in North America to learn and gather ideas to solve problems and grow the city, and part of this year's trip was evaluating the L.A. LIVE entertainment district and its viability in SODO around the impending Sonics Arena.

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BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, listens to a presentation from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa amid other Seattle civic and business leaders while on an intercity study trip Wednesday April 10, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

People cross the street at Olympic and Figueroa looking towards the facade of L.A. LIVE Tuesday April 9, 2013. The area used to be filled with parking lots and cheap motels, and known as a high-crime area. Development and investment has made it a safer and more attractive destination for entertainment and businesses.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

People take pictures with the new statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the sun sets outside of the Staples Center before a Lakers game.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From the top of Target Terrace, one of the branded areas for events at L.A. LIVE, large, painted advertisements surround the view during a reception for a delegation of business and civic leaders from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Wednesday April 10, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Visitors walk under one of the giant advertisements that is the aesthetic norm at L.A. LIVE Tuesday April 9, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

As the L.A. Clippers play, crews break down an event from the terrace at the Staples Center Wednesday April 10, 2013. Hundreds of events are hosted each year at the Staples Center, as well as the adjoining plaza at L.A. LIVE, Nokia Theatre, The Conga Room, hotels and other venues in the complex. Locals and visitors say that the constant stream of people coming in for diverse events, be it music, sports or conferences, keeps it feeling alive and vibrant.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

The striking architecture of The Conga Room and its nightclub atmosphere lend a particular vibe to the scene at L.A. LIVE after-hours. Belzberg Architects designed the space, which opened in 2008, with a contemporary Latin feel.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Glittery high heels gleam in the hip, clubby atmosphere for a latin music show at The Conga Room.


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A chic, mostly Latino crowd awaits a performance by Jose Manuel Figueroa during his CD release party at The Conga Room Tuesday April 9, 2013. The Conga Room's original location was closed for two years before it re-opened in this brand new, modern and architecturally striking space at L.A. LIVE in 2008. It was founded by Brad Gluckstein, a real estate entrepreneur, and is co-owned by local entertainers Jimmy Smits, Jennifer Lopez, Paul Rodriguez, Sheila E., Amaury Nolasco, Baron Davis, Trevor Ariza, and will.i.am. Featuring a restaurant and several bars inside, it lends a clubby, hip, nightlife feel to the area.

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