Cool, new interactive Metro Information Tower debuts at Union Station

Kiosk (2 of 4)

Kiosk (4 of 4)

If you’re visiting Union Station on Saturday for the 75th anniversary festivities, please check out the new Metro Information Tower that looks a little like the monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey” but doesn’t leave you guessing about its purpose in life.

The 17-foot tall interactive kiosk in the Union Station East Portal – there’s only one up and running so far but other, smaller demo kiosks will be around Union Station tomorrow — just might turn out to be your go-to travel tool. Please see the video posted below.

Touchscreen displays include a station guide, a timeline of Union Station history, nearby Metro Destination Discounts that are available to TAP card holders, Nextrip real-time arrivals, the Metro Trip Planner, Metro transit schedules and maps and variable options this weekend including Instagram uploads of Union Station photos hash-tagged with #LAUS75.

On May 3, the demo kiosk near the Information Booth in Union Station will run the only known footage of the 1939 Union Station opening. It was shot by famed Jiminy Cricket animator Ward Kimball.

Metro is also planning to install more touchscreen displays in the future at other Metro Rail stations as part of the Interactive Kiosk Pilot Program.

Related:

Here’s the lineup of entertainment for Union Station’s 75th anniversary

Metro announces new 75th anniversary commemorative TAP cards

 

Metro announces new Union Station commemorative TAP cards as part of 75th anniversary celebration

tap cards

Metro will begin distributing new, commemorative TAP cards highlighting three beautiful views of Union Station to celebrate the iconic transportation hub’s 75th birthday. The new TAP cards will be issued starting on Friday afternoon. 

The Union Station 75th Anniversary Commemorative TAP Card will be available at TAP vending machines (TVMs) located within Union Station and cost $1 with the purchase of a Metro pass or Stored Value. 

The commemorative TAP cards come with three different views: a historic shot of the Union Station waiting room from 1939 (courtesy of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation), a shot of the signature bell tower framed by palm trees and a close-up of the uniquely beautiful tile work that can be seen throughout the facility.

The commemorative TAP cards come in time for Union Station’s 75th Anniversary party that begins Saturday at 10 a.m.; click here for the schedule of events. Through the weekend, the cards will be loaded into many TVMs across the Metro Rail system. Within two weeks, commemorative TAP cards will be available at all Metro Rail stations. They will also be available on Metro buses within a month. Cards will be available while supplies last.

   

New lightbox art displays at Union Station show “The Heart of Los Angeles”

lightbox display

Many of you may have noticed already: there’s a new art display in the passageway that connects Union Station East to Union Station West. The display, organized by Metro Art, consists of 30 lightboxes installed along the passageway walls and showcases photographic artwork. The first artworks to be featured come just in time for Union Station’s 75th anniversary and celebrate the station as “The Heart of Los Angeles.”

“The Heart of Los Angeles” series introduces 30 photographic artworks created by five artists: Suzanne Adelman, Sam Comen, Kevin McCollister, Jim McHugh and Catherine Opie. Each artist contributed six photographs that relate to the station’s architectural heritage, transit usage, cultural significance and its physical and social relationship to neighboring communities.

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Keep reading after the jump for more on the artists.

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In the dead of the night, Union Station a popular location for music videos

This is the sixth in a series of posts on the history of Union Station that we are running this month. The station celebrates its 75th anniversary on May 3. 

Just as the movies, television and commercials frequently shoot in Union Station, the music industry often uses the building as a location for music videos. Most are shot in the wee hours of the morning so that patrons are not bothered by the lights, cameras, electrical cords and occasional redecoration.

More recently, Union Station played a starring role in Pharrell Williams’ music video for “Happy” — in particular the 24-hour version of the song from which these stills were taken:

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Above, the Fred Harvey Restaurant is a great venue for Fiona Apple and her entourage, although it’s hard to say which is more engaging: the music, the room or the children.

Below, the Brian Setzer Orchestra swings and the Fred Harvey room looks like a ’40s dance club.

Here, Union Station is a beautiful backdrop to a love story by Lifehouse.

You have to stay vigilant to see it but the Ticket Room is just visible in “Wings of a Butterfly” by the Finnish band HIM. This video was Number 1 on the Rock Countdown on MTV2. No doubt, it was the setting.

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Union Station: a star of big screen and small

Our first podcast: filming over the years at Union Station

New Metro photographic artwork on display

Metro is excited to announce the latest installment of its acclaimed Metro Art Photo Lightbox series. In addition to the often large-scale and permanent work that Metro brings to stations throughout Los Angeles County, the art program also presents mini photography exhibitions by artists in select Red and Purple Line stations.

Photo lightboxes on display in one of the Red Line stations. The series is intended to contribute something visually engaging for customers and enhance the overall experience of taking transit.

Photo lightboxes on display in one of the Red Line stations. The series is intended to contribute something visually engaging for customers and enhance the overall experience of taking transit.

The latest installment will be on view through 2016 and consists of work by five well-known artists: Star Montana, Gary Leonard, Mitchell Debrowner, Harry Gamboa, Jr., and Diane Meyer.

The artists and descriptions of their work are listed below by Metro station location. Each photography display remains on view in a given station for several months at a time then rotates until all five artists have displayed at all five locations.

Don’t want to wait? Create your own self-initiated art tour! Make your way south on the Red Line from Universal City, through Hollywood (Hollywood/Highland and Vermont/Beverly Stations) and downtown L.A. (7th/Metro Center), then loop west to Wilshire/Normandie Station in Koreatown.

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Our first podcast: filming over the years at Union Station

A scene from the "The Dark Knight Rises" that was filmed in the old ticket room  at Union Station. Credit: Warner Bros.

A scene from the “The Dark Knight Rises” that was filmed in the old ticket room at Union Station. Credit: Warner Bros.

Good morning, readers and listeners! Above please find our first Metro podcast. The subject: filming at Los Angeles Union Station over the decades, a subject that Kim tackled earlier this week as part of her ongoing series of posts on Union Station’s 75th anniversary.

We’re new to the podcast thing and it’s going to take a few of these to completely find our footing in the audio world. If we sound like podcast rookies, well, we are. Please bear with us!

That said, I’m really excited about this. It’s great to post articles on the blog, but I think it’s also important for our riders and taxpayers to literally hear the voice of their government. I hope you enjoy our initial offering and we should have more podcasts soon.

 

Union Station: A classic on both big screen and small

This is the fifth of a series of posts on the history of Union Station that we are running this month. The station celebrates its 75th anniversary on May 3. 

With its dramatic angles and dark corners, Union Station is a black-and-white noir fantasy. Yet like a character actor who is aging well, the building has played many types of roles over the past 75 years in hundreds of films, TV shows and commercials.

If you were watching TV during the December holidays you probably caught the Mercedes Benz commercial posted above. Shot in the beautiful Union Station Ticket Room, it’s decked out as Santa’s garage and it looks stellar. And the cars? Amazing!

A few months ago in the TV series “Agents of SHIELD,” hacker Skye (Why does everyone think she’s so hot?) is kidnapped and taken to Union Station so her abductor can escape by train. (Go to minute 35.) She emails SHIELD her longitude and latitude, although she probably could have just said she was at Union Station. No matter. The agents catch up with her in the gorgeous Ticket Room and finally all advance to the East Portal where the SHIELD crew rescues Skye so she can live to hack and be hot again.

In Paramount’s beautiful 1950 noir film “Union Station,” starring William Holden, the station doubles as Chicago Union Station. It does not look much like its Chicago namesake but it does look incredible. And it’s amusing to see a few amenities that no longer exist, like phone booths and a luggage check room in the main concourse. No more phone booths, of course, and no more baggage checking in these days of increased security. You’ll love the trailer:

All areas of Union Station have been backdrops for films but the massive Ticket Room has played significant parts in dozens. In Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller “Blade Runner,” set in 2019, the Ticket Room is a police station and Harrison Ford looks like Indy. “Pearl Harbor” contains a romantic farewell in the Ticket Room. In the latest Batman adventure, “The Dark Knight Rises,” the Ticket Room is site of the kangaroo court overseen by Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow:

What will future roles be for this versatile performer? Stay tuned. The station is also frequently used for music videos — the subject of our next post.

For more Union Station films credits check metro.net (yes, we know the list needs updating!). For Union Station booking guidelines, click here. For more information on booking the station as a shooting location, please contact Jeff Cooper at Hollywood Locations jcooper@hollywoodlocations.com.

RELATED:

Metro Motion celebrates beautiful Union Station’s 75th anniversary

Union Station: a grand opening

Union Station’s 75th: Seymour Rosen celebrates the opening

How Harvey House restaurants changed the West

Union Station: a man worthy of respect