New DTLA Guide Gives Exclusive Look at City Hotspots

Courtesy of District 8 Media

The book's second edition highlights the hidden treasures of downtown Los Angeles by incorporating an augmented reality feature.

It has taken more than 75 years for downtown Los Angeles to regain the status as the hub of the city's entertainment scene as it was in the 1930s, when it boasted the highest concentration of movie theaters in the world. Now, it is once again a hotspot for the latest in dining, shopping, culture and nightlife, the best of which is reflected in the new 2018 DTLA Book, an all-access guide to the area's must-see spots.  

The Hollywood Reporter's contributing editor Degen Pener paired up with District 8 Media to create the second edition of the book, which Pener says has been updated to include the dozens of new restaurants, museums and galleries that have opened within the last year.

"Downtown is exploding so quickly," Pener explains, noting that the book profiles cutting-edge brands and companies such as Comunity — a handcrafted shoe outlet that donates $10 from every purchase to a local nonprofit focused on education, the arts and ending homelessness — top fashion designers such as Heidi Merrick and notable locations in the district, including the Bradbury Building, Central Library and Millennium Biltmore. The book also features photographs of buildings comparing their current appearance to their former ones and delves into the rich history of DTLA, referencing many of the filming locations from the silent movie era, including Charlie Chaplin's The New Janitor and Harold Lloyd's Safety Last!

A new feature to the 2018 version is the incorporation of augmented reality, which District 8 Media's Kayoko Suzuki-Lange says was initially inspired by a suggestion from a neighbor.

"My neighbor who has an AR-developing company approached me last year and I just jumped on it," says Suzuki-Lange, mentioning Apple's announcement to focus on AR in late 2017 also played a factor in the decision. "It's one of the great things about DTLA — creative people are everywhere and we just start collaborating."

The downloadable feature, which is incorporated into the cover art and several inside pages of the book, reveals a drone video and a secretive list of talking murals around downtown. One of those murals is a stencil-design of Bill Murray and a gopher by street artist Teacher, which will exclaim, "Don't drive angry!" through the application. District 8 is working on bringing the feature beyond the pages to galleries and event spaces to transform them into socially immersed experiences. One specific plan includes a 30-inch mural at One Santa Fe, designed by cover artist Peter Greco.

"In the near future, there will be more innovative ways to communicate with and entertain readers with tangible things and physical spaces," says Suzuki-Lange.

"It brings downtown to life in such beautiful ways," says Pener. "Downtown has so much richness and texture and is developing so rapidly that having AR adds a fabulously experiential layer."

Adds Suzuki-Lange: "Our book is annual, so the articles have to be sort of evergreen, but with AR, no more staleness! I honestly think that AR might save the publishing industry. I think we are demonstrating what's possible. ... I can't be more excited about this new technology and I think we have only scratched the tiny surface — or not even!"