Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The tale of a Loop and a fashion shoot . . .

Sort of sounds like one of the challenges from Project Runway!

Wink Magazine, a local publication providing news and photos of lifestyle, fashion, arts and entertainment and subculture in South Side Bethlehem, featured a story on the 9/18/2010 LOOPapalooza, a new fest designed to promote Downtown Bethlehem and the LOOP bus service. To promote the event, Wink published a photo layout of the “Ladies of the LOOP,” that included Samantha Schwartz, Downtown Business Association Manager and her three college interns: Meghan, Lindley and Kara and featured clothing and shoes from local shops. As far as we can tell, it is the first time such 'glamor' has been associated with public transit in the Valley. And it is long overdue!

We thought you might enjoy reading the tale of the photo shoot, and seeing the photos, all reprinted here with permission of the publisher, Tina Hemmerle, and the author/photographer, Alison Leigh:

“ … this month’s cover and centerfold photos is a tale of hilarity, necessity and injury. It is a tale of a few chicks who wanted to make something happen, and were willing to do whatever it took to make it so. It is a story that must be told.

We wanted to promote the LOOPapalooza event and showcase the amazing Samantha Schwartz in one issue. Perfect!

‘Let’s do the shoot ON the LOOP bus – brilliant idea! Yes! Let’s use clothing from Loose Threads and Shuze for the entire thing - excellent!’ we thought.

Samantha and her interns showed up at Exkandalo to see their clothing for the first time, get into hair, makeup and wardrobe and travel to the location of the shoot.

Turns out, brand new hire, the lovely Rita Perez, came in for training that day and ended up being thrown into the task of makeup for this shoot. Fresh out of beauty school, the girl took it on and rocked it! Kudos!

Then we styled the hair, put on the clothes, shuffled and re-shuffled the clothes between the girls, quickly sorted and resorted the garments, and finally matched all the models with outfits and shoes. Miraculously, it all worked, and the shows I grabbed from Shuze on South Side matched the outfits, even though I didn’t know the show sizes corresponded with each outfit. I felt pretty cool, indeed, how I pulled this shoot together.

‘Where do we go to do the shoot?’ I asked Samantha.

‘We are just going to a bus stop and get on it when it comes around.” She said.

‘So – we are shooting on the bus – while it’s running?’


I laughed, ‘Okay!’

In order not to wreck the borrowed soles, the ladies all wore their own footwear to board the bus and brought the shoes with. When we got on the Loop at Starter’s Riverport, there were like 8 people on the bus, and a screaming child to boot.

The ladies made their shoe change, and we began taking photos. The cover shot was literally the first photo I took. I asked the ladies for a diamond shape pose, and BAM! Diamond shape pose. Can these girls make things happen? Heck yeah!

I was then informed we either had 10 minutes or one hour for the entire shoot, and one hour was way too long. So within the next ten minutes we shot, we laughed, I bashed my shin against things, we laughed some more. It was 6 p.m. rush hour, and the bus was flying all around town, it was insane and awesome.

So, yes, the photos are a tad blurry, but you know what? Who cares? Anyone can learn how to technically take perfect pictures, but can anyone pull off what we pulled off? Hell no. To me, the photos are perfect.” Alison Leigh, Wink Magazine, September, 2010. Check out Wink Magazine's website by clicking here.

BTW, ridership on the LOOP on the Saturday of the fest was up over 1200%! Now THAT's a LOOPapalooza!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Welcome the 21st Century: Google Transit trip planner

LANTA has been working for more than a year with Google Transit, the folks who furnish a free, online application that provides the public with details of what bus routes to take from one destination to another. It was a challenging task! In addition to all the work required to be completed in-house, a team of 4 went on the road for roughly 3 months to geo code all 2694 bus stops so they are satellite accurate. Staff has been assembling what seems to be a mountain of data and now Google Transit can be used by young and old alike to plan daily travel.

Wonder how it works?

Example question: Is it possible to travel by bus from 14th and Main Street, Northampton to the Staples store at 3300 Lehigh Street, Allentown (South Mall)?

Answer: Now it’s as easy as going to http://www.google.com/intl/en/landing/transit/#mdy.

On the web site plug in the origin and destination addresses, along with the date and time you would like to travel and Google Transit will supply a map showing your requested route, the bus letter/number, time the trip will take, times the bus leaves, and transit cost compared to the cost of driving a personal vehicle.

The question above only requires one bus (Route D), but how will this service work with transfers?

Example question: Is it possible to travel by bus from Center City Allentown (6th and Linden) to downtown Easton (Northampton Street)?

Answer: Again, it is as easy as going to http://www.google.com/intl/en/landing/transit/#mdy and plugging in the addresses of your origin and destination. (If you are not sure of an address, “Google Map” it first.) The resulting map will show you the bus number/letter and where to connect. Also, on the left side will be the times for the connection.

It’s magic!

Google Transit is currently running but in ‘beta’ format. To try it out, go to www.lehighvalleycommute.com and click on the Google Transit trip planner link. We ask that everyone bear with us as minor glitches are worked out. If you bump into any obvious errors with your queries, please forward the url to lanta@erols.com.

LANTA is proud to say that we are the third transit authority in Pennsylvania to be on Google Transit! The other two are Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.