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Category Archives: Los Angeles

Santa Monica: the city that wants to design itself happier

Those who envision themselves living in Santa Monica, the wealthy and politically progressive coastal enclave west of Los Angeles, no doubt envision themselves living happily there. It would seem to have everything: miles of coastline with beaches open to all, the striking Santa Monica mountains just to the north, plenty of equally striking southern-Californian architecture […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Crash (Paul Haggis, 2004)

Crash drew great acclaim, up to and including an Academy Award for Best Picture, as a searing and incisive examination of racial tension and prejudice in Los Angeles, yet I’ve never met an Angeleno who likes it. Its indictment of the city — not, of course, a “real” city — as a tinderbox of incomprehension […]

Diary: The Gardens of Little Tokyo

I had lunch not long ago with Geoff Nicholson at Mr. Ramen, Little Tokyo’s finest perpetually reggae-soundtracked noodle shop. He reminded me of the existence of the James Irvine Japanese Garden, a fixture of (and fairly well-known wedding venue at) the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. Built to the side of the JACCC’s not-particularly-loved gray […]

Los Angeles Review of Books Podcast: Sam Sweet, “All Night Menu”

Colin Marshall talks with Sam Sweet, who has written on a variety of subjects, especially ones having to do with Los Angeles, in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and Stop Smiling. He’s currently writing and publishing All Night Menu, a series of five 64-page books on “the lost heroes and miniature histories of Los Angeles.” You can stream the conversation just […]

Diary: Luminaries of Korean literature come to town

I had the chance last week to interview Bae Suah and Cheon Myeong-kwan, two well-known Korean writers, when they came to Los Angeles under the auspices of the Literature Translation Institute of Korea to make an appearance at UCLA. Not one to miss a podcasting opportunity, I packed up my recorder and rode over to where they […]

Diary: Into the Monk Space

On the Wilshire Walk I met Michael Lane and Jim Crotty, creators of Monk magazine, a journal of “travel with a twist” and subcultural phenomenon that ran between 1986 and 1997. During that whole time, Michael and Jim traveled America in an RV and put the magazine together using early desktop publishing software and every Kinko’s they […]

Los Angeles Review of Books Podcast: Patricia Wakida, “LAtitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas”

Colin Marshall talks with Patricia Wakida, editor of Heyday Books’ new LAtitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas, a collection of cartographically organized essays on the real Los Angeles from such contributors as David L. Ulin, Glen Creason, Laura Pulido, Lynell George, and Josh Kun. You can stream the conversation just above, listen to it on the LARB’s site, or download it on iTunes.

Diary: Walking (All of) Wilshire

I’ve long wanted to walk the length of Wilshire Boulevard, the closest thing the whole of Los Angeles has to a “main street.” The city does have a street actually named Main, which runs north-south through downtown all the way up to Lincoln Heights and all the way down to the port, but Main somehow […]

Notebook on Cities and Culture’s Guide to Los Angeles

Notebook on Cities and Culture has ended, but here’s a final guide, which indexes by theme all its interviews about the one and only Los Angeles. Literature: David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times book critic and editor of Reading Los Angeles Michael Silverblatt, host of KCRW’s Bookworm David Kipen, founder of Boyle Heights bookstore and library Libros Schmibros […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Speed (Jan de Bont, 1994)

Speed, the quintessential Los Angeles action movie, actually comprises not one but three Los Angeles action movies, each a contest of wills between a SWAT hot-shot and an ex-LAPD mad bomber: the first high in a downtown office tower, the second in a bus careening across town on a freeway, and the third underground in […]