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Category Archives: Los Angeles

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Model Shop (Jacques Demy, 1969)

By the late 1960s, some Angelenos had already written their city off. But the European filmmakers who’d only just started to find material there hadn’t; Jacques Demy, for instance, still found Los Angeles a place of sun, sky, youth, cars, and, given the era, counterculture — a place of pure potential. Model Shop, an early […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1978)

The 1970s grotesque of John Cassavetes Los Angeles gangster action movie takes place not in the margins of the city, but in a city made up of nothing but margins: mediocre eateries, empty gas stations, parking garages, and the strip club owned by its businessman-turned-hitman protagonist. Tasked with finding and killing the titular “Chinese bookie” […]

Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E54: The Freedom to Be Foolish with Mark Frauenfelder

Colin Marshall sits down in Studio City with Mark Frauenfelder, founder of the popular zine-turned-blog Boing Boing, founding co-editor of Make magazine, and author of Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects. They discuss whether he still thinks about Los Angeles dingbat apartments, and the extent to which their owners have […]

Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E53: A Certain Inertia with James Steele

Colin Marshall sits down at the University of Southern California with School of Architecture professor James Steele, author of many books on architecture and architects, including, just over twenty years ago, Los Angeles Architecture: The Contemporary Condition. They discuss the how the city’s conflict with “autopia” has gone since then; the obsolescence of not just the freeways, but […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: “Strange Days” (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)

Strange Days counts as a Los Angeles movie, a hard-boiled detective movie, a cyberpunk movie, and a “social issues” movie, all of which came out in the shadow of the city’s 1992 riots. In an ideal setting for the subgenre’s mixture of “high tech and low life,” gentleman-loser protagonist Lenny Nero deals in pure neural […]

Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E52: The Big Pond with Pete Mitchell

Colin Marshall sits down in Pasadena with Pete Mitchell, visual artist, game designer, zombie enthusiast, and lead singer and co-founder of the band No More Kings, whose latest album III came out this year. They discuss now as an opportune time to be into zombies; how his mom got him into not just zombie movies […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Time Code (Mike Figgis, 2000)

I still remember sitting in the theater when I first saw Timecode, watching the screen divide into four, knowing I was about to see something truly knew. The film’s Hollywood industry satire — replete with glamor, seediness, earthquakes, art, commerce, drugs, adultery, girls, jealousy, aspiration, desperation, a limousine, and a gun — plays out in those […]

Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E51: “Just” Mexican Food with Javier Cabral

Colin Marshall sits down in Highland Park with Javier Cabral, the “food, booze, and punk rock” writer formerly known as The Teenage Glutster, and currently known as The Glutster. They discuss his mission to change the official punk rock food of Los Angeles from the Oki-dog to the taco; the reasons for the taco’s current […]

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)

Los Angeles, the City in Cinema, my new series of video essays, examines the variety of Los Angeleses revealed in the films set there, both those new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — just like the city itself. Its debut pays a visit to the punks, drunks, thugs, loners, feds, […]

Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E50: Something Like a Bohemia with William E. Jones

Colin Marshall sits down in Los Feliz with artist, filmmaker, and writer William E. Jones. They discuss what one learns by viewing a city through the prism of its gay porn; how Los Angeles gives away the least of itself in that form as in others; home he introduced Fred Halsted’s “gay porn masterpiece” L.A. Plays […]