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Category Archives: Los Angeles

This week’s city reading: the strengths and shortcomings of Los Angeles’ evolving transit system

Ridership climbs, planning efforts lag as Expo Line extension marks first birthday (Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times) “The plan as it now reads doesn’t go far enough in allowing new density near the Expo Line; it is too timid for a city and region that have systematically underbuilt housing for more than three decades. To […]

KCET Movies: How Los Angeles Made Johnny Cash — After Nearly Destroying Him

Johnny Cash, the iconic outlaw of country and western music, may have come straight out of Arkansas, and he may have launched his career in Memphis, but in his story, unlike those of many other legends in his musical tradition, the Golden State also plays a major role. Even his casual fans understand that, many […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Angelus Temple

The phenomenon of the megachurch, though now associated with the geographical and cultural flatlands of suburban and exurban “middle America,” began in no less coastal and cosmopolitan a city than Los Angeles. Standing at the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Park Avenue in the currently fashionable neighborhood of Echo Park, right across the street from […]

This week’s city reading: Habitat 67’s concrete, MacArthur Park’s non-gentrification, and the 2nd Ave. Subway’s Comfiness

Growing Up in a Concrete Masterpiece (Blake Gopnik, New York Times) “‘How do you live with all that cement,’ my schoolmates would ask. ‘With delight’ was the only answer. They understood once they visited.” This provides as good an opportunity any to quote (past Notebook on Cities and Culture guest) Jonathan Meades: The destruction of Brutalist […]

Korea Blog: “Western Avenue”, Korean Cinema’s Response to the Los Angeles Riots

The Korean name of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, sa-i-gu (사이구), means “four, two, nine” — or rather 4/29, the first of the six days they tore through streets after the the Rodney King verdict came out. Given Los Angeles’ large Korean population, the highest of any city outside the Korean Peninsula itself, and the […]

KCET Movies: Alfred Hitchcock’s (Non-Existent) Los Angeles

The defining quality of Alfred Hitchcock’s Los Angeles is that he didn’t have one. Or rather, he had a Los Angeles in his life, but not in his work. By the time he passed away in his Bel-Air home in 1980, the Leytonstone-born director’s filmography had grown to include more than 50 features across a […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Ambassador Hotel

“Last Tuesday night, for the first time in 30 years, I found myself by one casual chance in a thousand on hand, in a small narrow serving pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles,” said a pained Alistair Cooke on his “Letter from America” broadcast of June 9th, 1968. He then vividly described that […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Braly Block

I once took a Los Angeles Conservancy architecture tour whose leader, having brought us atop Bunker Hill, gestured toward an old building over on Spring Street and told us a story from his former career as a city employee. One day he needed a ride home and a higher-up in his department offered it. Generous […]

콜린의 한국 이야기: 서울과 로스앤젤레스의 차이 점은 뭘까?

나는 한국에 이사오기 전에 사년 동안 로스앤젤레스에 살았다. 로스앤젤레스에 살 때 한국어를 매일 할 수 있고 한식을 매일 먹을 수 있는 동네인 한인타운에 살았음에도 불구하고 서울에 사는 것과 아주 다른 경혐이었다. 지금이 겨울이어서 제일 큰 차이 점을 생각하면 날씨가 쉽게 떠오를 수 있지만 사실 나에게 이런 추운 날씨는 생각과는 다르게 무관하다. 애매하게 들릴지도 모르지만 서울과 […]

I talk about “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and the Los Angeles streetcar conspiracy on KPCC

This week I talked with A Martinez, host of KPCC-FM’s Take Two, about how Who Framed Roger Rabbit? convinced Los Angeles that a General Motors-led conspiracy had taken away its streeetcars: Los Angeles isn’t a cartoon, but it is a main character in the 1988 film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” The movie will be preserved this year […]