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Category Archives: Los Angeles

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 […]

Korea Blog: Blade Runner 2049 and Los Angeles’ Korean Future

“LOS ANGELES NOVEMBER, 2019.” So, with that stark title card, begins the film that presented the most fully realized vision of the city’s future in cinema history to that point — and maybe still to this day. It also fixed its setting in the Western imagination as the go-to image of urban dystopia, though when […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Bradbury Building

Though most moviegoers will have seen a lot of Bradbury Building, they may not recognize it as a landmark of Los Angeles architecture – unless, of course, they’ve seen Thom Andersen’s documentary “Los Angeles Plays Itself,” which devotes a solid block of its nearly three-hour runtime to the many roles it has played onscreen. “The […]

KCET Movies: How “Speed” Captured a Changing Los Angeles

“Is this what they mean by pure cinema?” New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane wrote in his review of “Speed” when the film came out in 1994. “The phrase sometimes hovers around people like Tarkovsky and Ozu, and with good cause, but Hollywood occasionally throws a punch so clean that it breaks through to the […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Pico House

Thanks to (past Notebook on Cities and Culture guest) Nathan Masters of Lost L.A., I’ve returned to KCET, where I previously spent a year excerpting pieces of my book-in-progress A Los Angeles Primer (still collected on my author page here), to write a new series called “Los Angeles in Buildings.” It begins today with the Pico House, the booming […]

Guardian Cities: 45 Years of Reyner Banham’s “Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies”

“Now I know subjective opinions can vary,” the journalist Adam Raphael wrote in the Guardian in 1968, “but personally I reckon LA as the noisiest, the smelliest, the most uncomfortable and most uncivilised major city in the United States. In short, a stinking sewer…” Three years later, Raphael’s words appeared in print again as an […]