Colin Marshall sits down in Pasadena with journalist Patt Morrison, best known for her “Patt Morrison Asks” column in the Los Angeles Times, her years hosting Life and Times and Bookshow with Patt Morrison on public television as well as Patt Morrison on KPCC, and her book Rio L.A.: Tales from the Los Angeles River. They discuss her childhood in an Ohio town of 2,000 people, where the nearest cool place was a book; how and why her family decided to pull up stakes and stay on the move before suddenly deciding to settle in Tuscon, Arizona, a bustling metropolis by comparison; how she developed a kind of historical fourth-dimensional vision, letting her see what’s been here as well as what is here; how she came to Los Angeles for Occidental College, and what she discovered here; what others have discovered in Los Angeles, like the individuality of expression, bordering on eccentricity, that comes with a certain type of property; how reading about Nellie Bly as a child convinced her then and there to become a journalist; the lessons she’s learned from working across several major media; what she read to better understand Los Angeles, and what books she’d put in the city’s welcome wagon kit; her drive to collect stories about “then” as well as “now”; Los Angeles’ authentic-ness, as opposed to its authenticity; what you need to master to live the ever-growing number of lifestyles possible in the city; retaining that Los Angeles sense of perpetual astonishment, and reinforcing it by regularly traveling abroad; why we seem to have forgotten the importance of clothing on the West Coast, and whether $500 sweatpants and $100 filp-flops say something meaningful about Los Angeles; popular confusion about the real eastside-westside border, and what she’s done to fight the misconceptions; and what to keep in mind when you, too, come to Los Angeles.
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