Skip to content

A Los Angeles Primer: Lincoln Boulevard

Deep into my exploration of Los Angeles, I took my first trip to London, a city whose built environment one assumes contrasts in the starkest, least flattering way against that of the city I came from. A classic London architectural tour would take you past all the city’s least Los Angelinian aspects: Edwardian buildings lining the Thames, Big Ben, the glories of the neo-Gothic. Eschewing this pathway, I instead wandered without aim into the areas least in line with London’s self-image, all the while reflecting upon the many conversations I’ve had with Brits who’d left this native land of theirs, made a beeline for Los Angeles, and proceeded to enjoy their subsequent absence of regrets. Everyone cites writers like Christopher Isherwood and artists like David Hockney as this movement’s visionaries, and I still find the freshest perspectives of the city from their countless spiritual descendants, even if they’ve lived in Los Angeles a dozen times as long as I have.

You’ll mostly find them in the coastal northwest around Santa Monica, which seems well on its way to spearheading a new generation of British colonies. I rode out there one day to talk with Bath-born architecture and design journalist and broadcaster Frances Anderton¬†on my podcast¬†Notebook on Cities and Culture. Having grown up in a town known for its preservation of the image of one particular, long-gone England, Anderton found in Los Angeles an escape, as many of her countrymen do, from “the crushing burden of history.” And to the city’s ahistorical, untraditional aesthetic tendencies she credits not just the reflection of a kind of freedom, but the production of a kind of beauty.

Read the whole thing on KCET Departures.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *