Defending Los Angeles from Woody Allen’s remark that making a right turn on a red light was Los Angeles’ only contribution to culture, Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Smith retorted:
What about the drive-in bank, the Frisbee, the doggie bag? What about our Hansel and Gretel cottages, our Assyrian rubber factory, our Beaux-Arts-Byzantine-Italian-Classic-Nebraska Modern City Hall? What about the drive-in church?
All joking aside, whatever Woody Allen is, he is also one of the great preachers of the Gospel According to Gotham. Does anything exist for you, Woody, beyond the mid-point of the George Washington Bridge going West?
The only real difference between New York’s cultural contributions and California’s is that our Eastern brethren tend to do a better job at promoting theirs that we do of ours. We here at the GWR would like to change that, of course.
Someone once told me that design is where style meets business. California has long played a major role in industrial design for American industry, and increasingly it is doing so for companies around the globe.
In this quick and thought-provoking read, San Francisco-based designer Brett Lovelady explains why this is the case.
For those of you ready to try something a little experimental in your reading, check out Coeva, an interactive novel written by Maria Pia Carlucci, Fiorella Corbi, Maurizio Verdiani, and “conducted” by Stefano Capecchi
Take a look at the blog, and if it sounds intriguing, pick up the book at Amazon.
California’s diverse landscapes, cultures, and biomes are one of the state’s most attractive features. The beauty we see around us is more than just sunshine, surf, and (movie) stars, cultural memes notwithstanding.
We owe a debt of gratitude, then, to those who have the eye and patience to capture California at its finest. While many of us try (including those of us here at the Golden West Review,) PhotoBotos offers a cache of some truly remarkable photos, including some scenes (like the Yosemite Firefall) that are bits of unremembered history.
In a thoughtful review, Caitlin Flanagan works through the psychic shock that much of our state will experience as it grapples with the dark side of farm labor icon Cesar Chavez. Flanagan reviews Miriam Pawel’s iconoclastic recounting of the movement that culminated in the formation of the United Farm Workers union.
Chavez did some fine work, but the myth that has grown around him is less history than a form of secular veneration. Pawel’s effort has not been undertaken to demonize Chavez, but to do justice to the people who counted on Chavez to better their lives.
For some, this will be the story of a revolution left incomplete by the megalomania of its leader. For others, it will confirm long-held suspicions about the true nature of the UFW. For all of us, it will recast a critical period of California history, forcing us to reexamine the history and plight of the people who make our agriculture industry possible.
Los Angeles is, once more and as it has been many times in its past, on the cusp of a new age. Whether that age will be a good one for the city, or will witness its decline, is up to us all.
There is much to keep, and much to be changed. One of the things that needs to change is the hubris in our entertainment industry.
Lady Gaga, never my favorite performer (but that’s preference) and a permanent New Yorker, had a fair point in her 2010 profile in Vanity Fair:
The biggest change in her life, despite her earlier remarks to me about loving sunlight and sitting on her porch and driving around L.A., is that Gaga now hates Hollywood. “I hate Hollywood,” she says. “I got rid of my place, and I’m coming back to spend more time in New York. Everyone in Hollywood is so awful, and awful to me; everyone just wants you to fail. There’s no fervor for the fantasy of music anymore. It’s all about No. 1s and who’s on iTunes, and [while] I’m on iTunes and I’m No. 1, I still care about the fervor of show business and music and womanhood.”
I love LA. And she is not wrong. It is time for LA to go post-Hollywood, or for Hollywood to find its soul again.