Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Genius Loci: My L.A.

Many American cities have famed, distinctive skylines – think of New York, Seattle or Chicago and you’ll probably also think of the collection of buildings that make the city iconic. I haven’t found this to be as true for L.A., probably because this earthquake-prone city isn’t known for its skyscrapers – there is no Empire State Building, no Space Needle, no Sears Tower.

Instead of specific buildings, L.A. is recognizable for – among many things – its vastness. The city goes on and on. Whether seen from Griffith Park or from LMU’s own Bluff (as above), the stretch of lights – to me – is a reminder that there is so much more to explore in Los Angeles. It’s a city I’ve seen, for the most part, from a distance. The one part of the city I’ve really set my zoom lens on is its world of movies.

One visual that shouts, “You’re back in L.A.!” are billboards, especially billboards for movies. In Pierce County, Wash., where I grew up, there are laws significantly limiting where there can be billboards. They are a rare site there, in stark contrast to the mass of advertising around Los Angeles.

Movie theaters are my L.A. There are so many to choose from – multiplexes to small indie theaters, to historic revival ones. A marquee announcing the presence of a favorite filmmaker is Los Angeles to me.

Red carpets, dozens of camera flashes going off at once, a loud crowd of reporters packed into a small space: movie premieres are another part of my L.A., something I’ve gotten to see from the perspective of a journalist on the press line. Here is a look at the fans flanking “The Hunger Games” premiere and a behind-the-scenes peek at the Oscars red carpet, taken from the press route through Hollywood and Highland Center.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this pot about movies. We often talk about movies being filmed in L.A., but I feel that going to see these movies and more is another interesting topic. I recently branched out of my usual Marina Del Rey theatres, and have been exploring ones in Culver City. Also, I visited the El Capitan, which was definitely worth it. Although, the theatre only shows Disney movies. Lastly, I found your post's emphasis on movie billboards very interesting. We are ambushed by movie billboards in L.A., and I feel that a majority of us put up with it because we do not know the alternative.