Los Angeles is an amazing place of art, culture, business, and innovation. Taking this class happened at the perfect time, because I have technically lived in the Los Angeles area for almost two years and for the first years I mostly stayed in the Long Beach area, but for the second year I started to branch off and actually explore the city of Los Angeles. So they coincided perfectly together and I was extra motivated to go and explore Los Angeles with the blog project and ultimately I wish I could have written more posts, I had plenty of content to, but I am taking nineteen units this semester so I never really found the time to do so, however I would like to go through the class page and check out all of the posts to add more places to check out in Los Angeles to my list. Overall, I appreciate Los Angeles’ history and how it has shaped the city today, but I also cringe at the racism and corruption from the past that shaped the city today; especially the geography.
There is so much to talk about, so I’ll start with my perspectives about the city of Los Angeles. They have both changed and developed at the same time, because even though I have lived in San Diego for most of my life I have surprisingly only been to Los Angles a hand full of times that I scarcely remember. I always used to think Los Angeles was a place of luxury and pleasure, the place where movies are made and the common folk consume, but I was so wrong. Although the country’s and even the worlds view of the city are superficial just as mine previously was a couple years ago, it is probably the most human and most living place, at least out of the places I have been, in the world. I would have to speculate that it is like this because based on Los Angeles’ history of growth, only dreams came here to be either crushed or born to be prosperous and successful. It is disappointing to know that Mexican culture was abused and used for business, especially with Olvera Street back in the early twentieth century and that the white man again prevailed in taking over a desirable place from a people of color. Even though that is the sad truth, I have never let it influence my perspective on the city, because even though the center of downtown is full of giant skyscrapers owned by banks and large corporations, everything on the ground and the surrounding hills speaks to such a diverse and influential group of cultures and subcultures. Now I see Los Angles as a place of people, not a place of money or industry, the people do, and without them Los Angles just looks like a city that had trouble deciding what it wanted to be. However, add the people back in and you have an amazing place of color, imagination, and innovation. That is how I see the city now.
Next I’ll hone in on what the blog project taught me, because I really enjoyed that aspect of the class and even though the semester is over, I still have so many ideas about the city and places I’ve been that I could add to the blog; definitely keep this project as part of the class. The biggest thing I learned from the blog project was how Los Angeles is such a place of reimagined spaces. I’m kind of obsessed with the whole topic now. The history of every building, street, structure in Los Angeles has such a unique and bizarre history that I want to know about every place that I go. I want to talk about the post I wrote about the Roxy Theatre on Sunset Blvd I always just assumed it was some old building that somebody turned into a bar and band space. However, after doing a little research I was surprised to find that it was originally that nice looking white building that served as a market for the residents of the notorious Hollywoodland that got a major facelift in the 1950s and became a completely black building with blacked out windows that became a very popular and famous strip club for the high rollers who stroll down Sunset and then in the 1970s became what is now the more tame but still an amazing place to go see concerts, the Roxy Theatre. There are just so many incredible and random transformations in Los Angeles and even though things like this happen all around the world it is at such an extreme scale in Los Angles that seeing modern and old architecture clash becomes the standard and other city become bland and uninteresting to the eye. So I really appreciate everything that makes a city unique and it is arguable that Los Angeles is the most unique and diverse.
I’ll talk about the history a little bit more now, especially about the citrus and advertising industries, since they were so large and superficial to the growth of the Los Angeles area. Also, I’ve never really been into history at all, because at least high school history is just about a bunch of conservative white guys complaining about why they don’t get enough money and why starting unneeded wars; if wars are ever needed. However, as a professor you made me enjoy learning about the history of Los Angeles and if I had to be a history teacher I would definitely specialize in Californian history, hands down. I believe one of the biggest things I learned was that Los Angeles offers hope to people who are aspiring or feeling a lack of human connection. Although Los Angeles will never give you these things for just showing up, it does give people an opportunity to become the best person they can. The Sunkist adds that portrayed people who ate oranges as Olympic athletes is a solid lie, but it is an image of hope, an image of the future, and that is more than some places and people offer. I might be going off on a tangent here but I feel like this is so relevant to the upcoming election and how none of the candidates are offering “hope,” but rather running their mouths about all of the things they are going to do, that they probably won’t ever do. That’s because when people have hope, they’ll do great things and I love how the city has this to offer. If I’ve learned anything from studying the history of Los Angeles is that this city has never been a place of politics, but of dreams and imagination.
Lastly, I want to talk about how I love Los Angeles and its people. Even though the city has a history full of racism and corruption, I hope that just as the people rapidly change with trends and the time that the city follows in this direction and becomes a place of no judgement. That’s another thing, studying Los Angeles and especially living here has made me less of a judgmental person and just as the city evolves, I hope the old things that hold judgmental histories are covered up just as quickly as murals coat the endless walls throughout the city. To reflect upon my experiences, I have become way more comfortable exploring the city and taking in all of its wonderful opportunities. I want to keep exploring the city and meeting people and embracing what it means to be in this city. Actually, that’s another thing, taking this class helped me to feel like a citizen of Los Angeles, I feel like part of the community and also studying Los Angeles has brought so many questions rather than answers to my mind and I feel so motivated to find these answers. Since I am studying fiction and non-fiction film, I am always looking for stories and it is such an interesting contrast that the film industry depicts Los Angeles as other places when in fact Los Angeles has so many stories to tell itself, well in a sense an unlimited amount of stories, because they are created every day. So in a sense, this class has helped me make a big career choice and I feel more motivated now to tell true stories in creative ways rather than making the standard Hollywood film. There is so much to learn from stories and I am so glad I am in Los Angeles, because this is where everything creative is made and respected.
To conclude, I Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this class and that anybody who plans to live or work in Southern California should definitely take this class, because it will inspire and open your mind to a new perspective, which it has definitely done for me. I cannot imagine living anywhere else now, because Los Angeles has so much life and color which makes the rest of the United States look dull and unforgiving.