The Sons and Daughters of Los: Culture and Community in L. A.
Temple University Press, 2003 - 266 pages
Los Angeles. A city that is synonymous with celebrity and mass-market culture, is also, according to David James, synonymous with social alienation and dispersal. In the communities of Los Angeles, artists, cultural institutions and activities exist in ways that are often concealed from sight, obscured by the powerful presence of Hollywood and its machinations. In this significant collection of original essays, "The Sons and Daughters of Los "reconstructs the city of Los Angeles with new cultural connections. Explored here are the communities that offer alternatives to the picture of L..A. as a conglomeration of studios and mass media. Each essay examines a particular piece of, or place in, Los Angeles cultural life: from the Beyond Baroque Poetry Foundation, the Woman's Building, to Highways, and LACE, as well as the achievements of these grassroots initiatives. Also included is critical commentary on important artists, including Harry Gamboa, Jr., and others whose work have done much to shape popular culture in L.A. The cumulative effect of reading this book is to see a very different city take shape, one whose cultural landscape is far more innovative and reflective of the diversity of the city's people than mainstream notions of it suggest. "The Sons and Daughters of Los" offers a substantive and complicated picture of the way culture plays itself it out on the smallest scaleOCoin one of the largest metropolises on earthOCocontributing to a richer, more textured understanding of the vibrancy of urban life and art."
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- The essays in the book, shifts perspective, I learnt in the course of working on such material and reading such material, to invest myself in a different kind of experience of the urban-space, even one as built-over as LA. Viewing this city of Angels, as an enormously differentiated, culturally surprising, spiritually curious, historically critical landscape, sheltering such a different range of peoples... Thanks David, as always.