chapter  6
26 Pages

Real L.A.

"LaLa Land" This is just one of the many pejoratives that have been used for or against Los Angeles. Translation: a city of no consequence, a city where no one is engaged with much of anything but staring either into the perpetually blue sky or gazing into the perpetually self-reflective sheen of a mirror. "Los Angeles does not get the attention it deserves", writes Reyner Banham before qualifying that remark with: "It gets attention. The high-profile legal cases of the 1940s and 1950s involved clients who were stalked at the margins of society: inner city minority youth, homosexuals, and radical writers. The matrix for the case against Unocal lies "in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Burma [Myanmar]", where, in 1982, "large natural gas deposits that were to become known as the Yadana field were discovered". In William Leavitt's work, the banality and the glamour of Los Angeles are evenly matched, producing objects simultaneously absolutely mundane and absolutely beautiful.