chapter  7
20 Pages

Cultural Capital

This chapter takes a survey of Los Angeles as an artistic, cultural, and entertainment center, the claim being that the City of Angels has been a hub of both high and low art, a kind of open platform upon which experimental artists, musicians, architects, and designers could play with ideas and fashion their wares without the encumbrance of an established command-and-control cultural hierarchy looming over their shoulder, preempting every idiosyncratic move with critical sanctions. The author should offer up a prospective mea culpa, as he will be engaging in his own round of boosterism as he tout Los Angeles as something of a cultural capital, misshapen as it is with its full share of miscreants and its plain old cretins. Oddly East Los Angeles, which in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s became virtually palisaded by freeways on every side, utilized the car not as a symbol of captivity and cultural dominance but as a symbol of freedom and cultural pride.