Dorothy Chandler (1922-1997) was arguably the most powerful woman in Los Angeles during the 1960s - presiding over the city's most elite social circles, and appearing on the cover of Time Magazine in honor of her unprecedented cultural fundraising efforts. Yet, few Angelenos know who she is other than a name on a Music Center building downtown. So why … Continue reading Channeling Dorothy Chandler: Voices From the Past and the Future of Los Angeles
What deserves protection? With every announcement I read about the construction of a new building, new museum, or a park redesign comes my inevitable questions: what was there before? Is there anything worth saving? And how will these new spaces shape L.A. in the 21st century? My latest pondering of these questions has to do with L.A. … Continue reading The Impermanence of LA’s Built Environment?
Outgoing L.A. Deputy Mayor Rick Cole recently remarked that "L.A. is not designed to work." Could he be right? Is L.A. too big for true civic engagement? Or do projects like CicLAvia and the L.A. River Revitalization prove this contention wrong? Before I delve into my opinion regarding this question, let me provide a little context for Cole's remark. … Continue reading Is L.A. Designed to Work?
The Music Center is…both highly accessible and highly visible, giving Los Angeles a new visual axis….the center is recognized as a milestone in the city’s cultural aspirations….[making the city] a new center of culture that has passed Chicago and is getting ready to challenge New York.  - Time Magazine, 1964 Los Angeles…is a center of … Continue reading The L.A. Music Center Turns 50!
For over 50 years, scholars, educators, historians, and enthusiasts of the North American West gather annually to share the latest findings and approaches to understanding the diverse history of the west as "both a frontier and a region." I had the honor of presenting at the Western History Association 2014 conference in Newport Beach last week, and although … Continue reading L.A.’s Inferiority Complex
The L.A. Music Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season with a number of commemorative events--including a rededication ceremony on October 1st to "celebrate the transformative role of the performing arts center in Los Angeles."  So what does this have to do with the Cuban Missile Crisis? Few people, if any, know that President Kennedy … Continue reading Castro, Kennedy, and Chandler – How the Cuban Missile Crisis stole L.A.’s Big Moment
Nothing says summer in Los Angeles like the Hollywood Bowl. As the most recent advertising campaign puts it, it is "where summer plays." As the summer--and the 2014 Bowl season--draw to a close, I thought it fitting to feature one of the most entertaining finds from the Music Center archives. This photograph shows Hollywood Bowl savior … Continue reading ‘Where Summer Plays’…
This past week, I had lunch with a friend of a friend who is currently President of the Symphonians, a volunteer docent organization affiliated with the L.A. Music Center. Their primary responsibility is to give free tours of all four Music Center venues--the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Walt … Continue reading Beyond the Archives