Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles

Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles

David L. Ulin

Language: English

Pages: 152

ISBN: 0520273729

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles

David L. Ulin

Language: English

Pages: 152

ISBN: 0520273729

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In Sidewalking, David L. Ulin offers a compelling inquiry into the evolving landscape of Los Angeles. Part personal narrative, part investigation of the city as both idea and environment, Sidewalking is many things: a discussion of Los Angeles as urban space, a history of the city’s built environment, a meditation on the author’s relationship to the city, and a rumination on the art of urban walking. Exploring Los Angeles through the soles of his feet, Ulin gets at the experience of its street life, drawing from urban theory, pop culture, and literature. For readers interested in the culture of Los Angeles, this book offers a pointed look beneath the surface in order to see, and engage with, the city on its own terms.

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images with which to work. Equally important are the project’s theoretical underpinnings, which have everything to do with Los Angeles—its space, its freedom—as well as with the inevitable role of chance in a mediated environment. How, after all, do we make sense of Flick’s montages? How do they add up to something coherent and complete? The answer begins and ends with our experience, which, like Flick’s, is constant and unending, shaped by what we notice as we move throughout the city, until it

address concerns raised by the Page Museum, which oversees the Tar Pits, about the continuing archeological work in Hancock Park. The original idea, for a structure that, according to Hawthorne, would “suggest the work of artist Jean Arp and architect Oscar Niemeyer along with the oozing shape of the tar pits,” raised concerns about encroachment. “If I understand correctly,” John Harris, the Page’s chief curator, told the Los Angeles Times about the pits that lie closest to the County Museum,

the history, the accumulation of collective memory: I’ve only lived here for twenty-one years. That’s the age of majority, as I joked to someone recently, but I remember how young I was at twenty-one, how inexperienced, which makes that span of time a metaphor also, both for the city, which is still in its own slow process of becoming, and for my elliptical relationship to it, my attempt to find among its streets and sidewalks a place I might recognize as home. This, in turn, brings me back to

and if the streetcar finally arrives. Even now, as I am looking for a kind of reconciliation, Los Angeles provokes these dislocations in me. The city I live in and the city I want to live in, by turns horizontal and vertical, sprawling and contained. Over the summer, my wife and I met friends for dinner one Saturday night on Spring Street; after we were finished, we wandered over to the Varnish, a backroom bar on Sixth Street, built into the rear of Cole’s. Here, we have a place that reminds us

thirty metropolitan areas in regard to walkability, “the future—of a walkable, transit-friendly Los Angeles—is being built right now.” The future, yes, and also the past. To live here is to play an elaborate Situationist game of psychogeography, in which we displace ourselves by interposing the psychic map of one city over another city’s terrain. Sometimes, this is the city in which we were raised, the city that imprinted us, which is why I have created in Los Angeles a lifestyle more suited to

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