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Tim & Eric Present: To Live and Deejay LA

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 27, 2015 10:54am | Post a Comment


Tim "Modern Brit" Shimbles
(Amoeba employee and frequent traveling companion on California Fool's Gold) and yours truly are going to DJ a set of "locals only" music called To Live and Deejay LA on 12 May at the Melody Lounge in Chinatown. (Click here to join the Facebook event page). 



Los Angeles is a big place... bigger than the island of Jamaica in fact. It's home to an estimated 10,116,705 people, making it by far the most populous county in the USA (and home to more people than 43 entire states). The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim census area is also the mostly densely-populated region in the country. I've had a long and hard think, aided by suggestions, trying to come up with a great list of Angeleno musical acts (and no, I didn't forget Red Hot Chili Peppers). Just for the occasion* I painted a huge map of every community in the county and every neighborhood in Los Angeles which has helped stoke the memory. 


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of Los Angeles Communities and Neighborhoods



Attendees can expect to hear some, if not all (it's taking place from 10pm until 1:45am) of the following Angeleno acts: Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, Allah-Las, The Amplifiers, The And ActionsThe Angry Samoans, The AntarcticansArabian Prince, Armored Saint, Art Pepper, AshesThe Association, Autolux, The BallroomThe Bangles, The Beach Boys, Beachwood SparksThe Beat, The BeesThe Belairs, Best Coast, Bill Perkins, Black Flag, The Blasters, The Blendells, Blood on the Saddle, Bloods & Crips, Bob MarkleyBoo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.The Bourbon Saints, Boyce & HartBread

Buddy Collette, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, The Cadets, Cambalache, Canned Heat, Cannibal & the Headhunters, Captain Beefheart, The CarpentersChico Hamilton, The Chymes,  Circle Jerks, The Common ColdCongo Norvell, Cruzados, Darlene LoveDavid Crosby, Dead Angle, Death Valley Girls, Deepest Blue (The Doves), Dengue Fever, Dennis Wilson, Destruct, The Devil Bats, The Dickies, The DilsDino, Desi & BillyDJ Quik, DokkenThe Doors, Dramarama, The Dream Syndicate,

Dum Dum Girls
, E. Coli, Eazy-E, Eddie & The Showmen, The Egyptian Lover, El Chicano, The Electric Prunes, Emily's Sassy Lime, Emitt RhodesThe EmperorsEric DolphyThe Everpresent Fullness
The Exiles, Faster Pussycat, Father Yod, Fatlip, Fear, The 5th Dimension, fIREHOSE, Fishbone, The Flesh Eaters, 45 Grave, Freestyle Fellowship, The Friends of DistinctionThe Full Treatment, Funkdoobiest, FurtherThe Garden Club

Gary Lewis & the PlayboysThe Generators, The Geraldine Fibbers, Germs, Giant Drag, The Go-Go's, The Grass RootsGreat White, The Groop, The Grown-Ups, The Gun Club, Guns N' Roses, Gwenmars, Hearts and FlowersHeidecker & Wood, Herb AlpertHexHollywood Rose, The Hondells, Ice Cube, The Jaguars, Jan & Dean, Jane's Addiction, Jay Rock, Jenni Rivera, Jesse Lee KincaidJoe Byrd & the Field Hippies, Johnny Horton, Joint Effort, Just Too MuchKaleidoscope, Kendrick Lamar,

Kim FowleyKing Tee, The Knack (1960s), The Knack (1970s), The Knights of DayL.A. Dream Team, L.A. Guns, The LA UntouchablesThe Lamp of Childhood, Las Cafeteras, The Last, Lavender Diamond, The Lazy Cowgirls, The Leaves, Lee Harvey (Lee Jones), LemonaLena Park, Lifter, Lone Justice, The Long Ryders, Longstocking, Los AbandonedLos Lobos, Love, Lowell George & The FactoryThe Manson Family, Marvin & Johnny, Mary Jane Girls, Mary's Danish, MellowHype,

The Merry-Go-Round, Midnight Movies, Mike G, The Millennium, Minutemen, The MixersThe Monkees, The MoonMötley CrüeThe Motorcycle AbelineMoving UnitsThe Music MachineMyka 9, N.W.A., Nate DoggThe Nerves, Nino Tempo & April StevensThe Nitty Gritty Dirt BandNo Solution, October County, The OdysseyOingo Boingo, Opal, Opus 1, The Others, The Palace GuardThe Pandoras, The Partridge FamilyPasternak Progress, Patsy, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy

The Penguins, The Penny ArkadePenny Dreadfuls, The Pharcyde, PidgeonPleasure featuring Billy Elder, The Plimsouls, Poco, Poison, Possum DixonThe Preachers, The Premiers, Pretty Boy Floyd, Puro Instinct, The Quick, Quiet Riot, Radio Vago, Rain ParadeRandy Newman Ratt, Redd Kross, René & Angela, Rising SonsRitchie Valens, Rodney-O & DJ Joe Cooley, Roger Nichols TrioThe Romancers (The Smoke Rings), The Rose Garden,  Rose RoyceThe Runaways, The Safaris,

Sagittarius, 2nd II None, The Seeds, ShakeThe Sharp Ease, Silver Needle, SISU, Snap-Her, Snoop Dogg, Sonny & CherThe Sounds of Sunshine, Sparks, Spirit, The Standells, The Stone Poneys, Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Sugarplastic, Suicidal Tendencies, The Sunshine Company, The Surfaris, Sweater GirlsThe Sylvers, Sylvester, T.S.O.L., The Tartans, The Teddy BearsTex & the Horseheads, Thee MidnitersThorinshieldThe Three O'Clock, Things To ComeTierraTom Russell,

Total ChaosThe Turtles, Ty Karim, The TydeTyler, the Creator, Union 13, The United States of America, The UVs, Van Halen, Van Stone, Very Be Careful, W.A.S.P.The W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band (aka ESB aka Fields)The Walker Brothers, Wall of Voodoo, 王力宏, War, The Warlocks, Warren GThe Watts Prophets, Wax, The Weirdos, The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, World Class Wreckin' Cru, The Yellow BalloonThe Yellow PaygesX, ZipcodeZolar X, Zoot Sims 

...and more if you've got suggestions*

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*not really
**Sorry, no Eagles

California Fool's Gold Episode Guide

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 23, 2014 08:33pm | Post a Comment

I thought that it might be useful to publish an "episode guide" of my California Fool's Gold pieces here on the Amoeblog. I've also been invited to speak about them for a class on diversity in Los Angeles at Emerson College so this goes out to the students in Professor Oliver's class. 



Sonic Youth - "Eric's Trip" (off Daydream Nation)


If you're a fan of this sort of thing (or you're just temporarily mesmerized by the computer screen in front of you) you might also enjoy my column over at KCET called Block By Block in which I explore our vast Southland without the use of a car whether by foot, bike, bus, train, subway, ferry or otherwise. As with Eric's Blog, Block By Block also often feature my maps which I create as Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography


Wire - "Map Ref. 41°N 93°W" (off 154)
 
When I explore a new community, I usually rely upon the vox populi which is why anyone may vote for what communities they'd like to become the subject of future articles by clicking here for Los Angeles neighborhoodshere for Los Angeles County communities, and here for Orange County communities. Check back occasionally for new episodes -- next up, if all goes according to plan, is Westlake

 
Billy J. Kramer with the DakotasTrains And Boats And Planes (off Trains And Boats And Planes)
If the reader wishes, they may also read brief introductions to all of the communities in the poll which are organized by regional primers corresponding to the 22 Kingdoms of the Southland:

Angeles ForestThe Antelope ValleyThe Channel IslandsDowntown Los AngelesThe EastsideThe HarborHollywoodThe Mideast SideMidtownNorth Orange County, Northeast Los AngelesNorthwest CountyThe Pomona ValleyThe San Fernando ValleyThe San Gabriel ValleyThe Santa Monica MountainsThe South Bay 
South Los Angeles's EastsideSouth Los Angeles's WestsideSouth Orange CountySoutheast Los Angeles CountyThe Verdugos
, and The Westside 





 
R.E.M. - "Maps & Legends" (off Fables of the Reconstruction
 
Season 1 (2007)

Granada Hills
Montebello
Alhambra




Season 2 (2008)

Rosemead
San Marino
Edendale
Morningside Circle




Season 3 (2009)

Elysian Valley
Yucca Corridor
Cypress Park
Wilshire Park
The Arts District
Walnut
Canterbury Knolls
Little Osaka
Laurel Canyon




Season 4 (2010)

Longwood Highlands
Industry
Boyle Heights
Echo Park
Chinatown
Thai Town
Eagle Rock
Glendale
Claremont
Little Bangladesh
Koreatown
Rowland Heights
Silver Lake
Sherman Oaks
Burbank
Little Ethiopia
Santa Ana
East Los Angeles
Monterey Park
Highland Park
Fullerton
Skid Row
Costa Mesa
Los Feliz
Garden Grove
Mar Vista
Orange
Angeleno Heights




Season 5 (2011)

Arcadia
South Pasadena
Venice
Long Beach
Compton
Tustin
Fairfax
Historic Filipinotown
Huntington Beach
San Gabriel




Season 6 (2012)

Pasadena
Lincoln Heights
Mount Washington
Altadena




Season 7 (2013)

El Monte
Santa Catalina Island
Laguna Beach
East Pasadena
Culver City
San Clemente
Chesterfield Square
Happy Valley
Monterey Hills
City Terrace
Hillside Vilage




Season 8 (2014)

Hermon
University Hills
Garvanza
Rose Hill
North Hollywood
South Central
Watts
Little Seoul
Glassell Park 
Westlake
Atwater Village
Terminal Island
Little Italy (San Diego)




Season 9 (2015)

Franklin Hills
Anaheim
Victor Heights



 


 
 
Tom Waits - "In the Neighborhood" (off Swordfishtrombones)

*****


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Taste of the Mideast Side -- at the Los Angeles County Store

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 8, 2014 04:00pm | Post a Comment





If there are regular readers of my column here on the Amoeblog, they've probably seen some of the hand-drawn and hand-painted maps which I include in my series of Southland explorations I call California Fool's Gold. Right now a series of new maps are on display at the Los Angeles County Store in East Hollywood. None, except the Los Feliz map, have been the subject of Eric's Blog entries yet. 

Eric Brightwell Cartography Art Show Los Angeles County Store

The Los Angeles County Store is a great retail shop which features only goods designed and manufactured in Los Angeles County. The opening has already passed but the maps can still be seen in person if you head over there soon -- the show ends on 21 September


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of the Mideast Side (3rd Edition)

I refer to the set of paintings as Taste of the Mideast Side -- a reference to Taste of the Eastside, a four-year-old food event which despite its name never features restaurants from the Eastside unless you clarify that you're talking about the Eastside of Central Los Angeles (aka the original Westside). By the way, there is an older pre-existing event called The Taste of East L.A. which as its name correctly suggests, features restaurants from East Los Angeles -- a neighborhood actually located in the Eastside
Anyway, here are the maps included in the show (which you can vote for me to write about here). 

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Edendale

Edendale was subdivided around 1903. It was the original home of Los Angeles's film studios, before Hollywood. The first studio, Selig Polyscope Company, was demolished and the arrival of the 2 Freeway made the neighborhood decidedly less edenic. The old Mack Sennett Keystone Studio still stands behind a Jack in the Box -- utilized for public storage. Although the name has faded from most memories (a post office branch still bears it) there have been efforts to play up associations with it as with the Edendale restaurant and bar (in the Ivanhoe tract of Silver Lake) and the Mabel Normand Stage in Hollywood, which was recently renamed Mack Sennett Studios).


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Elysian Heights 

Elysian Heights was subdivided around 1890. The northern corner was home to the Semi Tropic Spiritualists, a 19th Century group whose beliefs mixed the progressive and supernatural. The neighborhood later became known colloquially as "Red Hill" for the many anarcho-communists who made it home. Perhaps the most famous resident of Elysian Heights was a gray tabby named Room 8, who reportedly visited Elysian Heights Elementary every school day for many years and became a national celebrity.


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Franklin Hills

Franklin Hills seceded from Los Feliz around 1988. Its most iconic figure is the Shakespeare Bridge, the original which was built in 1926 (although it was rebuilt in 1998 after the Northridge earthquake). Beneath the bridge is the John Lautner-designed Midtown School. It was home to two twin homes owned by Roy and Walt Disney in the 1920s.  To read more about it, click here.


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of the Ivanhoe tract

The Ivanhoe tract was subdivided in 1877, when it was located just north of Los Angeles (the border of which then corresponded to Fountain Avenue). It was developed by Hugo Reid, a Mexican-American born in who claimed that it reminded him of Scotland, where he was born. The Ivanhoe name (a reference to Glaswegian author Sir Walter Scott's 18th Century novel, Ivanhoe) lives on in Ivanhoe Elementary, the Ivanhoe Reservoir, and the Ivanhoe and Scottish related street names like Kenilworth, Locksley, Rowena, Waverly, and others. 


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Pico-Union

Pico-Union began as Pico Heights, which was subdivided in 1887 in what was then Southwest Los Angeles. It was originally an exclusive, white, Protestant neighborhood an was annexed by Los Angeles in 1896. In the 1910s a number of Japanese-Americans moved in and white flight began. Mexicans and Greeks followed and there are still vestiges of the latter population such as the Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox CathedralPapa Cristo's, and the Los Angeles Greek Fest. The neighborhood was renamed Pico-Union in 1970 by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), who wished to remove any negative associations that Pico Heights was perceived to have acquired. Today it's mostly home to Central Americans, especially Salvadorans


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Solano Canyon

Solano Canyon was -- along with Bishop, La Loma, and Palo Verde -- one of the Mexican colonias of Chavez Ravine. The latter three were demolished and the displaced residents were promised public housing in the planned Elysian Park Heights which was to have been designed by great Modernist architects Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander. Unfortunately for the residents, Elysian Park Heights and all public housing came to a halt when a concerted Right Wing effort tarred such efforts to house the poor and returning war veterans as Communistic. The land was instead given to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who covered it with a massive parking lot and a tiny baseball stadium. 



Pendersleigh & Cartography's map of Victor Heights


Victor Heights has named after water baron Victor Beaudry, who subdivided the neighborhood around 1886. It is home to the Eastside Market Italian Deli, one of the few remnants of Little Italy (and which is named after the Eastside because it began in Lincoln Heights), wandering peafowl, the Teardrop Locos gang, the art deco Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center, Los Angeles Building, and the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District, designed by William Pereira. Because of its proximity to Chinatown and large Chinese-American population, many of the street signs are written in English and Chinese. To read more about it, click here.



Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Westlake

Westlake Park was originally the old Westside's counterpart to the Eastside's Eastlake Park. Eastlake was located in what was then called East Los Angeles but was re-named Lincoln Heights in 1917. Westlake Park was renamed MacArthur Park and although many will argue that the Westlake and MacArthur Park neighborhoods are one-in-the-same although in my experience, the name MacArthur Park is primarily applied to the immediate surroundings whereas, depending on whether or not one lives east or west of Alvarado, they're almost more likely to claim Downtown or Koreatown, respectively. It's the second most densely-populated neighborhood in Los Angeles (after Koreatown) and despite it's declined fashionability, there are many attractions to be experienced (some marked in red on my map).



The Artist and critic Alan "The Dingus" Gudguy having his paw treated like a stress ball


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California Fool's Gold -- A Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography map and a snapshot of Los Angeles

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 17, 2014 01:26pm | Post a Comment

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's hand-painted map of Los Angeles County communities and neighborhoods

Yesterday I finished painting a large map of Los Angeles County. On it I attempted to depict every Los Angeles County community and every Los Angeles neighborhood. It was also important to me to include the two Channel Islands that are part of Los Angeles and to depict them where they actually are in relation to the rest of the county (and not shrunken and stuffed into a box in the corner -- a fate with which Hawaii and Alaska are intimately familiar). 

I first started writing about exploring Los Angeles neighborhoods in October 2007. I began writing about Los Angeles County communities a month later. I expanded to Orange County in 2010, in defiance of ignorant protestations based on stereotypes which, as with those leveled against Los Angeles, have a increasingly little resemblance to reality. I tagged all of my pieces California Fool's Gold in homage to the late, great Huell Howser, a fellow immigrant from the Upper South and explorer of the real California. I'd love to be able to map and explore other countries, cities, and neighborhoods too though and there is literally nowhere that I won't go. Have easel, will travel.

Then again, if I never get to leave Southern California, I'll be OK; it's an endlessly fascinating and supremely diverse place. If you find yourself visiting here, may this map hopefully inspire you to not limit your adventures to the usual (no offense, Hollywood & Highland, the Hollywood Sign, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, the Sunset Strip or the Citadel Outlet Mall).

There are at least 13,000 years of human history here that you will hear nothing about if you take a guided bus tour of celebrity homes and just watch "reality" television. There are nearly ten million people in Los Angeles with no connection to the entertainment industry other than as consumers. There are 21 regions (kingdoms in my mind) in which 133 languages are spoken that are neither English nor Spanish. The only way to really get to know Los Angeles is to explore it. 

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Continue reading...

California Fool's Gold -- Exporing Culver City, The Heart of Screenland

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 17, 2013 06:24pm | Post a Comment
ALL ROADS LEAD TO CULVER CITY



Imagine for a moment that you are a contestant on the game show Jeopardy and you were presented with the answer, "This community's slogans have included 'The Motion Picture Capital of the World,' 'The Heart of Screenland,' and 'Where Hollywood Movies are Made?'" If you're like me you'd probably ask, "What is Hollywood?" with some confidence. If you did, however, Alex Trebek would make that slightly pained and disappointed expression and tell you that "the question we were looking for is "What is Culver City?" And again, if you're at all like me, you'd probably go, "Huh?" By the way, Jeopardy! has been filmed in Culver City since 1994.

Artwork in Culver City highlighting Hollywood

Culver City is, in fact, both currently and historically a major hub in the production of mainstream American Cinema (you know, the ones usually referred to as "Hollywood" films) but for whatever reason -- and despite the best efforts of many Culverites -- it has been far less successful than the Hollywood neighborhood in connecting its name to the entertainment industry in the global public's mind. In fact, I'd wager that more tourists and Angelenos associate Burbank, North Hollywood, Studio City, and Universal City with "Hollywood" film production than they do Culver City.


I'm not really sure what makes a city a "Motion Picture Capital of the World." For years now, both Mumbai, India and Lagos, Nigeria (Bollywood and Nollywood) have annually surpassed the entire USA in film production (and tellingly, as with Kollywood, LollywoodTollywood, &c, signal their film-centricity by using a portmanteau that incorporates their own city or language with "Hollwood" and not "Culver City"). Meanwhile Culver City officials and other boosters continue to remind everyone of their city's place in the celluloid world at almost every conceivable opportunity. I even saw a sign for an apartment complex under construction which announced that it will be "debuting" rather than opening in 2014 (although "debuting" makes it sound like it's a teenage Filipina). 

Admittedly, even though I consider myself a fairly informed guy, it wasn't until researching this piece that I learned of Culver City's filmic importance. I've had a few friends that have lived in Culver City in the past and my impressions of the place had more to do with its small town atmosphere, its amazing diversity of restaurants, and the unpretentiousness of its populace rather than movie production. Then again, although I'm a film fanatic, the first thing I think of when I hear "Hollywood" is Thai food.

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CULVER CITY'S CHARACTER

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of the Westside

Culver City is by most definitions (a small group who live west of the 405 would beg to differ) a community in Los Angeles's Westside (although like Santa Monica it's its own city). Compared not just to other Westside communities but Los Angeles County as a whole, the population of Culver City is highly diverse. As of 2010 the population was roughly 60% white (primarily German and English), 23% Latino (primarily Mexican) of any race, 15% Asian (primarily Filipino), 10% black, and 1% Native American.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Culver City

Although the Culver City's area is only about 13 square kilometers, the fact that it's shaped something like a Starfleet Type-2 phaser (the result of 42 strategic annexations) has resulted in its being neighbored by a large number of communities including Baldwin Hills, Cameo Plaza, The Culver City Arts District (which is mostly located outside of Culver City), Del Rey, La Cienega Heights, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Palms, Playa Vista, Venice, West Adams (not to be confused with the West Adams Historic District), Westchester, and Windsor Hills.

Culver City neighborhoods sign

Culver City is comprised of many neighborhoods of varying size. Their borders, names, and even status as neighborhoods isn't universally agreed upon. Some are descended from old tracts and others are little more than condominium developments. Anyway, in my research I found the following communities listed by at least once source as a neighborhood of Culver City: Blair Hills, Blanco (aka Blanco Park aka Beverlywood West), Carlson Park, Clarkdale (aka Tellefson Park), Culver City-90066, Culver City Terrace (a trailer court), Culver West, Culver Crest, Downtown Culver City, Emerald Estates (a gated community), Federal Park, Fox Hills, the Hayden Tract, the Helms District (aka the Helms Bakery District aka the Helms Design District), Heritage Estates, Jefferson, Lakeside Villa, Lakeside Village (a gated community), Lindberg Park, Little Culver, Lower Crest (aka Lower Culver Crest), Lucerne, McLaughlin, McManus (Culver City-East), the Nolan Tract, Park East (a gated community), Playa Pacific (a gated community), Raintree (a gated community), Rancho Higuera (aka Higuera), Regent Square, Studio Estates, Studio Village, Sunkist Park (aka El Marino), Tara Hill, Veterans Park (aka Park West), Washington Culver, and Windsor Fountains.

Downtown Culver City

Most of Culver City is comprised of low-profile residential neighborhoods comprised mainly of single family homes and most of what would likely of interest to visitors is likely located within and around Downtown Culver City, the Hayden Tract, the Helms District, or adjacent but actually within Los Angeles.


NOT IN CULVER CITY 

If Culver City officials and others are unhappy that the community is widely overlooked for its contributions to cinema they seem to be just as happy to allow Culver City to be associated with a number of attractions that aren't actually within the city as they appear on tour maps and Culver City directional signs. Ivy Substation (and The Actors' Gang), Carbon, most of the Culver City Arts District, the Hobbit HousesMedia Park, the Museum of Jurassic Technology are all in Los Angeles -- not that that should preclude Culverites' promotion or enjoyment of them.


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ANCIENT HISTORY OF THE AREA

It isn't known who the indigenous people of the Westside were nor what they called themselves. They may've been ancestors of the Chumash or speakers of a Hokan language. They probably arrived around 15,000 years ago. Some time later, around 8,000 years ago, they were displaced by or absorbed into a population whose ancestors migrated from the Sonoran Desert, a people who're today commonly referred to as Tongva. One of Tongva villages, Saa'anga, was located a little west of present day Culver City, near the mouth of Ballona Creek on Santa Monica Bay. There were other, smaller villages located around the watershed as well. 


THE SPANISH ERA 

In 1542 Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed what he believed to be the Island of California for country of Spain. In June 1769, Gaspar de Portolà embarked upon an overland expedition from San Diego, stopping near present-day Santa Monica on the 3rd of August. It was the prelude to the Tongva and other Native peoples' subjugation within the California Mission System.


THE MEXICAN ERA

Mexico began its war of independence with Spain in 1810 and finally achieved it in 1821. That year the 12.65 km2 Rancho de los Bueyes was granted to Bernardo Higuera and Cornelio Lopez. To the east was Rancho Las Cienegas and Rancho La Cienega o Paso de la Tijera. To the west was Rancho La Ballona.  Augustín Machado and Felipe Talamantes had earlier been granted permission to graze cattle on Rancho La Ballona in 1819, around which time the Machado built an adobe on the banks of the creek which soon flooded and washed away the structure (Ballona Creek was paved by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1935 to prevent further flooding). In 1821, Augustín's brother Ygnacio and Felipe's son Tom came on board the operation. In 1834, Ygnacio Machado built the Centinela Adobe in what's now Inglewood.



EARLY AMERICAN PERIOD

The first La Ballona School

Although the US conquered California from Mexico in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ensured that land holdings belonging to Mexicans would be honored by the victors. However, as early as 1857 the land began to change hands - first when Benjamin D. Wilson acquired a portion on foreclosure of an earlier loan to Talamantes. In 1849 Ygnacio had moved to El Pueblo (in Downtown Los Angeles). In preparation for the possibility of the the War Between the States coming to California, Camp Latham was established on the southern bank of Ballona Creek (near Jefferson and Overland) and commanded by Brigadier General George Wright. In 1865, La Ballona School was built in what was by then called the Ballona Valley -- and Augustín Machado died.



HARRY CULVER AND THE DAWN OF CULVER CITY

Harry Culver - center, 1929 (image source: Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register)

Harry Hazel Culver (born in Milford, Nebraska in 1880) began work as a Southern California real estate developer in 1910, in the employ of Isaac Newton Van Nuys. Van Nuys founded a community named after himself in the San Fernando Valley in 1911. In 1913 Culver announced his plan for his "Culver City" to be located at the intersection of three Pacific Electric Railway lines (the Del Rey, Santa Monica Air, and Venice Short lines) and "3 splendid boulevards" (National, Pico, and Washington).

Culver City in 1914

The planned community -- situated in the middle of nowhere but between Los Angeles, The Palms, and Venice of America -- was promoted with the slogan "All Roads Lead to Culver City." Ironically, Culver City's Main Street -- filed in 1913 -- was then reportedly the shortest such road in the world.

Culver City Main Street in 2013

In 1914 Culver started the Culver Investment Company. By then the instant community already boasted a train depot, cyclecar plant, and a macaroni factory. Culver City was incorporated on 20 September, 1917 with a population of just 530 residents -- all white -- as the now diverse community was at its inception a whites-only "sundown town."



THE RISE OF MOTION PICTURES

Triangle Studio in 1916 - Culver City's first film studio

In the late 1910s, Culver City arose as one of the biggest centers of film production on the west coast (rivaling Edendale, Highland Park, and Hollywood) with the establishment of three major studios -- Triangle Film Corporation, Thomas H. Ince Studios, Hal Roach Studios and their successors -- as well as smaller ones (such as Willat Studios). Two of the three studio facilities still exist and one was torn down and replaced with light industrial buildings.


TRIANGLE FILM CORPORATION

The old Triangle Film Corporation studios today

Harry Culver met producer-director Thomas H. Ince when he was filming a western near Ballona Creek for New York Motion Picture Company (who'd opened west coast studio in Edendale) and persuaded him to set up a new operation in fledgling Culver City. In July 1915, Ince -- in partnership with Harry and Roy Aitken, and filmmakers D. W. Griffith and Mack Sennett -- founded Culver City's first motion picture company, Triangle Film Corporation. The LA Times almost immediately after published an article titled "Culver City a Movie Center." By 1917 producer Adolph Zukor had taken control of the studio, which then became Paramount-Artcraft Pictures. In 1919 it was sold it to Samuel Goldwyn. In 1924, his Goldwyn Pictures Corporation studios became the property of Metro Goldywn Mayer.

The old MGM lot

Today the Greek colonnade still stands although behind it is Sony Pictures Studios (and Columbia). In 2012, a 30 meter high metal rainbow sculpture was added that's visible from outside the lot.

Sony Pictures Entertainment and Tony Tasset's Rainbow


THOMAS INCE STUDIOS

The Mansion - The old Ince Studios

In 1918 Ince purchased a new lot nearby and established Thomas H. Ince Studios. Meyer & Holler designed the building that now houses Culver Studios -- a Colonial Revival structure that was nicknamed "The Mansion." In 1922, Ince Studios merged with First National Pictures, Inc. In November, 1924, Ince was invited aboard William Randolph Hearst's yacht, the Oneida, to celebratehis birthday on a trip from San Pedro to San Diego. Other guests included actors Charlie Chaplin, Aileen Pringle, Jacqueline Logan, Julanne Johnston, Margaret Livingston, Seena Owen, Theodore Kosloff and others. Ince was initially delayed due to his finalizing a production deal with Hearst's International Film Coporation and the boat set sail without its guest of honor. After concluding business, Ince took a train to San Diego where he boarded the yacht. Three days after his 42nd birthday he was dead. The official version was that he'd grown ill on the yacht and been taken home where he died of a heart ailment but the rumor mill immediately began churning out variations on a story involving infidelity and murder (or accidental shooting). The story was the basis for Peter Bogdanovich's film, The Cat's Meow.




After his death, Ince's widow Elinor took over Ince Studios for a short time. The Mansion later housed DeMille Studio (the Cecil B. DeMille Theatre was added in 1927), RKO, RKO-Pathé, Selznick International, Desilu, and Laird International Studios.

To give a since of The Mansion's importance in film -- it was there that David O. Selznick and Victor Fleming made the highest grossing film of all time -- Gone with the Wind (1939) and Orson Welles filmed what's often considered to be the best film of all time, Citizen Kane (1940). When it was Desilu its soundstages were used to film TV series including The Andy Griffith Show and Star Trek, among others.


HAL E. ROACH STUDIOS

Hal E. Roach Studios "near Los Angeles" 

Due to Los Angeles zoning laws, Hal Roach couldn't expand his studio operations and so moved to movie-friendly Culver City in 1919. His new studio, nicknamed "The Lot of Fun," was located on Landmark Street -- just south of the modern day Culver City Station of the Expo Line. The studio employed one of Culver City's first professional musical acts -- the Hal Roach Studio Orchestra. Hal Roach, of course, famously "created" the comedic Laurel & Hardy duo. To this day, a local branch of the Sons of the Desert  (The Worldwide Laurel & Hardy Society) meet weekly at the Culver Hotel.
During World War II the facilities were used to produce training films and it came to be nicknamed "Fort Roach." It was demolished in 1963 and is now memorialized with a plaque (Culver City has more historical plaques than I've seen in any other exploration). 

Leave 'em Laughing plaque



CULVER CITY SILENT FILMS

Films made in Culver City during the great era of Silent Film include: Luke's Movie Muddle (1916); Ask Father, From Hand to Mouth, The Hayseed, The Brand, Chop Suey & Co., and The Lone Wolf's Daughter (all 1919); The Penalty, His Royal Slyness, Haunted Spooks, and An Eastern Westerner (all 1920); Never Weaken, Now or Never, A Sailor-Made Man, I Do, Among Those Present, and Dodge Your Debts (all 1921); Our Gang and Dr. Jack (both 1922);



Safety Last!
, Why Worry?, Dogs of War
, and The Soilers (all 1923); He Who Gets Slapped, Girl Shy, The Wife of the Centaur, The Snob, Smithy, One Night in Rome, Zeb vs. Paprika, Big Moments from Little Pictures, Sinners in Silk, The Beauty Prize, The Dixie Handicap, Going to Congress, Barbara Frietchie, Accidental Accidents, A Tour of the Thomas Ince Studio, and The Cowboy Sheik (all 1924);

The Big Parade, Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ, The Freshman, The Merry Widow, The Unholy Three, The Monster, Pretty Ladies, The Circle, 1925 Studio Tour, What Price Goofy?, Isn't Life Terrible?, The Sporting Venus, Zander the Great, Confessions of a Queen, Never the Twain Shall Meet, Daddy's Gone A-Hunting, Big Red Riding Hood, The Haunted Honeymoon, Cheaper to Marry
, and Unfriendly Enemies (all 1925);

Bardelys the Magnificent, La Bohème, The Temptress, Tell it to the Marines, 45 Minutes from Hollywood, Along Came Auntie, Long Fliv the King, Exit Smiling, Mighty Like a Moose, Crazy Like a Fox, On the Front Page, Raggedy Rose, Valencia, Exquisite Sinner, For Alimony Only, The Fire Brigade, Monte Carlo, Dance Madness, The Barrier, Wise Guys Prefer Brunettes
, and Scared Stiff (all 1926);

and The Show, The King of Kings, Love, West Point, Chicago, Annie Laurie, The Second 100 Years , Duck Soup, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, Mr. Wu, Putting Pants on Philip, The Red Mill, Hats Off, The Battle of the Century, Why Girls Love Sailors, Sugar Daddies, Love 'em and Weep, Sailors Beware, Slipping Wives, With Love and Hisses, Buttons, The Flag: A Story Inspired by the Tradition of Betsy Ross, Olympic Games, Baby Brother, The Callahans and the Murphys, Tillie the Toiler, The Honorable Mr. Buggs, Adam and Evil, Are Brunettes Safe?, and Lovers? (all 1927).


THE HEART OF SCREENLAND TODAY

Culver City is still very active in film production. Normally I try to mention all of the films shot within a community but, at well over 11,000 there are far too many for a blog entry. If you'd like to peruse the IMDB list (sorted by date), click here.

To further emphasize how important Culver City's contribution has been I'll list just a few films made in Culver City have helped define, erm, Hollywood, including: King Kong (1933), The Thin Man (1934), The Good Earth (1937), A Star is Born (1937), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Rebecca (1940), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Singin' In the Rain (1952), Oklahoma! (1955), The Night of the Hunter (1955), and Forbidden Planet (1956). It's also where TV shows like The Amos 'n Andy Show, The Adventures of Superman, The Life of Riley, The Abbott and Costello Show, The Great Gildersleeve, Lassie, The Thin Man, Gunsmoke, The Green Hornet, Gomer Pyle, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Little House on the Prairie and many others were filmed too.

Today Culver City is home to Sony Pictures Entertainment, the community's largest employer. It's the birthplace of film figures including Charles Herbert, Dee Dee Davis, Drew Barrymore, Gwen Verdon, Helen Hunt, and Michael Richards. Finally, it's also home to many production companies, talent agencies, studios, distribution companies, consulting firms, &c all having to do with film production.



EXPLOSIVE GROWTH

The Washington Building -- begun in 1926 and designed by Arthur D. Scholz and Orville L. Clark

The 1920s were the time of Culver City's greatest population growth -- the population increased over 1000% from just 503 to 5,669 during the decade. Prohibition, which lasted between 1919 and 1933, was somewhat ignored around Culver City and supposedly the race tracks, speakeasies, and nightclubs along Washington Boulevard were the reason Culver City annexed the area in 1924. During the Prohibition era Culver City was home to a thriving nightlife based around The Green Mill (which became Sebastian's Cotton Club -- where Lionel Hampton began his career with Les Hite), King's Tropical Inn (established in 1924), Barton's, Casa Mañana, Ford's Castle, Frank's Bar and Grill, The Hoosegow, The Hot Spot Café, and Moonlite Gardens. As a result, Culver City (along with Venice and Vernon) acquired a reputation as quite a happening and slightly lawless place. Culver City Council finally took action to prohibit gambling in 1928.


HOTEL HUNT - CULVER HOTEL

The Culver Hotel (right) and Pacific Culver Stadium 12 (left)

In 1924 the six-story flatiron skyscraper (the sky was lower in those days) Hotel Hunt was completed. Although no longer the tallest building in Culver City, it's still widely visible and is the most iconic structure in the community.At some point early on it was re-named the Culver Hotel. From 1924 until 1933 it housed Harry Culver's offices. It was later owned by John Wayne and in the past housed many movie stars including Buster KeatonClark Gable, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Red Skelton, and Ronald Reagan. Before it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, it was actually in danger of being demolished.


CULVER CITY SPEEDWAY

Culver City Speedway  1949 (image source: Auto Racing Memories)

From 1924 until 1927, the Culver City Speedway hosted auto races at a facility located near Overland Avenue and Culver Boulevard.


THE MERALTA



The Meralta was opened in 1924 by Pearl Merrill and Laura Peralta (who combined their family names to create the theater's name). The first film shown at the Will Rogers-hosted premier was Del Andrews's film, The Galloping Fish. It closed in 1983 and was demolished the following year -- replaced with a shopping plaza. 


CULVER CITYBUS

Gateway Station Post Office (built in 1940 ) includes a mural by George Samerjan (left) and CityBus (right)

Culver CityBus was founded along with Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus in 1928 -- they're the oldest municipal transit companies in the state. In 1997 a new Transportation Facility (with big urn sculpture in front) opened.

City of Culver City Transportation and Purchasing

At 2011's Government Fleet Conference, Culver CityBus was voted the 5th best fleet in North America. The regular fleet buses are green and the rapid buses are gray. In addition to Culver City its seven lines serve Century City, Mar Vista, Marina del Rey, Palms, Venice, Westchester, West Los Angeles, and Westwood -- covering an area of almost 70 km2.


ROLLERDROME



Rollerdrome opened in 1928 at the present location of Tellefson Park. An organ was added in 1929 and the house organist was Carl Osterloh. It was demolished in 1970.


THE CITIZEN

The Citizen Building

The Citizen Building was constructed in 1929 (the same year the older Culver City Star News merged with The Venice Vanguard). It served as the new home of The Citizen Publishing and Printing Company, first established in San Francisco in 1923 by Eugene Donovan before relocating to Southern California. The building, which mixes elements of Art Deco and Beaux Arts, was designed by Orville E. Clark and is eye-catching if a bit difficult to do justice to with photographs (on account of trees and traffic). In 1987, the Citizen Building became the first structure in Culver City to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Donvan's paper, The Citizen, actually ran a contest to rename Culver City. Entries included "Cinema City" and "Filmville" but obviously, Culver City's name remained the same after Hollywood and Culver City buried the hatchet at Grauman's Chinese Theatre



THE GREAT DEPRESSION

The Art Deco Beacon Laundry -- built in 1930

Thanks in large part to the film industry and new developments, Culver City fared relatively well during the Great Depression. The city adopted a municipal seal with the words "The Heart of Screenland" in 1936. In 1937 the city changed its slogan to "Culver City, Where Hollywood Movies Are Made." On 6 June, 1937 a measure was actually passed to change Culver City's name to "Hollywood" at which point Los Angeles responded by granting official recognition to and establishing official borders  of the Hollywood neighborhood. There were also several other key industries established in and around the city. A greyhound racing track was opened by Culver City Kennel near Lincoln and Washington Boulevards. Nonetheless, after the boom of the 1920s, population growth slowed tremendously even with the annexation of McManus Park.



HELMS BAKERY

Helms Bakery

Paul Helms's Helms Bakery was established on the border of Culver City and Los Angeles (in what's now known as the Helms Bakery District) in 1931. In 1932, during the Olympics, Helms Bakery supplied bread to the Olympic Village in Baldwin Hills. For more than forty years its fleet of delivery drivers brought bread "daily at your door" until 1969, when bakery closed shop.  In October, 2013 it was announced that chefs Sherry Yard and Sang Yoon plan to revive the bakery later in the fall.


HUGHES AIRCRAFT COMPANY

Culver City Airport and Hughes Aircraft Plant

From 1932 to 1985 the Culver City Airport and Hughes Aircraft Plant was established just outside of Culver City. Though technically located within Los Angeles; the name, proximity, and jobs it provided for Culverites make it worthy of a mention here, I think.


ST. AUGUSTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH

St. Augustine's Catholic Church

In 1883, the Figueroa family donated land for the construction of St. Augustine's, the first church in what became Culver City. It was completed in 1887. The new Franco-Gothic church was dedicated 1936.


HOLY CROSS CEMETERY 

The Grotto at Holy Cross (image source: Death 2UR)

The Roman Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery opened in 1939. An area known as "The Grotto" is, as they say, the final resting place of many celebrities including: Audrey Meadows, Bela Lugosi, Bing Crosby, Charles Boyer, Dennis Day, Edmond O'Brien, Fred MacMurray, Henry Hathaway, Jack Haley, Jackie Coogan, Jimmy Durante, Joan Davis, Joe Flynn, John Candy, John Ford, Lawrence Welk, Loretta Young, Louella Parsons, MacDonald Carey, Mario Lanza, Mary Astor, Mary Frann, Pat O'Brien, Ray Bolger, Richard Arlen, Rita Hayworth, Rosalind Russell, Sharon Tate, Spike Jones, Vince Edwards, and ZaSu Pitts among others.



CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS

Chinese Elms planted in the 1940s

The 1940s saw both increasing diversity within Culver City's population and at the same time, the population growth rate began to increase again -- although it nonetheless nearly reached 20,000 by the decade's end. Prior to the 1930s, most Jewish Angelenos had lived in the Eastside in neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights, City Terrace, and East Los Angeles. Toward the end of that decade and into the 1940s, many moved west to Hollywood, Midtown and especially the Westside. Culver passed away on 17 August, 1946 -- two years before the US Supreme Court banned segregation, which even more radically changed Culver City's complexion although restrictions against multiple-family housing helped retain an economic segregation. 


B'NAI B'RITH MEMORIAL PARK (HILLSIDE MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY)

Al Jolson Memorial Shrine (image by David Horan for Paul Williams Project)

B'nai B'rith Memorial Park opened in 1941 just beyond the borders of Culver City. It was renamed Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in 1950. The Al Jolson Memorial Shrine was designed by great Los Angeles architect, Paul Williams, in 1954. The cemetery was annexed by Culver City in 1964. It contains the earthly remains of Allan Sherman, David Janssen, Dinah Shore, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Jack Benny, Jeff Chandler, Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Milton Berle, Moe Howard, Shelley Winters, and Vic Morrow among others.


CULVER THEATRE - KIRK DOUGLAS THEATRE

Kirk Douglas Theatre fka Culver Theatre

The beautiful, 1,1640-seat, Streamline Moderne Culver Theatre opened in 1946. At some later point it was regrettably divided into a three-screen theater before being gutted in 1994. In the years since it's been renovated and transformed into a performing arts center and playhouse known now as the Kirk Douglas Theatre.


STUDIO DRIVE-IN



The Studio Drive-In opened in 1948. It was featured in several films including Grease and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. It was closed in 1993 before being demolished in 1998 and redeveloped as The Classics at Heritage Park and Eras Center. (To read about still extant SoCal drive-ins, click here).


TRAINS OUT, CARS IN



The 1950s were a decade of increasing development. Passenger rail service ended in 1953 with the discontinuation of the Pacific Electric Railway line and at the same time car dealerships proliferated -- as did bowling alleys. In 1951, the annual Fiesta Ballona began -- an outgrowth of the earlier Tom Sawyer Days festivities which had begun in the 1930s. In 1953, the Temple Akiba opened to serve the community's growing Jewish population.


CULVER CENTER (AND SHIPS)

Ships Coffee Shop at Culver Center

The Culver Center shopping center opened in 1950, one of Southern California's first malls. In its honor, Hacienda Street was renamed Culver Center Street. The first Ship's coffee shop opened there in 1956. Fearing that Culver Center's growing dominance could spell the end for Culver City's smal downtown, the city council refused to allow May Company to open a shop in the mall.


VETERAN'S MEMORIAL BUILDING 

Veteran's Memorial Center and Film Strip-USA

Veteran's Memorial Building also opened in 1950, a year after Exposition Park was renamed Veteran's Park. Its most eye-catching feature was its Tourist Tower, which offered tourists a glimpse of the nearby studio's back lots and pretty stunning views -- although its been closed to visitors for several decades now. The current Lethbridge-Garden Room was then home to the Tower Restaurant. In front of the center is a fountain and sculpture titled Film Strip-USA, dedicated in 1984 to what the plaque calls "The Motion Picture Capital of the World." 


NIGHT WATCH

Even less recognized than Culver City's contribution to film is its contribution to reality programming -- although it likewise should be otherwise. In 1954, the great (if obscure) Night Watch debuted on CBS. It wasn't the first reality show -- that would be Candid Camera which debuted in 1948. But whereas the latter was nothing more than the sort of silly prank show still popular around the world, the latter was something more interesting. Night Watch was developed and hosted by Culver City police reporter Donn Reed at a time when audiences were leaving radio for TV and radio responded by offering realism (and perhaps voyeuristic exploitation) that the family boob tube couldn't. Each episode involved Reed riding with Sgt. Ron Perkins from 6:00 pm till 2:00 am and recording everything. It ended its short run in 1955 but all 48 episodes still exist and are fascinating glimpses of Culver City life in the 1950s. You can listen to them all here.



CULVER CITY IN THE 1960s

In the 1960s, although Culver City continued to annex more territory (including, notably, Fox Hills), the population growth rate again dropped, as it has in most of the decades since. In 1964 Culver City established its first Sister City relationship with Uruapan, Mexico. Though Culver City remains comprised mostly of single family homes it was during this time that the first apartments and condominiums were constructed. The first condo complex, Studio Village Townhouses, was completed in 1965. In the next decade, more studio properties would be sold off and redeveloped into residential complexes and shopping centers.


COMPETITION MOTORS

Culver City Competition Motors (photographed by Julius Shulman)

In 1961 entrepreneur and race car enthusiast John von Neumann hired Paul R. Williams to design the new headquarters for his Competition Motors on in Culver City. Von Neumann was responsible more than any other individual for popularizing Volkswagen in the US. Consider this -- whereas in 1953 there had been no American dealers of the car, by 1962 von Neumann alone had opened 57 Volkswagen dealerships in the country. By 1964 Competition Motors moved out, having outgrown the facility. I'm not sure when it happened but it Williams's beautiful building was demolished.



MEDITATION AND MALLS  

I'm sure a great deal more of note happened in Culver City in the 1970s than what I'm writing about but that's all I've got for now. 

THE JULIAN DIXON LIBRARY AND MEDITATION GARDEN

Kaizuka Meditation Garden

In 1974, another of Culver City's sister cities, Kaizuka, Japan, created a meditation garden in front of the Culver City Library. On the day that I visited it I discovered that the garden it's relatively inaccessible due its being surrounded by a fence. What's more, no water was running in the stream and the mill wheel was motionless. Further encumbering any efforts at meditation was the loud and seemingly endless stream of traffic behind me on Overland Avenue. Meanwhile the interior of the Culver City Julian Dixon Library, as it's now known, proved much more peaceful.


FOX HILLS MALL

Fox Hills Mall opened in 1975. The Gruen Associates-designed mall was the first three-story shopping complex to open in California. It was purchased by Westfield in 1998 and renamed Westfield Shoppingtown Fox Hills (The "Shoppingtown" was dropped in 2005). Jonathan Gold wrote a complimentary review of its "dining terrace" (food court) for the LA Weekly shortly before leaving that publication. It's currently officially known as Westfield Culver City.


DECLINE AND
 REDEVELOPMENT

The 1980s were marked by the AIDS crisis, Deinstitutionalization, Crack Wars, Gang Wars, and the Central American Refugee Crisis. It almost proved to be too much for the city that had weathered the Depression with comparative ease. The city's hopes for renewal were pinned on the destruction of The Meralta theater and the replacement of it with the Meralta Plaza office building.


FILMLAND CORPORATE CENTER - SONY PICTURES PLAZA

Sony Pictures Plaza -- undoubtedly designed by Cylons

In 1986, the Filmland Corporate Center was completed (now Sony Pictures Plaza) -- another of several projects helmed by the Culver City Redevelopment Agency within a short period. The pink granite pyramid-ish atrium portrayed the Wolfram & Hart offices on TV's Angel. Interested visitors can tour the studio, with daily tours starting here.


CORPORATE POINTE

Coporate Point (image source: CoStar)

In 1989, the three tower complex of Corporate Pointe was completed -- the tallest building is twelve stories and its construction prompted slow growth advocates ro react by successfully lowering Culver City's height limit to just 56 feet in 1990.


SONY - FILMED IN CULVER CITY

Culver City City Hall

Culver City's comeback continued in the 1990s. Sony bought MGM's old studio in 1990 and established itself as the dominant economic force in town. Beginning with 1991's films Bugsy and Hook, Sony films shot in Culver City stated in their credits that they were "Filmed in Culver City." A new City Hall was dedicated in 1995, behind the mock facade of the original city hall -- meant to suggest a film set.

Sony Pictures Imageworks

Sony Pictures Imageworks opened in 1992. This is where the visual effects and digital animation that characterize mainstream American film happens.

CULVER CITY IN THE 21st CENTURY

Construction of an Expo Line bridge and a Del Taco

In 2003, NPR West moved to Culver City. The Art Deco-styled (at least the exterior) Pacific Culver Stadium 12 multiplex opened in 2003. The Expo Line returned rail service and developers clamored to construct mixed-use transit-oriented developments. Around the same time a tribe of people calling themselves "foodies" starting visiting it. In 2009 it won Curbed LA's Curbed Cup -- basically their annual community popularity contest.


*****



GETTING TO AND AROUND CULVER CITY

Culver City Station - Expo Line train and a recently-paved parking lot (what would Joni Mitchell think?)

As already mentioned, Culver City is home to the excellent Culver CityBus system. In 2012, after 60 years without it, passenger rail service returned to Culver City (and the Westside) with the arrival of the Expo Line (which I explored both the completed section of, and the under-construction section of, for my KCET column, Block By Block). Before too long the train will go all the way to the Pacific Ocean (although it shouldn't be confused with the "Subway to the Sea," which is scheduled to take several decades to get there).

Expo Line (left) and bike lane (right)

Parallel to the Expo Line along most of its length is a bike path. There's also the Ballona Creek Bike Path that runs about eleven kilometers from near the eastern edge of Culver City to the Ballona Creek Estuary and Wetlands along Santa Monica Bay. Finally, there's the 3.4 km Culver Boulevard Meridian Bicycle Path and of course, bikes can ride on all city streets as well.

Ballona Creek and bike path

Additionally, Culver City is served by two Los Angeles Metro Bus lines (33 and 733), and Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus. And if you're the walking time, as I am, it's quite walkable. Walkscore gives Culver City a score of 79. The 90232 zip code, which includes most of the city's attractions, gets an 84 -- only one point lower than New York City and San Francisco -- the current #1 and #2 on the list.

If you want to stay overnight in Culver City there's of course the famous and highly-rated Culver Hotel as well as (in descending order of current Yelp ratings) Culver City Travelodge, Jasmine Hotel, Ramada Culver City, Sunburst Motel, Half Moon Motel, Astro Motel, Deano's Motel, and West End Hotel.



CULVER CITY EATS

What's the story with this clock? 

One of my absolute favorite things about Culver City is the diversity of the restaurant scene. There are restaurants serving Asian Fusion, Brazilian, British, Burmese, Creole, Cuban, Ethiopian, French, Greek, Hawaiian, Indian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Mexican, New American, Pakastani, Salvadoran, Taiwanese, Thai, Vegetarian, and Vietnamese cuisine, among others.

Oddly, on the day that I explored for this blog entry and despite the amazing choices available, every single person I saw at every single sidewalk café was grazing on salad. At first I thought it was some sort of special holiday or maybe I'd walked onto the set of a commercial for lettuce or something but I think it was actually an indication of the importance of "the Industry" actually; these people were quite likely "doing" lunch (in the parlance of schmooze).

There have been a couple of hiccups with the food explosion. Until 2011 there was Westside Food Truck Central and the Culver City Food Truck Fest which may or may not return after permits are sorted out. In the past I've enjoyed meals at Café Brasil, Empanada's Place, and shojin I have also heard a lot of raving (and almost just as much dissent) about Tito's Tacos -- but have yet to check it out -- suspecting (even though I should know better)  that its fans may never have crossed the LA River to the Eastside.

Culver City Farmers Market mural

If you'd like to learn how to cook, you can attend Culver City's New School of Cooking. You can get restaurant supplies from Surfas, which has been around since 1937. The Culver City Farmers Market takes place downtown every Tuesday from 3:00 to 7:00. It was actually setting up as I left the area and headed west, stopping at and enjoying a lunch at Samosa House (East). 

Other restaurants include:

A-Frame, Akasha, All India Flavor, Aramark, Bada Bing Italian Grill, Bawarchi Indian Kitchen, Bellagio, Big Fat Pita, Big Tomy's, Bistro Laurent, Bottlerock, Brunello Trattoria, Buffalo Wings & Pizza, Café Allegro, Café Creole, Café Laurent, Café Nagomi Truck, Café Surfas, California Roll & Sushi, Campos Tacos, Cappriotti's, Cilantro Fresh Mexican Grill, Cinco de Mayo, Creme de la Crepe, The Culver Studios Commissary, Dear John's, Delhi Biryani House, Dios Union Libertad, Don Felix Meat Market,

Dragon Restaurant, E K Valley Restaurant, Ekkamai Thai Restaurant, El Baron Restaurant and Night Club, El Jacalito, El Rincon Criollo, El Rio Bravo Restaurant, El Super Taco Deluxe
, Extreme Pizza, 5i Indochine Cuisine, Food Square, Ford's Filling Station, Fresh in the Box, Fuji Wok & Sushi, Gaby's Express Mediterranean Café, George Petrelli's Steak House, Good Eatz Café, Grand Casino Bakeries, Great Khan's Mongolian BarbequeGreen Peas, Green Truck, Grey Block Pizza,

Hamakaze Sushi Izakaya,
Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken, Huddle West Café, India Sweets and Spices, Industry Café & Jazz, Jackson Market, Jasmine Market, Jerry's Market, Johnnie's Pastrami Restaurant, Joyce's Pizza & Submarine Sandwiches, JR's BarbequeK-ZO, Kabab Bistro, King's Kabob, L'Epicerie Market, La Dijonaise Café et Boulangerie, LA Spice, LaRocco's Pizzeria, Libra Brazilian SteakhouseLucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que,Lunch, Lukshon, LYFE Kitchen,

M Café de Chaya, Mandarin Dish, Marin Company Steak & Spirits, Martini's Italian Deli & Pizza, Maxwell's Café, Meet in Paris, Metro Café, Mi Ranchito, Mongrill Gourmet Mongolian BBQ, Muddy Leek, Mykonos Greek Grill, Native Foods CaféNovocento Pasta & Grill, 101 Noodle ExpressOutdoor Grill, Panda Thai Kitchen, Patio Café, Pho ShowPinches Tacos, Pitfire Artisan Pizza, The Point, Polentoni, Public School 310, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Ramen Yamadaya,

The Restaurant at the Culver Hotel, Rising Hearts, Rita Hayworth Dining Room, Rocco's Tavern, Rockenwagner Bakery, Roll 'n Rye, Royal Chinese Food & Donut, Rush Street, Rutt's Hawaiian Café, S & W Country DinerSage Oragnic Vegan Bistro, Sake House by Hikari, Sarku Japan Sushi Bar, Sharlimar Cuisine of India, Shikibu Sushi & Pastry, Signature Burger, Signature Café, Smashburger, Sony Pictures Plaza Cafeteria, Sorrento Italian Market, Sushi Karen Japanese Restaurant,

Sushi Mashiko, Swanya Thai Cuisine, Taqueria Estilo, Tender Greens, TrimanaTub's Fine Chile, Ugo Café, Vera Pizza Napoletana, Victor Jr's, Viet Gourmet Express, Villa Italian Restaurant, Waterloo & City, Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza, The Wood Café,
 Yen Sushi Lounge and KaraokeZam Zam Market, ZZ Truck, and 041 Bacaro



CULVER CITY DRINKS

For the thirsty, there are a few places to wet one's whistle in Culver City including Alibi Room, Apothecary Café, Backstage Bar & Grill, The Bar at the Culver Hotel, Bird Pick Tea & Herb, Bottlerock, Caffe Carpe Diem, The Cinema BarCity TavernCoffee Buna, Cognoscenti Coffee, Conservatory For Coffee Tea & Cocoa, The Corner Door, Cozy Inn, Al Alteno Bar, Espresso Primo, George's Coffee Shop, Island Monarch Coffee, Joxer Daly's, King's Café, The Redd Collection, The Rumor Mill, Scarlet Lady Saloon, Seventy7, The Spot Café & Lounge, Studio BarTanner's Coffee Co, Tattle Tale Room, and Ugo Wine Bar.



CULVER CITY MUSIC SCENE

There have been at least a couple of "city songs" composed for Culver City. In 1967, Doris Hechinger composed "Culver City." In 1985, Marilyn Freiden Clark composed, "Our Culver City." The Culver City Symphony Orchestra has performed since 2000. It was also formerly home to Bratton Music Publishing Company (see below)

Bratton Music Publishing Co. sheet music (image source: Songs in the Key of L.A.)

Culver City is the birthplace or home base of several performers including (I think) include Aerial Stereo, Amy's Crusade, Andy ShigekawaAnonymoose and Young Cookie, APEX, Aphex Wolf, The Bad Bad Things, Becky Stark, bikos, The Black Heartthrobs, The Bomb Camarillos, Bronwen Jones, Chorus Babblebones, Chris Clarke, Co Wave, color cycle, Confucius is Confused, Cori Jacobs, Debbie HennesseyDJ Max FactorEarly the MC, Endor, Evyn Charles, Gorgonized Dorks, Ibn Gold, IkonInfernal Assault, Michael Nhat, Puppets, Rocky George (of Pap Smear, Suicidal Tendencies, 40 Cycle Hum, Cro-Mags, and Fishbone), Strings By Reiko, Tibay, TonyMoss, TVghettoblasterman, Vedad M, Ven Olac, VerBS, Yeren, and XPlatter. I'm not sure if he was born there but KXLU's DJ Ned Learner is widely associated with Culver City. 

Local music stores include Boulevard Music (who host the Boulevard Summer Music Festival), Culver City Music Center (which offers music lessons), and Latin Music Warehouse. Furthermore, Beats By Dre's headquarters are there, the Harvest Festival of Dulcimers takes place there, and Industry Cafe & Jazz features live music and poetry open mic nights. There are also almost certainly several music studios although the only one that I noticed were Musicians Choice Studio and Sound Space Lab.



ART IN CULVER CITY (AND THE CULVER CITY ARTS DISTRICT)

In a 2007 New York Times piece titled "In Culver City, Calif., Art and Food Turn a Nowhere Into a Somewhere" the writer refers to Culver City as a "nascent Chelsea" -- comparing Los Angeles to New York is the paper's highest honor. Anyway, the article mentions The Actor's Gang, Blum & Poe, HD Buttercup, The Mandrake Bar, and LAXart Gallery -- not one of those happens to be actually in Culver City, mind you. That's right, the arts area often referred to as the Culver City Arts District is almost entirely located within Los Angeles and not Culver City.

Helms District and beyond, the strip of Arts District along Washington actually within Culver City

The narrow strip of the Arts District along Washington that actually is within Culver City is home to quite a few galleries such as Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary Art, Century Guild, Corey Helford Gallery, Fresh Paint, George Lawson Gallery, Indie Collective, Kinkead ContemporaryKoplin Del Rio Gallery, LeBasse Projects, Mark Moore Gallery, Prohibition Gallery, Roberts & Tilton, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Taylor De Cordoba, Thinkspace Gallery, and Washington Reid Gallery.

Harold L. Pastorius's Emerald Rings

Other art galleries that I'm pretty sure are in Culver City include Bradford Stewart, Marlene Louchheim, The Pop Studio, Royal/T, Subspace Art, Teale Street Sculpture Studio & Gallery, Whole 9 Gallery, and WWA Gallery. To see a map of galleries in the Culver City Arts Distict (both within and without Culver City) click here.

De L'Espries The Path of Life (2001)

There's plenty of public art too -- maybe too much. In 2009, construction workers mistook Jebediah Caeser's Gleaners Stone for construction materials and removed it. In my travels I noticed Harold L. Pastorius's Emerald Rings, The Lion's Fountain, and De L'Esprie's Path of Life (plus a lot of murals).


Rivers of the World mural


Postcards from Ballona


Click here
to see a map of public art in Culver City or here to see LAist's piece on a Culver City public art scavenger hunt. 



HELMS BAKERY DISTRICT

Helms Bakery closed in 1969 and in 1974 it was purchased by Walter N. Marks. It's now home to several restaurants and home décor places. It also hosts the Culver City Patchwork in which local artisans peddle their wares. The old bakery actually straddles the Culver City and Los Angeles border. At the southern end, La Dijonaise Café et Boulangerie and Lukshon are in Culver City. At the northern end, Father's Office is not. The distinction isn't totally obvious from street level although Helms Avenue becomes the pedestrian-only Helms Walk as it enters Culver City. The Helms District has also hosted LuckyRice -- one of the region's increasingly popular night markets -- and the Sunset Cinema sumer outdoor film screenings.



HAYDEN TRACT

The Hayden Tract

One of the other interesting neighborhoods of Culver City is the Hayden Tract, the city's former industrial district. Now most of them are home to offices by and studios for architects, graphic designers, new media types, software engineers, &c. Some of the newer and altered buildings in the area serve as calling cards for their creators (especially Eric Owen Moss, who should be proclaimed the Hayden Tract's honorary mayor) such as the Beehive, the Box Building, the Broadway Building, the Gateway Art Tower, the Samitaur Tower, the Stealth Building, and the "What Wall" Building. It's one of the most eye-catching collections of post-modern buildings in Los Angeles County.

Eric Owen Moss's The Beehive (1998)


Eric Owen Moss's  Gateway Art Tower (2010)

CULVER CITY PARKS

Culver City Park

Culver City is home to several parks. On one 4th of July I went with some friends to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook or Culver City Park. From up on the hill we could see the entire Westside and noticed that nowhere were there any fireworks. Thoroughly nonplussed a couple of us headed what turned out to be south, discovering in South LA that yes, there are people west of Western who like fireworks displays. Culver City is also home to Blair Hills Park, Blanco Park, The Boneyard, Carlson Park, Culver City Skate Park, Culver West Alexander Park, El Marino Park, Fox Hills Park, Lindberg Park, and Syd Kronenthal Park.



OTHER SITES TO SEE

If you like museums there's the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (focused on African-American memorabilia) and the Wende Museum (focused on Soviet and East German art). There are several book stores including Agape Quiet Mind Bookstore, Arcana Books on the Arts, Archangel Michael Orthodox Bookstore, Pauline Books and Media, and Vagabond Books. Culver City is also home to Blind Barber (a barbershop and lounge), the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center, Culver Ice Arena, Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center, A Magic Forest (a children's space), and STAR Eco Station.(an environmental education and wildlife rescue center).



CULVER CLUBS


Culver City Teen Center

If you want to get involved in Culver City, there have been a great deal of civic organizations and clubs. The Culver City Westside Barbell Club seems to be inactive but the Culver City Woman's Club (established in 1920), Culver City Chamber of Commerce (established in 1921), Culver City Lions Club (established in 1923), Rotary Club of Culver City (established in 1930), Culver Palms YMCA (established in 1944), Culver City Historical Society (established in 1980), Kiwanis Club of Culver City, Optimist Club of Culver City, and Culver City Garden Club seem to all still be around (as are many others). Teens can utilize the Culver City Teen Center (with a parent's signature).

God Bless America and Aloha -  Guan Yu and the Virgin Mary in Culver City

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FOR FURTHER READING ON CULVER CITY, check out Julie Lugo Cerra's (Culver City's honorary historian) Culver City, Culver City Chronicles, Culver City: The Heart of Screenland, and Movie Studios of Culver City (the latter co-written by Marc Wanamaker). For current events there's the Culver City Times, Culver City Patch, Culver City News Blog, and Culver City Crossroads. For further viewing, look for Visiting... With Huell Howser "Episode #1804 - Culver City" (classic Huell begins around 12:40).

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