Yesterday, we shared our thoughts on 2011 and art in Los Angeles, giving some insight into which shows got us the most excited and did the most for the city. Today, we’re going to look at something a little more nebulous: news and culture. So much has happened this year and, while a lot is forgotten, a lot is still very fresh in our minds and need to be noticed. Thus, our thoughts (again: in no particular order).
This year was marked by heavy, heavy drama surrounding murals. They were banned, people went I N S A N E, there were lots of discussions about it and new ideas raised, and now we wait for it to be rescineded. The new ordinance seeks to separate murals from commercial signage and make it so buildings receiving murals must have permission by way of a permit before work on the mural is done. Let’s hope this is fixed soon!
So, like, if you haven’t heard about Occupy Los Angeles or Occupy Wall Street or Occupy [Insert City or Institution or Neighborhood or Person or Idea-That-Needs-Occupying], you obviously were in hibernation all year. The radical movement brought a lot of drama and placidity to Los Angeles and surrounding areas, as the government was worried about their lawns, Downtown Farmers Market vendors were getting pissed, and no real “brutality” happened (sure, lots went to jail, but we didn’t make national news like, um, Oakland). For more on this and scenes from the ousting of Occupiers Downtown, check out our main man Justin Sullivan’s photo coverage.
The West Hollywood Library
We mentioned the murals yesterday but, guys, the library itself is fantastic. Not only is it a great piece of architecture, it also has cleaned up the area and taken away much of the construction eyesores. This place makes you want to start writing your book or get your bookworm on because it’s the perfect place to do both of those activites.
Rocket Video Closing
After switching locations on La Brea less than a year before, Rocket Video–the Los Angeles video rental institution–closed its doors. We really don’t feel like enough people covered this or properly mourned the loss of the once rocket-passing-over-a-planet façaded store since it was an LA landmark. We still do miss the store and will forever hold a place for it in our hearts.
Los Angeles Wind Storms And Blackouts
Just earlier this month, the Santa Ana winds went wild and stormed Los Angeles. Trees were down everywhere, lots of people were without power (for days into weeks), and we still haven’t fully recovered (yeah, I’m talking to you chopped up palm tree in front of my apartment complex). The winds have intermittently continued to wreak havoc on the city since the initial blows (ha!). We’re so over it. We’re also so over how cold and wet it has been this fall as well.
The Death Of Elizabeth Taylor And Steve Jobs
There were many, many sad passings this year. However, the two that hit Angelenos and us at LAIY the most were Elizabeth Taylor and Steve Jobs. Taylor, a huge celebrity, icon, activist, and Angeleno, had a huge impact on the city and very recently showed her belongings and eventually sold them in a huge record breaking auction. Jobs’ passing was a devastating shock to the world and definitely had us in tears. You can check our coverage of this over on The Fox Is Black.
Eric Garcetti To Run For Mayor
We were and still are sooooooooooooo excited about this: Eric Garcetti, the dreamboat genius who is the Los Angeles City Council President, put the motions in order to run for mayor of Los Angeles in 2013, when Antonio Villaraigosa steps down. This is likely our pick for the biggest news story of the year and we’re super, super, super pumped to see him eventually take office (because he totally will win).
Umami Becomes SBEmami
In a sad (but inevitable?) move, Umami went splitsies with the local evil geniuses at SBE. The company that owns properties like Hyde, Katsuya, Papaya King, XIV, The Colony, and many other places that don’t sound that fun have agreed to give Umami lots of money to expand. However, that comes at the price of 50% ownership in the brand. Well, get that cash Umami…but, goodbye Los Angeles loyalty!
Los Angeles Doesn’t Have The Worst Traffic!!
Somewhat shocking, the US Census released information earlier this year on traffic and Los Angeles’ fabled crown of having the worst traffic was removed and placed atop of New York City. While most New Yorkers don’t drive and were trying to pin the blame back on us, that didn’t happen as cities right outside of New York in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, DC, Baltimore, and San Francisco also had worse traffic than us. Although it doesn’t always feel like this, this is apparently the case…and we’ll take good publicity wherever we can get it!
The Dodgers And The Drama
The Dodgers have had quite a year. First, their fans were the worst and scared everyone from wanting to see games because they nearly killed a fan of another team at the opening game this year. Secondly, the drama of Frank McCourt and ownership raged on far too long and made us all look like idiots. Now? We’re in a safe-r zone and the team is being restored as the city’s darlings. We’ll see what happens to this and here’s hoping next year’s opening game is very, very, very uneventful.
Arnold Schwarzenegger :(
Ugh. Arnold Schwarzenegger. You were poised for a comeback. You were one of the nation’s coolest and best governors. You were married to a fucking Kennedy!!! And you poo poo’d all over that with a marital scandal that came straight out of a telenovela. Sorry it came to this and we wish you the best of luck–but you let California down, man. (Also, how weird was it that Art Streiber photographed him for Vanity Fair and Maria Shriver for Los Angeles Magazine within the same month? AWWWWKKWARRRDDDD.)
Now, we didn’t see the film, but everyone LOVED Drive. It also seemed to create Los Angeles as a character in the film…so we hear! Creatives love it and we love the sound track and we know this is a film that has done the Los Angeles film canon proud. Add it into Los Angeles Plays Itself, Thom Andersen!
This is probably our second biggest story of the year since, well, we love Chick-Fil-A. Sure, we hate the politics behind it but–damn–is that chicken good. The Sunset and Highland location opened late summer to rival other high-end fast foodery on Sunset, In-N-Out. They’ve been really successful (maybe even too successful), thus a word of advice: skip the drive through and run out and stand in the virtually-always-empty-line.
So, that was 2011, everyone. Can I also say that compiling this list was SOOOO hard? First off, who remembers anything past September? No one. Secondly, why is it so hard to backtrack what happened in a year for a city? LA Times? LAist? Huffington Post? Wikipedia? No. Thankfully, KPCC made it easiest with their Day In A Page feature, which let me troll headlines for everyday this year. Thank heavens for that! What are your thoughts on this year in LA? Bummed Battle: Los Angeles didn’t make the cut? Let us know what you think!