The Sons and Daughters of Los

Culture and Community in L.A.

edited by David E. James
Book Cover

PB: $38.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-013-9
Publication: Feb 03

HC: $86.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-012-2
Publication: Feb 03

Ebook: $38.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0137-3

264 pages
7 x 10
50 halftones

Breathing a new city of Los Angeles to life, through urban art and performance

Read the Introduction (pdf).


Los Angeles. A city that is synonymous with celebrity and mass-market culture, is also, according to David James, synonymous with social alienation and dispersal. In the communities of Los Angeles, artists, cultural institutions and activities exist in ways that are often concealed from sight, obscured by the powerful presence of Hollywood and its machinations.

In this significant collection of original essays, The Sons and Daughters of Los reconstructs the city of Los Angeles with new cultural connections. Explored here are the communities that offer alternatives to the picture of L..A. as a conglomeration of studios and mass media. Each essay examines a particular piece of, or place in, Los Angeles cultural life: from the Beyond Baroque Poetry Foundation, the Woman's Building, to Highways, and LACE, as well as the achievements of these grassroots initiatives. Also included is critical commentary on important artists, including Harry Gamboa, Jr., and others whose work have done much to shape popular culture in L.A. The cumulative effect of reading this book is to see a very different city take shape, one whose cultural landscape is far more innovative and reflective of the diversity of the city's people than mainstream notions of it suggest.

The Sons and Daughters of Los offers a substantive and complicated picture of the way culture plays itself it out on the smallest scale—in one of the largest metropolises on earth—contributing to a richer, more textured understanding of the vibrancy of urban life and art.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Sons and Daughters of Los – David E. James
2. Peripheral Outlaws: Beyond Baroque and the Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance – Bill Mohr
3. The Los Angeles Woman's Building and the Feminist Art Community, 1973-1991 – Laura Meyer
4. Fortifying Community: African American History and Culture in Leimert Park – Eric Gordon
5. Considering the Art World Alternatives: Lace And Community Formation in Los Angeles – Claudine Isé
6. Not History: Remarks on the Foundation for Art Resources, 1977-1998 – Sande Cohen
7. Highways Performance Space: Communities-in-Transit – Meiling Cheng
8. Signifying Nations: Cultural Institutions and the Korean Community in Los Angeles – Jiwon Ahn
9. All Over The Map: A History of L.A. Freeways – James M. Moran
10. Self-Help Graphics: Tomás Benitez Talks to Harry Gamboa Jr.
11. Unorthodox Mystics: Swans that Flock to the Vedanta Society of Southern California – Nithila Peter
12. Popular Cinemas in Los Angeles: The Case of Visual Communications – David E. James
About The Contributors

About the Author(s)

David E. James is Professor in the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California. He is the author or editor of five books, including, most recently, Power Misses: Essays Across (Un)Popular Culture.


In the Series

  • Wide Angle Books edited by Erik Barnouw, Ruth Bradley, Scott MacDonald, and Patricia Zimmermann

    The mission of Wide Angle Books is to document, chronicle, and honor those institutions that have worked effectively to maintain a public presence and public spaces for alternative forms of media. These books recognize that institutional support of media happens at a variety of levels in a film series, in a video distribution organization, in a transnational digital network, in a grassroots production organization and in locations across the globe. Individual volumes in the series focus on such forms of primary documentation as letters, institutional records, and oral histories, presented and contextualized by leading media history scholars.