The Takeaway

Randy Newman Really Loves L.A.

The Songwriter Talks About His Hometown’s Proud Ignorance, His Fascination with America, and the Darkness and Humanity of His Characters

Randy Newman once told Playboy that although he’s not a confessional artist, he thinks people can still tell what he’s like from his work—despite the multitude of subjects he tackles and voices he takes on. But who is Randy Newman as a man? What’s in his head? And is he a product of Los Angeles? In a wide-ranging “Thinking L.A.” event with Newman that was co-presented by UCLA, Zócalo publisher and founder Gregory Rodriguez asked the songwriter to talk about …


Where I Go

Where Can You Dance to the Washboard in L.A.?

The Louisiana Creole Sound of Zydeco Music Is Tough to Categorize—and Tough to Find Outside of New Orleans, Unless You Know Where to Look

It’s not every day that Angelenos stumble upon a washboard, an accordion, and a pot of gumbo all within the county limits.

Maybe that’s because they aren’t looking hard enough. Hidden in plain sight between an ad-hoc oil field and the Pacific Coast Highway, a nondescript Long Beach hotel holds a twice-monthly “Zydeco Night.”

Zydeco is a Louisiana Creole jazz music style with a matching eccentric dance that’s a little too swinging to be called folk and a little too folky to …