Steve Lopez is a Los Angeles Times columnist and the author of The Soloist, a true story about a homeless cello prodigy. Before moderating a panel discussion about the problem of homelessness in cities, he talked in the Zócalo Green Room about his dog, using his column to explore people’s lives, and having his books optioned for movies.
Who’s your favorite superhero?
Sister Mary Scullion, the Philadelphia nun. She taught me everything I need to know about homelessness.
What’s the best thing about having a column to write?
It’s a passport to roam around—to live vicariously, knock on doors. It’s endlessly fascinating because of this.
What’s the worst thing about having a column to write?
You’ve got to keep doing it.
Where are you at 10 a.m. on a typical Saturday?
I’m sitting down at home, looking at the column I’ve published to see if I’ve screwed it up.
What’s one thing about California that non-natives don’t understand?
I lived on the East Coast for a long time, and there are a lot of things they don’t understand. They think that the entire state is like L.A. They don’t know there’s more than a mountain or two, and they think everyone’s in “The Industry” out here to make it.
You’ve had a movie made about your book, The Soloist. If there could be another movie made about anything else you’ve written, what would it be?
I’ve already had two other books optioned, so I’m the wrong guy to ask.
Where in L.A. do you feel most connected to the city?
Many places. Downtown Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Echo Park—the list goes on.
What’s your favorite social media site?
If you could be any animal, which animal would you be?
I would be my dog, so I could understand why he never listened to me.