In the 1990s, Los Angeles Was Both Heaven and Hell

The L.A. Riots. The Northridge Earthquake. The AIDS crisis. Proposition 187. Fires. Mudslides. White flight. Recession and joblessness. The departure of the aerospace industry. The departures of the Rams and the Raiders. The OJ Simpson trial. The murder of Biggie Smalls. Gang warfare. “The ’90s,” as Zócalo Public Square publisher Gregory Rodriguez put it, “were rough” on Los Angeles. Rodriguez was moderating a Zócalo/Museum of Contemporary Art event at MOCA Grand Avenue provocatively titled, “Were the ’90s L.A.’s Golden Age?” Tallying up the iconic Southern California disasters mentioned by the panelists over the course of the evening, the question might seem almost laughable. “But the reaction to the roughness was pretty extraordinary as well,” Rodriguez told an energetic crowd, many of whom clearly had lived through it. “There was this sense of vitality to the era.” While the first half of the decade “was horrendous,” said Fernando Guerra, director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola … Continue reading In the 1990s, Los Angeles Was Both Heaven and Hell