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

Recalling a Decade of Disasters, Political Mobilization, and Great Art

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 …