The Evolution of L.A.’s Art Scene

There Is More Public Funding and Support Than Ever, but It Was Fun to Be the Underdog

A guy walking an elephant down Highland Avenue. That’s the first thing I saw when I exited the 101 Freeway by the Hollywood Bowl on the day I moved to L.A. Film shoot? Bowl performance? Who knows, but it made a lasting impression.

I moved here from Monterey, California, in 1985 in search of a more vibrant arts scene. I found one. Thirty years later, I’m in love with the L.A. arts community, often surprised by it, sometimes irritated by its youthful self-absorption, but always excited by its talent and energy.

I …

The Man With the Vision That Built Caltech

Robert Andrew Millikan's Ambition Transformed Not Only the School, but Also Southern California's Place in the World

When Robert Andrew Millikan arrived in Pasadena, California, in 1921, he was already the revered author of physics textbooks used across the country. He counted among his scientific accomplishments the …

Angelenos Never Much Cared About Local Politics

Today They Care Even Less

Greetings from the City of Los Angeles, where no one knows your name.

At last estimate, Los Angeles’ population topped 3.9 million. In 1850, when the city was first incorporated, …

The Downsizing of the City of Outsized Dreams

L.A.'s Ambitions Have Given Way to Trepidation

Has Los Angeles downsized its dreams?

In the last century, Southern Californians dreamed so big and global that the size of our aspirations came to define this place. We created a …

L.A.’s Athletic Ambitions Are Faster, Higher, Stronger

The '84 Olympic Games Were a Huge Success, 2024 Would Be the Greatest Ever

I am very excited about the Los Angeles’ 21st-century bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. My excitement is not just about the stadiums that will fill to …

Grappling with L.A.’s Provincial Past

From Yorty to Bradley to Garcetti, the City's Mayors Reflect Our Aspirations

Modern Los Angeles had a difficult birth. It came during the transition between the small-town-writ-large vision embodied by Mayor Sam Yorty and the outward-facing, cosmopolitan dream of his nemesis and …