One Pair of Eyes: Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles / Julian Cooper / BBC / 1972

One Pair of Eyes: Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles / Julian Cooper / BBC / 1972


Footnotes

01:45 ◉ Karl Baedeker

02:55 ✖︎ RMS Queen Mary

02:59 ✖︎ THUMS Islands

03:10 ✖︎ Pico House

03:15 ✖︎ La Placita Church

04:32 ✖︎ Olvera Street

06:11 ◉ Buster Keaton

08:47 ✖︎ Watts Towers / Simon Rodia / 1954

09:20 ▶︎ Wes Montgomery / Body And Soul / 1965

13:40 ✖︎ Griffith Observatory

14:37 ✖︎ Wilshire Boulevard

19:08 ✖︎ The Pacific Electric Railroad

21:24 ✪ Spanish Colonial/The Mission Style

21:52 ▶︎ Prelude / Vertigo / Bernard Herrmann

23:27 ✖︎ The Gamble House / Charles & Henry Greene / 1908

23:27 ▶︎ Midnight Sun / Barney Kessel / 1955

24:57 ✖︎ Ennis House / Frank Lloyd Wright / 1924

25:04 ✖︎ The Lovell Health House / Richard Neutra / 1929

25:12 ✖︎ Eames House / Charles & Ray Eames / 1949

25:30 ▶︎ Flute Concerto in C Major: II. Larghetto / André Grétry

27:01 ✖︎ Palos Verde Mountains

29:06 ✖︎ Venice beach

30:06  Venice in the Snow / The Los Angeles Fine Arts Squad / 1970

The Squad viewed their murals as street theater, relishing their immediate effect on the community. The group was interested in illusionistic realism in public locations. For example, Venice in the Snow (1970) was based on a report of snowfall in Venice in 1949. Humor and satire are important elements in this life sized version of the Venice oceanfront covered in a blanket of snow; for it captured the imagination of the community with its ironic and realistic style. ➡︎

32:18 ✖︎ Marina del Rey

32:28 ✖︎ Pacific Ocean Park, Santa Monica

The park, which covered a pier and some of the adjacent land where Venice meets Santa Monica, embodied everything optimistic about the 1950s. There were Googie-esque buildings — including a 60-foot starfish-like structure at the entrance — which combined the nautical with the space age. After the opening, one reporter described it as "a misty dreamland of timelessness, fantasy and never-never. ➡︎

33:36  Vasa Mihich

34:00 ▶︎ Las Vegas Tango / Gary Burton / 1971

36:09 ▶︎ Surfin’ USA / The Beach Boys / 1963

As for the melody, it was lifted directly from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" (early pressings neglected to mention this, creating a legal dispute that ended with the song being credited solely to Berry for many years). However, Brian Wilson's arrangement takes it in a new and interesting direction by fortifying the main melody with soaring backup vocal lines and adding a nifty "Inside, Outside, U.S.A." counter melody to lend extra ear candy to the travelogue-style verses. The Beach Boys' recording adds more energy to the song with a rumbling bass line and some pulse-pounding drum work. Their recording of "Surfin' U.S.A." is also notable because it was the first time the group double-tracked their harmonies, thus inventing the rich vocal sound that became their trademark. ➡︎

37:50 ▶︎ Car Crazy Cutie / The Beach Boys / 1963

42:32 ✖︎ Tiny Naylor's drive-in restaurant

42:45  Ed Ruscha

42:45  Mike Salisbury

When veteran magazine art directors get together to drink mojitos and reminisce about the glory years before advertising pages broke up editorial wells and when covers were based on ideas not personalities, one title always gets mentioned:West. This storied weekly supplement of the Los Angeles Times, art directed by Mike Salisbury, was a masterwork of design erudition, appreciated by those who could care less about design. It was typographically innovative in a pre-post-modern eclectic mélange of styles and forms, but that was the least of its attributes. Salisbury injected West with such an abundance of pop culture visual richness that it was more like a miniature museum than weekly gazette. In the tradition of Esquire, Playboy, Portfolio, and New York, West was challenging and stimulating, the likes of which are rare in magazines today. ➡︎

44:49 ◼︎ Twentysix Gasoline Stations / Ed Ruscha / 1963

I’d always wanted to make a book of some kind. When I was in Oklahoma I got a brainstorm in the middle of the night to do this little book called Twentysix Gasoline Stations. I knew the title. I knew it would be photographs of twenty-six gasoline stations. ➡︎

He used to drive back to Oklahoma City five or six times a year, to visit his parents, and the gas stations along Route 66 became, he said, “like a musical rhythm to me—cultural belches in the landscape.” He started photographing them in 1962, with a Yashica twin-lens reflex camera that he had used in his photography classes at Chouinard➡︎

"If I showed the book to somebody who worked in a gas station, they might be genuinely interested in it, saying, 'Oh yeah, I remember that place out on the highway.'" The intellectual establishment, however, wasn't convinced. One critic described the book as "doomed to oblivion." The Library of Congress refused to put it in its stacks. ➡︎

46:13 ✖︎ The Brown Derby restaurant

46:21 ▶︎ L.A. Woman / The Doors / 1971

Morrison was in a long-term relationship with 24-year-old Pamela Courson, the girlfriend who would accompany him to Paris. Because Morrison had a tendency not to talk about women behind their backs, it was difficult to gauge how the relationship was going. “She was a constant force in his life, but they were completely volatile,” explains Siddons. “You never quite knew whether they were together or not. They’d taken a house on Verbena Drive and were attempting to live a domesticated life, but that only lasted a few months. That’s why Jim was living at the Alta Cienega Motel.” If nothing else, Morrison’s life in early 1971 was a perfect triangle. The Doors’ Workshop here. Elektra Records there. The motel there. And if you wanted to make it a quadrilateral, you could add the topless bar that he liked to drink in, right here. Morrison seems to have found the geography conducive to writing; motels and topless bars both feature in LA Woman’s title track. ➡︎

48:15 ✪ Electrographic architecture / Tom Wolfe / Architectural Design July 1969

48:47  Isle of California / The Los Angeles Fine Arts Squad

50:30 ▶︎ Grand Canyon Suite: Sunset / Ferde Grofé / 1931

Ferde Grofe is sometimes referred to as America's tone poem composer. He was a sentimentalist. His favorite composer was Tchaikovsky. His son says Grofe saw a wide range of emotional possibilities in the "Grand Canyon."

"'Sunrise,' birth; 'Painted Desert,' the mystique, the unknown, the divine unknown, if you like; 'On the Trail,' the human comedy; 'Sunset,' death. And then 'Cloudburst' is death and resurrection, the battle of good and evil. And I think that's why most people find it so important, because they can identify some emotion in themselves in his work." ➡︎


Extras

 Los Angeles / Robbie Nyman / 1973

◼︎ A 'radical alternative': how one man changed the perception of Los Angeles / Colin Marshall / The Guardian / 2016


Sources

◼︎ Lost Murals of L.A. / Alice Emmons / 2012

◼︎ The rise and spectacular fall of Venice Beach's Pacific Ocean Park / Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times / 2014

◼︎ Surfin' U.S.A. Song Review by Donald A. Guarisco / AllMusic

◼︎ Go West, Young Art Director / Steven Heller / Design Observer / 2008

◼︎ Edward Ruscha 'Twentysix Gasoline Stations' 1963 / Maria White / Tate / 2013

◼︎ Ed Ruscha's L.A. / Calvin Tomkins / The New Yorker / 2013

▶︎ In Ed Ruscha's Work, A City Sits For Its Portrait / NPR / 2013

◼︎ The Doors – LA Woman and Jim Morrison’s tipping point / UNCUT / 2013

▶︎ 'Grand Canyon Suite' / NPR / 2000


A Street of Memory / William L. Prager / 1937

A Street of Memory / William L. Prager / 1937