LA Culture

August 18, 2012

Plane at airport

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is an update to the previous post.

The rescheduled trip to LA went quite smoothly.  Employees at the airport were in a much better mood than this morning-it is easy to imagine how difficult it is to deal with the behaviour of travelers who think they must have someone upon whom to vent their frustration when things go wrong.  The staff that morning also had to contend with a balky baggage conveyor-it was not a good way to start the day for anybody.

LA as seen from Mulholland Drive

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The flight itself went well and once there, I went for several drives through the city and surrounding areas.  It was especially intriguing to actually see so many places depicted in popular culture (movies and books) in real-time.  David Lynch had made a movie entitled “Mulholland Drive”, for example, and  above is an image of LA made from one of the overlooks on this iconic drive.  A car accident factors into the plot of the movie and having now been on the road and driven its curves, it is easy to have a frame of reference for how crashes could occur.

Highway 110 in Los Angeles

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

These drives also provided an opportunity to experience the language of LA.  Language is an integral part of any culture.  In fact, it can be said that without language, culture would not exist, and so it is important to pay attention to how language is used when traveling. The locals in LA seem to attach the word “the” to their highways as in “We took the 110 into the city”.  I tend to do this with the grocery store I sometimes use-“I am going to the Giant”-and so it was interesting to see that idiom applied to a different structure.  However, where I live folks do not seem to say “I took the 95 to Washington”…

Street scene of Magnolia Avenue in Los Angeles

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

…just as in LA people do not seem to say “I took the Magnolia Avenue.”  My contemporaries do however say, “I took the beltway.”  So, it appears that when using the route numbers, those living in LA attach “the”, but not when using street names. We use “the” with pronouns, but not the route numbers.  Not sure how this distinction developed, but if used enough, any pattern of language becomes habitual and so can differentiate one geographic location from another.  (Need I say the word “hon” for those in Baltimore, MD?)

Republic of Pie sign

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Food is another prominent aspect of culture and it seems as if pie is replacing cupcakes as the new “in” food as there are specialty shops springing up on both coasts.  I for one am OK with this-pie is such a treat.  Cupcakes?  Not so much.  The Republic of Pie is an example and is located in North Hollywood.

Piece of blueberry pie from Republic of Pie

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

California is often seen as a trend-setter and so LA has several pie shops wherein one can indulge.  Yes, this pie was certainly as good as it looks and several hours were spent in the Republic of Pie.

LA Post Office and intersection

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Finally, architecture is one more vehicle by which culture is expressed. The post office in LA looks much different from the post office in Manderson, South Dakota for example.

The Getty Museum garden

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

From an architectural standpoint, museums present a duality of culture in that they house and display examples of material culture while at the same time serving as examples of culture in-and-of themselves.  Coincidentally, one of the exhibits at the Getty Museum was entitled “Herb Ritts: L.A. Style” which is a celebration of the manner in which Mr. Ritts’  impacted the world of fashion photography.  Fashion is, after all, one of the fundamental examples of material culture  and LA is certainly one of the style-setters because who wears what out there is often the model for what becomes popular dress across the country.

The Getty Museum courtyard

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Due to its location and construction, the Getty Museum gleams in the direct sunlight that is southern California.  As such, it is an excellent example of the glamour that is LA culture.

Getty Museum tram dropoff

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It must be said that LA did provide a different experience from what was expected.  Granted, not much time was spent in the downtown area, but it was surprising what a small-town feel there was to the North Hollywood section where I spent the majority of my time.  Most of the visited areas were within a short walk and it is hard to imagine not being able to find what is needed for daily life within that space.  As does fit the LA stereotypes, the highways were quite crowded and we decided to not visit the beach specifically because of the traffic and packed parking lots.  That too, was OK as I am not much of a beach person anyway.  

Take care.

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