Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles, 1972 (and so should you)

02/05/2011 § 1 Comment

“…Los Angeles, which makes nonsense of history and breaks all the rules…”

As an Angeleno living in New York, I frequently find myself advocating in defense of my fair home city.  Now, I will be the first to admit that Los Angeles is a fickle mistress.  She is incredibly large and incredibly small at the same time, and she isn’t the type of city that welcomes you with open arms.  But with a bit of effort, the right car and a knowledgeable guide, Los Angeles will slowly reveal her incredible beauty to you.

Reyner Banham, noted architectural critic and owner of a rather awesome beard, took up the torch for Los Angeles in his 1971 book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies.  The BBC went along with Banham to Los Angeles in 1972 to shoot the accompanying documentary, which was brought to my attention by a dear friend, and luckily, I was able to find it in its entiretyFollow Banham as he arrives to LAX, tours the mansions of Beverly Hills and the Sunset Strip, drive-in lunches at now-extinct Tiny Naylor’s with Ed Ruscha, and views the waves of Hermosa Beach.  Not one to highlight only the gentrified and picturesque, Banham also does a bit of freeway driving and drops by the Watts Towers.  This love letter to Los Angeles in the early seventies is a special treat, indeed — Banham’s sunglasses and the amazing soundtrack are just the icing on the cake.  J’adore!

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