Aug 3, 2005

Culture Gap

The death of L.A. Times media critic David Shaw has been duly and deservedly noted elsewhere. But on a memorial site, this comment from his colleague Jack Miles jumped out at me. Jack is recounting Shaw's relationship with a fellow Times staffer:
Then came a little story about his courtship of Ellen Torgerson, when the two of them, worried about being seen together in public by Times brass, knew that they could attend any play or concert in perfect safety. Cultural events were one place, he said, where you NEVER had to worry about running into Times brass.

Ouch.

This may hardly seem like the most gracious way to begin my final post from Los Angeles, but there it is. Thank you to all those who stopped by Weiland's on Monday to see me off, and/or who sent well-wishing emails and made calls. I leave Los Angeles with profoundly mixed feelings; it is a city that, no matter how much talent or money or gravitas or history accumulates in it and around it, is perennially underrated, not least by itself.

I have struggled, as Gordon Davidson put it to me, to "get my arms around this city," and I think I've given it my share of warm bear hugs, and a few Homer-chokes-Bart throttles, in my day. I will carry my 19 years in this wicked little town—the quakes, the traffic, the sunshine, the (mostly) blue skies, the weird purple sunsets, the terrible class divides, the sprawl, the parks, the subway, the mini-malls, the desperation, the dangerously seductive laidbackness of the place, and above all the vibrant live performance culture that the LA Times brass apparently avoids—with me to the city that never sleeps, and keep you posted.

Have fun.

1 comment:

Yehuda Hyman said...

Hey Rob,
I didn't get to drop by to say hello (we've never met face to face) and goodbye but I want to thank you for being a great presence in L.A. Maybe I'll see you in NYC.