LA Arts District


WARNING - Security Cameras In Use

First off, let me be clear, this is Anne’s photo. I’m just posting it, because like her, I find the juxtaposition of the warning sign with the booty to be funny. This time and the last time we visited LA, we stayed at the Miyako Hotel in Little Tokyo, which is adjacent to the Arts District. Nowadays, the Arts District is a gentrified and trendy place, but it wasn’t always. I think that there are even more condos in the Arts District now then there were just two years ago. Even the wall murals that we are poking fun at here or at least some of their artists have become mainstream. Dan pointed out that this other mural that I posted a picture of after our last visit to LA, was done by the same artist that made the 2008 Obama ‘Hope’ poster, Shepard Fairey. Dan recounted to us some of the memories of the LA Arts District that his CalArts professors had related to him, back when it was still quite seedy. This led to a discussion as to whether or not artists are really the initial catalysts of gentrification. 

This discussion dovetailed nicely with a podcast that we had listened to from, 99% Invisible, by Roman Mars. In it Mars details the rise of the acro-names. These are names for places that smash together their longer original names into a sort of acronym. The most famous ones exist in NYC. SoHo is an acro-name that originated for the district in Manhattan once called, “South of Houston street”. Another one is Tribeca, which came from “Triangle Below Canal street”. This naming process has become so derivative that it was lampooned in the TV show, “How I Met Your Mother”, with the fictitious acro-naming of the real neighborhood, DoWiSeTrePla (Down Wind of the Sewage Treatment Plant). The funny thing about this last neighborhood is that in an example of real life imitating art, realtors have adopted this acro-name, because it sells better than the original. I don’t think that we ever decided whether or not that the association of artists with these once downtrodden areas transforming into their now tonier selves was causal or simply coincidental. Dan felt aggrieved about being blamed for the LA Arts District becoming something that he doesn’t like.

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