We had a nice turnout yesterday for the Thursdays at the Globe discussion of the downtown renaissance and vintage crime. Several guests were longtime Angelenos and shared their recollections of the city’s history, including the architecture, the streetcars and the general ambience of downtown in the 1940s and ‘50s.
One of the more interesting questions was about whether the downtown renovations are “authentic.” My response was that this is downtown Los Angeles, not Colonial Williamsburg, where we would try to re-create a particular period in Los Angeles history. There are certain aspects of downtown in the 1940s, for example, that we don’t want to revisit. When you look at old movies that were filmed downtown, you can see that buildings were covered with ugly, claptrap signage that wouldn’t be tolerated today. And there were far more billboards. The lines of the old buildings are much more exposed now (except for the annoying metal facades installed to “modernize” some of them).
And we got lots of mileage joking about the B-girls in old Los Angeles.
Cheers to our host, Darrell Kunitomi and the other guests, Jessica Gelt and Julie Makinen.