Tag Archives: may day

Songs About Los Angeles: “MacArthur Park” by Donna Summer


Certainly one of the loopiest, most infectious, most brilliant songs (and only marginally about Los Angeles,) “MacArthur Park” is a tale of private madness born out of unrequited love, written by one of the master pop songwriters of the 20th century, Jimmy Webb. It was first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968.

Webb was born in Oklahoma, attended college in San Bernardino and moved to Los Angeles in 1965 to pursue a career as a songwriter. He connected with Glen Campbell, then a young session guitarist and singer, and wrote three of the songs that made him a star; “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Witchita Lineman” and “Galveston.”

I remember the first time a friend drove me by MacArthur Park, not long after I moved to Los Angeles. It was mythic to me for two pop culture-influenced reasons: first and foremost, the song; and second, it was a location used in a harrowing episode of Six Feet Under, the HBO series about a family that runs a Los Angeles funeral home. (In the episode, the character David gets car-jacked and forced to drive to the park to buy crack.)

Today being May Day, it bears mentioning that on May 1, 2007, MacArthur Park was the site of a large immigration rights demonstration that led to a violent confrontation between demonstrators and police that drew international attention.

And then there’s this karaoke video of disco queen Donna Summer, who had a huge hit with it in 1978, and it’s probably the best known version of the song about how “someone left the cake out in the rain.” Extra points if you can follow the choreography.

Here We Go… May Day Street Closures

Just received this email from Bringing Back Broadway about official street closures in Downtown Los Angeles for Friday’s events:

Tomorrow, Friday, May 1st, several marches and demonstrations will affect the Downtown & Civic Center area. The City recommends the use of public transportation for those coming into or out of downtown, and the City recommends avoiding driving throughout downtown if possible.

Continue reading Here We Go… May Day Street Closures

Should L.A. Cancel May Day?


The current swine flu pandemic is starting to bring about closures throughout the nation. Texas has postponed all high school sporting events. In California, three private schools have already closed as a precautionary measure.

So what about May Day?

According to their website, A.N.S.W.E.R.L.A. is still hosting their annually mass march and rally in Downtown Los Angeles this Friday to “stop war & end racism” and demand “full rights for all immigrants.”

Having identified Patient Zero, we know that current strain of the flu originated in Mexico. While it may be a painful, politically-charged question to ask, is such a large gathering at this time a good idea?

Better yet, is any large gathering a good idea? Should we be talking about postponing Major League Baseball games? What do we do about large gatherings of people on trains or buses? Should there be flu screenings at LAX?

Of course, there is a tendency to say that we are overreacting. We hope we are. But, some are saying the United States isn’t reacting enough. According to the Associated Press, Malaysian health workers in face masks are taking the temperatures of passengers touching down from Los Angeles. FROM LOS ANGELES.

Now does the pig have your attention?

Photo from amitrunchal’s flickrstream