Tag Archives: new york times

Movies White People Like

mad menThe NYTimes has a super cool map of 100 Netflix rentals showing distribution by zip code in twelve cities, including LA. For those of us interested in how cultural taste intersects with and reinforces demographic and economic differences, clicking through the titles is pretty fascinating. There are some fairly obvious examples of stuff white people like, as in the Mad Men map pictured here (click to make it bigger). Lakeview Terrace, not so much. Other titles defy expectations (well, mine at least). It surprises and depresses me, for example, that Confessions of a Shopaholic seems to have universal appeal. And when you get tired of looking at the distribution pictures, you can get a healthy dose of snark by reading the blurbs about the films, which include, because it’s the New York Times, some solid LA mockery. They describe The Soloist thusly:

These are a few of the ghosts who haunt Los Angeles, that Mecca of Fabulousness where you can go for weeks (and invariably by car) without smelling the reek of other people’s desperation. That helps explain why Hollywood types tend not to set their camera sights on homeless men, women and children, unless they’re good for a little uplift (as in the Will Smith vehicle “The Pursuit of Happyness”). Homeless people are generally, pardon the pun, bummers–they also can’t afford tickets.

City rivalry aside, this is really nifty. If you’re anything of a map geek or a movie geek, check it out.

(Thanks to Google Maps Mania for the link.)

NYT Covers Bourgie Industry Kids Playing Music, Smoking

nytkidsmusic
Click to go to the NYT article.

I read this story in the NYT a few days ago, but it’s stayed in the back of my mind, accompanied by a weird distaste. The writer ID’s a “trend” among the children of Hollywood elites: playing music, having shows in each other’s luxe backyards, slumming at thrift stores for hipster threads.

Indie music has a long and storied history in Southern California…continuing today at popular all-age sites like the Smell in downtown Los Angeles and Pehrspace near Echo Park.

But to veterans of this scene and the latest crop of show-going kids, elements of the city’s music landscape have lately been skewing even younger and emanating from tonier enclaves, like Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood and Hancock Park.

Really?

Where is this animosity in me coming from? Am I just jealous of how these trust-fund kids can pursue their PBR wishes and record-crate dreams? Or am I annoyed because this doesn’t…seem…newsworthy?

When I was working in print, they’d say “Three makes a trend.” Writer Jennifer Bleyer definitely name-checks more than three Industry spawn: Tallulah Willis (of Bruce); “Keely Dowd, the daughter of Jeff Dowd, a producer on whom the Coen brothers based the main character of ‘The Big Lebowski,'”; apparently the girls from The Like all sprang from the loins of Industry (music and movie) players; and, oh yes, “Michael Shuman, the bassist for Queens of the Stone Age who went to Campbell Hall, is the son of Ira Shuman, a producer of ‘Night at the Museum’ and the new ‘Pink Panther’ films.

Bleyer tells a tale of a successful screenwriter who’s arranged for his son to continue his drum lessons during their summers in Italy. Which is great. Right? Good for him.

So why am I so annoyed? Am I just jealous? Should this article ever have been written? Haven’t the rich been indulging their kids’ dilettantisms for millenia? This isn’t a “trend.” This is business as usual.

I’m calling on the NYT to actually cover newsworthy scenes producing quality art–be it music or any other creative efflorescence–in LA. Stop going for the low-hanging fruit that only underscores your lack of familiarity with the cultural terrain. If this story even deserves to exist, it should have been about the music–not the pedigrees.

LAist Quoted in New York Times

Remember that fake Christmas tree thing at LA Live? The one that was touted as a multimedia visual display designed to stimulate your brain, the economy, and the epicenter of Los Angeles holiday cheer?

The big metal thing with lights on it?

The New York Times remembers.

This is Los Angeles, where the city’s “official” 50-foot tree was lighted last week by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa with little need for crowd control, and the debut of a more extravagant, multimedia one at a new entertainment complex got scant coverage in the mainstream news media and poor notices on blogs.

“So next year, we better have something that can compete with New York City, or Mayor Villaraigosa can stop calling this a world-class city,” huffed a blogger on LAist.com, a Web site about the city.

Congratulations to the gang at LAist for getting some love from one of the last remaining newspapers on Earth. Still, Behrens & Co. have to be slightly amused by the irony of a major newpaper using a blog as a source for their story.