Los Angeles Magazine announces nominees for “Mr. Los Angeles” & kicks in the WTF!? meter

That's Mr. Los Angeles, not Mr. Louisiana.
That's Mr. Los Angeles, not Mr. Louisiana.

Recently, Los Angeles Magazine has taken it upon themselves to crown Tom LaBonge, “Mr. Los Angeles.” No offense, to my City Councilman, but while I’d whole heartedly support him being called “Mayor of Hollywood,” I don’t believe he represents L.A. as a whole.

Apparently, the folks at the magazine had second thoughts, and have now decided to poll their readers on who deserves the “Mr. Los Angeles” title. Unfortunately, while they have a couple of worthy choices, there is at least one glaring omission, but even more WTFs?!

First up, LA Observed’s Kevin Roderick. Indeed, K-Rod, as some of us at Metblogs like to call him, is a blogging God. My daily read of his “Morning Buzz” supplanted my browsing the L.A. Times a few years ago. And he clearly has a love of the city. I’d even call him, “The King of Los Angeles New Media,” or “The Mayor of Wilshire Blvd., ” but not Mr. Los Angeles.

But largest WTF on the list is Wolfgang Puck. Do I even need to explain this? Heck, Bob Baker, of Marionette Theatre fame, a Los Angeles institution, deserves the title 10x more…. and even then doesn’t come close.

Also on there: Dodgers announcer Vin Scully and radio personality Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo both seem to have too targeted an audience to fit the role. If having enough money to buy the city is a qualification, Eli Broad is on the list. Jay Leno is also on there too, and like Broad, he’s also done a lot for the city, but for Leno it seems more like by default of his job with the Tonight Show keeping him in Burbank.

Among the worthy: LA Times Steve Lopez documents the city’s residents on a regular basis. Charles Phoenix delights in showing off the city’s cheesy underbelly on regular tours and slideshows. LA Mag’s resident “LA Wikipedian” and notable LA Conservancy member Chris Nichols seems like a solid pick (and who I long theorized was the actual City Nerd). And then there’s Huell Howser, the ultimate LA City Nerd, who’s made a life out of revealing LA’s secrets and history to a loyal audience. He’s easily my pick of the nominees.

But how could they not include Ray Bradbury on there? Are there any other residents who better represent L.A.? Or at least anyone else who deserves more consideration than Wolfgang Puck? (yes, readers, I’m asking!)

13 Replies to “Los Angeles Magazine announces nominees for “Mr. Los Angeles” & kicks in the WTF!? meter”

  1. Although I learned of this contest through Chris Nichols, a pretty good guy, I too voted for Huell. It’s simply no contest.

    I might also nominate Jonathan Gold. Or Beck. Or even Harry Perry, the Kama Kosmic Krusader.

    But David, why such a push for Ray Bradbury? Not knocking your suggestion; I just don’t see how he so obviously represents LA better than any other living writer. Take James Ellroy, for instance.

  2. It’s true, Chris Nichols is pretty darn high on the list. But Huell is an institution from my childhood! I grew up watching California’s Gold, Wild America & Nature on PBS constantly. Huell is forever imprinted on my brain.

  3. I’d be a lot more interested if they were searching for the most representative Ms. LA — or AT LEAST Mr. & Ms LA. The relentless, obtuse sexism gets boring. That said, Huell Howser? A sweetie, but representing LA with his Southern accent? Kevin FTW!

  4. @lamoll–You’re going to disqualify Huell because he has an ACCENT? I’m so tired of people dismissing non-locals. Especially in the comments on this site, I see lots of people who just dismiss anyone out of hand who hasn’t lived here their whole life–“Oh, you’re not from here, you wouldn’t GET it.” That’s such bullshit!

    It may be the fact that Huell grew up far away that makes it possible for him to so completely fall in love with the city. LA is a city of people from other places! It’s one of the things that makes it great! I can’t believe you’d dismiss anyone with such passion, who’s spent so much time edifying the public about what makes our city great, simply because he has an ACCENT. Would you dismiss Eddie Sotelo because he has a Mexican accent?!

  5. Hey — I’m not from here either, AND I have an accent, too, AND I love love love love love this place and think Huell does a great job seeking out and promoting every distinctive inch of this wonderful city; however, I have the admittedly subjective perception that he has, shall we say, made a point not to lose his SOUTHERN accent, perhaps to stand out from the pack of his fellow entertainers. My intention in casually noting it was to suggest that it is not a quality to cause one to remark: “Oh — that guy must be from LA — maybe he’s MR. LA!” An Armenia, Korean, Central/South American accent — yes: LA all the way! But a Southern accent — a stretch (in the context of Mr. LA, anyway).

    BTW, how very nice to make my first comment and get called for bullshit. I feel so welcome.

  6. Sory lamoll, that wasn’t directed at you, it was directed at the commenters who constantly diss the non-local bloggers we have here on the site. I know it’s crappy to make your first comment & get slammed–I apologize.

  7. I like Huell Howser and think he’s very deserving. I’m also kind of partial to Bob Baker, but I’m probably sort of biased. I didn’t grow up here and experience his puppet shows as a kid. But now I’m somewhat involved in the local puppetry scene (Dork Alert!) Aside from the joy he’s brought to many people over the years, I know several people who can attribute their careers to him.

  8. Does he have to be living? If dead people qualify, Don Simpson = Los Angeles. If living, Eisner. Or Harvey Weinstein, pick your poison. I don’t make the rules here, I just live here and laugh at the rules. (my personal Mister Los Angeles is Bob Barker replete with his beauties, thank you)

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