Los Angeles is a city that looms large on so many stages. For many it is the landscape in which they hope their dreams will play out. Every year thousands of people move to LA to pursue goals that only a tiny fraction can ever achieve. Because of this Los Angeles has a bitter and dark edge whilst promising milk and honey.
I am a native of Los Angeles, born and raised. I left LA in my early 20’s for London to earn my masters degree in film. Although I was already in what is arguably the film capital of the world, I felt a very strong desire to leave LA to be able to study film in a clear, academic manner unsullied by the “Hollywood” aspect of the city.
After many years in London and becoming a de-facto ambassador to LA for all my film school classmates, I returned at the dawn of my 30’s and fell right back into my old neighborhood of Silverlake, and to several years of the Hollywood struggle. I have now moved to San Francisco where I work in a completely unrelated field and the relief I once felt to be away from my hometown has been replaced by a distinct longing to be back in the city I have called home for most of my life. Despite the insistence I had earlier in my life, I am an LA girl and have been shaped and molded by my time there. Los Angeles is a large part of who I am as a person and I want to peel back the layers of this diverse and challenging city to understand how it influences people in a way that no other city does.
There is much about LA to love. As a child growing up there I have very fond memories of long summer days, trips to the Hollywood Bowl with my parents, easy access to the beach and a comfort and ease with the affluence that I was raised in. But as my teenage years unfolded and I was witness to the 1992 LA riots the reality of a fiercely divided city began to creep into my consciousness. As I got older still and began my involvement with the entertainment industry I became more aware still of a darker, more destructive side of the city I called home.
For the purposes of this project I will focus on the psycho-geography of Los Angeles and how the city uniquely influences those who move to it, those who grew up there and those who move away for myriad reasons. Whether it be to follow a Hollywood dream, to escape a boring existence in some small mid-western town, to make it big or to disappear, LA draws every kind of person imaginable to her each year.
I am particularly interested in comedians and actors and the experiences they have in LA. I want to explore the impulses of artists to move to a city where competition to succeed in their field is fierce and their victories are hard-won.