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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Does “I Love LA” songwriter really love Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has usually not been a place that inspires bold declarations of love.

Many conventional wisdom about Los Angeles are in fact neglected: too automobile, expensive, commonplace, unsafe, polluted. Even our city’s anthem, Randy Newman’s I Love Los Angeles, is undoubtedly derisive.

But for many Angeleno, including me, the secret to the fullness of life here is that it’s incredible. The vastness and heterogeneity of Los Angeles often makes it feel like a land of endless wonders that are difficult to translate for people who only come for a few days.

“Visiting Los Angeles and living in Los Angeles are very different experiences. I don’t really recommend the former, but I find the latter enriching, ”Rosecrans Baldwin, a writer based in Los Angeles, told me. “Los Angeles has a lot of space, especially for people who may not fit elsewhere, and I think that gives the city a tremendous amount of life.”

Baldwin interviewed dozens of people in England for his recent book, Everything Now: Lessons from the City State of Los Angeles. And, as you might expect, many seemed hesitant to declare their love for the city.

Baldwin explained this by tired comparisons of Los Angeles and New York, which had long considered our city to be a failure. Even the popular sketch “Californians” from SNL portrays us as nothing more than drawn-out, driving idiots.

When I moved to Los Angeles in 2013, I didn’t expect much either. I lived in the Bay Area where a sense of intellectual and cultural superiority over Los Angeles flourished.

But within a year or so, the city conquered me. I could go to the Griffith Observatory any day of the year, find everything I dreamed of (and more), and meet my family as often as I wanted. These days, nothing beats looking out of an airplane window as we descend into this shimmering metropolis, knowing that I’m almost at home.

Baldwin moved to Los Angeles six years ago and quickly fell into an unmanaged region, he said. While in other cities it may seem like you are walking through a neat open-air mall, Los Angeles surprises him every day.

He also has a connection to the city: his name is associated with the famous street mentioned in the 2Pac film “California Love”. Both Baldwin and the street are named after William Rosecrans, a congressman of the late 1800s who is Baldwin’s ancestor.

Baldwin told me he hoped that unabashed love for Los Angeles would become less taboo. Most of the people with whom he spoke admitted that they were happy here.

“Even the people who were in the most dire circumstances I spoke to had their own Los Angeles,” Baldwin said. “It felt like the ground had changed a little, that it might not be as corny as it might have been if I had said, ‘Yes, I love LA,’ and a hint of a Randy Newman song.”

Yes, indeed: I have long wondered if the songwriter behind the “I Love LA” curve, the unofficial theme song of the 1984 Summer Olympics, really loves Los Angeles.

You may remember that the song’s narrator is riding in a convertible, taking in the sights of the city – “Look at that bum over there” – and listening to the Beach Boys, all with the “big nasty redhead” in the passenger seat.

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When I called Newman this morning (he was at his house on Pacific Palisades), he told me that while his song may not be a “chamber of commerce tune,” that doesn’t mean Angeleno likes his song in his lyrics. life is less.

“There is a kind of aggressive ignorance in this that I like. You know, he likes the redhead. Me too – the Beach Boys and I ride in an open car, ”he said. “Maybe people in Los Angeles will have to apologize for such simple joys in life, but I don’t know why.”

In addition, as Newman noted, regardless of the original intent, when “I Love LA” is now playing, like in Dodger Stadium after the home win, “people are shamelessly happy.”

So I asked Newman, “Do you love Los Angeles?” He paused for a long moment.

“I think I’ve come to my senses,” he said. “Maybe the song has something to do with it. This is home. “

For more:

  • Check out our playlist of songs from California.

  • Newman spoke to The Los Angeles Times to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “I Love LA”

    “Sometimes I tried to get rid of it, but I always take it back,” Newman told the newspaper. “There are other songs that I wrote that I think are more meaningful to me, but hey, I’ll take them.”

  • Recently, the musician created a frame-by-frame remake of the video clip “I love Los Angeles.” “It was like a scavenger hunt in Los Angeles.”


Today’s travel tip comes from Chris Angar, who lives in Los Osos:

“No trip to the Central Coast is complete without stopping at Montaña de Oro State Park, located near Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County. It features cliffs with surf views, whale fountains, kilometers of hiking and biking trails, views of Estero Bay and Morro Bay, a campground and a small visitor center. Come on a clear spring day when endless poppy fields color the park bright orange. Walk the Pecho Coast Trail past Dragon Pita Lighthouse to Cape Windy, then look south towards the surreal form of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. By the way, the entrance to the park is free. “


What are your favorite books on California? Send your suggestions to [email protected]


During a string of car robberies, San Franciscans use creative ways to retrieve stolen items.

People who have lost their belongings post descriptions on the Internet. Others share photos of “baggage dumps”, scenes of discarded clothes and other personal items found after break-ins.

So when a family from Kentucky drove into the car recently in San Francisco, the Internet did its job, according to NBC Bay Area.

The woman posted a photo of a luggage dump on the network. The family identified their belongings and collected them, including an army backpack one of them used on two tours of the Middle East.


Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend. I’ll be back on Monday. – Sumya

PS here today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a hint: the question is pronounced as the last letter (3 letters).

Stephen Moiti and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can contact the team at [email protected]

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