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The magnificent Frank Gehry Walt Disney Concert Hall
The magnificent Frank Gehry Walt Disney Concert Hall
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Los Angeles Art and Design

A brand-new and surprisingly rich art and culture scene are giving LA major bragging rights

By Victoria De Silverio

ShermansTravel.com

September 2nd, 2008

People love to give LA a hard time. But these days, the so-called paradise-with-a-lobotomy is having the last laugh, as a brand-new and surprisingly rich art and culture scene gives the city major bragging rights.

“Seventy-two suburbs in search of a city,” Dorothy Parker once said of LA. There's no there, there. The congested freeways and the smog, the plastic surgery everywhere—perhaps in the hope of mimicking the effect that those imported African palm trees had on the barren landscape many years ago. But the clichés no longer stick, as a booming local economy, a rash of revitalization projects, an internationally respected creative arts community, and pockets of affordable rents have transformed wide swaths of the city.

All this is not happening in the traditional centers of gravity. In Downtown, Venice, Culver City, and Mid-City West, artists acting as cultural shock troops have settled in, providing a catalyst for economic and cultural prosperity in once-gritty areas. It’s a process many cities have benefited from; the remarkable difference in LA is that it’s happening in so many parts of town at once. The city of eternal sunshine and Hollywood glitz has become a major cultural player. Take our tour to witness the renaissance in action.

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