Bukowski's Los Angeles, versus todays Los Angeles? (1 Viewer)

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caraculo

Bukowski lived in a pre-gentrification LA. Meaning there were middle class people in the inner city. People could walk, use the public transport, etc, like in Europe.

Nowadays inner cities in the USA are suppsed to be for minorities and criminals. Middle class people live in the suburbs, they depend on the car, and spend several hours per week driving.

So do you think this process affected Los Angeles in such a dramatic way? What are the differences between the LA of Bukowski and todays LA?

Has anyone lived in inner LA? Hows are living conditions and housing prices? Safety? Nightlife? Schools and public transportation?
 
Bukowski's old neighborhood in Hollywood (during his adult years) was never anything close to middle-class. I know this, because I lived the same neighborhoods at around the same time. He basically lived in what we now refer to as "East Hollywood." He also lived around MacArthur Park (which was poverty-stricken then, and is even MORE poverty-stricken now). And of course he lived around Skid Row at a certain point in time.

It's just as miserable now as it was then. There were always plenty of adult book stores, hookers, drug dealers, drunks, etc. There may be fewer adult bookstores, but the street dealers and hookers make up for any porn bookstore closures.

One more thing: From the tenor of your post, I'm going to guess that you are native to Europe, perhaps Germany? I've traveled throughout Europe, with a focus on Germany, where several good friends live. It is difficult (if not impossible) to make comparisons between Los Angeles and any major city in Europe. There are very few similarities. The entire social system is different, city planning (there is NO city planning in Lost Angeles!) is different, education is VERY different, public transportation? (forget about it - maybe in another twenty years).

Clearly the chaos of Los Angeles informed Bukowski's writing. For all it's faults, LA (I'm a native) has certain special qualities that created a "perfect storm" type of enviroment in which writers like Bukowski and Fante could create works that resonate in a unique way because of our city's unique characteristics. To summarize, then, things were just as chaotic and angst-like in Bukowski's Lost Angeles as they are in the present-day Lost Angeles. We're just as lost now as we were then. That's how it looks from my perspective, at any rate.
 
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caraculo

Okay, Gary, thanks for your answer. I am from Spain, but I've been to many Western Europe countries. ( Havent been to Germany, though).

The idea that I got from LA is that from the movies, and those old series like the A-Team and the wonder car with David Hasselhorf: road , road and more road.

I am a pedestrian, inner city kind of guy, suburbia seems to be the most boring thing in the world. So if I ever went to live to LA for a while, which is a mid term goal on my agenda, I'd go for some place like Downtown, were you could just take a walk surrounded by people, shops, pets, cops, salesmen, adult adult book stores, hookers, drug dealers, drunks, etc...just thinking about suburbia makes me feel anxious, lol.

I guess Bukowski felt the same, who knows, I think of him like an inner city man.
 

mjp

Founding member
So if I ever went to live to LA for a while, which is a mid term goal on my agenda, I'd go for some place like Downtown, were you could just take a walk surrounded by people, shops, pets, cops, salesmen, adult adult book stores, hookers, drug dealers, drunks, etc...
You'll have to find a different downtown.

Maybe a different country.

American cities are sweeping all the grit off of their downtown streets, Los Angeles included. Downtown is halfway to being suburbia itself, and the transformation will be complete before you make your way here.

I lived in a downtown like you describe (not here in Los Angeles), but that was 25 years ago. Now it's a sterile ghost town, with pretty cobblestone and $12 hamburgers.

You are chasing a Hollywood image that will disappoint you no matter where you land. Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead! And America isn't like it is in the movies or on TV.
 
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caraculo

I think the end of oil will mean the end of the suburbia dream, and people will have to go back to inner cities, smaller places with a better public transportation. In a few decades only rich people will be able to drive cars. Well, that's what the alarmist people say.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Gary Eisenberg has some conviction in his post that I agree with.

The end of oil will not be the end of a affordable personal transportation or suburbia. This is the All Things Bukowski thread not the gloom and doom thread.
 

chronic

old and in the way
I'd go for some place like Downtown, were you could just take a walk surrounded by people, shops, pets, cops, salesmen, adult adult book stores, hookers, drug dealers, drunks, etc...

Sounds more like downtown Beverly Hills than downtown L.A.

Well, except for the adult bookstores.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
The end of oil will not be the end of a affordable personal transportation or suburbia.

We'll probably be driving electrical cars before the oil is all used up. The electrical ones we have right now can't run very fast or very long, but they're still okay if you don't drive more than about 70 km per day. In the future they'll produce much better electrical cars, of course.
 
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Uh...MJP....Uh...let's see now...what downtown are you talking about? Maybe downtown Minneapolis? Last time I drove past 5th and Main in downtown Lost Angeles (which was three days ago, I had to play a gig on 2nd and Main and drove right past Kamper's Corner, in the heart of Skid Row) it sure didn't look neat, clean or tidy. They ain't cleaned much of anything up down there, trust me. There are more campers than ever, plenty of broken bottles, boozey bluez, shattered dreams...just like it was when Buk (and even Fante) were making their respective treks to our glorious downtown Los Angeles Public Library. Take a little stroll down 5th street, eastbound, from Spring street to Central. Happy little songs for happy people....
 

mjp

Founding member
Well, I said "halfway to being suburbia," which it is. There's a Ralph's downtown, for christ's sake.

If you think they're going to stop the gentrification at the toy district, I'll gladly take any bets you're willing to make. Look at the area just West of S. Los Angeles St. It's already there and steadily pushing on that Los Angeles St. boundary every day. That border won't hold against money. Money will always expand and the poor and crazy will be pushed out of the way to make room. Just like always. Just like everywhere. I don't know about Minneapolis, I haven't been to their downtown in a quarter century. But the specific city or location isn't important. "Redevelopment" advances the same way everywhere. Los Angeles is not different. Not the downtown, anyway.

The whole of downtown LA was an infected armpit not very long ago, but it's changed, hasn't it. If I told you back in 1985 that the Disney corporation was going to build a concert hall downtown you would have said, "what downtown are you talking about?" and laughed and laughed. 25 years from now "skid row" will be swept out of where it's been for all these years. If I'm wrong, just come back here and tell me.

You know, in 25 years.

Take a little stroll down 5th street, eastbound, from Spring street to Central.
Sure, I'll take a little stroll, while you drive by in your car with the doors locked.
 
Sure, I'll take a little stroll, while you drive by in your car with the doors locked.
. UH...listen, MJP. We can take that little stroll side-by-side. I don't drive by ANYPLACE with the doors locked. And that part of downtown LA that you're talking about...it might as well be in another galaxy. Skid row is still skid row and it AIN'T gonna gentrify anytime soon. It's been that way for decades, while the financial district and other areas of downtown have waxed and waned. I know my downtown LA. I occasionally do gigs at the Conga Room, just around the corner from Staples Center. Lots of money down there, just like at the Disney Center. But they're doing CAMPFIRES down there on skid row. I remember walking through the Bowery in New York City. Only a few miles away, folks are living the lush life. Things are compressed in the city. That's just how it is.
 

mjp

Founding member
Uh...okay...Gary Eisenberg. I ain't never been to no big city, thanks so much for schoolin' me 'bout what they're like! What kinda hat should I wear when I go there? Should I hide my nest egg in my shoe? Golly, I can't hardly wait for the Greyhound to git to the general store so's I kin start my adventure! Yee ha!
 

Lolita Twist

Rose-hustler
To answer caraculo's question to some degree, I shall as always report annoyingly from personal experience (because I have so much - no really, I write about it all the time. Buy my shit).

I live in the "inner-city" (Troy, NY), attended an inner-city high school (Troy High), and am attending a mixed college in the area (Hudson Valley CC) starting to work for my Phd. Our population, although wikipedia says it is 80% white, is mostly minorities (though I suppose they're not minorities here. I would be in a classroom of 20 or 30 where I was the only 100% white kid. The rest were mixed, at least. Walking around this city, as you can, you see plenty of others doing the same thing (of all races and backgrounds). Although our main road (Hoosick St, leads out to the highway: 787) is always congested with traffic, we have running buses literally 24/7, and they are always at capacity, as are the taxi's that run around the city. We have a number of housing projects ("The Kings", "The Heights", etc) in our downtown area, next to the social services building (aka "1801", it's street address), but beautiful, neon-lit bars right down the street from there next to monuments meant to mark historical events in this city (by myth, the "birthplace of Uncle Sam"). We have everything from weed to heroin, from cops to criminals all at the bar together. It's a very Bukowski-esque city, ergo why I tend to enjoy it. It's like a three-ring-circus where you can be the ring master if you know how to talk to people, and not get scammed by Nigerians. (Which I didn't.)
 
Uh, MJP? Forget about the hat. We kin start our little promenade down at Kamper's Korner, get us a couple of brewskis. Then on down to the Weingart Center to see about three hots and a cot. From there, who knows? Maybe a saunter on down to the library. Cheers,


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