TIME Magazine runs a big out-of-touch feature today on the alleged "Manhattanization" of downtown L.A., which has allegedly gone from the tumbleweedy "laughingstock" of West Coast party people to a "happening city center" where your average TIME reporter is likely to come across "apparently inebriated clubgoers" climbing atop Denny's signs and waving their arms for an "off-balance picture."
Barf. But worse than these intolerably dorky scenes of South Figueroa is the magazine's assumption that this is even an area where culturally significant change is taking place:
Nothing reflects the disparity between the new and old downtown like the stimulating L.A. Live district and its aging neighbor, the convention center. The former is a new entertainment nucleus spanning 4 million sq. ft., or six city blocks, which houses bars, restaurants, movie theaters, hotels, live-music venues and Staples Center, the 20,000-seat arena that houses four professional sports teams, including the Lakers. Before Staples, "nobody came downtown," says Michael Roth, spokesman for Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the arena and L.A. Live. "It created a destination downtown."
Things are changing in downtown L.A. We have no argument there. But FYI, NYC: The mass, monetized buildup of ugly neon attractions around Staples Center is on the irrelevant outskirts of our revolution. To imply that AEG knows how to party, L.A.-style, is like saying New Yorkers make hole-in-the-wall coffee dates in Times Square.
In the words of one TIME commenter:
"What a marketing piece for AEG and LA live - the real renaissance is not happening at la live... the real renaissance is in the old bank district, spring street, 7th street and broadway where there are some of the best restaurants, bars and great turn of the century buildings. AEG and LA live are good for downtown but they are the garish newcomer (turn down the marketing lights) to the great old downtown and lofts, artists, etc that are moving into the rest of Downtown."
Given reporter Jens Erik Gould's sourcing, we understand where he may have gotten the (really quite hysterical) idea that AEG is making downtown a destination for anyone besides Beliebers and Lakers assholes. Guess who he talked to? AEG, AEG's monster developer friends and L.A. City Councilmember (and notorious overdevelopment nut) Jan Perry, who calls the tacky stretch of Figueroa "an area that can be considered alive 24/7 and be a major center for arts, entertainment and culture."
Sure, if by culture you mean "American Idol."
Just because the L.A. City Council (and their West Hollywood mini-mes) have major New York penis envy, doesn't mean those of us who are here because we want to be -- not because we were too lame to get elected in the nation's faster-talking urban center -- aren't in love with the shifting, rumbling L.A. scene because, well, it's anything but Manhattan.
We don't expect TIME to understand. But we've had enough of big-city know-it-alls skipping over our hot and hidden bits for the same stale interpretation of Angelenos as car-bound Manhattan dreamers, hypnotized by supergraphics.
So tell us, L.A.: Where do you think the real Los Angelization is going down? (And don't say party houses in the Hills. Unless you want a $5,000 ticket and a prime spot on the Hollywoodland Homeowners Association's hitlist.)