City Listening Hears LA’s Great Voices in Architecture

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
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John Chase and his pimp-tastic outfit

John Chase and his pimp-tastic outfit, by Keith Wiley

Architecture was heard and not seen at City Listening, the latest installation of de LaB (design east of La Brea), LA’s semi-regular design gathering hosted by AN contributors Haily Zaki and Alissa Walker (the writer of this post, but better known to you as “we“). Monday night’s event was held at the new Barbara Bestor-designed GOOD Space in Hollywood, where design writers and bloggers crawled out from under their keyboards to show us their faces, and in some cases, their feelings. The evening was packed with AN contributors and readers, including two pieces out of seven read that were originally published in AN!

Frances Anderton opened the night with a piece published in AN over two years ago that reflected on her first impressions of LA as a newly-arrived Brit. After making a Chapter 11 joke that made a few LA Times freelancers twitter nervously, Christopher Hawthorne read a piece from the LAT about last year’s wildfires (isn’t that great, we now have an annual wildfire tradition). We loved Curbed LA editors Josh Williams and Marissa Gluck riffing on the disturbing proliferation of floral wallpaper and velour furnishings as part of their regular feature “That’s Rather Hideous” (their excellent Flickr stream with photos by their readers provided background imagery the rest of the evening).

The Curbed LA editors get chintzy, by Keith Wiley

The Curbed LA editors get chintzy, by Keith Wiley

Jade Chang‘s tribute to minimalls published in Metropolis made us blush with nostalgia and was the perfect bookend to Sam Lubell‘s wistful critique of Americana at Brand, also published in AN (speaking of, Sam will be signing his new book London 2000+ at the LA Forum tonight!). We tried to lift spirits dampened by the economy with our poem The Night Before Layoffs, predicting what local designers from Frank Gehry to Shepard Fairey will need to do to weather the downturn.

Although the crowd roared regularly throughout the evening—who knew design writers were so drop dead hilarious?—nothing quite matched West Hollywood Urban Designer John Chase’s account of love, guilt, soul-searching, urban planning, and..er, um, how do we say this…hard-ons with a local homeless man. Unfortunately, this was an unpublished (and probably unpublishable) piece. Believe us when we say you had to be there for that one.

More photos, thanks to Keith Wiley.

2 Responses to “City Listening Hears LA’s Great Voices in Architecture”

  1. [...] in LA’s urban fabric. John was a tremendously outspoken voice in planning and politics, a larger-than-life fixture at architecture events, and honorary cheerleader for an entire generation of young writers and [...]

  2. [...] Kanner, and now we have learned that two more of LA’s brightest lights, Elaine Jones and John Chase, have also died. Jones was A. Quincy Jones’ widow, and Chase was the urban designer for the City [...]

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