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A Different Take on Los Angeles and "That" Industry

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Like other Angelenos, tries hard to separate the myth of "Hollywood" from the reality of Los Angeles and avoids the temptation to constantly reference the entertainment business. Yet, the "Industry" is one of Southern California's major economies and impacts our lives in myriad ways. For example, a conference on Saturday at the Huntington Library in San Marino focused on how the entertainment industry shaped (and continues to shape) our region's urban design. Planners, historians, and architects gathered at the Huntington to discuss how and why the Los Angeles and the entertainment business is one of the most compelling urban economic development and geographic expansion stories in history.

The over-exaggeration of the industry in Los Angeles is often lamentable, and we're hopeful that by now most people understand entertainment isn't LA's sole economic and culture engine. But the "smokeless factory" is an undeniably central element of our shared history. It's also part and parcel of the image of our city that's projected to the world, and continues to be a factor to be reckoned with, reviled, and/or celebrated.

As is often the case with conferences, the disconnect between the subject matter and the featured participants was somewhat pronounced. Saturday’s event wasn’t an academic conference per se, given the participation of planning and architecture practitioners. Nor was it exactly what one would label an "industry crowd."