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Here's What Happens When You Combine L.A. Drone Footage With 'La La Land'
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone! We have breaking news: There is a new drone footage video of Los Angeles. It is La La Land-inspired and paired with music from the motion picture. See for yourselves above.
“We all need a splash of bad taste,” Diana Vreeland once declared. “No taste is what I’m against.” We feel you, Diana, we feel you. Especially here in the late, great paradise of Los Angeles, where the La La Land barrage seems to never end (somebody, stop this train, I want to get off!).
There is nothing wrong with any of these drone shots. In fact, each is lovely and well-composed. There is nothing wrong with the La La Land soft jazz in the background, at least not technically. But this is the Malcolm Gladwell of drone videos. Everything about it is designed to be easily digestible and appealing—presented with the quiet implication of it somehow being, like your favorite almost-Best Picture winner, H-I-G-H A-R-T. And yet, instead, it just leaves you E-M-P-T-Y.
We love bad taste. No taste is the thing slowly corroding our souls, one La La Land-inspired collaboration at a time.
Do you want art about Los Angeles? Do you want to see the city you love reflected on the page or on the stage or on the screen?
Read the poetry of Wanda Coleman, the deceased longtime unofficial poet laureate of the city, whose searing poems put words to the experience and daily indignities of being a black woman in the City of Angels.
Let noir twist itself inside out in the bleached-out world of Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye, where Elliott Gould plays a version of Raymond Chandler's much-adapted antihero unlike any other.
Watch Charles Burnett's 1978 masterpiece Killer of Sheep, an almost Italian neorealist collection of vignettes of Watts in the 1970s.
Give yourself over to examining what poet W.H. Auden christened as "West's Disease"—a particular spiritual malady native to Los Angeles wherein the sufferer is incapable of converting their wishes into desires, and remains thereby paralyzed, unable to desire or believe anything. The disease is, of course, inspired by the bleak works of legendary local author Nathanael West (The Day of the Locust). All wishes, as Auden explained it in his diagnosis, have the same and unvarying meaning, regardless of their apparent content: "I refuse to be what I am." What could be more Los Angeles?
Or, speaking of lies and unfulfilled wishes, rewatch Sunset Boulevard or Double Indemnity.
Alternately, you could time-travel through all of the California saga, as told through the eyes of those often forgotten by history, with an emphasis on the viewpoints of women and minorities, with a trip to the Valley to see Judy Baca's The Great Wall of Los Angeles, one of the world's largest murals.
Heck, even Valley Girl offers a singular reflection of our city. The options are, quite literally, endless. Give us low art! Give us high art! We don't care, we'll take it all. Just show us something real. Baudrillard once wrote that there is nothing to match flying over Los Angeles by night. "A sort of luminous, geometric, incandescent immensity, stretching as far as the eye can see, bursting out from the cracks in the clouds," is how he described it. "Only Hieronymus Bosch's hell can match this inferno effect." And yet there is no inferno to be found in the footage above, or the much-lauded La La Land.
Show us our infernal, Bosch-ian city and show us ourselves! Ply us with bad taste, rotten earthly delights and contorted limbs. This is Los Angeles, we love it all. Just please, for the love of all that is holy, no more no taste. Cut the soft jazz. Enough with the La La Land honors and references and live shows and collabs.
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For some critics, this feels less like a momentous departure and more like a footnote.
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Every two years, Desert X presents site-specific outdoor installations throughout the Coachella Valley. Two Los Angeles artists have new work on display.