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The 30 Best Quotes About Los Angeles And The People Who Live Here

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"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes," Walt Whitman once wrote, and the same can surely be said of Los Angeles, the ultimate melting pot, home to sunshine, noir, and so much more. Here are some of our very favorite things that have been said about the city and its inhabitants.

Yes, a great many of them do contradict each other, but, like we said, multitudes. And for all the new arrivals, welcome. We hope it's everything you were promised.


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(Gif by Julia Wick/LAist)
"It's like paradise with a lobotomy.” —Neil Simon

"Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles." —Frank Lloyd Wright

"Like earlier generations of English intellectuals who taught themselves Italian in order to read Dante in the original, I learned to drive in order to read Los Angeles in the original." —Reyner Banham

"The great Nietzsche told us to live dangerously. In Los Angeles there is no alternative." —Robert Winter and David Gebhard

"Los Angeles, give me some of you! Los Angeles come to me the way I came to you, my feet over your streets, you pretty town I loved you so much, you sad flower in the sand, you pretty town!” —John Fante

(Gif by Julia Wick/LAist)
“In Los Angeles you are conscious only of the present tense; there is no flavor of the past, no feeling for the future.” —Kate Bell

"Los Angeles is 72 suburbs in search of a city." —Dorothy Parker

"The physical shapelessness of Los Angeles is reflected in the moral anarchy of its people." —Richard Gilbert

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"With their cars, Angelenos go places, they travel infinite numbers of kilometers in a world that continuously remains Los Angeles." —Cees Nooteboom

"There are two modes of transport in Los Angeles: car and ambulance. Visitors who wish to remain inconspicuous are advised to choose the latter." —Fran Lebowitz

"Pick your enemies carefully or you'll never make it in Los Angeles." —Rona Barrett

(Gif by Julia Wick/LAist)
"The city burning is Los Angeles's deepest image of itself." —Joan Didion

"L.A. is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities." —Jack Kerouac

"Los Angeles—a bright and guilty place." —Orson Welles

"It is redundant to die in Los Angeles." —Truman Capote

"God curse this antiseptic, heartless, hateful neon mirage of a city! May its swimming pools be dried up. May all its lights go out for ever." —Christopher Isherwood

"Los Angeles is the Great Gatsby of American cities." —Kevin Starr

"We are all citizens of Los Angeles because we have seen so many movies." —D.J. Waldie

(Gif by Julia Wick/LAist)
"Los Angeles is a microcosm of the United States. If L.A. falls, the country falls." —Ice T

"All Americans born between 1890 and 1945 wanted to be movie stars." —Gore Vidal

"Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant." —Cary Grant

"Los Angeles remains the most photographed and least remembered city in the world." —Norman M. Klein

"Los Angeles is just New York lying down." —Quentin Crisp

"Hollywood is wonderful. Anyone who doesn't like it is either crazy or sober." —Raymond Chandler

(Gif by Julia Wick/LAist)
"Everything in Los Angeles is too large, too loud and usually banal in concept… The plastic asshole of the world." —William Faulkner

"I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They're beautiful. Everybody's plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic." —Andy Warhol

"L.A. is epidemically everywhere and discernible only in glimpses." —James Ellroy

"It's very easy to stand L.A., which is why it's almost inevitable that all sorts of ideas get entertained, to say nothing of lovers." —Eve Babitz

"The final story, the final chapter of western man, I believe, lies in Los Angeles." —Phil Ochs

"Los Angeles is the most beautiful city in the world, as long as it's seen at night and from a distance." —Roman Polanski

(Gif by Julia Wick/LAist)

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