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The New LA

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OK, can we just agree right now that Eric Garcetti is the coolest LA City Council President, like, ever? That's him on the red carpet — the one crouching down, taking the photo of other guests.

The occasion was last night's screening of The New LA on the Paramount lot. So much LA political high-wattage was there that I couldn't get them all down: three or four city council reps, Mayor Villaraigosa, controller Laura Chick, Tom Bradley's widow, movers and shakers from the African-American, Latino and Korean communities. Gary Leonard was there, shooting like crazy. Everyone seemed to know each other; as Mayor V waited on the aisle for his turn at the podium, he was giving private smiles and waves to practically everyone in the room.

The New LA is part of the documentary series California and the American Dream on PBS on Thursdays; look for it next week on KCET at 10pm. The New LA provides a good history of post-1960s labor efforts in LA, while also tracing Mayor Bradley's legacy to Mayor Villaraigosa. It's best when focusing on Maria Elena Durazo, who is a skilled, impassioned organizer, and Miguel Contreras, her husband, who led the LA County AFL-CIO until his sudden death last year. The filmmakers captured Miguel in his last long-form interview; the film is dedicated to him.

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In other ways, we think the film falls short, but we'll save that for another day. If you watch it next week, tell us what you think: thumbs up or thumbs down?