Los Angeles, City as “Giraffe?”

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As part of KCRW’s ongoing coverage of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., Edward Goldman aired this meditation on Art Talk, telling listeners of his ongoing love affair with the city:

“Yes, you might say it was the proverbial love at first sight. And how could it be any other way? My airplane descended over the city in the middle of the night, and I was immediately struck by a sea of flickering lights spreading out beyond the horizon.”

His experiences in other cities did not prepare him for “the sparse elegance of architecture by Great Los Angeles modernists such as Rudolph Schindler, Richard Neutra, and Irving Gill.”

He stated that while many other world cities offer regimented beauty, Los Angeles stands apart: “Just think about all beautiful historic cities as purebred horses that people breed, train and admire. And all of a sudden, you are confronted with a strange animal like no other you’ve seen before. Though it looks remotely like a horse, it’s three times bigger, and its proportions are totally wrong. Its hind legs are shorter than its front legs, its neck stretches up into the skies, and its ridiculously long tail with a brush on the end looks like an upended palm tree. What the hell is the name for this creature? Of course, I’m talking about a giraffe: a beautiful, exotic animal who cannot and should not be compared to a common horse.”

Goldman sees no use in comparing LA with other cities. He sees this “beautiful, exotic and slightly weird metropolis of ours as a ‘giraffe’ of a city. I even dreamed once of being on a clogged freeway and instead of driving a car, I was riding a giraffe. How about that?”