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Photo: La La Land production designer David Wasco and director Damien Chazelle on set. (Dale Robinette)

Designing 'La La Land' 13 MIN, 21 SEC

The romantic musical La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, is an unabashed tribute to this city of celluloid dreams. Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a struggling jazz musician who dreams of opening his own club, and Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring actress. Their love affair plays out in some of LA's most iconic settings, from Griffith Observatory to Watts Towers, from glamorous backyard pool parties and dimly-lit dive bars to maddeningly jammed freeways.

La La Land's stunning visuals were largely the creation of a husband and wife team: David Wasco, production designer, and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, set decorator. They describe La La Land as a valentine to Los Angeles -- and to films about Los Angeles.

David Wasco, production designer
Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, set decorator

LA Transcendental: How 'La La Land' chases the sublime
Manohla Dargis says 'La La Land' makes musicals matter again
Anthony Lane applauds the "grownup musical" 'La La Land'
Damien Chazelle explains how he shot the opening freeway scene

Saving Thomas Mann's house 7 MIN, 19 SEC

The German government has purchased the former Los Angeles home of one of its most famous and celebrated authors. Why?

Thomas Mann grappled with the rise of totalitarianism and the collapse of the tradition of Western humanism in his writings, which include Dr Faustus and The Holy Sinner.

When Adolf Hitler became Germany's chancellor, Mann fled Germany and eventually settled in the Pacific Palisades. And there he commissioned a modest-sized house in the Modernist style, designed by another German immigrant, JR Davidson.

Earlier this year, Mann's house went on the market for a listed $15 million, labeled as a possible tear-down. So the Germans stepped in to save it, with the goal of making it an artists' retreat.

Markus Klimmer, Villa Aurora / Bauhaus Archive

Germany buys Thomas Mann's former Pacific Palisades home, averting demolition
Germany buys California home where writer Thomas Mann lived in exile

Underwater pavilions 7 MIN, 48 SEC

The artist Doug Aitken has a history of taking his audiences out of the traditional museum or gallery spaces. His latest installation, a companion piece to his retrospective exhibition Electric Earth at MOCA, is a series of sculptures in the ocean called "Underwater Pavilions." Viewing them involves a ferry ride to the island of Catalina, followed by a deep sea dive. Eric Drachman investigates, with support of KCRW's Independent Producer Project, and found there's more below the surface of this art project.

Eric Drachman, Independent Producer (@ericdrachman)

LA Times: Doug Aitken to install 'Underwater Pavilions' this fall
New York Times: Doug Aitken plans underwater art installation

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