2020 in review: Southern California restaurants, art, climate and news

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A view of hiking trails, Griffith Park, and downtown LA in the distance, March 21, 2020. During the early days of the pandemic, when LA was under a stay-at-home order, fewer cars on the road meant less air pollution and clearer skies. Photo by Amy Ta.

Much of the world has changed this year due to COVID-19. Jobs were lost. Gatherings were nixed. Sports were played in bubbles or with few fans in the stands. When was the last time you saw the Dodgers or Lakers, or a live concert? KCRW’s Greater LA looks back at the year with its regular contributors. 

Mona Holmes, reporter for Eater LA: “We changed from a food publication primarily to one that reported about harder news because COVID impacted everything. And I’ve watched so many restaurants close, ones that really make up the culture and the experience of Los Angeles, like Broken Spanish and Beverly Soon Tofu. Those places are gone forever. And there’s more that are on the verge of disappearing any day now.” 

Lindsay Preston Zappas, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles: “It’s really been a year of gallerists thinking on their toes and figuring out how do we adapt exhibitions to go online? How do we create safe space in galleries for people to visit and not just have to shutter? And I think the art world is more fortunate in a lot of ways than other industries that it’s not as good of an experience, I would say, to look at an art show online. … But you can still do it. You can’t eat spaghetti through the internet, but you can look at art.”

Alissa Walker, Urbanism Editor at Curbed: “Remember for those few weeks, early on in the stay-at-home order, when we had those crystal blue skies, I mean we really got to see what our air and what our climate could be like if we really scaled back the way we move around our city, or just make different decisions about the way we move around our city. But it didn’t last. … We also have to remember that later in the summer, not only did we see some of our worst air pollution that we’ve had in 30 years, we saw these tremendous fires. And we can’t really escape the long term impacts of climate change. … Even though we have changed certain aspects of our behavior, we still need to focus on making big changes down the road.”

Gustavo Arellano, columnist for the LA Times: “With Orange County, it’s always the same tale of the haves and the have-nots. And [it] just happens that Orange County, the have-nots keep growing as the economy of Orange County keeps getting eviscerated. And so in this year, you had a Board of Supervisors that just did not want to put any coronavirus mandates to the point where it pushed out the county health official Nichole Quick after she was receiving death threats. You had a Board of Education that sued California to insist that all public schools open with little to any coronavirus restrictions put in place. And of course, you had Huntington Beach, that grand capital of coronavirus lunatics who seem to be congregating there every weekend and saying, ‘Hey, you scum, how dare you try and rain on our parade? Like leave us alone.’” 

Credits

Guests:
Lindsay Preston Zappas - Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, Mona Holmes - Eater LA - @monaeatsLA, Alissa Walker - urbanism editor, Curbed - @awalkerinLA, Gustavo Arellano - LA Times columnist and contributor to Greater LA. - @GustavoArellano

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Jenna Kagel