Thu, 31 October 2013
Colin Marshall sits down in Hollywood with lawyer turned social dynamics expert Jordan Harbinger, co-host of the Pickup Podcast and co-founder of confidence education program The Art of Charm. They discuss how much time he spends explaining that he isn't Tom Cruise from Magnolia; how he conceives of The Art of Charm's mission to teach confidence, which involves teaching emotional intelligence; whether and how our generation of men have come out especially socially inept; the still-strong number of pickup artist types wandering around Hollywood, and the equally strong number of low-self-esteem women with whom they match; the importance of asking oneself the question "What can I learn from this person?", an entirely different question from "What can I get from this person?"; the Pickup Podcast's origin in someone else's basement, and how that developed into coaching and teaching; the skills of networking through his short law career, and how he realized they also applied to, say, meeting women; the day he found himself ostensibly studying for a law exam while remotely coaching a man for his imminent move from Africa to Denmark; knowing how to use Los Angeles, a land of "towns packed together for tax purposes," especially its areas of dense "city life" like Hollywood and Koreatown; everyone in Los Angeles' essential nature as a foreigner, and how that opens up the question, "Where are you from?"; his dull childhood in Troy, Michigan which led to an adolescence of conning and wiretapping, and then into Germany as an exchange student; language and travel as the engines of good social-habit development, and the advantages of becoming foreign and shifting your linguistic context; how "networking" became a dirty word; specificity, the enemy of relationships; the importance of people as vectors; and the sentiment "it's all who you know — and thank God for that!"
Sat, 26 October 2013
Colin Marshall sits down above downtown Los Angeles in the U.S. Bank tower with Stephen Gee, senior producer at ITV Studios and author of Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles, the first book on the man who designed such landmark structures in the city as Union Station, the Memorial Coliseum, Bullock's Wilshire, and City Hall. They discuss how such a visionary could have gone unknown so long; Los Angeles' relationship to its public buildings; Parkinson's notion, during a time when Los Angeles set about defining itself, of putting up a built environment that would leave people inspired; the neatness, elegance, and organization that characterize a Parkinson building; the city's assumption that Parkinson would remain a household name for generations to come, and how World War II and the years after threw that off; Parkinson's move from England, and his own move from England in 1995; his struggle to find information related to the architect, and how everything new he learned made him want to learn more (as also happens with knowledge about the city of Los Angeles itself); how you engage better with Los Angeles after coming to understand its original intention; how to break down the false images of the city the rest of the world gets fed; Los Angeles as "the city of the future" in most or all eras of its existence; the modern repurposing of Parkinson buildings, into apartments and retail spaces and law schools; Iconic Vision's origin as, and possible future as, a television documentary; the new relevance of Parkinson buildings in an era when Angelenos have begun to regard and use the city differently; what he learned when he assembled of Parkinson's buildings, from Los Angeles and elsewhere, "in one place"; and what might architecturally excite the always forward-looking Parkinson in this always forward-looking city today.
Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed or on iTunes.
Thu, 17 October 2013
Colin Marshall sits down in North Hollywood with Carren Jao, Manila- and Los Angeles-based writer on architecture, art, and design. They discuss what rain does to the aesthetic of Los Angeles; the role of the river here as the connection people don't realize they have; the difference between the floods Los Angeles used to routinely endure and the ones Manila routinely endures now; how, growing up in the Philippines, she got interested in the shape and form of cities; Manila's "improvisational" nature not centered around always having functioning systems; the Filipino inclination to make guests' lives easier in any way possible; her entry into the United States, but not the one that "everyone knows"; public transit as amusement-park ride; the important role of the Jeepney in Manila's transportation; her life in the San Fernando Valley, very much a place distinct from Los Angeles itself; how writing has forced her to explore this city and its environs, including still-developing ones like Pacoima's "mural mile"; how to get the wide-openness of the Los Angeles experience across to friends, family, and readers; the "third-world" contrasts of nice homes next to squatters' villages in Manila and the Arts District next to Skid Row in Los Angeles; the boom in interest related to architecture, design, and space-making, and the importance of leaving openings for people to construct their own environments; what she'd look at first after five years away from Los Angeles, and from Manila; this city's long-confused relationship with its water; what the Philippines have learned from other countries; what America could learn from the Asian sense of accommodation; what she learns from having to attend neighborhood council meetings; how fast word and social knowledge travel in Manila, how slow they can travel in Los Angeles, and how both have their advantages.
Mon, 7 October 2013
Colin Marshall sits down in the Los Angeles Central Library's Maguire Gardens with Nathan Masters, writer interested in all things Los Angeles, especially the history of the city, about which he writes as a representative of Los Angeles as Subject for KCET and Los Angeles Magazine. They discuss how he regarded the distant downtown Los Angeles skyline while growing up in the Orange County town of Anaheim; the changing ways the county of his youth has regarded itself relative to Los Angeles; how far back you can go into the history of southern California and still have it bolster your understanding of the place, even to the era of allegedly "sleepy little village" of Mexican Los Angeles; why observers have insisted that this city has had little interest its own history; how he didn't need to spend time away from Los Angeles to appreciate it; the debate over whether actual orange groves inspired the "Orange" in Orange County, and his grandfather's home-movie footage of the uprooting of said groves; why observers have insisted that this city stands atop a desert; the competing boosting and demythologizing narratives; where he finds the greatest historical surprises, especially in the "old, weird" American 19th century; why knowing your history might get you driving more safely down the Arroyo Seco Parkway; how each foreign culture engages with Los Angeles in a different way, and how Los Angeles has no one way of accepting, absorbing, or digesting these influences; the seeming impossibility, given all this, of writing an overarching narrative of the city; the eternal struggle here between optimism and nostalgia; readers' love of stories of "lost geography"; the creek bed hidden in Koreatown; his own love of stories about trees; and the elusive stories of history's ordinary Angelenos.