May 09 2012

A People’s Guide to Los Angeles

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this week requested the City Council vote on an ordinance banning tents from all public parks. The ordinance is based on an existing law that disallows camping in parks but is widely seen as an attempt to prevent a new Occupy LA encampment on the City Hall lawn. Groups advocating for the city’s homeless are outraged, saying it is part of the “mayor’s continuing criminalization of the poor and protesters.”

Such laws and ordinances, policies and practices, that shape the political geography of Los Angeles are often lost to history. While tourists, and even many Angelenos, conjure Hollywood Boulevard, or Olvera street as best representing the city’s significance, there are countless street corners, buildings, parks, and other spaces whose cultural and political history is part of LA’s fabric, but in danger of being obscured by the glamor and glitz that conventional guidebooks direct tourists toward.

Now, a new book called A People’s Guide to Los Angeles, written by Laura Pulido, Laura Barraclough, and Wendy Cheng, attempts to document those obscure and intimate histories. The authors “show how everyday people are exploited and disenfranchised by capital and the state; how those same people sometimes mobilize to create alternative forms of power; how racism, sexism, class differences, and homophobia lead to struggle and conflict; how dominant ideas are memorialized in landscapes; and how Los Angeles has been a constant site of struggle between nature and people.”

GUESTS: Laura Pulido, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC and visiting professor of Black Studies at UCSB, author of “Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles,” Wendy Cheng, Assistant Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies and Justice and Social Inquiry and Arizona State University

Author Appearances

Skylight Books, Friday May 11 @ 7:00pm, 1818 North Vermont Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90027

Autry Museum, Saturday May 12 @ 2:00pm, 4700 Western Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 91101

Vroman’s Bookstore, June 7 @ 7:00pm, 695 East Colorado Boulevard Pasadena, CA 91101

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