West Hollywood City Hall, 2008. According to "A People's Guide to Los Angeles," West Hollywood is popularly known as the first "gay city" in the United States, and was incorporated in November, 1984. The first couple to be married at West Hollywood City Hall was actor George Takei (aka Mr. Sulu) and his partner, Brad Altman.
In the 1980s the United Auto Workers struggled to keep General Motor's Panorama City plant (located on Van Nuys Boulevard) open, arguing that it wasn't private property but a 'joint venture' between the primarily-Latino community and GM. The plant was closed and demolished in 1998. The site is now a shopping center called "The Plant," 2008.
Tourists who come to Los Angeles tend to visit the same places: Venice Beach, Disneyland, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood. The slightly more adventurous might strike out for the Garment District, Topanga Canyon, or the Walt Disney Concert Hall, but what about neighborhoods to the south and east of those attractions? Places like the Los Angeles River? Or ‘the Ink Well’ (a two hundred-square foot beach) and Oakwood (a residential neighborhood) – two of the only Westside locations open to African-Americans during the first few decades of the twentieth century?
Where’s the guidebook that focuses on Los Angeles’ complex history when it comes to activism, class- and race-relations, and the fight for gay rights? At a bookstore near you, apparently. “A People’s Guide to the Los Angeles” focuses on 115 little-known Los Angeles sites with big histories. Join Patt and the books co-authors, Wendy Cheng and Laura Pulido. You might even find something new to do for Memorial Day.
We asked the authors of "A People's Guide" for their top ten little-known L.A. sites:
Black Panther Party Headquarters
Partido Liberal Mexicano offices
Malibu Public Beaches
General Motors Van Nuys
Wendy Cheng, photographer; assistant professor, Asian Pacific American Studies and Justice & Social Inquiry at Arizona State University.
Laura Pulido, professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California; currently a Visiting Professor in Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara
Check out an excerpt of "The People's Guide to Los Angeles":
A People's Guide to L.A. excerpt