In April, German and I went to our first Zocalo Public Square lecture, drawn by this intriguing title: “Los Angeles vs. Las Vegas: Which is the Most Unreal City in America?”
I was interested in hearing what intellectuals who choose to live here think of this place, my new home, and German, a proud native Angeleno, was psyched for the mega-metropolis showdown. We weren’t disappointed and are now both officially huge fans of Zocalo. German left clamoring for LA vs. NYC, LA vs. Tokyo and maybe just go big with LA vs. the WORLD. According to them:
Zócalo Public Square is a non-profit organization that builds community by broadening access to civic discourse. We present smart ideas in an open, welcoming, non-partisan, multi-ethnic space.
The best part? Their lectures are FREE. That fits my budget perfectly. I’ll be sure to give them a big donation when I’m fantastically wealthy.
For the lecture we attended (at the Autry Museum, which is VERY cool and merits its own post), the organizers invited four guests who pontificated on how both of the cities basically completely ignore their natural environments, how great it will be to have a train from Anaheim to Las Vegas and all the usual downer topics endemic to southern CA: out-of-control growth, soaring home prices and a severe water shortage. My favorite guest was probably the former head of the defunct Las Vegas art museum who was HILARIOUS as she described how Las Vegas has no support for the visual arts (they do a little better on the performing side). She was an enthusiastic supporter of the train – after all, you can’t enjoy a cocktail when you’re behind the wheel of your car. Things aren’t looking so good right now however. Anyway, you can see the whole lecture here.
While you’re at it, check out upcoming lectures – Zocalo is in San Francisco too. You won’t be disappointed. Get your think on.