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L.A. from Every Angle

Posted April 01, 2010 to photo album "L.A. from Every Angle"

As Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg shows, there are many different L.A.s inside the city limits. Joel Bleifuss takes us on the tour of how artists imagine Los Angeles.

Slide 1: Greenberg and Baumbach at Musso & Frank
Slide 2: L.A. for Hollywood
Slide 3: L.A. for Native Americans
Slide 4: L.A. for Silent Filmmakers
Slide 5:  L.A. for Californios
Slide 6: L.A. for the Muralists
Slide 7:  L.A. against the Communist Muralists
Slide 8: L.A. for the Muralists Again
Slide 9: L.A. for the Hard-Boiled
Slide 10: L.A. of the Film Noir
Slide 11: L.A. of the Cynics
Slide 12: L.A. of the Desperate
Slide 13: L.A. for the Dreamers
Slide 14: L.A. for the Modernists
Slide 15: L.A. for the Doers
Slide 16: L.A. for the Hustlers
Slide 17: L.A. of the Painters
Slide 18: L.A. of the Logo
Slide 19:  L.A. of the new Artists
Slide 20: L.A. of the Mexican-American Writers
Slide 21: L.A. of the Singer/Songwriters
Slide 22:  L.A. of Lowlifes
Slide 23: L.A. of the Essay Writers
Slide 24: L.A. of Gay Detectives
Slide 25: L.A. for Rock ’n’ Rollers
Slide 26: L.A. of the Privileged
Slide 27: L.A. of the Cholos
Slide 28: L.A. of the Gangstas
Slide 29: L.A. for the children of the rich and famous
Slide 30: L.A. for the children of the rich and famous, Part 2
Slide 11: L.A. of the Cynics

Slide 11: L.A. of the Cynics

Nathanael West (1903-1940). West, born Nathan Weinstein, was a Hollywood screenwriter of B-movies whose novels, in the words of David Yaffe, presented a “a sweeping rejection of political causes, religious faith, artistic redemption and romantic love.” W.H. Auden called this jaded view of the American dream “West’s disease.” It did not make West rich.

West’s last novel, The Day of the Locust, initially sold fewer than 2,000 copies. “That was the time of the Great Depression, and the war in Europe had just begun. Nihilism was the wrong ingredient to add to that recipe,” writes Web critic Uncle Scoopy. “People wanted to believe that the movie industry included something more than sideshow freaks, and they turned to movies primarily for vicarious escapist fun. People living in a dark, frightening world weren’t looking to find out that the movie world was even darker and more frightening than reality.”

Following the novel’s publication, West wrote to F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The box score stands: Good reviews— fifteen per cent, bad reviews—twenty five per cent, brutal personal attacks—sixty percent.” It wouldn’t be until 15 years later that West’s book would find an audience.