Max LentMax Lent
doesn't really exist as city. It is a decentralized
accumulation of communities that seems to never stop
growing. Standing somewhere in the downtown of Los
Angeles you could be more than 50 miles away from its
loosely defined edges. It is smoggy, often dirty, and
its infrastructure appears to be in a state of moldering
decay. Its freeways are impossibly crowded making
travel time a significant for tourists and residents.
It can be dangerous and ugly. Most of Los Angeles is a
stucco facade, not unlike a temporary movie set. Yet,
it is a wonderful mosaic of cultures, climates, and
topographies unlike I have seen anywhere else in the world.
Many people in L.A. are not who they appear to be.
Everyone seems to be an undiscovered scriptwriter, actor,
director, or producer who is only working as a lawyer,
dentist, waiter, cop, or programmer until they break into
the film industry.
Like all large cities, L.A. is layered. There is
the layer that is myth. All over the world, people
believe that they know L.A. from what they have seen in
movies, read in books, or heard about from relatives.
There is the layer that the tourist sees and there are the
other many layers that residents see. My introduction
is from the perspective of an expatriate resident.
L.A.'s major tourist attractions are listed on the
Attractions page which is a subset of the
Information page. If you are a short-term visitor
you may want to skip directly to the attractions page and
see the major tourist sites. Most of what people want
to see in L.A. is widely dispersed and requires a great deal
of travel time.
Favorite L.A. Area Places
The Brand Library. When I lived in Los Angeles,
the Brand library had one of the best collections of
photography books in the region. Not only did I
enjoy using the library, I enjoyed visiting the library.
Its Moorish/Indian architecture makes it one of the most
architecturally interesting libraries I've ever visited.
The Gamble House. The Gamble house was built by
Green Architects. It is the archetypal
California Bungalow and it is one of my favorite houses.
Don't just look at the exterior of the house, take the
tour. Seeing stained glass entrance from the inside
an experience you are unlikely to forget. You may
also wonder why so many modern tract houses look so awful
when they could be using 90 year old designs that are
superior in every way.
The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden at UCLA.
I had the privilege of working with Dr. Mathias on several
projects and I am particularly pleased that UCLA named
their botanical garden after her. During the many
years that I worked at UCLA in various departments
including zoology, sub-atomic particle physics, and
parasitology my labs were often below ground or
windowless. During lunch hours and breaks, I walked
through the UCLA botanical garden and admired the plants
and wildlife that live there. My favorite plant is
Dawn Redwood near the bottom of the ponds. It is
said to be the tallest Dawn Redwood in North America.