The music industry's role in Downtown has been on our minds lately. It started two weeks ago when we ran into Skrillex at Blacktop Coffee in the Arts District, a block from his loft/studio. A few days later, Steve Aoki was on the cover of the local paper and did a book signing at The Last Bookstore. Last week social media was teeming with posts from Taylor Swift's sold out shows at Staples Center. And this past weekend, Questlove celebrated Michael Jackson's birthday by DJ-ing at Grand Park, MTV took over Broadway for its VMA performances, and Erykah Badu played an after-Hollywood Bowl show at The Regent. There seems to be a musical surge happening in Downtown. The LA Downtown News posted an op-ed about how Downtown could be a hub for the music business, and it makes sense. As the Westside's cultural relevance wanes, Downtown poses as a better fit for an industry obsessed with staying relevant, engaging fans, and being on the creative forefront.
Election 2016 expression is already hitting Downtown sidewalks. Over on Main/3rd, someone's sprayed some Bernie Sanders love with a portrait that includes his unofficial campaign slogan, "Feel the Bern". Around Broadway/4th, Ilegal Mezcal has plastered posters that read "Donald, eres un pendejo" (Donald, you're an asshole) while playfully promoting their mezcal - "The only thing that should be ilegal is mezcal." In a city that can feel sometimes isolated from and indifferent about national politics, it's nice to see some presidential election viewpoints through street art, even if the decision is still 14 months away.
People keep getting hit by cars in Downtown Los Angeles. It's beyond not okay. Drivers need to realize that cruising through Downtown Los Angeles, or any dense neighborhood in Los Angeles for that matter, means slowing down and paying more attention to pedestrians, bicyclists, and any other activity around the street. But what will it take to get drivers to actually change their behavior? Most crosswalks have already been upgraded to the new standardized striped pattern, but clearly that's not enough. Speed bumps crossing four lanes of traffic seems unreasonable. And slower speed limits don't mean anything if they're not enforced. Increased signage and lane reductions like those along Broadway could be good options if the community is willing to more strongly voice their concerns.
Case and point of the music industry's DTLA takeover as
the Orpheum Theatre stole the show at this year's VMAs