LA Buildings: Charles Phoenix Loves Our Local Look

The history-loving entertainer makes for MOCA to spotlight SoCal structures.

It's a habit that can positively annoy the relatives back home to bits.

You're walking by the TV, while visiting for the holidays, and up pops a commercial. You only need to see a background building, any background building, to know it is LA, and then you yell out "LA!" which startles everyone in the vicinity.

Charles Phoenix gets that hometown architectural enthusiasm. The history-infatuated entertainer knows that while the building-dotted landscape in our do-everything-and-do-it-BIG region is, how shall one say, varied, many SoCal structures ooze va-voom and character and quirkiness and neon-natty touches.

The mid-century maven will take on many of those sometimes tawdry and highly terrific styles on Sunday, Oct. 12. That's the day when Mr. Phoenix, who has authored colorful books on the topic and presented hundreds of his celebrated slide shows, will make for MOCA Grand Avenue to talk LA architecture.

The day is presented by Vintage LA, which knows a thing or two or two thousand about historic Los Angeles architecture.

The host shall address, with a surfeit of cheek, "kitschy drive-ins, coffee shops, supermarkets, bowling alleys, shopping centers, extreme houses, dingbat apartments, fast food stands, amusement parks and themed environments" plus other goodies... "all in glorious color!"

We do love to see places like shopping centers get the love. Ever pulled up, randomly, to a shopping center from the 1960s or 1970s? Does the swooped roof and the comforting smell make you feel like you want to beg your mom for change for the gumball machine? Yeah. Buildings have a way of time-transporting us, instantly.

Tickets are $39, plus a fee.

And, look: We're not going to advise you not to annoy the relatives in other states with shouts of "there's LA" when you see back-home buildings on the telly. Our region may be home to faux castles and horseshoe motels and spaceship apartments and a hundred other random styles, but, by gumball, it's so LA.

Anyone who has a beef with our kookiness can happily embrace the boring. But many an Angeleno prefers the glow-by-night skating rink over the boxy non-place. It's like local law, practically.

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