Memory mobilization

As LA Biz Observed's Mark Lacter noted on March 31st, a USC demographer has released a report indicating that homegrown Californians have become the majority population for the first time since before Gold Rush days.

Perhaps now more natives will recognize the importance of preserving remnants of a region that they can remember from their childhood or young adulthood. Certainly Los Angeles's baby boomers are going to be mighty upset when they realize that the building that once housed (the now defunct) Tower Records at 8801 Sunset Blvd. may no longer exist.

The Sunset Tower Records, which is now a clothing store, was the "Kings Road" of the West Coast (hell, it's not too far from the actual street called King's Road in West Hollywood). It was a place where millions of teens from all over the world flocked to in order to find new imports, see favorite bands perform live, and meet like-minded individuals in the days before the Internet. Before Tower Records, the location supported two earlier notable eras. In the 1960's, inventor Earl "Mad Man" Muntz created his 4-track stereo cartridge music system for cars, which led to 8-track tapes. It was "Jack's On The Strip," a diner where stars socialized, during the 1940's through the 1950's.

Domenic Priore, author of Riot on the Sunset Strip:Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood, remembers Tower Record's historical importance and is leading the fight against Chicago developer Sol Barket's plans to raze the world famous "Tower Records store" and build a five-story office and retail space. Demolition is slated for January 2011. Priore has his own plans for the old building; he wants to build a Sunset Strip Museum.
The City of West Hollywood is accepting comments on the draft Environmental Impact Report for 8801 Sunset Blvd until Tuesday, April 5th. Preservationists are encouraging community members to advocate against the development by sending emails to Adrian Gallo, and John Keho, or mailed to: Planning Dept., Adrian Gallo/John Keho, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood CA 90069.

Further south in South Los Angeles, radical Angelenos of a certain age can relive the antics of the L.A. chapter of the Black Panther Party. The Pan African Film Festival has extended the run of Gregory Everett's documentary, "41st & Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers." You can catch screenings of the film at the Culver Plaza Theater until April 8th. Even if you are not familiar with names like Bunchy Carter or Ron Karenga, it's still a trip to see the LA. landscape in the late sixties.

Finally, Angelenos with really long memories will get a kick out of the Google Map, entitled " A Tour of German Los Angeles in the Twentieth Century," created by the LA Conservancy in celebration of the upcoming Ring Festival LA.

I bet the residents of 1347 North Citrus Avenue in Hollywood have no idea that noted German author Alfred Döblin lived there from 1941 to 1945.

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