With the tragic and bloody ending to the optimistic 1960s in Los Angeles's fabled hills, the 1970s became a defining decade in the city. Marked by the Manson murders, rampant inflation, and recession, the decade seemed to usher in a gritty and unsightly reality. The city of glitz and glamour overnight became the city of smog and traffic, a cultural and environmental wasteland.
Los Angeles in the 1970s was a complex and complicated city with local cultural touchstones that rarely made it near the silver screen. In Los Angeles in the 1970s , LA natives, transplants, and escapees talk about their personal lives intersecting with the city during a decade of struggle. From The Doors' John Densmore seeing the titular L.A. Woman on a billboard on Sunset, to Deanne Stillman's twisting path from Ohioan to New Yorker to finally finding her true home as an Angeleno, to Chip Jacobs' thrilling retelling of the "snake in the mailbox" attempted murder, to Anthony Davis recounting his time as "Notre Dame Killer" and USC football hero, and Samantha Geimer discussing the timbre of Los Angeles in the time leading up to her assault at the hands of Roman Polanski, these are stories of the real Los Angelesfamilies trying to survive the closing of factories, teens cruising Van Nuys Boulevard, the Chicano Moratorium that killed three protestors, the making of a porn legend.
Los Angeles in the 1970s is a love letter to the sprawling and complicated fabric of a Los Angeles often forgotten and mostly overlooked. Welcome to the Gold Mine.
A graduate of Columbia University and UCLA Film School, David Kukoff has eleven produced film and television credits to his name. He has written for every studio and network in Hollywood, has published two books on film and television writing, and has been the subject of features.
1 Introduction by David Kukoff
5 L.A. Woman Redux by John Densmore
11 What Needed Screwing Got Screwed by Luis J. Rodriguez
17 Venice Bohemia: From Abbot Kinney to the Z-Boys by Joe Donnelly
29 Snake vs. Wolf by Chip Jacobs
53 March 1974
by Dana Johnson
61 From the Desert to the Sea: First Encounters with Los Angeles by Deanne Stillman
73 Hamburgers, Hemorrhages, and Haute Cuisine by Lynne Friedman
87 The Making of a (Tennis) Player by Joel Drucker
101 Ritam Bhara Pragya by Howard Gewirtz
115 "Me? I've Got a Pilot."
by Ken Levine
123 Shitty Lead Guitarist Takes California by Storm by Geza X
135 Merging Worlds: Los Angeles, 1979
by Mitch Schneider
143 I was an Illegal?
by Jillian Franklyn
151 Bright Lights, B-City by Bruce Ferber
163 Last Button on the Left: The Late, Great Z Channel by Matthew Specktor
169 Heart of Dorkness: How Dr. Demento Saved my Bony, White Ass by Michael Lazarou
183 For Now by Lynell George
197 Borrowing Sugar by Susan Hayden
203 It was Fun While it Lasted: Scientology, est, High Times,
and Higher Learning at Uni High by David Kukoff
237 Cruising Van Nuys Boulevard by Rick McCloskey
253 The Notre Dame Killer by Anthony Davis and Jeremy Rosenberg
265 The Day Three Chicanos Died by Del Zamora
271 Snapshots: Seventies Performance Art in LA
by Erica Lyons and Debra Wacks
281 Running for City Council in the 1970s by Joy Picus
289 Just an Ordinary Girl by Samantha Geimer
297 Johnny Wadd: Origins by Bob Chinn
309 The Snake and Bake Murder by Steve Hodel
331 A Few, Mostly True, Things About LA
by Jim Natal
335 When Reality was a Joke: the Making of Albert Brooks'
Real Life (1979)
by Tom Teicholz
"The book doesn't merely look at the sexy components of Los Angeles history, either it engages with issues of rape, feminism, race relations, labor movements and more." LA Weekly
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... Nope, not talking about France during the Revolution. We're talking about Los Angeles...in the 1970s."KPCC's "Take Two"
One of Angel's Flight Magazine's Best Books of 2016
Both the Watts riots and the death of Meredith Hunter at the Altamont Speedway Free Festival signified an end to a 1960s, California-style counterculture based on peace, love, and happiness. The succeeding decade would become synonymous with smog, congestion, and crime, until the resurgence of Los Angeles on a global stage at the 1984 Olympics. In this collection of essays, Kukoff (Children of the Canyon) reclaims the seemingly lost decade of L.A.'s history through the voices of those who labored in obscurity in its stretches of concrete and streetlights. From actor/producer Del Zamora's piece detailing the importance of the Brown Berets and the Chicano movement to Doors drummer John Densmore reflecting on the importance of the band's L.A. Woman billboard at the entrance to Laurel Canyon, this collection captures the diversity, creativity, and ever-present weirdness that continues to define La-La Land. VERDICT Below a hazy L.A. sunset, Kukoff peels back the Hollywood façade and shows a city thriving with creativity and revolutionary action under a Nixon presidency.—Joshua Finnell, Los Alamos National Lab., NM