The tourists think big. Arriving in Southern California, they expect to conquer Disneyland and Hollywood, perhaps on the same day, in between the surfing and snowboarding. Then they get stuck in traffic. Then come the recriminations, the tears, the vows to visit an island next time.
The locals think small. Tracing tight little loops between home and work, they dodge freeways and alien neighborhoods. There are Los Feliz people who haven't set foot in Venice since the latter Bush administration (I'm one), and there are Santa Monica people who have never stood at Griffith Observatory, watching the glittering grid of the city spread before them at dusk. (It's free, people.) Downtown sits in the middle of all of this, but to thousands of Angelenos, it's more remote than Manhattan, never mind Manhattan Beach.
What we have here, whether you're a tourist or a local, is a failure to fully appreciate the wonders and weirdness of Southern California. So we've come up with a monthly series of close-ups.
Here are the regions we'll cover in our close-ups:
• Downtown Los Angeles
• Inland Orange County
• Los Angeles' park neighborhoods
• San Fernando Valley
• Coastal Orange County
• Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley area
• Hollywood area
• Southern coastal Los Angeles
• Northern coastal Los Angeles
• Long Beach area
• Mid-City area
• West Los Angeles area
Southern California Close-ups
City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
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