Los Angeles: Before Its Formative Years

True, Los Angeles does not have a subway yet. Or a resident opera company. Or, New Yorkers will contend, a really great deli. But anyone who doubts that La-La Land has come a long, long way should check out the July Los Angeles magazine.

As editor Lew Harris explains in his introduction to this 30th anniversary issue, when the magazine hit the stands in July, 1960, many Los Angeles landmarks now taken for granted were “science fiction.”

There was no Forum and the Dodgers were homeless. So, apparently, were many high-priced corporate lawyers and swinging singles, as Century City and Marina del Rey had yet to sprout from the landscape. The Santa Monica Freeway had not been built. But then, where was there to go, anyway, with no Music Center, no County Art Museum and not a single enclosed mall in all of Southern California?

So what was it like, way back in the dark ages of the young city? “Voices From 1960" features brief Q & As with relative old-timers, such as Bill Gazzarri, owner of the Sunset Strip rock club, and Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, both of “Psycho” fame. Vin Scully discusses the 13 no-hitters and two perfect games he has watched in 32 years of Dodgers broadcasts.

Former Mayor Sam Yorty, meanwhile, rates Mayor Bradley as a “minus one” on a scale of one to 10. As for the current mayor’s problems of gangs and drugs, Yorty says simply: “I could have handled all that. . . . “


Bradley, on the other hand, is No. 4 on the magazine’s list of the “30 Most Powerful People in Los Angeles,” just behind industrialist-philanthropist Armand Hammer, Lew Wasserman of MCA, and Times publisher David Laventhol.

Yes, there are women and minorities on the list (Councilwoman Gloria Molina, lawyer Gloria Allred, Councilman Michael Woo), but not in the Top 10. It is rounded out with Atlantic Richfield chairman Lodwrick M. Cook, developer David Murdock, archbishop Roger M. Mahoney, lawyer Warren Christopher, Rep. Henry Waxman and developer Donald Bren.

Bren, of course, is really from Orange County, which, some might argue, is about at the historical point Los Angeles was 30 years ago.

At which point Orange Coast magazine, a long-shot rival of sorts of Los Angeles magazine, would stick its finger on its nose and taunt: “Yeah? Well, how many presidential libraries do you have?”

In fact, while Los Angeles is celebrating its 30th anniversary, Orange Coast celebrates the man who 30 years ago was battling John F. Kennedy for the presidency.

The tribute is linked to the July 20 opening of Orange County’s latest landmark: the Richard Milhous Nixon Library. Nixonphiles won’t find much new insight into their hero here, and Nixonphobes won’t find any snide “Tricky Dick” swipes, nor much critical history. Both, however, will relish the excellent collection of Nixon photographs, which speak for themselves.


* Webster’s Dictionary has two definitions for the word “sissy.” One is “effeminate.” The other is “cowardly.” In its July 3 issue, The Advocate, subtitled “The National Gay Newsmagazine,” adopts the second meaning and attaches it to its “First Annual Sissy Awards,” dedicated to “some of America’s biggest homophobes.”

And the winners are (well, at least a few of the many):

--Rep. William Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton) for his “Homosexuality is but a symptom of the disease of moral decay that exists where citizenry deny God.”

--Author Tom Clancy for “What can you say about a country that tolerates homosexuals but not smokers?”

--And the “Lady Doth Protest Too Much” award goes to comedian Andrew Dice Clay.

The issue is worth picking up if only to see the cover shot of Sissy Award winner Jesse Helms, wearing editorially applied magenta lipstick.

* Right or wrong, the current folk wisdom among Southern California gardeners is that the malathion bombardments have so effectively killed off ladybugs and other natural predators of the aphid that those little green leaf-sucking scoundrels are out in huge numbers, voraciously consuming every cornstalk and rosebud in sight. The July-August Fine Gardening comes to the rescue, with a detailed examination of these pests, complete with graphic illustrations of their life cycle, and suggested strategies--largely organic--for battling them.


* The editor-in-chief of Ladybug, a new children’s literary magazine, declares that the publication will involve young children “in important aspects of learning skills--cognitive, manipulative, and tactile.”

Parents should not let the pedantry worry them, though. Judging from the premier issue, this magazine may actually offer enough fun to snap kids out of the hypnotic spell cast on them by the Teen-age Mutant Ninja Turtle merchandisers.

Created by the publishers of the highly acclaimed Cricket, Ladybug offers top-notch stories, games, and puzzles, accompanied by excellent full-color art and presented in an enjoyable graphic format.

(Ladybug, 12 issues for $24.97, Cricket Country Lane, Box 50284, Boulder, Colo. 80321-0284)


* Prudes be forewarned. Libido is not for you. Nor, probably, is it the right publication for those who frequent triple-X bookstores. With its subtly erotic art and photographs, and its passionate prose, Libido, the quarterly “Journal of Sex and Sensibility,” is more of an intellectual aphrodisiac, good clean fun for open-minded (dirty-minded?) sensualists. ($20 a year, P.O. Box 146721, Chicago, Ill. 60614).