Los Angeles has been notoriously negligent of its past, even strangely hostile to it: Witness everything that has been lost without a trace. That its singular cultural contribution to the art of film gets short shrift, in favor of arcane "installations" (Korean musical bells?) or other promotions apparently aimed at energizing an ersatz singles scene and hangout for the otherwise unoccupied should come as no great surprise.
Kudos to Martin Scorsese's commentary on the importance of saving LACMA's film program.
I have worked in film market research for 17 years. Even in these troubled economic times I would always find a way to visit the film program that so enriched my life, inspired me to create and lifted my spirits. Don't we need this more than ever?
If Martin Scorsese is truly interested in having "old" movies available to a larger audience in the Los Angeles area, he would do well to use his considerable influence to make these movies available gratis to an established venue such as KCET with the proviso that they in turn schedule them to be shown at regular times in their programming schedule.
Many seniors, such as myself, cannot easily drive to LACMA, as we did when we were younger, to view movies we enjoyed and appreciated in our youth.
I have always found it odd that at LACMA, as well as other world-class arts organizations in town, the walls where patrons' names are etched in stone are almost completely devoid of recognizable "Hollywood" names.
Movie moguls, listen up! Stop complaining and donate money to arts foundations in town in support of endeavors like the LACMA film program.
Then you can count on your films' survival beyond their first weekend of release.
I would like to add my voice to the chorus of opposition to LACMA under the leadership of Michael Govan. His shuttering of the film program is only the most recent example of mismanagement during his tenure.
Read Govan's foreword to BCAM/LACMA/2008. It conveys the "fresh off the boat" perspective of a newcomer and outsider who has just been handed a copy of Mike Davis' "City of Quartz." Govan talks of Los Angeles as the "no place" and "every place" of myth. It's not surprising to see his denial of Los Angeles' cultural heritage, true identity and sense of place.
Other examples of his missteps: His focus on "international" artists over local and regional ones. His planting of nonnative palm trees outside BCAM in the midst of a citywide effort to plant native shade trees. And worst, his obsession with Jeff Koons and his monstrous "Train." Untold hundreds of thousands of dollars have now been wasted on "preliminary engineering" for this eyesore. Money that should have been spent on the true mission of the museum, rather than hubris. Money that could have saved the film program.
I don't understand why LACMA Director Michael Govan doesn't knock on Mayor Villaraigosa's door and get a check for $1.5 million. I know for a fact the city has it. A few weeks ago the city paid for a multimillionaire's funeral ceremony at the privately owned Staples Center. There was a big article about it in the L.A. Times.