FOR OUR last night of class this evening, I’ve asked my L.A. Stories class to consider what they think about when they think about Los Angeles — in other words, does L.A. have a spirit? What is its sense of place? For me, a child of the city, and trading it with summers in a place that had a deep, rich history (New Orleans) L.A. felt particularly “young” and temporary. it’s what I think about when I see these buildings — “dingbats” — these transitional spots where young people or newcomers land as they set up their lives here.

The “terraces” or “gardens” or “arms” or “courts” or what have you, were always a puzzlement to me because often they didn’t have them — just a name — and it required a very vivid imagination to try to connect the fanciful title to the actuality.

We’ll see what the rest of them come up with.


4 thoughts on “dingbats

  1. the hauser! i wonder if pat hauser is related.

    i think my favorite place of intrigue growing up was the mona kai apartment building at the corner of braddock and sawtelle. jon huck, two years older than us, was an emancipated minor and living there on his own. there were stories, rumors, that stewardesses had a crash pad their and wild parties took place all the time.

    i took a tour via google maps just now and it looks so sad, pathetic really. used to have giant palm trees in keeping with polynesian name and a-frame design.

    dingbats is an interesting term. to printers dingbats are all the decorative pieces used for frames around the text in letterpress printing. i supposed the meaning between the two isn’t much different.

  2. that’s funny. i vaguely recall both the story about jh AND the mona kai…I’ll have to drive by for real and check it out when I’m in the c.c. i do have to say that I love dingbats — from afar . I lived in one for a bit and that was enough to quench my curiosity … but it does indeed seem like a rite of passage sort of place to land. what sold me on mine was that it was very high on a hill in echo park and provided a 180 degree view of the city from downtown to the sea (on a clear day). a person can put up with a lot of “cottage cheese” (as in ceiling) when you have something stunning to look at that overrides it all.

    • i remember that dingbat, on one of my infrequent visits to the city of angles (sic), steep san francisco hill with a san francisco name. and i always thought that cottage cheese was there to add texture in an otherwise flat world.

      • wow. that’s right, you did visit there! and yes, i guess that was my back-to-l.a. compromise — a street that still felt like s.f.
        and that’s hilarious re. the cottage cheese….

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