10 Years Later, You Can Finally Buy The Best Documentary About L.A.

Los Angeles Plays Itself is a story of how L.A. has been portrayed on screen, its thesis unfolding through hundreds of iconic film clips. But the biggest reason that Thom Andersen's legendary documentary has reached a near-cult status is that, due to copyright issues, the film has never been properly released in… » 7/09/14 6:30pm 7/09/14 6:30pm

A Museum Inspired By Oozing Oil Will Cross Over L.A.'s Busiest Street

Last month, Swiss architect Peter Zumthor revised the design for a new building on L.A.'s Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus after scientists claimed his proposal would damage the adjacent La Brea Tar Pits. Now he's revealed the first model of the new design: an ink blot that spans Wilshire Boulevard. » 7/08/14 7:20pm 7/08/14 7:20pm

Watch How American Cities Grew Through Thousands of Historic Maps

Good thing it's almost the holiday weekend and you don't need to be productive because the USGS just launched a heck of a time-wasting website. Now you can explore cities through beautiful old maps, some dating all the way back to 1884. But here's the best part: You can mix and match many maps to tell your own… » 7/02/14 6:00pm 7/02/14 6:00pm

What if Your Dream Home Had a View of an Oil Derrick?

Its promoters billed it as an exceptional housing tract—buried utility lines, curving concrete roads, and a hilltop site whose ocean views gave the subdivision its name: Monte Mar Vista. With country clubs bordering it on three sides, residents of the so-called "central jewel in a Tiffany setting" could easily play… » 6/30/14 10:44am 6/30/14 10:44am

Photos of L.A.'s Most Famous Streets When They Were Dirt Roads

Like some of the very people who drive on them, a few Los Angeles streets have achieved the height of fame. Sunset Boulevard lent its evocative name to Billy Wilder's classic film noir. Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard appears on millions of television screens each New Year's Day as the route of the Rose Parade. And to… » 6/19/14 6:31pm 6/19/14 6:31pm

L.A.'s 1930s Extension of Wilshire Blvd. Left Urban Scars

The message was clear: Los Angeles was not afraid to reshape its urban form to accommodate the automobile. Over the course of a few months in 1931, workers cleared a wide swath through three dense downtown blocks, demolishing buildings, tearing up foundations, and filling in basements—all to extend an automobile… » 6/07/14 7:04pm 6/07/14 7:04pm

Animated Map Shows How Paved Roads Spread Across L.A. County

Is the L.A. of 2014 driving around on a road network built for the L.A. of the 1980s? That's one conclusion two researchers at Arizona State University draw from their above data visualization, which uses building records from the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office to infer the age of the metropolis' roads. Green… » 6/06/14 6:33pm 6/06/14 6:33pm

The Hollywood Sign Originally Read "HOLLYWOODLAND"

Looking at photos of the Hollywood Sign in its early years is a little like seeing the Statue of Liberty with a third arm, or the Golden Gate Bridge with a second deck. The sign has become such an effective icon of Los Angeles that we assume its present configuration must conform to its Platonic ideal. » 6/05/14 6:30pm 6/05/14 6:30pm

Was This Plastic Helmet the 1940s' Solution to Smog?

When smog first descended on Los Angeles as a thick, grey mist in the 1940s, it caught the city unprepared. What were Angelenos—their eyes watery, their breathing labored—to do? Don plastic helmets and walk around in their own private atmospheres, like astronauts on a alien planet? » 5/30/14 5:58pm 5/30/14 5:58pm

This Map Shows How L.A. Grew Into a 469-Square-Mile City

When the colonial administrators of New Spain founded Los Angeles in 1781, they granted the pueblo four square leagues of land—a grant that defined the city's limits when it incorporated under American law in 1850. For decades, Los Angeles confined itself much to its original borders. » 5/25/14 2:00pm 5/25/14 2:00pm