The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Getting Lost In L.A.

Born and raised in the city of Angels, I have always considered myself a native to Los Angeles. As a first generation American, I understand just how diverse and unique LA really is, but I have come to notice there is a lot more history to this city than most people actually know. Last week in one of my English classes, we had Juan Devis speak to our class and a few other faculty members from the English department. Devis is the Director of the Production of New Media for KCET which was previously part of PBC (home of our childhood shows like Sesame Street).

The KCET presentation by Juan Devis was fascinating, and one that I am glad I did not miss. The concept of his project “Departures” was captivating, and I was very surprised to learn so much information about just a few small parts of Los Angeles. The idea of his slow media project of Los Angeles was brilliant, and it is truly able to explore culture, socioeconomic changes, ethnicity, demographics, in a very authentic way. The way the stories are told by engaging with the people that tell the stories of a community is a great way to learn about a specific population and area.

We all know that LA is a very diverse place, and what we consider as a “ melting pot”, but after this presentation I learned we forget just how much history is involved within our city. When I heard Juan Devis explain the origins of Venice Beach, I have to admit I thought he was kidding for a second. After accepting it was fact I was completely intrigued and a bit embarrassed that I have been there but never took the time to know the story of it. Most of us have been to Venice Beach, and drove on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, but I am sure almost no one knew who he really was. Before Abbot Kinney started his creation of Venice of America, where he wanted to recreate Venice, this are was previously a colored neighborhood(including a segregate covenant of African Americans), and was one of the last communities by the beach that were not white and affluent communities.

With Spring Break coming up, and everyone exited to get out of LA, I ask myself, are we really living in LA and experiencing it? After Juan Devis kept asking us if we have to Boyle Heights and other cities rich in history, and almost the entire class saying no, I feel like people should be less quick to try and leave LA for Spring break and other short breaks, and make an effort to experience the stories LA shares.

The day after the Departure presentation, I ran into Dr. Harris from the English department, who was also at the presentation, and he expressed his admiration with the project and what Juan Devis was doing with it. An interesting question that he brought up was “ imagine what is in our backyard?” as he pointed out of his office window that has an open view of Playa del Rey. This made me realize Los Angeles is one big backyard, and has so many stories to tell.If we can’t make the effort to go and discover these places, Juan Devis is bringing them to us. I recommend following The Departures page on the KCET website and get lost in our city!



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