Fun Facts_L.A. Culture


Los Angeles Cultural Facts

LOS ANGELES _ Los Angeles will be the cultural capital of the 21st century. More museums, theatres, festivals and ethnic neighborhoods can be experienced in the City of Angels than in any other destination. Here, artists from every continent combine their heritage with cutting-edge contemporary concepts and technology to forge the future of creative expression. From automobiles to art, fashion to furniture, Angelenos produce what the world waits for and wants. L.A. culture, combined with Southern California's casual lifestyle, yearround resort weather, and most ethnically diverse urban population in the world, make Los Angeles the most fascinating cultural destination in the United States.


The Los Angeles Philharmonic is internationally recognized as one of the finest orchestras in the world. Renowned for interpreting the symphonic music of the twentieth century, the Philharmonic tours the world serving as the cultural ambassador for the city. At the helm of the orchestra through the turn of the century is the brilliant Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.

The Hollywood Bowl is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee (75th anniversary). This major Los Angeles landmark has hosted the greatest performing artists of the twentieth century.

Since its premier in 1986, the L.A. Opera has become the fifth largest opera company in the United States. With Placido Domingo as its artistic adviser and principal conductor, the L.A. Opera is renowned for its innovative productions utilizing the talents of artistic giants such as artist David Hockney and film director Herbert Ross. Franco Zeffirelli is designing and directing the L.A. Opera's production of "Pagliacci," that will open the 1996-97 season.


With more than 1,100 annual theatrical productions and 21 openings every week, there are more theatrical shows produced in Los Angeles than any other city in the world. More than four million tickets to Los Angeles theatre are sold annually.

Because of the vast depth of the acting talent pool, Los Angeles theatre is substantially actor-driven. In Los Angeles, small theatre audiences can enjoy up close the world's most famous actors as they perform in classic and avant-guard productions.

The Mark Taper Forum productions at the Los Angeles County Music Center have received three Pulitzer Prizes, 19 Tonys and countless other awards including Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, Obies, New York Drama Desk Awards and DramaLogue.


Los Angeles' new museums are major international architectural destinations. Built in the last 10 years, they include:

& #711; The Japanese Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Museum of

Art by Bruce Goff

& #711; The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) by Arata Isozaki

& #711; The Getty Center (to open in 1997) and the Museum of

Television and Radio by Richard Meier

& #711; The Santa Monica Museum of Art and MOCA at the Temporary

Contemporary by Frank O. Gehry

& #711; The Skirball Cultural Center by Moshe Safdie

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), designed by Arata Isozaki, was named one of 10 best works of American architecture completed since 1980 in a recent survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects.

With its unmistakable silhouette, the Cesar Pelli designed Pacific Design Center, nicknamed the "Blue Whale," is one of the world's most comprehensive interior design marketplaces. It is the largest resource for design in the United States and Pacific Rim.

Los Angeles is the twentieth century world center for the development of innovative domestic architecture. Numerous homes by each of the following architectural luminaries (to name a few ) can be found in Los Angeles:

& #711; Charles Eames

& #711; Frederick Fischer

& #711; Frank O. Gehry

& #711; Bruce Goff

& #711; Greene & Greene

& #711; Franklin D. Israel

& #711; Mark Mack

& #711; Charles Moore

& #711; Wallace Neff

& #711; Richard Neutra

& #711; Michael Rotundi

& #711; R.M. Schindler

& #711; Lloyd Wright

& #711; Frank Lloyd Wright

The following Los Angeles buildings and homes were designed by the preeminent modernist American architect Frank Lloyd Wright: & #711; Anderton Court Building (1953-1954); 328 Rodeo Dr.,

Beverly Hills

& #711; Hollyhock House (1917-1920); Barnsdall Art Park, East


& #711; Millard House (1923); 645 Prospect Crescent, Upper Arroyo


& #711; Storer House (1923); 8161 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood Hills

& #711; Ennis House (1924); 2607 Glendower Ave., Los Feliz


& #711; Freeman House (1924); 1962 Glencoe Way, Hollywood

& #711; Sturges House (1939); 449 Skyewiay Rd., Brentwood

& #711; Arch Oboler House (1940, 1941, 1944, 1946); 32436

Mulholland Dr., Malibu

& #711; Pearce House (1950); 5 Bradburn Hills Rd., Bradbury

The largest adobe building in the United States is Mission San Fernando in Mission Hills. Built in 1797, the mission had fourfoot-thick walls composed of adobe bricks.

The only remaining wooden lighthouse in California is on the edge of a cliff in Point Fermin Park, San Pedro. The lighthouse was built in 1874 on a promontory that gave it the most commanding view of the ocean on the Southern California

coast. It functioned as a lighthouse until 1942, and is now the official residence of the Point Fermin Park superintendent.

The headquarters of Capital Records in Hollywood is the world's largest corporate center shaped in the form of the company product. Round, to emulate a stack of 45 r.p.m. records complete with a giant stylus on top, the tower was built in 1956 and designed by Welton Becket.

The tallest office building west of the Mississippi is the First Interstate World Center, in downtown Los Angeles. The 1,017-foot skyscraper was built in 1989 and was designed by I.M. Pei.

Folk Art/Festivals/Public Art

The largest piece of folk art ever created by a single person is the Simon Rodia Towers in Watts (popularly known as the "Watts Towers"). The tallest of the three towers is 104 feet. Simon Rodia, a tile setter, labored 33 years on his masterpiece, beginning it in 1921 and completing it in 1954. He lived in a house on the property.

The 162 ethnic cultural festivals presented annually in Los Angeles make the region the festival capital of the world.

Mariachi Festival U.S.A. is the largest such festival in the world, presenting nine hours of Mariachi music over a two-day period each summer at the Hollywood Bowl.

The African Marketplace presented annually in South Central Los Angeles is the largest festival in the world that celebrates the cultures of the African Diaspora. The African Marketplace, listed as one of the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association, includes representatives from 70 countries.

The Los Angeles region is the birthplace of the hot rod "Kustom Kulture" - with such resident automotive customizing luminaries as Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, Von Dutch, the Barris brothers, and many others residing in the region.

Glendale hosts the only known annual "Blessing of the Cars" event in the world, at which a priest anoints and prays for the safety of hundreds of cars and their owners.

Los Angeles is the contemporary mural capital of the world. More than 78 murals in almost every community of Los Angeles have been created since 1988.

The longest mural in the world is The Great Wall of Los Angeles, painted on the side of the Tujunga Wash flood-control reservoir in Van Nuys. The mural measures 2,435 feet in length and 13 feet in height. Created by young artists, it depicts the travails and triumphs of African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Jews, Native Americans and other immigrants to Los Angeles.

The world's largest mural covers the Long Beach Arena. Images of water, whales and other sea life cover the 116,000-squarefoot exterior wall of the circular arena.

The world's longest drive-through art gallery is located on Los Angeles' 405 freeway between Manchester and Century boulevards, featuring a mural depicting the L.A. Marathon.

There are more than 180 works of three-dimensional public art in downtown Los Angeles. This collection of sculpture provides a remarkable survey of 20th century attitudes about art and the use of art to enhance public spaces.

Museums and Galleries

There are more major museums per capita in Los Angeles than any other city in the world.

More than $1.6 billion has been spent on museum construction in Los Angeles in the last 10 years.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) holds one of the world's most comprehensive collections of art produced since the 1940s.

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu is the only reconstruction of a Roman Patrician villa in the United States and is the finest complete example of this form of architecture in the world.

The Norton Simon Museum owns the complete graphic oeuvres of Goya, Rembrandt and Picasso. The museum's set of Goya's Disasters of War is one of 12 printed during the master's lifetime.

The Norton Simon Museum also presents on continuous basis the world's largest display of the paintings, sculptures pastels and prints of the French Impressionist master Degas.

Fourteen Rembrandt masterpieces can be found in four Los Angeles museums. This is the largest holding of the painter's work in any U.S. city outside New York.

The oldest museum in Los Angeles is the Southwest Museum in Highland Park. Founded in 1907, it houses more than a half million Native American artifacts and is considered one of the most important repositories of Native American art in the world.

The newest museum in Los Angeles is the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum near Brentwood. The 125,000-square-foot complex contains exhibits celebrating and examining the Jewish American experience. It holds the world's second largest collection of wimples.

The richest museum in the world is the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu. The museum's endowment is nearly $4 billion, which it is required, under its charter, to spend on art and related programs.

The new $820 million J. Paul Getty Campus in Brentwood will be the world's most comprehensive arts and education facility when it opens in 1997.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance in West Los Angeles was the world's first human rights institution dedicated to challenging visitors to confront their own racism.

The Huntington Library is one of the great research libraries in the world containing more than four million rare manuscripts and books.

The Autry Museum of Western Heritage holds the world's largest collection of art, artifacts and other materials documenting the mythical West of film, television and advertising. The

museum also has the world's most comprehensive collection devoted to the history of cowboys and cowgirls.

The Natural History Museum in Exposition Park is the largest natural history museum west of the Mississippi. Opened in 1913, it contains more than eight acres of floor space.

The recently-dedicated Hollywood Entertainment Museum will be the first definitive institution designed to honor the film industry.

The Long Beach Museum of Art holds one of the world's foremost collections of video art.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest museum west of the Mississippi. In more than 100 galleries and 175,000 square feet of exhibition space in a five-building complex, the museum presents sterling examples from its 100,000-piece collection that spans civilization from ancient times to the present.

The Carole and Barry Kaye Museum of Miniatures offers the largest and most comprehensive collection of hand-crafted miniatures in the world, featuring intricate reproductions designed in a scale of 1/12" or less.

The La Brea Tar Pits, which are open to the public through the George C. Page Museum on Wilshire Boulevard, have yielded more than 600,000 prehistoric bones_the largest find of Pleistocene remains in the world.

Los Angeles is the second largest market for contemporary art in the world. There are more than 150 art galleries in Los Angeles_only New York exceeds this number.

Horticulture, Botany, Biology

The world's largest rose garden is in Exposition Park, adjacent to the University of Southern California. It contains 17,000 bushes and 150 varieties of roses. The peak bloom seasons are from April to May and September to October.

La Canada has the world's largest collection of camellias at Descanso Gardens. The collection covers 165 acres with 100,000 plants.

The Huntington Botanical Gardens, one of the world's most varied, offers 15 separate gardens, including the largest collection of cactus and succulents in North America. The stunning Rose, Japanese and Camellia Gardens are considered to be among the world's finest.

The largest municipal park in the United States is Griffith Park, which covers 4,000 acres. Originally called Los Feliz Ranch, it was donated to Los Angeles by Colonel J. Griffith in 1896. The park is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary with a year-long series of events.

The courtyard of the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena is one of two classical Chinese gardens in the United States.

The largest lotus pond in the country can be found in Echo Park.

The largest blossoming plant on earth is the giant Chinese Wisteria at Sierra Madre. Planted in 1892, it now has branches

500 feet long, covers nearly an acre, weighs 252 tons and has an estimated 1.5 million blossoms during its blossoming period

of five weeks.

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