WE see it again and again: A marginal — rough, industrial or just boring — neighborhood attracts artists and musicians and generates an “edgy” reputation. For a few years, good things happen. But after a while — and, often, a benign explosion of coffee shops and bike paths and cheese stores — the artists and musicians and fellow travelers are driven out by high rents. Hollywood players and hedge-fund guys move in. And a creative community — a music scene, a consortium of visual artists, and so on — disperses.
Today I discussed how this process works — and what the stakes are — in Los Angeles. Host Warren Olney, of “Which Way LA?”, spoke to me and three others, including artist Julia Meltzer of Clockshop. The program goes up on KCRW at 7 p.m. (Pacific time) tonight; it’s already up, here, online.
The subject made me think of two other posts I’ve put put up in recent months — this one, about visual artists in New York, and this one about San Francisco’s music scene being crushed by skyrocketing rents.
I should also mention an upcoming documentary film — Miracle on 42d St. — about subsidized housing for artists in New York, and which includes narration by Samuel L. Jackson, Larry David, Angela Lansbury and others who lived in or knew the place.