Towers of Panorama

Tower Records is no more but when it was around it meant something if your town or neighborhood had one. The Valley had four and one of them was rumored to be in Panorama City of all places. I was so skeptical of this I had to double check on Google Streetview:

If this seems like a rather sad and stark neighborhood declension, note within a five block radius of this location The Broadway became WalMart, Robinsons became El Super, and Ohrbach’s became the Valley Swap Meet.

General Motors became Home Depot, setting things into motion, which is as concise a summation of post-industrial Los Angeles one can make in five words.

This was the Panorama Tower, 1962. Mid-century sleek, but empty since the Northridge earthquake, nearly half its lifespan.

After a quarter century, it is being redeveloped not as offices, but as lofts.  Live/Work (read: GrubHub and YouTube Whoring) has come to downmarket Panorama, just in time for the rebuilding of the trolley line.  There are plenty of people in the neighborhood who already clean floors and do windows, making it a green and holistic proposition by New Urbanist standards, even if that was never the intention.

Our official industry now in Los Angeles is lifestyle porn. We don’t build muscle cars on Van Nuys Blvd. anymore, but we will soon have Wayfair couches and quartz countertops.

The tents are with us forever .

We Almost Live Like This Now

Los Angeles, where you can have a 21 day dry aged Sonoma duck ($55) prepared by a Michelin-starred chef and delivered to your door by a Yemeni war refugee who gets his car serviced at Ochoa’s Mecanica by laborers of indeterminate provenance and murky paperwork. Everybody wins!

Charcoal Venice ages its meats in a glass case at the edge of the dining room and charges $20 for vegetable appetizers. I suspect they’ve yet to recieve their first delivery request to Van Nuys. Which makes me wonder what this billboard is doing up on Roscoe Blvd.

Here are the most ordered foods on GrubHub in 2017: Poke, chicken biranyi, bulgogi bibimbap, avocado toast, chips and queso, acai bowls, cobb salad, corn dogs, soft pretzels and burritos. A sublimely American amalgamation of comfort and pretense.

Maybe thats why Josiah Citrin is folding his arms pretentiously and sneering down at us from atop a muffler shop. We all want to eat at his house, but even though we can’t, we can pretend we’re nearly like the Venetians who do cause we’re ordering in. A little truffle oil on those fries and we can imagine we’re there.

Either way, Josiah gets paid.