This week’s arts and culture piece is on the L.A. River.
Many years ago I took a guided tour of the Los Angeles River, which runs from Canoga Park to Long Beach. At the time, the river cut a mostly unseen, mostly unremarked upon, largely under-utilized 52-mile swath through the city. At the time, the response to the mention of such a tour was likely to be, “L.A. has a river?”
All that has changed. As the website for the L.A. River Center and Gardens explains, “The Los Angeles River Center and Gardens is located at the former site of the Lawry’s California Center, near the confluence of the L.A. River and the Arroyo Seco, close to Elysian Park and downtown Los Angeles. Its beautiful mission-style grounds and conference facilities serve as a focal point for the renewal of the L.A. River, and a prime location for community gatherings, educational conferences and special events.”
In fact, perhaps nothing illustrates the extent of the change more than the fact that the L.A. River Center seems to be soliciting clients to hold their weddings there.
For a more down-home, grass-roots activist approach, check out the Friends of the L.A. River (FoLAR), an organization founded over three decades ago by poet Lewis MacAdams.