Reader’s Corner: ‘Rock Me on the Water’ Celebrates and Elegizes Los Angeles in 1974

In Ronald Brownstein’s new book, Rock Me on the Water: 1974 – The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television and Politics, he brings together a knot of cultural revolutions (Chinatown, All in the Family, groundbreaking sitcoms) that cross-pollinated a once parochial town on the verge of becoming a global city.

My review is at PopMatters:

Los Angeles was starting to wrest the mantle of cultural dominance away from New York. The city’s close and clubby feel, not to mention the post-hippie haze of friendly experimentation and the boozy musicians’ camaraderie at clubs like the Troubadour, engendered supportive networks for cross-pollination. Sunny California beckoned just as America’s other cultural capital, New York, seemed to be collapsing under grime, rats, and crime. (New York would have its revenge, of course, with punk rock and the Soho art scene, after the Southland scene had imploded in drugged self-indulgence)…

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