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Arts Notes

Landmarks for sale, first time ever at this price

October 13, 2002|Christopher Reynolds

From the Leonis Adobe in Calabasas (City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 1) to the Canoga Park branch library (No. 700), the oldest and most significant buildings in Los Angeles are listed and pictured in the new book "Landmark L.A."

Published jointly by the city and Angel City Press, the paperback volume (priced at $19.95) is the first published update of the city's historic list in eight years, and the first time the list has been packaged for sale to the public.

This version features a wealth of black-and-white photographs, some documenting familiar sights like City Hall and the Central Library building downtown, some revealing half-forgotten landmarks like the old Uplifters Clubhouse in West L.A. and the S.S. Catalina (once a ferryboat between San Pedro and Catalina, now apparently sunk off Ensenada).

"One of the things we wanted to do in this book is call attention to the fact that these landmarks don't just perpetuate themselves. These things disappear, even with landmark status," said Jeffrey Herr, editor of the book and arts manager in the city Cultural Affairs Department.

Some elements in the 496-page guide may give traditionalists pause -- the jauntily tilted photos, for instance, and the liberal use of red ink -- but the geographical format makes neighborhood browsing easy, and the brief descriptions in back often offer a tantalizing window onto local history.

And the index's tally of monument types may say something about the city too: 34 theaters, 17 libraries, 65 Craftsman-style buildings and 15 Victorians.

For a similar view of the area's public artworks, consult the Balcony Press' new release, "Urban Surprises: A Guide to Public Art in Los Angeles." That paperback (110 pages; $14.95) details projects sponsored by city and county agencies, from Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway stops to the Community Development Agency's downtown works. The book includes seven maps and 18 color photos.

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