Los Angeles

A day in Culver City

209657_513781348651240_1598977905_oImage from the archive of the Culver City Historical Society

The beginnings of Culver City were not as black and white as the movies that were filmed here. For many years this landscape was travelled through by the Native Americans who would harvest this area for food and materials. When the Spanish started to settle in California they referred to the Natives as `Los Gabrielinos´ because of their proximity to San Gabriel Mission. The first Spanish families in the early 1800´s based themselves within this fertile land, located between the Pacific coast and what is now Downtown Los Angeles. There were mainly two ranchos occupying what is today Culver City and were known as Rancho Rincón de los Bueyes and Rancho La Ballona.

Culver City´s heritage includes rich ties with the film industry as many major picture studios have established their headquarters here over the last century. Silent films, westerns and titles like Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz and King Kong have been produced in Culver City. Today, the movie industry still plays an important role in supporting the local economy thanks to the studios still in operation and the additional sectors that support them. Sony Pictures Entertainment is one of the main employers in the city having many Spanish descendants amongst their staff.

I met with Julie Lugo Cerra and Alexander King, members of the Culver City Historical Society Archives and Resource Center. I will be posting their interviews soon.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 21.06.06With Julie Lugo Cerra at the Culver City Museum

Los Pobladores

lunaSince arriving in Los Angeles time has gone so fast that it has taken me a while to process all that has happened over the last few days. Today I met with some of the descendants of the original eleven families that founded El Pueblo de Los Angeles. They belong to an organisation called Los Pobladores that was founded in 1981, when the City was commemorating its 200th anniversary.

Thanks to Robert Welham I had the chance to interview and photograph Rose Ramirez, Paul Guzman and Jeri Garcia at Olvera Street, the original settlement which has grown to become the metropolis of todays LA. If you happen to be near Olvera Street this Saturday you should check out `The Blessing of the Animals´, and old tradition that is revived every year where people bring along their pets or livestock to be blessed with holy water.

I will also like to thank Rose for bringing her granddaughter Luna, who at only 4 years old prove to be an invaluable assistant, giving Matt some much needed time off from holding the reflector!

I was also lucky to meet with both Irene Sepúlveda and Valerie Welham yesterday in Yorba Linda, a town founded with a land grant given to Bernardo Yorba in 1834.