Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sprawl is charming...

Do you know those dreams where you're walking through your home or apartment and you keep discovering rooms that you never knew existed? Well, Los Angeles is a lot like that. On a purely selfish level let me declare that sprawl is fascinating and not without its own peculiar charms. It may be ruinous, ugly, environmentally corrupt, etc., but it also makes for these insular pockets of life and architecture that one would only expect to find in dreams. My work has been taking me to Koreatown lately. There, the horseshoe-shaped mini-malls pile up like shells on a beach. The BBQ joints and Karaoke Bars are stacked two, sometimes three stories high. They are caked with pulsing lighting systems and incomprehensible ads. Some establishments are unbelievably slick and minimal, like sets from 2001: A Space Odyssey, others are completely jerry-rigged and held to gether with strands of Christmas lights. Never have fluorescent lights looked so good. OK, so K-town may not be a stroll through the Tueleries on a summer's eve, but it is no less engaging in its manipulation of the senses.

(Mysterious delicacies at the ban-chan bar at the Hankook Market)


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