On summer nights on downtown Los Angeles's Bunker Hill, Grand Performances presents free public concerts for the people of the city. A hip hop orchestra, a mariachi musician, an Afropop singer, and a Chinese modern dance company are just a few examples of the eclectic range of artists employed to reflect the diversity of LA itself. At these concerts, shared experiences of listening and dancing to the music become sites for the recognition of some of the general aspirations for the performances, for Los Angeles, and for contemporary public life.
In Sound, Space, and the City, Marina Peterson explores the processes-from urban renewal to the performance of ethnicity and the experiences of audiences-through which civic space is created at downtown performances. Along with archival materials on urban planning and policy, Peterson draws extensively on her own participation with Grand Performances, ranging from working in an information booth answering questions about the artists and the venue, to observing concerts and concert-goers as an audience member, to performing onstage herself as a cellist with the daKAH Hip Hop orchestra. The book offers an exploration of intersecting concerns of urban residents and scholars today that include social relations and diversity, public space and civic life, privatization and suburbanization and economic and cultural globalization.
At a moment when cities around the world are undertaking similar efforts to revitalize their centers, Sound, Space, and the City conveys the underlying tensions of such projects and their relevance for understanding urban futures.
Marina Peterson is an anthropologist who teaches performance studies at Ohio University, and coeditor of Global Downtowns, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Preface Introduction: Sounding the City Chapter 1. A Center for a Centrifugal City Chapter 2. Mapping a Metropolis in Motion Chapter 3. Performing L.A. Chapter 4. Sonic Civilities Chapter 5. "Los Angeles at Its Best" Notes Bibliography Index