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.
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"
"Sound, Space, and the City . . . is a welcome addition to a dynamic corpus of literature about city and identity formations and would serve well for pertinent courses at the upper levels of undergraduate and graduate education."—Anthropological Quarterly
"In concise and accessible language, Peterson successfully highlights parallels between actual multicultural performances and the ideal global city. . . . This work is beneficial to both students and scholars interested in social relations and diversity, public space, urban revitalization, civic life, privatization, suburbanization, and economic and cultural globalization."—Space and Culture
"Marina Peterson uses the world of sound, musical performance, audience culture, style, and a particular civic extravaganza in Los Angeles to lead her readers into a discussion of the politics of identity, multiculturalism, urban planning, civic boosterism, and the neoliberal world economy."—Carl H. Nightingale, University at Buffalo, SUNY