Friday, November 19, 2004

Route 66

Today's Los Angeles Times contains an article on the the foothill remnants of the iconic American path to the West, Route 66, using the abandoned Azusa Foothill Drive-In Theatre (a beloved, if not much visited, chapter of my youth) as its focal point. Since my father's family arrived in So Cal in the midst of the Great Depression after making the drive from Chicago, we have always had a soft spot in the family for the assortment of "kitsch" and architecture bookmarking the road. I am also reminded that Christopher Hitchens wrote an article on Route 66 in Vanity Fair (Nov. 2002 - reprinted here). My memory, however, is that he didn't point out the ironic terminus of the road at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, CA: in the last block one will find an Indian buffet restaurant, and the Ye Olde Kings Head Pub next to an upscale Japanese restaurant. This succinctly recapitulates the multicultural construction of American identity within one city block.

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