Mike Chowla

Los Angeles

Los Angeles looms large in the national imagination and even more so for those of us that live in California. Hollywood, the industry, loves to tell tales set in Los Angeles. The major street names have seeped into the collective consciousness: Sepulveda Blvd, Wilshire, Rodeo Drive, Sunset, Santa Monica Boulevard, Mulholland Drive. Los Angeles evokes visions of sunshine, beaches and movie stars. Los Angeles is the California dream.

Like any starry-eyed dream, the reality always falls short. I've always felt the dystopian side of Los Angeles. The traffic, the smog, too much concrete and the seemingly endless sprawl makes me unhappy. On the plus side for me, the Los Angeles is the culture hub of the West and has best museums, west of the Mississippi.