The PBS documentary series "The Migrant Kitchen" explores Los Angeles’ booming food scene through the eyes of a new generation of chefs whose cuisine is inspired by the immigrant experience. The filmmakers visit the kitchens of those who have transformed the culinary landscape of the city, combining traditional ethnic cuisines and a fusion of new flavors and techniques. Ep 1: Chirmol: How a Guatemalan Tradition Journeyed to an American Menu; Ep 2: Barkada: L.A.’s Exploding Filipino Food Movement; Ep 3: Mercado: Artisanal Street Food & L.A.'s Best Mole; Ep 4: Loghmeh: Whole Animal Roasts & Middle-Eastern Culinary Traditions; Ep 5: Banchan: Korean Food Beyond BBQ. [Scroll down the pages for related background and recipes.]
Vimes Short documentary on an airport parking lot in Los Angeles, where pilots, mechanics and flight attendant live in trailers. Feels like a J. G. Ballard novel.
LARGO is a 2008 documentary about the iconoclastic Los Angeles club, which opened in its original incarnation on Fairfax Ave. in 1989. [more inside]
Wattstax [SLYT] is a 1973 documentary film about the 1972 Wattstax music festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel, Wattstax also incorporates relatively unknown comic Richard Pryor's musings on life for black Americans in 1972, "man-and-woman-on-the-street" interviews, and audience footage. [NSFW] [more inside]
Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick (previously) makes the day of the nine-year-old proprietor of Caine's Arcade.
The last gasp of the arcade. Several months ago, two of the last major arcades on the west coast and east coast, Chinatown Fair in New York and Arcade Infinity in Los Angeles, shut down. [more inside]
Los Angeles Plays Itself is a dazzling cinematic essay by the filmmaker Thom Andersen about how the city of Los Angeles is portrayed in films. Watch it now on YouTube: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 [more inside]
Uneven Terrain is a series of short documentaries about urban exploration, about 10-15 minutes long each. There are six so far, about monumental ruins in New York, Centralia, the Pennsylvania town where an underground coalseam has been on fire since the 1960s, abandoned missile silos in the US and how they're being turned into homes, oil drilling in Los Angeles, the Teufelberg listening station and the abandoned bunkers under Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and pirate radio in London and on the old Redsand sea forts. Each short doc has a different presenter. All have accompanying photo galleries. [These are produced for the bootmaker Palladium, but it's pretty low-key]
"We are two reporters living with a family from Mexico, now in MacArthur Park, to learn a foreign language so that we may better report on our own city and country. We are living in their America."