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On the Fifth Anniversary of Civil Unrest in Los Angeles, Scholars Discuss L.A. as "Apocalypse and Utopia"

Date: March 1997

For immediate release
Lori Starr, Director, Public Affairs
Sylvia Sukop, Public Affairs Associate

Event: Apocalypse and Utopia: L.A. Narrative of the Late 20th Century.
Panel discussion, followed by a reception.
Date: Monday, April 28, 1997
Time: 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Moderator: Hector Tobar
Participants: Octavia Butler
Mike Davis
Gerald Horne
Carolyn See
(For speakers' biographies, see "About the Participants" below.)
Location: Main auditorium at the Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive off the 405 Freeway
Reservations: The Getty Center will not officially open to the public until December 1997. Attendance at this event is by advanced reservation only, and reservations must be made by Thursday, April 24. To make reservations for this event, call (310) 451-6534. Parking is limited and carpooling is encouraged.

Public dialogue is of central importance to our collective understanding of the Los Angeles region. "Apocalypse & Utopia: L.A. Narrative of the Late 20th Century" is the final presentation in a series of three public conversations sponsored by the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities in conjunction with L.A. as Subject: The Transformative Culture of Los Angeles Communities, one of the institute's comparative culture and community research projects. This series provides an opportunity for public conversation on topics that have emerged through research on archives and collections representing the rich cultural inheritance and plurality of the Los Angeles region.

In this final quarter of the 20th century, the apocalyptic literary genre of the L.A. narrative has intensified. The evidence is found in the abundance of storyline prophecy and social critique of the impending destruction of Los Angeles by a range of plausible forces including earthquakes, ecocatastrophe, invasions, social implosion, and contemporary weapons of war. Simultaneously there has been a distinct decline in the utopian purview of the L.A. narrative. In view of this trend we are challenged to ask: What is the literary archive being formed by contemporary writers about Los Angeles, and what will this archive tell future generations about how we imagined and lived in the L.A. region of the late 20th century?

"Apocalypse & Utopia: L.A. Narrative of the Late 20th Century" brings together a distinguished panel of writers in a moderated discussion to explore these questions, by examining the personal meaning of their work as cultural producers, and the role of their work as public culture within the prevailing literary genres of the L.A. narrative. The guest speakers are:

Hector Tobar, writer for the Los Angeles Times Metro Section, former Features Editor of the LA Weekly, and member of the Pulitzer-Prize winning reporting-team for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles rebellion.

Octavia Butler, author of numerous novels including the notable Parable of the Sower and Kindred, recipient of the 1995 MacArthur Grant and science fiction's two highest honors--the Hugo and Nebula Awards--and a current Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute; Mike Davis, independent scholar of history and urban planning, author of the internationally acclaimed City of Quartz: Excavating the Future of Los Angeles, current Scholar-in-Residence at the Getty Research Institute--his work-in-progress explores the literary destruction of Los Angeles; Gerald Horne, Professor and Director of the Institute of African-American Research at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, author of numerous books including Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s, Fulbright Scholar of History at the University of Zimbabwein 1995--his current work-in-progress is Scenes From the Class Struggle in Hollywood; Carolyn See, Adjunct Professor of English at UCLA, author of various novels including Making History and Golden Days, recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Body of Work Award, and current Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute.

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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