June 2010

Editor’s Letter—June 2010

Before introducing our annual music issue, a word about last month’s cover Q&A with Kobe Bryant: Wow. We figured it would make a splash—I mean, really, he’s the reigning king of Los Angeles. What we didn’t expect was a tsunami.

By now so much has been written. What was Kobe thinking? What were we thinking? That said, I’d like to answer the latter question, at least. We see Kobe as a champion, a man of courage. And in this overscrutinized, media-soaked age, stepping outside your comfort zone is the bravest act of all. And that’s what Kobe Bryant did. When he left the shoot, he told the creative director that Ruven Afanador was the best photographer he had worked with. And when asked about the clothes at the time, he said, “Different, but I like them.” We liked them, too—and every woman who saw the photos thought they were hot.

When it comes to music, Los Angeles is both an incubator and an early adopter. Take rock. Some of the biggest movements—surf, psychedelic, glam, punk—were either born or perfected right here. This is where Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Doors, Frank Zappa, Ike and Tina, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Joni Mitchell, X, the Germs, No Doubt (okay, the O.C., but close enough), Beck, Snoop Dogg and on and on played their home stands. Our cred isn’t just in the past, either. L.A. is still the epicenter of a full-tilt boogie of rock ’n’ roll. In “Right Here, Right Now,” we ask those in the know to pick one local act that will be a future household name.

Jazz? While it may have been born somewhere else, the argument can be made that it grew up here. And in spite of constant predictions of its demise, Tom Nolan proves in “Still a Passing Fad” that the genre is alive and well in Los Angeles.

So, what does a crazy Irishman named Reb Kennedy know about Mexican rock ’n’ roll? Enough to spot musician Luis Arriaga as the future linchpin of Wild Records. In “Mexican Revolution,” Chris Ziegler introduces you to a local label that has become the global phenomenon no one in L.A. has even heard of.

“Jerkin’ Jeneration” takes a look at a whole different musical movement—and since it’s a combustible mélange of hip-hop, dance and style, we mean that literally—through the lens of photographer Hedi Slimane. His shots are freeze frames of a trend that spread at the speed of light through social media. To see a video of the jerk crews in action, visit latimesmagazine.com.

On April 17, Tom Selleck was honored by the Cowboy Hall of Fame. In “The Real Deal,” he tells Mary Murphy what the accolade means to him—and how, by example, Clint Eastwood helped him get it. The day photographer Kurt Markus shot him at his ranch started out rainy but broke into a picture-perfect backdrop for the story’s amazing images. (I couldn’t help myself—that’s me with Tom at left.)

Once again we have more content than our pages can hold. Mother-daughter bonding can take many shapes. In the Web exclusive piece “The Chords That Bind,” Laraine Newman describes seeing her daughter Lena in a whole new light through the rock lens of Coachella. And Lena returns the favor. Music is subjective. Pick any genre, mix and match, and make it the soundtrack for your life. Because no matter what it is, it’s the music of L.A.

Enjoy!