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Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Dream of Leisure in California

The Seaboard Lemon crate label tells the story of the dream of leisure in California. Giving the viewer a picturesque view of Oxnard, Ventura County, California. Which although probably not thought of as the latest and greatest destination in the west, it does show us an ideal view of what McClung describes as Arcadia, “a found natural paradise”. Vast wide-open spaces where the sun is shining bright, the water is calm and everyone seems as though they don’t have a care in the world. If you don’t want to lay on the sand soaking up the suns rays you can take your sailboat out for a leisurely ride. At first glance you might not even realize what this image is trying to sell you, and once you see the company’s name you still might not know because there is no orchard in sight in this Arcadia. Here there is no booming citrus business, are dirty engines rushing you here or there, you just simply move at your own desired pace. As author McClung puts it, we can either view the image as that of an idealized Eden or a “cynical exercise in marketing”. The image attempts to reconcile between the two giving us a glimpse of a perfect day at the beach in California with the idea that Lemons made it all possible.

Works Cited

McClung, William Alexander. Landscapes of Desire: Anglo Mythologies of Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Print.

Strand Brand – Ventura County Lemons, Seaboard Lemon Association.Crate label, Western Lithograph Co., Los Angeles.Kemble Collections of Western Printing and Publishing, California Historical Society

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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

California Dream of Growth

 

Benny Chan’s photograph gives it’s viewer a critical look at the dream of growth in California, something our society has long “measured its success by” (Rawls 145). People have long migrated out west in mass to follow their own version of the California dream and with this influx of people the state scrambled to provide housing and amenities for all of its residents. Growth had long been perceived as “the greatest good” and when California became the most populous state in 1962 the wide open spaces everyone had applauded and valued quickly disappeared (Rawls 147). The fantasy of wide open spaces is in direct contrast to the grid lock and traffic found throughout many developing cities. Instead of rolling hills and vast valleys, freeways and roads dominate the landscape. This photograph giving us a rarely seen perspective from above of seemingly never-ending turns and interconnected loops looks as though it never ends. Its obvious that these freeways built to make life easier now stand as daily reminders of overcrowding. As author Rawls described these “urban freeways built as pathways for auto mobility were becoming monuments to immobility” that covered once open land (Rawls 147). As populations boomed, open spaces rapidly disappeared leaving behind the dream of a successful city, replacing it with the reality of over population.

Works Cited

Chan, Benny “Traffic!” Photograph. 2009

Rawls, James J. “California: A Place, A People, A Dream.” California: A Place, A People, A Dream. Eds. Claudia K. Jurmain and James J. Rawls. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1986. Print. 141-149.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The California Dream of wanting to belong

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy0CE6O3ktY&feature=related

The film Mi Vida Loca embodies the California dream of wanting to belong to something greater than yourself. This movie portrays latino youth growing up in Echo Park within Los Angeles in a gang fueled environment. Many have not completed their high school education, come from broken homes or have been kicked out of their homes. This film portrays the six basic stereotypes that Berg outlines for latinos in film including; darker skin, not of western european descent, features characters that can be seen as a threat as well as acting in criminal ways and knowing the difference between right and wrong but choosing to ignore it. The characters in the film spend their days trying to find a place that they can fit in, find a family to belong to, and find a home away from home. In this film, the dream of trying to belong in Los Angeles, California leads to gang involvement and violence soon follows. The set design throughout the movie features the “stereotypical habitat of the American Others – dilapidated inner city war zone”. The language, wardrobe, style of shooting and location all seek to tell a story that happens to be from a stereotypical point of view. In this version of gang life in Los Angeles many will lose their lives in the pursuit of the dream of trying to belong.

Works Cited:Berg, Charles Ramirez. Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, Resistance. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. Print.
“Mi Vida Loca-Part 2.” 13 February 2008. Youtube. Web. 30 Mar 2011.

 
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California Dream vs. Reality

     

California has long been referred to as an “edenic utopia…tropical paradise…ultimate cash prize…and glamorous celebrity haven”. California has always been idolized as the land of plenty whether it is celebrities, jobs or natural resources like water and land. California has also been touted as one of the agricultural epicenters of the United States.

What does this Art Wood cartoon tell us about the dream of a lush and fertile agricultural center? 

Allmendinger’s article calls attention to the ‘plight’ of the family farm, noting Hanson’s work Fields without Dreams where the author sheds light on the California dream vs. the reality. Hanson states farming “provides contact with nature and isolation from the ills of society but…also involves financial hardship, brute labor and loneliness.” also noting that “family farms are a goner”. Gone are the days of expansive open space, flowing rivers and fertile valleys. Here are the days of corporate profit and never ending drought. In California the reality of crops that survive solely on imported water replaces the myth of always green and lush agricultural valleys. The dream of family owned farms profiting from their daily toils is replaced by farmers who can barely make ends meet.



Works Cited


Allmendinger, Blake. “All About Eden.” Reading California: Art, Image, and Identity: 1900-2000. Eds. Stephanie Baron, Sheri Bernstein, and Ilene Susa Fort. Berkley: University of California Press, 2000. 133-128. Print

Wood, Art. “Where Do We Go From Here?” Cartoon, Farm Bureau News, 1983.


 
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Home is where the heart is

Walker Residence

The California dream to provide my kids a place they can call home can be almost impossible. California offers a lot of diversity and opportunity, the problem is, paying for these opportunities as well as a house. Rawls speaks about people’s “expectation and disappointment.” They come to California expecting great things, only to have some of those hopes swept under a rug. Houses are being built all around southern California.  Unfortunately, being able to find a job in which you can meet the expense of these homes becomes difficult. So, in order to remain in California, people begin looking at their second option, owning a condominium.  But even that can be unattainable. People then turn to apartments, hotels, motor homes, tents and even parks. Please, don’t get me wrong, California can be a great place to live, with a lot of opportunities. You can choose whether to sit back and take what you can get, or you can make the best of the situation you are in. When you think about it, kids will look back on their life and either see you made the best out of what you had, or they will say you could have done better, but didn’t. Everyone wants the best for their kids. You can a home for them wherever you are and whatever situation you are in. California offers free parks and beaches galore.  I am not saying California doesn’t try to take care of those less fortunate.  California does offer various ways to help people afford to live in California and have a home for your kids. You have to reach out and take it though; you cannot sit back and not help yourself. Please check out the link above this paragraph, I feel this is what many people’s fantasy living room would look like.

Rawls, James A. “California: A People, A Place, A Dream” California: A People, A Place, A
Dream Eds. Claudia K Jurmain and James J Rawls. SanFrancisco: Chronicle Books,
1986. 141-151. Print.

 
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The Rite Spot

The Rite Spot

Frey’s, The Rite Spot, Birthplace of the Cheeseburger, Pasadena, California falls short of a perfect example of “blending and balancing of Arcadian and Utopian elements” (2000 McClung). Unfortunately, at first, a person who is  just learning about Arcadia and Utopia, could mistake this picture as being a perfect example, but after further education, begins to understand the difference.  This painting leans more toward Arcadian elements rather than Utopia because the landscape is hardly affected, and the architecture is far from futuristic. The buildings look as though they were dropped from the sky intact. In saying this, I would like to make my point in referring to the California dream of creating a new product that would quickly become popular. In the painting, there are several different “projects” if you will that are in the beginning stage, Arrowhead water, Ko-Fan, Barbara Ann Bread, and a few others that I can’t quite make out. Also this painting is boasting the birthplace of the cheeseburger.  Unfortunately, there are others refute this, but that is for another time and another blog. This painting, to me shows an example of taking Arcadian elements such as water and oranges and creating a booming industry. The background of the painting looks as though it is in the middle of Death Valley or the Mojave Desert, but is advertising Arrowhead water, and has buckets and buckets of oranges. Making any dream of creating a consumer project seem easy to start, even in the desert.

Frey, Joseph. The Rite Spot, Birthplace of the Cheeseburger, Pasadena,

California. n.d. Private Collection.

The Rite Spot, Birthplace of the Cheeseburger, Pasadena, California

McClung, William Alexander. “Inventing Utopia.” Landscapes of Desire: Anglo
Mythologies of Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
4-9, 19-33. Print.

 
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The California Dream of striking it rich

The largest waves of migration to California were due in part to the dream of striking it rich through the Gold Rush. The idea that one could strike it rich brought men to California in droves.At the time the dream of the Gold Rush was best advertised through song that traveled quickly across america. This songs often played on the dream, spread tales of imminent and easy wealth. The author, Lipsitz further elaborates on this truth, stating “people who come to California…already have a rich inventory of references about the state…because of the power of popular music.” However, once prospective miners arrived they found the reality of the Gold Rush to be much different from the rosy pictures painted through song. The song prospecting dream by Gardnier and Kirk sang a different tune altogether. The reality of mining the land sounded more like, “swelled up with scurvy”, “I struck it here, and right down there, I dug, I panned and tommed awhile, till I had but a dollar, I could not raise the color”.

The song Prospecting Dream dispelled the myths surrounding the dream of striking it rich in California and instead told the cold, hard truth. Even though many men made it to California to follow this dream very few found the wealth of gold they were searching for.



Lipsitz, George. “Music, Migration, and Myth: The California Connection.” Reading California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000. Eds. Stephanie Barron, Sheri Bernstein, and Ilene Susan Fort. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 153-169. Print.


 
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