Written by Norman M. Klein
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The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory, 1997
On 8 December 1991, a sixteen year old was shot dead in a drive-by on Douglas, in Angelino Heights. The car barreled away as if murderers were simply joyriding. The body lay near where kids ride bicycles and families walk their dogs. A bullet had also entered the tailbone of the victim’s girlfriend, who was nine months pregnant; another bullet in the stomach killed her unborn child.
The neighbors’ reaction went from shock to panic. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon. Angelino Heights a very peaceful, faded, moderately restored old Midwestern town, an unshaved whisker from everything else torn down around it. In 1970, its turn-of-the-century name—“Angelino Heights—was restored, with two street signs, costing the city a few hundred dollars, the sum of public investment in the area.
Ironically enough, Angelino Heights often gets dressed up for murders in the movies. In Chinatown, one scene in particular was shot there: the murder in Echo Park took place on Kensington Avenue up a narrow court building—across the street from where the wounded girl had lived, and where her lover’s legend began—one fiction facing another in the making. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was shot three blocks south, on Carroll Avenue, as were other horror films, and any number of television commercials and moviesof-the-week.
© 1997 Norman M. Klein; New York: Verso