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In our pages: Zócalo's 'hip-but-serious, civic-minded intellectualism'

November 8, 2010 |  1:41 pm


One of L.A.'s most successful public salons, Zócalo Public Square, was profiled in our Sunday pages. Staff writer Reed Johnson calls its take "hip-but-serious, civic-minded intellectualism." Johnson continues:

Zócalo, founded in 2003, could be compared to one of those gourmet Korean taco trucks restlessly cruising the L.A. streets, keeping its overhead costs low and catering to a clientele with cerebrally demanding, culturally mashed-up tastes. Highly mobile and virally networked, it mainly relies on word of mouth and Twitter feeds to publicize its product, which is just as well because it has no marketing budget.

In seven years it has hosted more than 500 speakers at 235 events with push-button titles ("The Curse of Oil," "Is Feminism Transforming the Middle East?"), the majority at roughly two dozen L.A. venues including the Hammer, the Skirball, the Getty Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard's Miracle Mile (the topic: "How Does Better Design Make for Better Health?") and Tim Robbins' Actors' Gang theater in Culver City.

Zócalo's upcoming discussions reflect this diversity. On Nov. 16, Tim Wu, author of "The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires," addresses the question "Can the Internet Stay Free?" On Dec. 6, a panel of forward-thinking medical professionals asks "Are Doctors Ready for the Medical Future?" Dec. 7, the director of USC's Brain and Creativity Institute shares his insights on the question "Where Does Consciousness Come From?" And on Dec. 9, the focus turns to a British writer who made Los Angeles home with the panel discussion "Christopher Isherwood: His Los Angeles Life."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Zócalo's staff. Executive director Gregory Rodriguez (back), program director Dulce Vasquez (left), online editor Swati Pandey (front) and field producer Laura Villalpando (right). Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / L.A. Times