Earlier this week, Richard Gonzales took a look at the enduring legacy of 60s-era upheavals like the Watts Riots. Daydreaming sent NPR intern Sarah Whites-Koditschek to the intern's natural habitat (Youtube) in order to find us images of that iconic Watts landmark, the Watts Towers.
This film shows footage of Watts from 1957 and profiles Sabato Rodia, the Italian immigrant and tile layer who built the tower "inch by inch" out of scrap and trash he found on railroad tracks. The jazzy soundtrack includes what I swear is the theme from the Twilight Zone, which makes sense since the film speaks of the conspiracy theories Rodia's Towers provoked among his neighbors.
Youtube is jam-packed with clips of kids dancing. (I'm not sure who wins this battle, but I like both of these characters.) I'm glad these two chose to have their dance-off in front of the Watts Tower, because usually these videos are shot in dank basements. These kids could be Krumpers* (see below) but I like to think their improvisation is an homage to the Towers.
A scene from actor and performance artist Roger Guenveur Smith's Watts Tower Project.
This short documentary looks at how today's Watts residents relate to the Towers. One of the talking heads makes a great point: Once upon a time, people thought the Towers were a bizarre eyesore, but now they're a national monument.
*Okay, not a Watts Tower video per se; but when discussing Watts and LA, you can never pass up a chance to show a krumping video.