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A Look at L.A's Seedy Political History

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, September 04, 2009, at 04:34PM
Mickey Cohen Crossing Spring Street Los Angeles Examiner / USC Digital Archives []

Gangster Mickey Cohen crosses Spring street after appearing in court on tax charges in 1951.

Those with a taste for L.A. history may want to plan to be near their radios on Tuesday afternoon. L.A. Observed's Kevin Roderick will use his time as host of KCRW's “The Politics of Culture” to interview authors Richard Rayner and John Buntin, both of whom have written about the city's often-seedy past.

Rayner's "A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption and L.A.’s Scandalous Coming of Age" focuses on Leslie White, an idealistic young crime scene photographer for the DA’s office, and Dave Clark, and ambitious young prosecutor who finds L.A.’s darker side irresistible.

Buntin's "LA Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City" looks at gangster kingpin Mickey Cohen -- no stranger to Downtown's courthouses -- and Police Chief William Parker.

The show will air live from 2:30 - 3:00pm. KCRW's broadcast can be found on the air at 89.9FM, or online at


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