John Cage’s Genius an L.A. Story –

“He was, perhaps, the greatest music radical of the 20th century. He composed using chance procedures. His music honored silence along with sound. He made no distinction between traditional musical sounds and what some call noise. He embraced, rather than escaped from, messy urban life as well as anarchic nature. He was controversial, to say the least, but his influence has been, and continues to be, extraordinary. No one in the last century did more to change the way much of the world now thinks about, makes and consumes art.

Cage lived the last 50 years of his life in New York, personifying the city’s avant-garde. He wrote the music for which he is known there and died in Manhattan in 1992.

But the voluminous Cage literature has underestimated or glossed over the degree to which his revolutionary ideas had their origins in the singular and sometimes outlandish L.A. cultural stew of the ’20s and ’30s — a liberating, vibrantly open society where highbrow émigré artists mixed with mystics and movie stars, where artistic and sexual experimentation were not necessarily separate activities.

SOURCE: Mark Swed, “John Cage’s Genius an LA Story,” Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2012.