We here at Aural Standards are particularly partial to songs about our city, and “Los Angeles” by friend-of-the-blog Liza Oppenheimer is a new fave. We’ve also got a certain affinity for all (er, most) things Dustin Hoffman, so upon learning that the Dee Robertson-directed video for this folksy jangler would pay a little tribute to Midnight Cowboy, well, we were elated. Check out the clip below, and then learn a little more from Liza after the jump.
What inspires you about Los Angeles?
Liza: Los Angeles was the first place I picked up a guitar and started writing proper songs. There is an energy and pulse to L.A. that is so difficult to pin down and it’s not the L.A. we all grew up seeing in TV and film. I have lived in New York and San Francisco, and there are some crazy people there, I think L.A. has the best kind of crazy and I love it. I feel at home here. The song was inspired by all my friends in the city pursuing these next-to-impossible dreams, from writers to actors, artists and music journalists. Despite the struggle, everyone is just crazy enough to have fun doing it along the way.
Tell us about the aesthetic and vision of the video.
Liza: Dee came to me and pitched a story for a music video that was intended to be a nod to Midnight Cowboy, with me playing a Joe Buck-like character set in the grittier parts of L.A. that would be reminiscent of 1970s New York. I loved the idea. That movie was such an inspiration in my life. I loved the vulnerability and innocence between Joe and Ratzo, and how provocative and bizarre the movie was for its time. The actress in me was excited to create our version.
What’s your history with music? Future plans?
Liza: I grew up in Mill Valley, California. My whole life I have been surrounded by performing arts. I did theatre, musical theatre, ballet and performed Beatles covers for my middle school religiously. I’ve written poetry as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that my love for singing and writing came together. I started figuring out chords on the guitar that would mach my poems, which turned into lyrics. For a while I was writing for other bands and performing with friends around town. But in the last year, I have been focusing on writing my own stuff. I have about 15 songs written and plan to start recording an album in the next three months. I’m in love with making music videos as well. I think it is such an awesome way to express yourself and music.
Liza: I play Bar Lubitsch in West Hollywood on September 18. Come on out!