Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts: Art, Migrations, Development

By Deutsch, James I. | Western Folklore, Winter 2016 | Go to article overview

Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts: Art, Migrations, Development


Deutsch, James I., Western Folklore


Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts: Art, Migrations, Development. Edited by Luisa Del Giudice. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2014. Pp. xiv + 476, acknowledgements, introduction, photographs, illustrations, appendices, notes, index. $45.00 paper; $165.00 cloth.)

Seeing the Watts Towers complex for the first time is an unforgettable experience. Situated on a triangular plot of land in a nondescript suburb of South-Central Los Angeles, the complex contains seventeen different sculptural elements, including walls, fountains, a gazebo, a ship, and three soaring towers, the tallest of which rises 100 feet into the air. It is visually dazzling, but also seemingly incongruous and thus somewhat puzzling. Learning that everything was built by hand between 1921 and 1954 by Sabato (also known as Sabatino, Sam, and Simon) Rodia-who was born in 1879 in southern Italy and who died in 1965 in northern California-only enhances the mystery for many visitors.

Fortunately, this compelling collection of essays helps unravel many of the mysteries about the towers, the man, and the community. There are twenty main essays, written from a wide range of disciplines, including art and architecture, building construction and design, economics and community development, folklore and intangible cultural heritage, and a variety of historical perspectives: cultural history, immigration history, urban history, and historic preservation. In addition, an appendix titled "Conversations with Rodia" contains not only written accounts of visits with Rodia, but also transcripts of fascinating interviews with him, conducted between 1953 and 1964. Finally, an additional 165 pages of miscellaneous materials (documents, song lyrics, conference programs, interviews, and more) are available as online appendices at http://tiny.cc/TowersInWatts

The volume's editor, Luisa Del Giudice, is a folklorist and community activist who provides three key pieces: an introduction that identifies the book's salient issues; an analytic essay that explores Rodia's life and art in the context of Italian immigration to the United States; and an afterword that offers personal reflections on the Watts Towers Common Ground Initiative, which seeks in part to "promote the Watts Towers as a symbol of transformation, achievement, and generosity" (347). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sabato Rodia's Towers in Watts: Art, Migrations, Development
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.