The canyon's millennia-long history reveals a complicated and dark mythology.

The myth also involves sex and murder. But there are gods in the story and glory of a kind near the end. In one version, the myth begins with a girl – pretty, well-connected, high strung (they would have said; today, that she had gender issues). This version ends with a divine musician and a laurel tree. But the myth doesn’t end there, or, rather, the story has neither a beginning nor an end, only further renditions – sometimes melancholy and bluesy, sometimes raucous and lowdown, sometimes elegant and lingering – making the myth even more dreamlike, harder to place. Think of the myth as an album on the theme of longing; just as predictably for Los Angeles, desire for undying beauty and youth. More

Los Angeles from Grandview Drive, 1951. Seen from the hills above Laurel Canyon Boulevard, the street grid of mid-century Los Angeles glows. Photograph courtesy of Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries

Los Angeles from Grandview Drive, 1951. Seen from the hills above Laurel Canyon Boulevard, the street grid of mid-century Los Angeles glows. Photograph courtesy of Los Angeles Examiner Collection, USC Libraries