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Edward Landler & Brad Byer, makers of the documentary “I Build The Tower” about Simon Rodia and the Watts Towers of Watts, Los Angeles. Photo by Gail Brown.

TACO: It took Simon Rodia 33 years to build the Watts Towers. You’ve been working on “I Build the Tower” for at least fifteen years, what has taken you so long?

Edward Landler: Los Angeles still doesn’t know how to appreciate the Watts Towers. One problem with viewing the Watts Towers as a work of art is that the man who built them didn’t have a pedigree. I think it’s one of the greatest works of art of the 20th century but we live in a city and a culture dominated by an industry that is mainly concerned with the bottom line: how much money did you make? Sam Rodia, the man who built the Towers, didn’t come from a school or studio, he was just a guy. How’s it going to make money? Who’s going to buy them?

The problem with getting the proper respect from the city is the Towers are in the wrong part of town. People don’t want to go there. They’re afraid. But they’re afraid of a myth. There are plenty of other areas of town which are just as dangerous as Watts but Watts has the history and aura of violence and gangs. There are parts of the valley with higher incomes and similar problems.

Click here for the full interview on www.lataco.com.

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