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Video: The Surprisingly Fascinating Little City in LA's South Bay

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Gardena's history includes everything from agriculture to gambling to burlesque

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Aside from that fact that it has some seriously gnarly drinking water, there's a good chance most people don't know a lot about the South Bay city of Gardena. It might even seem like there's not much to know about the little city located in the triangle created by the 105, 405, and 110 freeways. Of course, that would be wrong, and a documentary called Freeway City proves it.

Los Angeles magazine says that the film's director, Max Votolato, "spent years researching the South Bay city and its evolution from truck farms to tract homes." The documentary dips into Gardena's agricultural origins, how the city's established community of Japanese and Japanese-American residents was rocked by World War II, its fame as a gambling town (casinos! card clubs!), the rise and fall of burlesque, and white flight, and takes viewers all the way into modern Gardena. All in all, a cool crash course in a city that doesn't get a lot of attention, but certainly has a captivating history.

Freeway City, which also happens to be Gardena's nickname, is available in full on Vimeo.