The backdrop to countless movies and television shows, Los Angeles has been reproduced on film more times than any other city on the planet.
But just like the movie sets that went up in flames last year at Universal Studios, the Tinseltown glamour is often no more than a flimsy facade.
Behind the myth of Hollywood lies a swirling melting pot of a place where nearly half of people speak Spanish and where, for every rising star, there's at least a hundred wannabes waiting tables or entertaining tourists on Venice Beach.
At once a Lalaland filled with dreamers, Los Angeles has also been scene to some of the worst race riots in American history: a paradoxical place that spawned both Charlie Chaplin and Gangsta Rap.
These days, aside from the smog -- an ever present in a city plagued with so many cars and so little rainfall -- the atmosphere is less toxic than two decades ago when the city was awash with crack cocaine and guns. Watch Wolfgang Puck take CNN on a tour of L.A. Read full article »