‘California’ Archive

The Founding Mother 9 April 2012 No Comments

I’ve been reading Esther McCoy lately. The other day I pulled an old copy of Esther McCoy’s Case Study Houses, 1945-1962 off my shelf and discovered that my second edition of 1977 has a crackling introduction in which McCoy examines the “brave-new-world tone” of her introduction to the first edition of 1962 in light of the […]

Historiographic Note on Frozen Confections 12 August 2011 No Comments

The first time I watched the 1972 documentary “Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles” I was too distracted by the “Baede-Kar,” a dash-mounted radio tour guide system with a voice only slightly less creepy than HAL 9000, to pay much attention to frozen confections.  But watching it again this morning (yes, it was research), I was […]

Fitness and Civilization 22 May 2009 No Comments

Power walking, it turns out, is one of the hallmarks of the American civilization.  I had seen plenty of it in Los Angeles: folks in groups of two and three, arms swinging with their strides while making their way slowly but determinedly through the hills of Griffith Park.  I hadn’t paid much attention to these […]

Shelter 6 May 2009 No Comments

Last week, after many long hours exploring the desert , I spent the night in a tipi.  It would be easy to say the tipi was in the middle of nowhere because the closest town, Tecopa, is 230 miles from Los Angeles and has a population of 99.  But, in the middle of the Mojave, […]

The Pause that Refreshes 22 April 2009 No Comments

_____ A few days ago, after several long, hot hours of looking at buildings, my friends and I were thirsty.  This was understandable.  We had driven from Los Feliz to Watts in 95º heat and then from Watts to downtown in 100º heat. Viewing Simon Rodia’s towers meant total exposure, so the shadowy depth of […]