Box Walk/Santa Monica.


For awhile now, residential modernism has been in charge in Los Angeles. There was a period, roughly paralleling the 80s and 90s, when ersatz historical structures were the rage. Overdressed, highly embellished and gaudy. But the stripped down box, the serious architect’s preferred style, is now the only way to build, especially on the west side…

Stories From Our Landscape.


  This writer and three others will have their short stories read aloud at the Annenberg  Community Beach House on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 6:30pm. My story, "The Bright Shop", concerns a  European refugee who designs a new life in 1960s Los Angeles only to see it crumble on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Actor…

Cinnamon Politics.


Cinnamon Politics A few months ago, I walked into a Santa Monica dry spice store that my friend and I had dismissed a few years earlier. It seemed ridiculous to us, that people, in the farm-fresh and organic era, would buy dried spices and spice blends at premium prices, and also waste money inside a…

4th of July in Years Past


From the USC Digital Archives, one finds fascinating and unusual photos of old California. A search for "4th of July" brought up these photos and captions: "Photographer: Gaze. Date: 1952-07-04. Reporter: Gaze. Assignement: 4th July--Santa Monica. #23-29: Navy landing craft comes ashore in Fourth of July exercises at Santa Monica. LCM No. 268 in the…

The Nowhere City Goes Somewhere


Yesterday, near downtown Santa Monica, on a strangely cloudy and drizzly summer morning, I drove west, unintentionally, into blocked roads, past barriers and bulldozers. Men were tearing down buildings, punching holes in plate glass windows and digging trenches. The long winding humanitarian project known as the Expo Line had made its way from central Los…

Walking Through an Architectural Plan.


I was in Santa Monica yesterday afternoon. I parked near Pico and Ocean to capture the waning light of day on camera. The entire “Civic Center” area, surrounding the toxically secretive Rand Corporation, is undergoing massive redevelopment. There is a new park, a new subway line (arriving 2015), new condos and “affordable housing”, plus promised…