A Little Kelp From My Friends
The “zone of sacrifice” that is Oxnard, California, where low-income workers are paying the price for pesticide use and chemical dumping.
It takes a gallon of water to grow a single almond. Yet in drought-ravaged California, hedge funds are racing to plant as many new trees as they can.
The eccentric inhabitants of the world’s largest rock—Giant Rock, a humongous boulder deep in the Mojave Desert.
To be a foreigner is to be perpetually detached, but it is also to be continually surprised.
A three-part investigation into links between the cocaine trade, Nicaragua’s CIA-backed Contra rebels, and California’s crack epidemic in the 1980s.
Scenes from the California drought.
On the palm trees of Los Angeles.
Life on a weed farm in Humboldt County.
Parking garages, prisons, freeways and the world of stuff we’re not supposed to look at.
The California Dream is made possible by old water and big water. Unfortunately, the former doesn’t care about us, and the latter’s running dry.
“Too much is being asked of the Delta.”
An actor, fresh from prison, attempts to reconnect with his son in 1950s California.
"And he had believed it. Everyone had. Since the day he’d been cast as Lev, Alexi had been aware that he was getting away with something—though, he reasoned, he’d never explicitly lied about anything. He just never told the complete truth. He may have, when asked about his American accent, mentioned the pronunciation workbooks stacked on his family’s kitchen table, as if he, and not just his parents, had pored over them nightly. He may have once, a little drunk at a party, pretended to forget the English words for the pigs in a blanket being passed around. He may have, that night and possibly a few others, begun sentences with, In my country . . . He may have, when asked by the film’s very openly communist director one night over steaks at Musso’s what he thought about Truman, parroted back what he’d overheard at the writers’ table, that he was narrow-minded and ruthless, his doctrine a farce and an affront to civil liberties. He may have, at Stella and Jack’s invitation, attended a number of meetings in their Hancock Park living room, where there may have been some pretty detailed discussions about following their Soviet comrades down whatever path they took. He may have, on one of those evenings, filled out one of the Party membership forms being passed around, simply because everyone else was."
A visit to the massive Northern California surf break.
On the writers, poets and beats in a reclusive California town, where residents repeatedly tear down highway signs indicating its location.
A profile of the California governor.
On the death of a brother.
On former nursing student One L. Goh, who killed six people at Oikos University in Oakland, California, and what it means to the Korean immigrant community.
A profile of Huell Howser, the happiest man on TV.
Portraits from weed country.
A visit to the newly on-the-market Jamesburg Earth Station, a massive satellite receiver that played a key role in communications with space, and its neighbors in an adjacent trailer park.
From Vallejo to San Jose, a tour of local government despair:
The relationship between the people and their money in California is such that you can pluck almost any city at random and enter a crisis.
Part one of a planned nine-part serialized biography of Harrison Gray Otis, the “inventor of modern Los Angeles.”
Future installments will include Otis’s interlude as “emperor of the Pribilofs,” his military atrocities in the Philippines, his bitter legal battles with the Theosophists, the Otis-Chandler empire in the Mexicali Valley, the Times bombing in 1910, the notorious discovery of fellatio in Long Beach, and Otis’s quixotic plan for world government.
Uncovering Southern California’s country music roots.
On his legacy, his impact on California, and why “saints should be judged guilty until proven innocent.”