California’s Next Joan Didion Can Sing

Phoebe Bridgers Offers an Homage to, and an Improvement on, the Classic Golden State Interpreter

California’s next Joan Didion might be an improvement on the original.

For one thing, she can sing.

Phoebe Bridgers, a brilliant and versatile 26-year-old musician and songwriter, isn’t just contending for four Grammy awards this March. She is challenging the status of Joan Didion, now 86, as the most nationally respected and quotable of California interpreters.

Such a challenge is long overdue. It’s been 40 years since New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani declared that “California belongs to Joan Didion,” and the British novelist Martin Amis (backhandedly) praised her “almost embarrassingly sharp ear …

More In: Connecting California

The Huge Electric Leadership of a Small California Town | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Huge Electric Leadership of a Small California Town

By Building Its Own Microgrid, Rural Gonzales Charts a Path to the Energy Future

If California is lucky, our energy future could look like a small town in the rural Salinas Valley.

Longtime readers of this column will not be surprised to learn that the …

A Park for Everyone Offers a ‘Vision of What California Might Be’  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Park for Everyone Offers a ‘Vision of What California Might Be’ 

In Praise of Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, an L.A. Gem That Contains Multitudes

It was tricky to get out of the house while the state was under the latest stay-at-home order, much less to find public places that offered both ample social distance …

How California (Might Have) Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Big, Unbalanced Budget | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How California (Might Have) Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Big, Unbalanced Budget

COVID Is Helping the State Get Over Its Misguided Obsession With Staying in the Black at the Expense of Solving Its Costly Problems

In the midst of California’s pandemic catastrophe, we may be seeing, at long last, the demise of the dominant mode of thinking of our state’s leaders: “budgetism.”

Budgetism is the false …