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 and community. But I managed to do both at a park 10 miles east of Downtown L.A.

I wish our entire state was as broad-minded as the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area. The nearly 1,500-acre park, spanning both sides of the 60 Freeway in the city of South El Monte, isn’t just one of L.A. County’s largest and most popular parks. It’s …

Nature Needs Greater Diversity—In Its Human Visitors

Drawing More Non-Whites Into Parks and Natural Areas Requires Changes in Access, Staffing, Recruitment—and Narratives

“Is nature only for white people?” was the deliberately provocative query that framed a Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County panel discussion. It was quickly dispensed with by the …

Why Americans Invented the RV

In 1915, New Creature Comforts Created by Technology Merged with the Back to Nature Movement

On August 21, 1915, the Conklin family departed Huntington, New York on a cross-country camping trip in a vehicle called the “Gypsy Van.” Visually arresting and cleverly designed, the …

With Rushmore, the Charm Is in the Details

The Quirky Style of Wes Anderson’s Breakout Film Still Draws a Fashionable Crowd

Upon its release in 1998, the indie comedy Rushmore cemented both director Wes Anderson’s reputation and co-star Bill Murray’s renaissance as patron saint of droll, sad-eyed, middle-aged men in crisis. …

The Enduring Barbershop Keeps It Real—and Real Funny

One of the First Comedy Classics of the 21st Century Found Plenty of Fans for a Friday Night Screening

Everyone in the audience, it seemed, had seen the movie before. But that didn’t mean the crowd arrayed on the lawn at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown …

The Epic Effort to Map the West

A Brilliant Geographer and Famous Photographer Teamed Up to Tackle the Nearly Impossible Task of Surveying 19th-Century California

We’ll start in the 1840s, when Western North America was almost wholly empty of European-Americans. To prepare the land for settlement, the United States government sent teams of explorers into …