by William Bradley
Los Angeles Union Station—opened on May 7, 1939, after days of celebration—was the last great train station built in the United States. Intended as a grand portal to a grand Los Angeles, it was an anomaly, built at a time when America was eager to drive or fly to its chosen destinations. Protected by early inclusion on the National Registry of Historic Places for its iconic architecture, Los Angeles Union Station has had an astonishing and unpredictable rebirth. As the city modernizes its public transportation system linking the culturally and geographically diverse communities of Southern California, Union Station—in all its Mission Revival glory—is suddenly the hub of the country’s newest light rail and subway system, serving hundreds of thousands of people each week. Where Pullman cars and Harvey Girls once served commuters, where the Super Chief and the Coast Starlight, Streamliners and Domeliners converged, Los Angeles Union Station is now a living-breathing center of transportation modernity. Author William Bradley relates a rich history of fierce battles, cultural relocation, and astounding financial risks culminating in one of California’s most important stories. Augmenting his words with vintage images, Bradley not only shares the tale of the terminal, but of the trains that rode its tracks—those 1939 tracks to the future.
by David Boulé
Cloaked in mystery and until modern times available only to the elite, the orange has been known as the fruit of the gods, the food of emperors, a token of gratitude, and the symbol of health, wealth, and love. The dream of California since its discovery by Europeans has been that it is a place of plenty, of potential, of personal opportunity. When the orange and California were finally linked, their partnership created a compelling fantasy and a fantastic reality. The Orange and the Dream of California takes a lively, literary, and extraordinarily visual look at the symbiotic and highly symbolic relationship between the Golden State and its "golden apple." Untold thousands of adventurers and health-seekers came West in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, lured by postcards of orange blossoms juxtaposed to snow-capped mountains. Orange juice became the way to start every day after Sunkist spread the word that drinking a California orange was not only as sweet and delicious as eating one, but held the promise to a healthy life. The orange became a symbol of everything California promised, and California became the center of the Orange Empire. In 176 full-color pages and more than 250 images, author David Boulé shares the absorbing story of the orange and its impact on the culture—historic, financial, artistic, and even romantic—of California. And, he tells the tale of citriculture, the complex, captivating, and controversial world of growing the orange.
by Cory Buckner
This is the fascinating story of people and mid-century modern architecture, merging and prevailing to create a neighborhood in Los Angeles. Their Crestwood Hills is like no other place in the vast metropolis--its history is the result of the singular optimism that defined Southern California in the post-World War II era. A handful of the region’s optimists banded together to form a cooperative intent on building a utopian community. And they did.
Quite near where the famed Getty Museum stands today, on a dusty hillside above Brentwood, California, the Mutual Housing Association (MHA) broke ground for its residential dream on October 5, 1947. The development of its 800 acres demanded the single largest land excavation in Southern California until the construction of the 405 freeway. But this was no road project, dam, or reservoir: they were carving out a place to live, and, unbeknownst to them, a legend.
Author Buckner follows the MHA as it purchased the land, designed and built houses for its members, and faced mounting difficulties establishing a truly communal community. The association selected architects A. Quincy Jones and Whitney R. Smith, and structural engineer Edgardo Contini, all steeped in the ethos of Southern California modernist architecture. They provided a selection of more than twenty innovative and beautiful designs for the members to choose from. But idealism met the harsh realities of land development. The first two contractors went broke; many members were left on their own to design and construct their own houses. Ambitious plans for a cooperative utopia began to fade.
But optimism, creativity, and intellect trounced obstacles. Buckner shares the dramatic ups and downs of Crestwood Hills as it made its way to becoming the only successful large-scale modern housing cooperative in the West. The members’ experience with cooperatives in Canada and the US, their social idealism, and the charismatic leadership of the founders add color to a compelling narrative of progressive politics, social Utopianism, and the tough lobbying that enabled the group to successfully navigate the requirements of the neighborhood, the City, and the Federal Housing Authority.
Buckner provides more than 200 vintage and contemporary images, documenting homes as they were in the beginning, complete with floor plans, and today, as the homes have evolved and become local landmarks. The book is a tribute to mid-century architecture, showing how the community learned lessons from Los Angeles’s legendary Case Study Houses program and created a vibrant community where families could live their Modern dream.
by Jon Boorstin
It's 1912 in Hollywood, the birth of the Movies, and Mabel Normand, beautiful and funny, the model of the modern comedy star, is shocking the world. This intimate novel takes us inside the earliest days of motion pictures, and together with the Queen of Comedy—a flapper a decade before flappers, the first to have her name in the title of a picture—we become obsessed with motion pictures, in love with their mesmerizing power. As sharply observed as it is historically accurate, Mabel and Me is the tale of a young man's coming of age with the Movies, and his passionate, destructive, and ultimately liberating love for the queen of slapstick—Mabel Normand. Their story is the birth of our media age.
by Damon Willick