Cerro Blanco in Peru? Nope. Sossusvlei in Namibia? Try again. That stunning photograph of a sand dune that opens our desert package—the cover story in the February issue that hits newsstands this week—was taken only four hours northeast of here. Writer Dave Gardetta traversed 1,900 miles of California’s most mysterious landscape and came back with a great yarn. In the story you’ll also find a definitive travel guide that takes readers from Palm Springs to Joshua Tree to Death Valley, home of those dunes. The photography by Chad Ress—dramatic, sun-soaked vistas that swallow you whole—is especially compelling on a stormy day like this. Even the typography for this package is exceptional, by one of my favorite artists, Ross MacDonald. We’ve got an online video that takes you into MacDonald’s upstate New York studio, where he demonstrates how he created the headline from antique type.
In February KCRW’s longtime general manager, Ruth Seymour, is retiring. In our Speak Easy Q&A this month, articles editor Rick Meyer sat down with Seymour for a candid exit interview. Her distinctive voice comes right through. Together they hit some highlights from Seymour’s 32-year career at one of America’s most successful public radio stations—yes, credit her with green-lighting Morning Becomes Eclectic and Which Way, L.A.? The interview was so good, we compiled questions that didn’t make it into the article that you can listen to online.
A driver is cut off and loses it, another battles for a parking space and starts a fight. We see instances of it every day in Los Angeles. In this issue writer-at-large Ed Leibowitz examines a case of road rage that happened one benign afternoon in 2007, a conflict between a porn actor and a college student that would end in tragedy for a Bangladeshi-American family caught in their path. I hope anyone who reads the piece will think of it when they find themselves doing something stupid and selfish on the road.
Last month, as an homage to our 50th anniversary, we presented a time line of the 50 happiest moments in L.A. Continuing the year-long celebration, in February we pay due respect to the painter Don Bachardy, who has lived in Santa Monica Canyon for half a century, much of it with his late longtime companion, Christopher Isherwood. Also in this issue: Dine editor Lesley Bargar Suter on how to survive a raw diet, columnist Anne Taylor Fleming on what Tiger Woods can learn from his fall, film critic Steve Erickson on the best films of the last ten years, business writer Mark Lacter on the strategy behind the explosion of local news coverage, restaurant critic Patric Kuh on Thomas Keller’s hot spot Bouchon in Beverly Hills, a survey of the best small museums in town, and a profile of Big Love actor Bill Paxton by yours truly (I hung out with him at his Ojai house. I’ve said it before: There are perks that come with this job).
Put another log on the fire and get reading.