Issue 21: Made in California

Inside the Fall 2022 edition of Alta Journal.

made in california, issue 21, cover, michael schwab
Michael Schwab



built into the slopes of a mountain, with sweeping views of los angeles from downtown to the hollywood sign and beyond, dodger stadium offers a definitive perspective on the city
Matthew Smith

Midcentury Marvel

An ode to L.A.’s legendary Dodger Stadium on its 60th birthday. By Matt Jaffe • Photos by Matthew Smith

graves were found nestled amid the plumbing at the legion of honor in 1994, the museum turned over about 900 remains to the san francisco medical examiner
Richard Barnes

Buried Histories

San Francisco’s Legion of Honor museum and Lincoln Park Golf Course sit atop the grave sites of thousands of immigrants and indigent people. Their stories—and some of their remains—are coming to the surface. By Beth Winegarner

us coast guard rescue illustration
Mark Smith

Miracle on the Mountain

Deep in California’s Trinity Alps, two firefighters battling a fast-moving blaze were gravely injured by a falling boulder. Their best option for survival: a four-person Coast Guard team adept at sea rescues. By Julian Smith • Illustrations by Mark Smith

alta journal walker expedition, the sierra nevada near grover hot springs state park, where the alta journal expedition picked up the trail of the walker party
Tod Seelie

Five Men, Six Days, and 34 Miles Across the Sierra Nevada

In which Alta Journal commissions an expedition to retrace the first east-to-west crossing of the Sierra Nevada by non-native people. In 1833, the journey was marked by blizzards, frostbite, and near starvation; 189 years later, the wintry conditions are not terribly different. By Robert Roper • Photos by Tod Seelie

Made in California

tung chiang, the director of heath ceramics’ clay studio in san francisco, in front of the company’s signature bud vases
Christie Hemm Klok

Stirring the Pot

A Q&A with Tung Chiang, who keeps things spinning as studio director at the legendary Heath Ceramics. Interview by Robert Ito • Photos by Christie Hemm Klok

mikawaya mochi ice cream
Andrea D’Agosto

The Mochi Miracle

Combining ice cream with gummy rice for a dessert treat had its risks. But the payoff has been sweet. By Robert Ito • Photos by Andrea D’Agosto

seed packets
Andrea D’Agosto

Bumper Crops

Watch your fall garden grow with a little help from these seed purveyors. By Joy Lanzendorfer • Photos by Andrea D’Agosto

gabriel tenorio at his studio in boyle heights
Christina Gandolfo

Guitar String Hero

Using metal wires, nylon threads, and everything in between, Gabriel Tenorio keeps axes taut—and in tune. By Gustavo Arellano • Photos by Christina Gandolfo

shorthand stationary
Christina Gandolfo

Paper Pusher

The clean, crisp pages of a handmade journal help a writer puzzle out her thoughts. By Lynell George • Photos by Christina Gandolfo

gladys tamez in her showroom and atelier in la’s arts district, she launched her line, gladys tamez millinery, in 2014
Christina Gandolfo

Heads Up

A Q&A with Gladys Tamez, whose handmade hats top the noggins of everyone from Lady Gaga to LeBron. Interview by Steffie Nelson • Photos by Christina Gandolfo

california whiskey
Andrea D’Agosto

Golden Drams

Tap the barrels of the state’s finest whiskey purveyors. By Joy Lanzendorfer • Photos by Andrea D’Agosto

claudio mariani, owner of c mariani antiques in san francisco, trained in italy, mariani opened his workshop and gallery 36 years ago
Penni Gladstone

Old-World Sage

For four decades, Claudio Mariani has been restoring—or re-creating—furniture with design techniques that reach back centuries. By Jessica Zack • Photos by Penni Gladstone

who knew made in california
Chris Hardy

Who Knew?

The story behind some surprising products born in the Golden State.

george powell holds a powell peralta dragon formula wheel and a bones brigade skateboard deck at the company’s factory in ventura, california
Christina Gandolfo

Wheels of Fortune

A Q&A with George Powell, whose engineering mojo led to a revolution in skateboard design. Interview by Robert Ito • Photos by Christina Gandolfo

california jams
Andrea D’Agosto

Jam Session

Enjoy a little California sunshine—right out of the jar. By Lydia Lee • Photo by Andrea D’Agosto

rachel britten, mendocino grain project
Penni Gladstone

Flour Child

A Q&A with Rachel Britten, who’s growing wheat in Northern California—not North Dakota. Interview by Lydia Lee • Photos by Penni Gladstone

vaer d5 arctic watcj
Andrea D’Agosto

A Time to Buy

An obsession with James Bond leads to another obsession: divers. By Ajay Orona • Photo by Andrea D’Agosto

ray howlett with a work in progress light sculpture in his studio north of los angeles
Christina Gandolfo

Seeing the Light

During dark times, Ray Howlett’s sculptures offered a mother some hope. By Monica Corcoran Harel • Photo by Christina Gandolfo


natalia molina
Dustin Snipes

Keeping Place, Memory, and History Alive

By Natalia Molina

Why You Should Read This: A Place at the Nayarit

By David L. Ulin

kim stanley robinson

An Acceptable Degree of Coherent Narrative

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Why You Should Read This: The Gold Coast

By David L. Ulin

jaime cortez

Because Every Quixote Needs to Pick a Damn Windmill and Charge

By Jaime Cortez

Why You Should Read This: Gordo

By David L. Ulin

mfk fisher

She Was Not a Food Writer

The words of M.F.K. Fisher—one of 2oth-century America’s best, if overlooked, voices—describe a magnificent feast of ritual, meaning, and life. By Jim Lewis • Illustration by Thomas Ehretsmann


Get your bases covered with these must-reads from the famed author. By Jim Lewis

marion davies and william randolph hearst in bad nauheim, germany, davies’s pet dachshund peeks his nose out from her coat

Marion Davies on Her Own Terms

A new biography of the famous actress reveals her to be far more than the mistress of William Randolph Hearst. By Will Hearst

john gregory dunne
Steve Carroll

The Dark Season

John Gregory Dunne’s Vegas is an epic of displacement. By David L. Ulin • Illustrations by Steve Carroll


author pia hinckle near her home in san francisco
Marissa Leshnov

“I’d Like a Catholic Diaphragm, Please”

Raised with all the freedom of a man, at 19 I faced my first decision as a woman. By Pia Hinckle • Photos by Marissa Leshnov

ada briceño, democratic club of  west orange county
Larry Hirshowitz

Sí Se Puede

Orange County political leader Ada Briceño harnessed the power of protest to help the conservative bastion flip from red to blue. Her next test: the 2022 midterm elections. By Gustavo Arellano • Photos by Larry Hirshowitz

nicole martin
Eric Draper

Trailblazer: Nicole Martin

Securing reproductive care. By Jessica Klein


christopher renfro examines vines at alemany farm in san francisco, in 2019, he revived the abandoned vineyard and started the 280 project
Penni Gladstone

A Vineyard in San Francisco’s Black Belt

Christopher Renfro’s 280 Project gives a community reason to go back to the farm. By Sydney Love • Photos by Penni Gladstone

curatorial fellow naz cuguoglu, left, and contemporary art curator abby chen, at the asian art museum in san francisco
Carolyn Fong

Bernice Bing Steps into View

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum celebrates the work of a queer Chinese American artist with a long-overdue retrospective. By Emily Wilson • Photo by Carolyn Fong

julie mehretu’s howl, eon i, ii is a diptych created in 2016 through 17 that was commissioned by the san francisco museum of modern art as a gift from helen and charles schwab
©​ Julie Mehretu; Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery; Photos by Tom Powel Imaging

Why This Art: Utopian Elation in Julie Mehretu’s HOWL, eon (I, II)

By Court Lurie

dying patient

Poetry: “Qualifying Animacy” and “grief logic #6”

By Crystal AC Salas

alexis smith’s wall painting "men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses," 1985
© Alexis Smith; COURTESY OF Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

The Real Worlds of Alexis Smith

A retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego provides the first chance in 30 years to see an overview of this seminal California artist’s collages. By Hunter Drohojowska-Philp

heidi zuckerman, director and ceo of the orange county museum of art
Dustin Snipes

Now Open: The Big Orange

By Hunter Drohojowska-Philp

colored light background

Poetry: “A Brief History of Pomona House Parties”

By Michael Torres

insecure, issa rae

Alta Picks: Our Binge List

By Jessica Blough, Elizabeth Casillas, Anita Felicelli, and Ajay Orona

gateway, los angeles
Gensler Architects

Cities in the Sky

The design for a Los Angeles high-rise stacked multiple buildings, verticalizing neighborhoods into a single structure. It was not built, but it casts a long shadow. By Joseph Giovannini

my chicano heart, daniel a olivas
Victor Juhasz

Fiction: “My Chicano Heart”

By Daniel A. Olivas • Illustrations by Victor Juhasz

In Every Issue

Publisher’s Note: Living Treasures of the American West

By Will Hearst



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