Issue 21 of Alta Journal is anchored by a special section dedicated to all things Made in California.
This essay was adapted from the Alta newsletter, delivered every Thursday.
From guitars to whiskey, fancy jams to even fancier hats, if it’s made in the Golden State, Alta’s writers and photographers are celebrating it in this jam- (and whiskey-) packed section. Think of it as an essential guide to everything essential in California.
Among the highlights: Robert Ito’s conversation with Tung Chiang, studio director for Heath Ceramics, who endures backaches to throw his beautiful creations. Ajay Orona’s look at diver watches, a timepiece he covets so much he’s learned to scuba dive. Lynell George on the ecstasy of the (beautifully crafted) blank pages that call to her from notebooks, even as she types all day on a computer. Lydia Lee on a Northern California wheat farmer’s heirloom crops.
This issue—which, of course, was fully conceived and created in California—also has the mix of artfully crafted features and regular departments Alta readers have come to expect.
In “Buried Histories,” Beth Winegarner digs deep into San Francisco’s past to unearth graves and the people resting in them. The adventurous Robert Roper re-creates an east-to-west crossing of the Sierra Nevada undertaken in 1833 and lives to tell the tale. Matt Jaffe takes a swing at Dodger Stadium for its 60th anniversary. Sydney Love toasts the 280 Project, a San Francisco vineyard, and Daniel A. Olivas shares the title story from his upcoming collection, My Chicano Heart: New and Collected Stories of Love and Other Transgressions.
Hungry for more? Jim Lewis cooks up an essay about M.F.K. Fisher, who was not a food writer but “one of 20th-century America’s best, if overlooked, voices.” David L. Ulin goes dark with a personal reading of John Gregory Dunne’s little-remembered memoir Vegas, “an impressionistic narrative unbound by the journalistic strictures.” Also getting personal: Pia Hinckle, writing about abortion and Catholicism. Will Hearst’s review of a new biography of Marion Davies, a talented actress who was more than just his grandfather’s mistress.
Pick up a copy of Alta at your local independent bookseller or order one from the Alta Store. Become a member for as little as $3 a month to enjoy all the things we’ve made in (and around) California since 2017. •