We’re fortunate to work with many of the best writers, photographers, and illustrators the West has to offer, and we know how much you appreciate their talents. But there’s a lot more to these savvy creatives than their bylines or their art and photo credits. From performing stand-up to leading international scientific expeditions, here are the not-so-secret passion projects of five Alta Journal contributors.
This article appears in the Spring 2022 issue of Alta Journal. SUBSCRIBE
George Chen’s newsletters for Alta may be humorous, but his work as a stand-up comedian brings real-time laughs. Whether he’s performing on his digital variety show, Talkies, or in Los Angeles clubs, Chen’s observations about Oakland hippies and the catering business keep us in stitches. Check out his EP, Word Origami, on Bandcamp.
Grab a cocktail, pull up a chair, and prepare to hear, well, just about anything at Writers with Drinks, a lively variety show fundraiser held monthly at the Make Out Room in San Francisco. Alta contributor Charlie Jane Anders MCs this bold and magical night—now entering its 21st year—where political commentary and science fiction might be followed by erotica and poetry.
In true Golden State style, Gustavo Arellano has the Midas touch—even on Instagram. The Alta contributing editor hosts the livestream AMA (ask me anything) you never knew you needed: Grítale a Guti. Every Tuesday evening at 9:45 p.m. Pacific time, the “Guti Gang” begins firing off questions on topics ranging from state politics to tortillas, and Arellano’s razor-sharp wit has us hooked.
With details like checkerboard floors, decorated door frames, and sun-soaked staircases, journalist Laura Fraser’s rental homes in San Miguel de Allende couldn’t be more picturesque, and one to two times per year, COVID notwithstanding, she opens her Casas Artísticas to weeklong writing workshops. Mornings begin with a composition session, and for the afternoons, Fraser organizes trips to hot springs, salsa classes, and more.
Reimagine your next vacation with SciFari Expeditions, a travel organization cofounded by science journalist Jason G. Goldman. Prioritizing sustainable travel and respect for Indigenous peoples, scientists and science storytellers lead trips that bring adventurers up close with wildlife and wildlands in destinations like Peru, mainland Ecuador, and the Galápagos Islands. SciFari has three trips upcoming in 2022.