Our Paperback L.A. Book 3 contributors hail from many eras of L.A. literary life and write from many different vantage points. They’re all in good company.
ANN ELLIOTT CUTTING is a Los Angeles photographer whose recent exhibitions include “Art of Science” at California Institute of Technology (2017); Green at the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado (2012); Project 5 at the Stephen Cohen Gallery (2010); I Spy Toy Camera Exhibition, Hollywood (2009); and Snap Too at Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena (2009). An associate professor in the photography department at ArtCenter, she also teaches and is an Advisory Board member at Los Angeles Center for Photography.cutting.com.
PATRICIA FREEMAN is a writer/editor who has been based in Los Angeles, New York, andPortland. She has been a senior staff writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, staff writer/editor for People magazine, a contract writer for Sunset Publishing, and a columnist for L.A.Style. She holds a Master of Studies in Law from Yale Law School, where she was a recipient of the Yale Fellowship in Law for Journalists, and has taught journalistic writing at Rochester Institute of Technology and journalistic practice and ethics at Mt. Hood Community College.
RIVER GARZA is a self-taught mixed-media artist from Gardena, California. His work has been influenced by his urban upbringing and connection to his tribal community in L.A., and he cites the influence of his family’s Tongva and Mexican heritage in his work, which has been seen at Self Help Graphics & Art. He is currently pursuing his master’s in sociology at California State University, Northridge. rivergarza.com/work.
JONATHAN GOLD, the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, did just that in 2007 for his “zestful, wide-ranging restaurant reviews, expressing the delight of an erudite eater.” A native Angeleno, he was a proofreader at L.A. Weekly while still a student at UCLA, and within a few years wrote music and restaurant reviews as well. His “Counter Intelligence” column ran from 1986 to 1990, when he moved it to the L.A. Times, where it appeared until 1996. In 1999, he and his wife, editor Laurie Ochoa, moved to Gourmet magazine, then later returned together to L.A. Weekly and revived “Counter Intelligence.” Gold published a collection of his columns in 2000, was profiled in The New Yorker in 2009, was a National Magazine Award finalist for criticism, was the subject of the 2015 film documentary City of Gold, and was a frequent James Beard Award nominee or winner from 1996 until his death in 2018.
ALEXANDRA HEDISON is an L.A.-based photographer committed to visual narratives as metaphors for themes of impermanence and change. She most recently exhibited The In Between at H Gallery in Paris and at Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles. Her work has been shown internationally, including solo shows at Portugal’s Centro Cultural de Cascais, Photo London, and Paris Photo. alexandrahedison.com.
GILBERT HERNANDEZ (left, in photo) was a child when Don Normark (see below) photographed his home neighborhood, and he was one of los desterrados (the uprooted) who kept in touch with one another through the years after its destruction. Normark interviewed him in 1997 for his book Chavez Ravine, 1949: A Los Angeles Story as well as for a subsequent documentary.
WARREN HILL (photo left by Retha Petruzates-Spencer) is a photographer who grew up in Philadelphia, the scene of one of his earliest memories: going to a club with his mother and seeing a woman on top of a bar playing saxophone. Passionate about photography since age eight, he always had his camera on hand, shooting in Philadelphia, where he managed a record store and was road manager fora group called The Futures, and then in L.A., where he became an Emmy Award–winning television cameraman. When a fire wiped out his garage darkroom, he turned away from still photography for years, but he returned after retirement and began capturing performances by artists of the L.A. blues and jazz scene. An exhibit of his work, Power and Persistence: Grassroots Activists and Blues Musicians, was presented at Venice Arts in 2016. warrenhillphoto.com.
KOVI KONOWIECKI was born in Long Beach, California. He holds a BA in Media Communications from Wake Forest University and an MA in Photography from University of the Arts London. After playing professional soccer in Europe, he turned to photography as a way to document the things around him and shed light on different aspects of his identity. He was shortlisted for the 2016 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and has been featured on platforms such as i-D, British Journal of Photography, and The Guardian. kovikonowiecki.com.
LOU MATHEWS (at right, on the set of Lodge 49) is an L.A.-based novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, as well as a former journalist, magazine editor, and mechanic. He was also a restaurant reviewer for seven years and forty-three pounds. Mathews has received Pushcart prizes, a Katherine Anne Porter Prize, and National Endowment for the Arts and California Arts Commission fellowships in fiction. His stories have been published in Black Clock, Tin House, New England Review, forty-plus other literary magazines, ten fiction anthologies, and several textbooks. His first novel, L.A. Breakdown, was an L.A. Times “Best Book.” He has taught in the UCLA Writers’ Program since 1989 and was the recipient of a 2018 UCLA Extension Distinguished Instructor Award. Mathews began writing L.A. Breakdown as an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz. After graduation, he worked as a mechanic until he was nearly forty. The novel was published when he was fifty-three. writers.uclaextension.edu/instructors/lou-mathews/.
CAREY McWILLIAMS wrote many books, including Factories in the Field (1939), Brothers Under the Skin: African-Americans and Other Minorities (1943), Prejudice: Japanese-Americans, Symbol of Racial Intolerance (1944), Southern California: An Island on the Land (1946), and A Mask for Privilege: Anti-Semitism in America (1948). He was also a lawyer and public servant (California Division of Immigration and Housing), chaired the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee in the early 1940s, and was editor of The Nation from 1955 to 1975.
DON NORMARK (2006 photo, left, by Victoria Bernal) was a nineteen-year-old student in 1949 when he was welcomed by the residents of Chavez Ravine to take photographs of their day-to-day activities. Some of the resulting pictures appeared shortly after in a LACMA exhibition called Photography Mid-Century. In 1997, Normark, who had built a career as an editorial photographer, especially for Sunset magazine, learned that members of the families who had been displaced still kept in touch. He arranged to share his photos and interview some of those depicted for his 1999 book, Chavez Ravine, 1949: A Los Angeles Story, and the 2004 documentary of the same title.
LISA SEE is a best-selling author of fiction and nonfiction, including the family history On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family (1995); the historic novels The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls; and the mysteries Dragon Bones, The Interior, and Flower Net. Her books have been published in thirty-nine languages. She wrote the libretto for an opera based on On Gold Mountain, has curated museum exhibitions, and designed a walking tour of L.A.’s Chinatown. She is a member of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Opera. lisasee.com
HARRY SHEARER is the author of the books Man Bites Town, Not Enough Indians, and It’s the Stupidity, Stupid. Now a resident of New Orleans, he was born in L.A. and lived for many years in Santa Monica, where he did a live broadcast from his home studio of “Le Show” on radio station KCRW. “Le Show” continues as a weekly broadcast from public radio station WWNO. Shearer began his career as a child radio actor on The Jack Benny Show and has also worked extensively in TV and film. He is the voice of a number of characters on The Simpsons, was a member of This Is Spinal Tap,and has been a member of The Credibility Gap, The Fernwood 2 Night writing team, and The Saturday Night Live cast. In 2010, he directed, produced, and narrated the documentary filmThe Big Uneasy. harryshearer.com.
R.J. SMITH’S books include American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank (2017), The One: The Life and Music of James Brown (2012), and The Great Black Way: L.A. in the 1940s and the Lost African-American Renaissance (2009). He has been a senior editor at Los Angeles magazine, a columnist for The Village Voice, and a staff writer for Spin.
C.A. STORKE (left, in photo with Mrs. Storke, fromCalifornia Faces: Selections from The Bancroft Library Portrait Collection) was the publisher and editor of the Los Angeles Daily Herald, which he founded in 1873 with the backing of his father-in-law and lost to creditors in 1874. After losing thepaper, he returned to Santa Barbara, became a lawyer, and was elected to the State Legislaturein 1883 and 1887. (His son Thomas More Storke became an owner and publisher of Santa Barbara newspapers, winning the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for Editorial Writing in 1962.)
STUART TIMMONS (photo by ThePrideLA) was a journalist, activist, historian, and film-festival co-founder (OUTfest).He wrote the biography The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Rights Movement, which was published in 1990. He co-authored, with Lillian Faderman, Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians, which was published in 2006and received two Lambda Literary Awards. The first executive director of the ONE NationalGay and Lesbian Archives at USC, he wrote for The Advocate and L.A. Weekly. He created walking tours of LGBTQ historic sites in Silver Lake and DTLA and, with Jason Jenn, created a West Hollywood history tour with on-site performances. whitecraneinstitute.org/books.
ROSANNE WELCH, PHD, is the editor of When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry (2018), the author of Why the Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture (2016), and the co-editor of Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia (2016), among others. She has written for television (Touched by an Angel, Picket Fences) and teaches the History of Screenwriting and One-Hour Drama for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting. Welch serves as Book Reviews editor for the Journal of Screenwriting and is on the Editorial Advisory Board for Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America, West. welchwrite.com/rwelch.
MARITTA WOLFF was a novelist whose career began in 1940, when her class-project novel at the University of Michigan won the school’s Hopwood Prize and was published by Random House, becoming a best-seller when she was twenty-two. The novel, Whistle Stop, went on to become a Hollywood movie, as did her second novel, Night Shift (as The Man I Love). She published four other novels between 1943 and 1962. She completed her last one, Sudden Rain, in 1972 but kept it tucked away in her refrigerator following a disagreement with a publisher. It was published by Scribner’s after her death in 2002.
KAREN TEI YAMASHITA is the author of Through the Arc of the Rain Forest, Brazil-Maru, Tropic ofOrange, Circle K Cycles, and I Hotel. The last was a finalist for the National Book Award and received the California Book Award, the American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award, and the Association for Asian American Studies Book Award. She is Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has been a US Artists Ford Foundation Fellow and co-holder, with Bettina Aptheker, of the UC Presidential Chair for Feminist Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.