Chevalier Zoom 6:00 PM, 9/17

Posted by peterlunenfeld on September 14th, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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Founded 1940

I’ll be talking with the inestimable Lawrence Weschler about City at the Edge of Forever via Zoom sponsored by the Larchmont Village-based Chevalier’s Books, LA’s oldest independent bookstore. It’s 6:00 PM PST / 9:00 PM EST on Thursday, September 17. Click here for the Zoom link


Drive-In at the Edge of Forever

Posted by peterlunenfeld on September 10th, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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I can now truthfully say that I’ve played the Strip

On August 22nd, I did a socially-distanced, drive-in reading on Sunset Strip over pirate radio. Taking place in the parking lot of the former Tower Records, just across the street from Book Soup, it was the first of its kind in Southern California. We sold out, people loved the deli-inspired onigiri rice treats from Jeff’s Table, everybody got a copy of the book, and overall, it came close to being a night out in the big city in the Before Times. KCBS news did a great report on it.


Interview on KCRW’s Press Play

Posted by peterlunenfeld on September 9th, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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Great to be interviewed by Madeleine Brand on Press Play. Here’s her into: “Many writers have taken a stab at describing the essence of Los Angeles. Dorothy Parker: “72 suburbs in search of a city.” Truman Capote: “It is redundant to die in Los Angeles.” Now add to the canon a book called “City at the Edge of Forever: Los Angeles Reimagined.” In it, Peter Lunenfeld attempts to break down the essence of this place to the elements — like an alchemist might.”


LitHub Excerpt

Posted by peterlunenfeld on September 9th, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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LitHub has done a great job excerpting Chapter 8 as “How the Corvette Helped Create Southern California Cool: Peter Lunenfeld on Joan Didion and Angelyne”


LA Times Review

Posted by peterlunenfeld on September 9th, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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The LAT writes “Lunenfeld’s on fire when he speculates on the consequences of Southern California’s many secret aviation projects, concluding that “homes, communities, and whole regions that require secrecy simultaneously demand hypocrisy.” You can feel the author lighting up in these moments, delighting us and himself. Chapters that sing include micro-histories (of Bruce Lee or Ray and Charles Eames or the Sunset Strip riots) are so richly textured and engaging that they almost feel like comic books, or an episode of the ‘X-Files.’”


LARB publishes excerpt

Posted by peterlunenfeld on August 10th, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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To mark the August 11th publication of City at the Edge of Forever, the LA Review of Books is publishing an excerpt of Chapter 11, “Days of the Dead: Frozen Bodies, Real Martyrs, and the Quest for Immortality in the City of Angels


Publishers Weekly Review

Posted by peterlunenfeld on June 22nd, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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Publisher Weekly offered up a starred review!

UCLA digital media scholar Lunenfeld (coauthor, Digital_Humanities) draws surprising links between the artistic, economic, and political milieus of Los Angeles in this immersive cultural history. Casting his adopted hometown as an “alchemical city,” Lunenfeld explores how L.A.’s identity has been shaped by its embodiment of the five classical elements: available land (earth) was gobbled up by Yankee settlers and real estate speculators in the 19th century; nearby oil fields (fire) fueled the cars that made suburban development possible in the early 20th century; the aerospace industry (air) took off from WWII through the 1980s; the city’s ports (water) have been a key driver of globalization since the 1990s; and the allure of Hollywood (aether) has captured the world’s imagination for more than a century. Highlighting L.A.’s melting pot nature, Lunenfeld writes that southern California’s surfing craze and its modernist architecture both owe their existence to émigrés from the Austro-Hungarian empire, connects the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to sci-fi fandom and cosplay, and traces the roots of the city’s “resolutely contemporary” Asian food scene to 1950s and ’60s tiki bars. Richly detailed and evocatively written, this highly original account unearths L.A. stories “more complex [and] contradictory… than anything that ever made it to the screen.” Readers will be spellbound.


In Support of Black Lives

Posted by peterlunenfeld on June 22nd, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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My department at UCLA drafted a document in support of Black Lives. It opens: “In this moment, we want to state clearly that the Department of Design Media Arts stands against the continued acts of police brutality in Los Angeles and across the nation. We are sickened by the ongoing injustice against Black people, and acknowledge our own complicity in systemic racism. We have quietly ignored it for too long. Going forward, we commit to the anti-racist work needed to dismantle these systems, and commit to the ongoing learning and practice this work requires.” Continue reading.


2020 DMA Grad Show

Posted by Peter Lunenfeld on June 22nd, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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The 2020 Design Media Arts Grad Show is on-line. “NEARREST NEIGHBOR reflects and enacts a navigation of proximity, with the title referring at once to permutations of closeness, as well as its various applications as an algorithm (the nearest neighbor search).”


California Design Dominion in LARBQ

Posted by Peter Lunenfeld on December 30th, 2019 filed in Uncategorized
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The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly (#24) has my new essay “The California Design Dominion: Thirteen Propositions.” It’s also available on-line.
LARBQ Cover