Native Intelligence contributor Deanne Stillman has the cover of the new Los Angeles CityBeat with a nice piece on the Mojave Desert portion of L.A. County. Photos by Mark LaMonica accompany the story. They have a new book on the subject coming from Angel City Press, publisher of two books by me.
North of Los Angeles – the studios, the beaches, Rodeo Drive – lies a sparsely populated, 2,200-square-mile region that comprises one-half of Los Angeles County. It’s called the Antelope Valley, and it’s in the high Mojave Desert and it happens to be our last frontier. Except for Highway 14, which cuts right through as it connects the 5 in Santa Clarita to the 395 in Kern County, or the asphalt snake called the Angeles Crest Highway that winds through the San Gabriel Mountains from Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada Flintridge to Palmdale (on the other side), it’s literally walled off from the adobe jungle. So too is it separated from the rest of the world by the Tehachapis to the north and west and a series of fabulous buttes along its eastern flank.
Like all deserts, the Antelope Valley is filled with glitter and charms, and can bring you to your knees in shock and awe, an enclave of freakshow plants and bird symphonies and miraculous outbursts of rock, endless bajadas leading everywhere and nowhere, empty wastes that lock on to your nerve endings and jack or calm your fears, now-you-see-’em-now-you-don’t creeks with Wild West names – the Amargosa, the Little Rock, Big Rock, Bob’s Gap, Deadman, Boulder, La Montaine, and Bone Yard, and of course – splendid! there are washes – those alluring pathways that take us right into the crust of the earth, the Miocene Pliocene Holocene roads that animals have been traveling for eons, past the bones of their ancestors to and fro, to and fro, and into the 21st Century, where even as the megalopolis approaches, they range the sands.
LA Observed on radio: Native Intelligence contributor Judy Graeme is on KPCC's "Off-Ramp" tomorrow in a Kitty Felde piece about fans of Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy, pegged to PBS' re-airing of "Pride and Prejudice." And my KCRW commentary today at 4:44 pm views the election through my daughter's excitement as a first-time voter.