Search Results for: Los Angeles Magazine

Dear New Owners: City Magazines Were Already Great

As the president sucks up the oxygen from the media atmosphere, it’s easy to forget how important local journalism is right now. The regional press—the holy trinity of newspapers, alt-weeklies, and city magazines—is where we can find true stories of friends and neighbors impacted by immigration raids, fights over funding public education, and the frontline of relaxed environmental standards that will impact the water we drink and the air we breathe. We need to support their work. Read more…

The Teachings of Don Carlos

Illustration by Kjell Reigstad

Mike Sager Scary Monsters and Super Freaks | Thunder’s Mouth Press | December, 2003 | 85 minutes (21,125 words)

 

Journalist Mike Sager originally wrote this article in 1999 as a long project for Rolling Stone. When the magazine killed the story for lack of page space ─ not an uncommon practice in magazine publishing ─ Sager published it in his first collection Scary Monsters and Super Freaks. “In a world of subjective editors,” Sager wrote via email, “it’s a good lesson for all freelance writers, one that continues to give me strength as I enter the 40th year of my journey along this beloved but difficult career path.” Our thanks to Mike Sager and Thunder’s Mouth Press for allowing us to reprint the story here, which comes recommended by Longreads contributor Aaron Gilbreath.

* * * Read more…

Garlic, Grilled Chicken and Murder in Los Angeles

In the April 2008 issue of Los Angeles magazine reporter Mark Arax wrote about Los Angeles’ beloved Zankou Chicken chain, and how one owner tore the founding family apart by murdering two of its members and killing himself. The story is a compelling mix of family dynamics, fast food and the complex American dream. It was republished in Arax’s book West of the West, and in The Best American Crime Reporting 2009. Here’s an excerpt:

This wasn’t Beirut. Mardiros put in long hours. He tweaked the menu; his mother tinkered with the spices. It took a full year to find a groove. The first crowd of regulars brought in a second crowd, and a buzz began to grow among the network of foodies. How did they make the chicken so tender and juicy? The answer was a simple rub of salt and not trusting the rotisserie to do all the work but raising and lowering the heat and shifting each bird as it cooked. What made the garlic paste so fluffy and white and piercing? This was a secret the family intended to keep. Some customers swore it was potatoes, others mayonnaise. At least one fanatic stuck his container in the freezer and examined each part as it congealed. He pronounced the secret ingredient a special kind of olive oil. None guessed right. The ingredients were simple and fresh, Mardiros pledged, no shortcuts. The magic was in his mother’s right hand.

Read the story

5280 Magazine's Geoff Van Dyke: My Top 5 Longreads of 2011

Geoff Van Dyke is deputy editor of 5280 Magazine in Denver. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Outside, and Men’s Journal.

***

• “The Food at our Feet,” by Jane Kramer, The New Yorker

Kramer can almost make you smell and taste the stuff she’s picking: mint, asparagus, fennel, mushrooms. Plus, maybe my favorite lead sentence of the year: “I spent the summer foraging, like an early hominid with clothes.”

• “The Kill Team,” by Mark Boal, Rolling Stone

The disturbing investigation into an Army unit in Afghanistan that was killing civilians for sport.

• “Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts,” by Jonathan Franzen, New York Times

I kind of didn’t want to like this piece, but Franzen’s assessment of “consumer technology products,” and our fraught relationships with them, feels right on.

• “The Day that Damned the Dodgers,” by Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated

As a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, it was heartbreaking to read this chronicle of how the Giants’ greatest rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, have gone from one of the most respected organizations in sports to one of the most dysfunctional.

“What Really Happened to Strauss-Kahn?” by Edward Jay Epstein, The New York Review of Books

A fascinating investigation that suggests Dominique Strauss-Kahn was set up, perhaps even by people associated with French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

BONUS

Pretty much anything by Charles P. Pierce at Grantland, but especially his piece on the beginning of the end of NCAA sports and his unflinching essay on Jerry Sandusky and Penn State.

***

See more lists from our Top 5 Longreads of 2011 >

Share your own Top 5 Longreads of 2011, all through December. Just tag it #longreads on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. 

Writer Maria Bustillos: My Top Longreads of 2011

Maria Bustillos is a journalist who writes frequently for The Awl.

***

The power of Allison Benedikt’s “Life After Zionist Summer Camp” (The Awl) derives from the purity of its point of view, which is that of one person’s lived experience, minutely and honestly detailed. Benedikt swings gracefully between humor and searing candor in this account of her growing ambivalence toward the religious, political and cultural institutions she’d grown up taking for granted. It’s a high-wire act of great elegance and sensitivity that will stay with me for a long time to come.

In “The Fire This Time” (Los Angeles Review of Books) Reza Aslan likewise makes a compelling case in opposition to conventional wisdom. I thought it by far the best of the 9/11 pieces that came out on the 10th anniversary of the catastrophe.

“American Marvel” (GQ), Edith Zimmerman’s profile of Chris Evans, the star of Captain America, upends everything one is accustomed to think about “movie stars” and celebrity, plus she blasts many assumptions about popular writing—and about reporters describing the world we inhabit—to absolute smithereens. Flesh-and-blood people suddenly appear on the screen where one had been expecting a cartoon. Steven Mikulan’s “Dr. Drew Feels Your Pain” (Los Angeles Magazine), by contrast, conjures a nuanced portrait out of the media fun-house mirror the old-fashioned way, via the painstaking layering up of detail through long and patient, keen observation. It has a similar payoff to the Zimmerman piece, in that you’re seeing a real world spring by magic out of the Potemkin one.

Spencer Soper’s Morning Call exposé of the sweatshop conditions at Amazon’s Allentown, Pa., warehouse came just as the Occupy movement was beginning to take hold. The disparity between the friendly face that Amazon crafts for public view and the abject brutality with which they treated their employees in Allentown demonstrated perfectly and at just the right time the terrible cost of profit-obsessed corporatism (and bargain-obsessed consumerism).

At Inside Higher Education, Steve Kolowich interviews Kathleen Fitzpatrick, a professor of media studies at Pomona College, regarding the coming digital revolution in academic research and publishing. Sounds a little dry, maybe, but check it out. Fitzpatrick and her forward-thinking colleagues have identified, and are carefully nurturing, the phoenix egg from which a new and improved academy is already beginning to hatch.

Bonus:

Fiction: George Saunders, Tenth of December (The New Yorker): best fiction of any length I read all year.

Humor: David Roth, Brief Interviews with Hideous Football Players (The Awl), a comic tour de force that fans of David Foster Wallace will particularly enjoy.

***

See more lists from our Top 5 Longreads of 2011 >

Share your own Top 5 Longreads of 2011, all through December. Just tag it #longreads on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. 

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

* * *

Read more…

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

* * *

Read more…

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Photo: U.S. Army

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

* * *

Read more…

Longreads Best of 2017: Crime Reporting

We asked writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in various categories. Here is the best in crime reporting.

Jeff Maysh
Contributor to The Atlantic, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Daily Beast. Author of The Spy with No Name.

Dirty John (Christopher Goffard, The Los Angeles Times)

I love a good villain, and my baddie of the year was John Meehan, a hazel-eyed Casanova who hid his murky past behind fake surgeon’s scrubs and a kaleidoscope of lies. This wannabe mobster lured a moneyed Orange County divorcée into a toxic relationship, creating an elevated psychodrama that recalled Gone Girl. Delivered as a six-part narrative on the web, Dirty John was also accompanied by a six-part podcast. Both were irresistible. Goddard’s spare prose kept this thriller racing towards its bloody end — the kind of murderous climax we were promised at the start of S-Town but never received — one that made an unlikely hero of a seemingly meek fan of The Walking Dead. Bravo to Goddard for divining this epic yarn from local news to national attention, and for his terrifying portrait of Meehan told through the eyes of his victims. This is the genius of the domestic horror genre: The monster is no longer under the bed but between the sheets.


Rachel Monroe
Contributor to The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and The New Republic. Author a book on women, crime, and obsession will be published by Scribner in 2019.

The Tragic Story of a Texas Teen and the Marines Who Killed Him for No Reason (Sasha von Oldershausen, Splinter)

 This May marked 20 years since a Marine sniper shot and killed Esequiel Hernandez, Jr., a soft-spoken teenager who was tending his goats in the rural border outpost of Redford, Texas. Von Oldershausen not only does an admirable job of attempting to reconstruct what happened that day in 1997, she also explores the ramifications of the fatal shooting on the community and uses it as a springboard to discuss how militarization inflects daily life along the border. “The moment you employ the rhetoric of war, it becomes a battle zone,” one of von Oldershausen’s sources tells her. “And this is what they did in Redford. They made war on the United States by killing Esequiel.”

Sarah Marshall
Contributor to Buzzfeed, The New Republic, and the Life of the Law podcast.

‘I Am a Girl Now,’ Sage Smith Wrote. Then She Went Missing (Emma Eisenberg, Splinter)

Eisenberg describes in heartbreaking detail how both the police department and the broader community of Charlottesville failed to adequately investigate the disappearance of a trans girl of color. Her reporting illuminates systemic injustice by taking the reader into the hearts and minds of the family and friends Sage Smith left behind. The article is both deeply reported and deeply felt and gives the reader the space to reckon with the questions they cannot answer. Yet perhaps the most remarkable thing about Eisenberg’s work here is her ability to show Sage Smith to the reader not as a victim, but as a person. “Every clubgoer leaned closer when Sage spoke,” Eisenberg writes, “as if they were campers pulled to a fire.”

Reyhan Harmanci
Editor, Topic

Carl Ichan’s Failed Raid on Washington (Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker)

While it may not have been the juiciest crime story this year, Patrick Radden Keefe’s precise and damning piece on Carl Icahn’s stint in the Trump Administration chilled me more than I could have imagined. This is how the world works: We’re being taken for fools while the Masters of the Universe move from private to public positions. I can only hope to read about more financial crimes in 2018 that get appropriately punished.


Read more…