We’ve moved! All correspondence and payments should now be sent to 1480 North Mentor Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91104. We’re excited to work in such a beautiful and historic city…we love it here.
EyeMuse Books is a publisher dedicated to high-quality, visually focused books. Since 2008, we've made it our business to document and share the local traditions of the world.
- Exploring the Ethnosphere, One destination at a Time
Somewhat accidentally, photographer Camilo José Vergara documented a South LA building over a 30 year period. He says, “In 1980 I photographed the Greater Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church at 10828 S. Avalon Blvd. in South L.A. It was hard to tell it was a church. The sign above the door was faint, spidery, hand-painted; the windows mere slits, as if to deter robbers; the aquamarine trim its only bit of decoration. The modest building that housed Greater Mt. Calvary was built in 1925, in a section of Los Angeles then called Green Meadows.”
In my 5 years in LA, I feel like I’ve experienced this even in my own neighborhood–the city’s history may be short but it sure is rich!
The whole LA Times Photo Essay piece can be read here.
While in Albuquerque last week I couldn’t wait to have breakfast at the Frontier Room. I stayed just down the road and walked there bright and early to have my fix of perfect Huevos Rancheros. I used to come here during high school after track meets and at nights where there wasn’t much else to do except go to the dollar movies. Friends and I would pretty much always get the giant cinnamon bun, slathered with some buttery sugar coating that couldn’t possibly be good for you.
This is your classic greasy spoon in the Nob Hill neighborhood next to the University of New Mexico. But it’s not just students that go here–just about anyone in the city who knows good down home New Mexican food has had their share of The Frontier’s good eats. Except for the cinnamon buns, pretty much everything is slathered in green chile here–diced or stewed style, your choice.
In fact, these black vats above are filled with green chile stew, in case you need to further drown your food in it, and lots of people do. For all the years I’ve come here, I’ve never noticed these vats of heaven. How? I have no idea.
The decor might just be as classic New Mexican as the food. A mad mix of black velvet paintings, guns, longhorns, depictions of cowboys on the loose, oodles of hung Navajo rugs, and house plants that are likely hiding holes in the walls. I personally like to sit in the main room, away from all the interior dressing simply because I love the natural light, big window booths, and watching the line, the way people get so happy after they hit the green chile vat, the tortilla machine, and orange juicer. Breakfast doesn’t get much better than this.
It’s hard to believe, but last December (I know, I’m a little late reporting this) I sent off my very last box of New Mexico: A Guide for the Eyes. I started with 4,032 books in August 2009, and now I have none. I had an unexpected large order last Fall, which had me scrambling to get a second edition printed, given that at Christmas time, the busiest selling season, I was about to be bookless. The whole printing process, from digital upload to proofing to printing and binding to shipping, takes about 3 months to be completed. My own preparations, which involved two new write ups, two new photos, fixing grammatical errors, and photo corrections, took much more effort and time than I’d thought. However, I sent off the new files at the end of November and am now sitting on another 4,032 books, which arrived this past February. Let’s hope they go as fast as the first batch! I head to New Mexico tomorrow to promote the title, meet with tourism officials, and discover new retail venues for the book. Can’t wait to see that New Mexico light, taste those delicious chiles, and enjoy mesas fading off into the distance…
I know I’ve been gone a long time, but I have a good excuse, which will be a blog posting very soon. But today I thought I’d let you all know how strange it is at times to have your own company in a business that is in a major transition. I have signed up for a Google Alert on “EyeMuse Books,” which lets me know, from time to time, what is being written about the company or any books we’ve published. Today, I was alerted about a posting in a Czech blog of the New Mexico book, of which I can’t decipher. Is the book for sale on the site as an e-book? Is the post an informational piece about yet another travel guide in a sea of travel guides? Hmmmm. There is a button to press to “download” the book, but I’ve never released it in an e-book form. This is just like finding my book on a site in India BEFORE I had even gotten it back from the printer and on sale for $34, not quite twice the retail value. Can’t wait to see where it will show up next in Internet-land.
I stumbled onto this “Day in California” video via the great design-inspired travel blog, Prêt à Voyager. The video is made up of 10,000 images taken over a year and a half by Ryan Killackey and his wife, who have made great use of a slide-tilt effect using Adobe’s After-Effects. This is for all of you who are inspired by the beauty that is California.
I have no definite plans yet, but I hope to pull together my own quick video ode to SoCal for the release of the book on the area. Until then, enjoy!
The New Mexico Tourism Department has begun a fun and interactive campaign called “Catch the Kid.” The whole point? Locate New Mexico’s most famous outlaw–Billy the Kid. Using your Smartphone or camera, you can use the Catch the Kid app or take a picture of yourself in front of one of the many wanted posters located around the state and get a clue in return. The prize? $10,000 and lots and lots of deals to be had across the state to boot! With each clue you get, you get coins that can be used for experiences such as the Santa Fe Opera and nights at some great inns, bed and breakfasts, and hotels. Even if you aren’t in the state, it’s a fun site to check out, especially for the silly quotes you get from the sheriff when you are too slow to click on something.
I’m a big fan of Sunset magazine, but when I got the most recent issue, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. Truthfully, it’s just about two little things about which I know a lot about. Date shakes and burgers. I love them both. Profusely. So, I have to disagree with the editor’s top pick’s in the July 2011 Sunset issue’s piece, “The West’s Best Road Food.” Are the best shakes really at Shield’s Date Garden in Indio? Delicious? Yes. Creamy? Check. Can be paired with a free screening of The Romance and Sex Life of the Date? Absolutely. But they are NOT the best in the desert. That accolade goes to the Windmill Market & Produce in Desert Hot Springs/North Palm Springs on a deserted, almost dirt road, with a sign that reads, “Best Shakes in the Desert” or something like that. It’s true too. I’d drive far, far out of my way to get their date shake, made with REAL dates, I might add, not just date crystals.
Secondly, Manny’s Buckhorn Tavern is listed over Owl Cafe for best burger of the West (ironically these two restaurants make the two best burgers I’ve ever had in my life and they are across the street from each other in San Antonio, NM, which has just that–one street.) OK, it’s not as bad as the date shake mistake, in which Windmill didn’t even get listed, but I’m a little miffed. No burger I’ve ever tasted in my 30 something years of existence has matched the burger perfection that is an Owl Cafe burger. Manny’s is pretty good but…I’m clearly partial to the Owl. Been going since I was about 12 years old after swim meets in Socorro. Damn! I miss that place.
When my father told our family we’d be moving to New Mexico in 1986 the only thing I knew about the city was the Santa Fe railroad. I imaged a dusty old mining town in the middle of a deserted and lonely wasteland with a few snakes and a fast train that sped by the poor people who happened to live there. I was devastated to have to leave my home in Seattle. And, of course, now I just miss it when I think about all the special things there that just can’t be found anywhere else…
This video, put out by the people at Albuquerque’s very own Hollywood East (the Sony Imageworks studio), documents these same sentiments by the first 40 employees that picked up and moved to Albuquerque from Los Angeles and the rest of the world. It’s kind of funny to hear all the first impressions of this place I newly called home some 25 years ago. Boy, all these people really need to get their hands on New Mexico: A Guide for the Eyes!
One of my favorite (and most bizarre) places in Southern California to shoot has been the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. Yes, this is the “Hour of Power Television Church”–don’t lie, we’ve all seen it. One of SoCal’s 200 “mega-churches,” or a church with at least 2,000 congregants, the Crystal Cathedral is a strange cross between a university campus and corporate headquarters. You can read more about this mashup of building types here. Frankly, I’d have had no idea I was on holy ground at Crystal Cathedral except for statuaries of Jesus, Mary, and a disciple or two–oh and a cross or two.
After aimlessly trolling around, and gawking at the enormous reflective surface surrounding me, I saw people heading into the cathedral where the service was starting, so Marsais and I popped in to catch a peek (and a picture or two). There wasn’t too much different from any other church service, except that a TV film crew was filming it, a jumbotron announced upcoming events, and the space…it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Reverend Schuller spoke (who has been preaching there since the days he headed the first drive-in church out of a Neutra building, which now sits like a forgotten toy behind the towering glass cathedral) and pulled an amazing stunt when giant sized doors opened up behind him and a burst of water exploded for all in the pews to see. Wow, I was overtaken by a spirit of disbelief.
The Philip Johnson designed cathedral is built on a steel frame with 10,000 mirrored windows (one for every congregant!), for those of you wondering. Beautiful, odd, mesmerizing, and so SoCal…I suggest you go see it for yourself.