California news, stories & travel reviews

The art of GMONIK

San Diego painter spent time traveling the world, now he's committed to decades in front of a canvas.

“I incorporate a lot of garbage and trash imagery because that’s the byproduct of our culture. When we all die, we’re leaving our garbage behind. It’s like when we find old pottery, or whatever, from ...

Afton Canyon: Grand Canyon of the Mojave

Check out this desert highlight on the way to Vegas.

Often called the Grand Canyon of The Mojave, Afton Canyon is a little-known gem along the road to Vegas, excellent for a pit stop or a quiet camping trip (never mind the trains; they're part ...

In a dark room

The photography of Abelardo Morell

Abelardo Morell has used his house as his camera.

Coachella Valley by jeep

A new way to see the desert beauty of the Palm Springs area.

Who would think that parts of the desert are full of water? Especially since the Coachella Valley gets only six to eight inches of rain every year. But when I took the Desert Adventures Red ...

Bake like Jehu

Former Drive Like Jehu drummer Mark Trombino opens a donut shop in downtown L.A. Donut Friend is the name, add-ins on demand is the gimmick.

In from the cold

Diebenkorn wasn’t interested in psychological-erotic dynamics.

Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years 1953–1956, on view at the de Young Museum until September 29, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco. 415-750-3600; deyoung.famsf.org Beyond Belief: 100 years of the Spiritual in Modern Art, ...

Dharma Travel: California seeking

Third in a spiritual tourism series.

It doesn't take traveling to remote or exotic places to escape the distractions of the outside world, I've found. In California, regardless of denomination, dharma travel is big business. Whether 50-room or single-room hermitages, expansive ...

East County trekking (and sliding)

Hike to Devil's Punch Bowl and Three Sisters Falls, both near Julian.

I love hiking, but I forget to do it again for months at a time. It usually plays out like this: 1) I trek along a path (or non-path) getting lost in the moment… sometimes ...

Cheap art in L.A.

Museum tour via Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.

An old friend and his fiancee were flying into Los Angeles from Texas in July, on their way up to Santa Barbara. They were staying one night in L.A., and asked me to join them ...

Locke – CA's last Chinese town

This Central Valley community recalls the days of Steinbeck.

The houses slant sideways and the opium dens are gone, but Locke, California, takes visitors back more than 90 years to a unique Chinese farming community. Thanks to the work of a few locals with ...

Why Big Bear?

What to do in this four-seasons getaway, a 2.5-hour drive north.

I've got a few days off and not a lot of cash... what can I do? I know – I'll go to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains. I've taken my family there ...

Manzanar National Historic Site, CA

Thousands of Japanese-Americans were interned here during World War II.

When I arrived in Lone Pine, that sweet little town at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas, I planned to make a documentary about mountain climbing. I would try to climb Mt. Whitney, and I ...

How to survive Yosemite in July

Get off the tourist track and head for the High Country.

With limited free time and a bucket list growing by the day, a return trip to Yosemite National Park had been on the cards for a while, but sadly the only weekend we could spare ...

Behind the redwood curtain: Humboldt County

A world – and 10-12 hours – away from SoCal freeways.

Northern California doesn't begin with San Francisco, at least not to Humboldt County residents. It's not really a particular city that marks the split between north and south, but a vast stretch of forest – ...

The Mad Greek

Fear and gyros: illusory roadside attraction in the Mojave.

What am I doing out here in the middle of the desert? The lights of Las Vegas are a distant memory, faded away into the early morning, and now about a hundred miles into the ...