Santa Monica Pier: A Century on the Last of the Pleasure Piers by James Harris; foreword by Robert Redford
book design by Amy Inouye
If you're a real native Angeleno, you'll remember actually smelling and almost tasting the salt air blocks and blocks before reaching Santa Monica Pier. Although those days are gone, this lively book brings them back in full force through 100 years of images and anecdotes. The very personal foreword by Santa Monica native Redford reveals the convergence of artistry and history, as the use of the Pier as a set for "The Sting" helped save it from the demolition. Pier historian Harris gathers an incredible amount of visual ephemeraboth vintage and retrothat designer Inouye conveys in a humorous, yet historical way. (Inouye, by the way, is the guardian of legendary LA icon Chicken Boy, so no speck of kitsch gets by her!) Especially delightful are the spreads titled "A Century of", focusing on histories of lifeguards, Popeye (modeled after a local fisherman), illicit gambling, "Good Neighbors" (including Cirque du Soleil, Muscle Beach, and Arlington West), and movie and TV shoots. Created with the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation, this book succeeds as both a nostalgic romp and an impetus to visit the Pier today.