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Tales from The Strip: A Century in the Fast Lane
by Van Gordon Sauter, Robert Landau, and Frans Evenhuis

An unruly, two-mile stretch of road is both mythologized and eulogized in this collaboration among writer Sauter, photographer Landau, and graphic artist Evenhuis. Starting from its beginning as a cow path in 1888, through the Hollywood heyday, and now in its “new era” as the site of mixed-use mega-structures, the Sunset Strip is illustrated in this new book with lively tales, archival photos and documents, and contemporary night-time snapshots. Comparing whatisto whatwasis a perennial Los Angeles pastime, andTalesdoes it through brief chapters on both people and places, including Hollywood starlets and fame-seeking gangsters, along with chic hotels and hot restaurants. Glamor and grime co-exist in these pages, which impart a haze of depravity and doom familiar in the works of Kenneth Anger (Hollywood Babylon) and Nathanael West (The Day of the Locust). The noir elements of the ’40s and ’50s overtake the rock-and-roll flower-power of the ’60s and ’70s. Today’s “Big buildings. Big design. Big crowds.” do make Saunter hopeful for a future that doesn’t belie the past: “All the ‘big’ is riding on a core belief in a sumptuous tomorrow, of deep pockets and mercantile dreams realized—the same dreams that brought forth the Strip in the first place.” Indeed.

Angel City Press; 2018; 176 pages; hardcover; $45.

 

 

 

 
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