LA Bizarro returns, revived
Twelve years ago St. Martin’s Press released a green-and-purple book with the intriguing title "L.A. Bizarro: The Insider’s Guide to the Obscure, the Absurd and the Perverse in Los Angeles." Written by arbiters of arcana, Anthony Lovett and Matt Maranian, the book quickly gained footing in the city it celebrated, spending 21 weeks on the L.A. Times bestseller list, including a stint in the No. 1 spot.
Last month the first update of the book (the "All-New Insider’s Guide") was released by Chronicle Books. The new edition contains 80% new material, and at 368 pages and nearly as many entries, is almost twice as long as the original. Even the entries that survived the cut were rewritten by the authors, who have clearly honed their irreverent, scathingly witty writing style.
New entries include items as wildly varied as the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (“Americans expect spectacle from Los Angeles, and we deliver it, usually with nauseating results.”), Studs Theater (“It’s the Grauman’s Chinese of skin flicks, a Pussycat-era Holdover that is easily missed unless you’re on foot.”, and Salvation Mountain in Niland (“Deemed folk art by many and a toxic hazard by some, one of the more awe-inspiring examples of faith-based outsider art lies on the edge of Highway 111 in arid Niland, a scant five miles east of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea Wildlife Refuge [we couldn’t make this up].”)
The new edition gets the full treatment in today's Calendar section."The quintessential 'Bizarro' place, Maranian says, "is really hard to get to, slightly disappointing upon arrival and pretty much unlike anything you're likely to stumble upon anywhere else," adding, "I use the word 'disappointing' fondly."
-- Jessica Gelt
Photo: Maranian, left, and Lovett at Clifton's Cafeteria in 2007. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times