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Alex Israel: Must Have

California Crazy

By Jim Heimann

California Crazy by Jim Heimann chronicles the history of roadside attraction architecture in my beloved home state. It reminded me—as someone who spends a lot of time listening to pop radio in my Prius—to take pride in car culture's importance to our region. Driving is not just an everyday necessity, but also a catalyst for creativity across so many forms.

I grew up going to Randy’s Donuts (the shop replete with a giant Donut—remember Ironman 2?) and the hot-dog-stand-in-the-shape-of-a-hot-dog: Tail of the Pup (no longer with us). I recently discovered The Idle Hour, the bar-in-the-shape-of-a-beer-barrel, and was inspired by Heimann’s book to imagine a recent Rimowa pop-up shop for West Hollywood as a giant Rimowa suitcase.

While most of these Venturi-dubbed “Ducks” have been destroyed to make way for strip malls and the like, the generously illustrated "California Crazy” really makes you imagine just how surreal a drive across town might have been back in the day.

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Alex Israel is a multimedia artist, writer, filmmaker and eyewear designer born and based in Los Angeles, California. Israel recently released a pair of sunrise/sunset-inspired suitcases with Europe's leading luggage manufacturer, RIMOWA.

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