YEAR IN REVIEW

Best of Alta 2018

These six articles, two podcasts, cartoon and poem were among our most read, shared and commented on in 2018

From an investigative report on the devastating Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County to the Los Angeles vs. San Francisco food rivalry, from Jack Kerouac’s lost letter to a poignant interview with California’s First Lady Anne Gust Brown and even a review of In-N-Out, these were our top stories of 2018. They include six articles, two podcast episodes, a cartoon and a delightful poem. Enjoy!

Selena Rivera, held by mom Bertha, looks out the window before Bertha and husband Manuel cover it with the blanket above to spend the night here. Manual has to work in the morning at his security guard job, and the family sleeps in their car in the parking lot of Jewish Family Service of San Diego.CHARLIE NEUMAN
Toddler Selena Rivera, held by her mother, Bertha, looks out the car window before her father, Manual, covers it with a blanket for the night. The Rivera family lives in their car and parks it overnight at the Jewish Family Service of San Diego. Manual Rivera works as a security guard in the daytime.
1. SHE SLEEPS IN THE FRONT SEAT, HER SON TAKES THE BACK

More than 1,100 people living in their cars in San Diego lack a safe place to park for the night. About 150 others find overnight spots in designated lots offering some access to water, microwaves, showers and port-a-potties. By Katya Cengel

 

fast food restaurant In-N-Out Burger is located in five states.JAMES LEYNSE/GETTY IMAGES
The iconic In-N-Out Burger chain has restaurants in five states.
2. IN-N-OUT IS SO SO-SO

Admit it. The beef is unremarkable, the buns are wan, and the tomatoes don’t taste like tomatoes. Lettuce is the only good part of these burgers. By Gustavo Arellano

 

“Dominic,” a member of the Bay Area antifa, says he’s been “fighting Nazis” for 20 years.PAUL KURODA
“Dominic,” a member of the Bay Area antifa, says he’s been “fighting Nazis” for 20 years.
3. ANTIFA RISING

Berkeley, the legendary epicenter of political activism, finds itself the birthplace of another movement: the black-clad protesters known as the “antifa,” scourge of right-wing commentators. By Will Carless, Reveal/The Center for Investigative Reporting

 

Monroe posing for photos by the swimming pool at Harold Lloyd’s Greenacres estate in 1953.© 2011 THE HAROLD LLOYD TRUST
Monroe posing for photos by the swimming pool at Harold Lloyd’s Greenacres estate in 1953.
4. ATOMIC BLONDE

It was a mystery: Marilyn Monroe, a silent film star and a cryptic statement. How did they all fit together? By Cari Beauchamp

 

5. PODCAST EPISODE 9 — FOOD FIGHT: L.A. VS. S.F.

In this Alta Podcast, food writer Tamara Palmer makes it clear that when it comes to cuisine, L.A. is killing it right now. Meanwhile, longtime critic Michael Bauer defends San Francisco’s culinary honor. Hosted by Beth Spotswood

 

California first lady Anne Gust Brown at the Governor’s mansion in Sacramento.CHRIS HARDY
California first lady Anne Gust Brown at the governor’s mansion in Sacramento.
6. THE NEXT STEP

As her husband’s final term as governor of California winds down, first lady Anne Gust Brown reflects on his legacy and the future. Interview by Will Hearst

 

Neal Cassady leans against a door, holding a cigarette, the epitome of Beat-era cool.PHOTO COURTSEY OF NEAL CASSADY ESTATE
Neal Cassady leans against a door, holding a cigarette, the epitome of Beat-era cool.
7. THE BEATS’ HOLY GRAIL

Jack Kerouac called it “the greatest piece of writing I ever saw” and cited it as inspiration for the style of “On The Road.” After years of legal wrangling, the “Joan Anderson Letter” is now surfacing. Read an exclusive excerpt from the landmark of Beat literature. By David L. Ulin

 

“I’m dying for spaghetti and meatballs but veal osso buco will look much better on Facebook.”BILL BORDERS AND KENT SUTER
“I’m dying for spaghetti and meatballs but veal osso buco will look much better on Facebook.”
8. ALTATUDE FALL 2018

Every quarter, Alta editors receive hundreds (and hundreds) of cartoon submissions for Altatudes, the comic-filled back page of the magazine. By Alta Cartoonists

 

Gary Snyder is a noted poet, essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist. Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the American Book Award.
Gary Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the American Book Award.
9. ‘WHY CALIFORNIA WILL NEVER BE LIKE TUSCANY’

This poem was included in the book “This Present Moment: New Poems” by Gary Snyder. The poet, essayist, lecturer and environmental activist is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the American Book Award. By Gary Snyder

 

10. PODCAST EPISODE 5 — OBI KAUFMANN

“The California Field Atlas” author and artist Obi Kaufmann discusses his creative process, his plans for future work and why he’s really not wild about being compared to John Muir. Hosted by Beth Spotswood