Dispatches

  • ILLUSTRATION BY TYLER COMRIE
    LETTER FROM LONDON

    Islands in the Land

    - Britain has long been to Europe what California is to the U.S.A. In the wake of Brexit, will it be even more so?
“We are all united in a silent calculation that the relentless UV and wind will make short work of any virus and that, if there is any residual risk, it’s worth it to be here, just to feel normal again," writes Adam Fisher, a 20-year veteran of Burning Man. Pictured here are the trash man, an impromptu art piece to burn in the tradition of the event (left), and the shitty’s mayor, James Lynne Tornado.
ADAM FISHER
A HOT MESS

‘The Man Has to Burn’

A visit to an unsanctioned Burning Man Festival in the time of COVID and wildfires.

“We are constantly taking this in, constantly processing,” says Malcolm Ryder of Oakland’s many storefronts. This one, located on 12th Avenue near Lake Merritt, is the former home of Double D BBQ.
MALCOLM RYDER
PHOTOGRAPHY

Malcolm Ryder Trains His Eye

With a smartphone and a promise to take “one good picture a day,” this Oakland resident seeks to capture what goes unseen: the mutability of place, and the subtle paradoxes of race.

D.A. Powell
GETTY IMAGES
POETRY

Summons: A Poem by D.A. Powell

Award-winning poet and Bay Area resident D.A. Powell teaches at the University of San Francisco. "Summons" is one of three Powell poems to appear in Alta's Summer 2020 issue.

Michael “Mad Mike” Hughes poses with one of his steam-powered rockets in 2019. Below: A sequence of photos from the February 22, 2020, launch that led to Hughes’s death in the desert near Barstow, California.
JESSICA SHUSTER
EYEWITNESS

The Daredevil’s Last Flight

“Mad” Mike Hughes fell from the sky pursuing his dream of touching space in a homemade rocket.

COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO
POETRY

Bat Boy: A Poem by D.A. Powell

D.A. Powell, a Bay Area writer and educator, finds poetry in America's favorite pastime. 

D.A. Powell
POETRY

Imagines*: A Poem by D.A. Powell

Pause with this poem by D.A. Powell, a Bay Area poet who has been honored with the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry.

Nina is the star of ICE Is Not Welcome Here, one of the latest components of the American Civil Liberties Union’s long-running Know Your Rights campaign.
ACLU SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
ACTIVISM

Know Your Rights—Even During a Pandemic

The ACLU’s long-running campaign to inform immigrants and protesters pivots from paper to apps.

Sen. Kamala Harris
GENARO MOLINA/GETTY IMAGES
POLITICS

Kamala Takes California National

The senator was the focus of a 2018 Alta cover story by Phil Bronstein that asked whether the Oakland native would lead the Democrats to the White House in 2020. Turns out, we were close.

The New California Curriculum
LETTERS

Readers’ California Canon Picks

We asked our readers what titles they’d include in John Freeman’s “The New California Curriculum,” an essay describing how recent literature reflects the real Golden State.

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