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Living The California Dream

Thursday, December 16, 2010 · 6 Comments

Liz Kuball’s ongoing series “California Vernacular” captures Southern California’s beauty and peculiarities which (depending on your geography) feel either acutely alien or familiar. For me it’s a bit of both; I grew up on the East Coast but spent a lot of time in SoCal visiting family. The “California” Kuball captures isn’t Hollywood, Beverly Hills or another cliched locale but the quirky, laid-back and unabashedly superficial California which so many (like Kuball) fall in love with.

When you move out to California from back east, you come for a reason: You’re leaving behind a bad relationship, or escaping your hometown, or thinking you’ll be a star. And what you find when you get here is that things aren’t what you thought they’d be. There’s some of what you expected—sunshine and palm trees and long, wide beaches. But there’s more: houses with cacti and succulents in place of the green lawns you grew up with; women in bikinis climbing ladders…

And you’d think that, after all this, you’d become disillusioned and go back home, and some do, of course, but many more of us stay and instead of growing bitter, we hang on—hang on to a world that, to us, is even more fantastic than the one we thought we’d find, because it’s real in its absurdity and because we have stories to tell.




Tags: Art

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 kathy // Dec 16, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Great post. You hit the head on the nail. You are right about our reasons for coming to California… I’ve been here from the east coast for 20 years. It was really hard at first but now it is home.

  • 2 Cat Rocketship // Dec 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    That first house, with its landscaped cacti…wow.

  • 3 hena tayeb // Dec 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    the photograph of the palm trees in refelction is great..

  • 4 Kate // Dec 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    kathy, wow, what a complement! i think the photos hit the nail on the head and i just tried my best to relay that! : )

  • 5 Kate // Dec 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    the lines of the house in the first shot are awesome… it’s the iconic mid-century ranch house. just came across this book “forgotten modern california houses 1940-1970” which looks awesome!

  • 6 Gina Lee Bean // Feb 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I live in London now, but I grew up in SoCal in a house very similar to the cacti house you featured…in fact I had to do a double take because for a minute I thought it was my old house. My Mom is the cacti queen. Not a day goes by where I don’t miss LA will all my guts and soul. Thanks for this lovely post. x

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