Let me preface this post with the fact that I’ve not yet read Volume 2 of All Night Menu (it’s only been available for pre-order here as of yesterday)¬†but if the first installment of the five-book series is any indication, I can almost guarantee that this next release will be just as brimming with Los Angeles’s hidden histories. I should add that the book is a work of my friend Sam Sweet, but I’m hardly biased‚ÄĒL.A. Times book critic David L. Ulin, Los Angeles magazine’s Chris Nichols, and L.A. Taco are just a few Angelenos/local history enthusiasts who have sung praises for All Night Menu Volume 1, which can be purchased for $25 including shipping here.
The 66-page All Night Menu Volume 2 will focus on locales like Compton, Fairfax, Long Beach, Benedict Canyon, Eagle Rock, and “wherever you are,” and will star subjects both famous (at least according to pop culture standards) and obscure. A few of them include the best tattooer on earth, a bus-riding South Central ballerina, the richest girl in the world and her pet drummer, a “cabal of Chinese character actors”, the Lava Lady, and Dr. Dre.
If you need a few more reasons to buy Volume 2, here are some straight from the pages of Volume 1, like the backstory of a William Faulkner photo taken “in Hollywood,” which Sweet identifies as precisely 1922 Highland Avenue. An excerpt:
It was taken in 1942, probably in August or September, if the author’s shirtlessness is any indication. The location is the balcony of Faulkner’s top floor apartment at the Highland Hotel, where he had taken a room upon returning to Los Angeles after a five-year hiatus. he was broke, an distraught over the escalating war.
Another true tale recounts the legendary resident of 647 Orange Grove in South Pasadena, female bullfighter Patricia McCormick:
[She] was 24 when she was impaled by a bull in the middle of a corrida in Villa Acuna, Mexico. The horn pierced her stomach and she was carried around the ring for a full minute. […] Her last fight took place in San Antonio in 1962. After that she relocated to Los Angeles, where she accepted a position as the manager of the Model Office at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Other stories recount a 1942 shooting that sparked a 70-year feud between LA’s oldest gangs, 1960s folk duo Penny and Jean from the Valley, and more that history books never bothered to touch.
And on Sunday, December 7th, you can hear Sweet talk about his latest work at the Mark Taper Auditorium at LA Public Library in Downtown (entrance is on 5th Street between Grand and Flower). Sunday parking at the library is just $1 and entrance to the garage is at 524 Flower Street.
You can snap up copies of both volumes over at All Night Menu here.