Synopses & Reviews
In 1980, Los Angeles historian Jim Heimann wrote a book about the oddball roadside architecture that has dotted the American landscape since the advent of the auto. Published by Chronicle Books as California Crazy, it stayed in print for nearly 20 years. Finally, here is the greatly expanded new edition of that sought-after classic. California Crazy and Beyond is packed with madcap restaurants, motels, service stations, and many other businesses shaped like hot dogs, animals, airplanes, pianos, and other architectural anomalies. Over the years, Heimann's continued research has uncovered a multitude of new pictures and forgotten buildings. With over 380 photographs and an illuminating text that tracks the subject well beyond the bounds of the West Coast, California Crazy and Beyond is an authoritative document of a style born in America and spread to all corners of the world.
One of the most arresting and telling images in "California Crazy and Beyond: Roadside Vernacular Architecture" by Jim Heimann appears on the title page of the book. A grinning carpenter stands in front of a half-finished restaurant under construction on Whittier Boulevard on a sunny day in 1932, and behind him we can see the 2-by-4s and tar paper and chicken-wire that will give the structure its fanciful shape-the restaurant is called teh Chili Bowl, and that's exactly what it will look like. "California Crazy and Beyond" is a celebration of architecture that is designed and built to look like something else-ships and planes, trolleys and zeppelins, flowerpots and fireplaces, oranges and lemons, toads and toadstools. With more than 350 evocative examples of what Heimann calls the "anything-goes attitude" in California architecture, the book can be enjoyed as a charming exercise in whimsy and nostalgia. At the same time, however, it offers some intriguing insights into how and why Southern California came to be "the crazy-building capital of the world." -Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Jim Heimann is a graphic designer, illustrator, and educator whose previous books include California Crazy: Roadside Vernacular Architecture, also published by Chronicle Books.