The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 2, 2016
by Dan
1 Comment

Ed Ruscha: Buildings and Words

Ed Ruscha: Buildings and Words is a short documentary, commissioned by MOCA in Los Angeles, exploring two of the recurring themes in the artist’s work. It was written and directed by Felipe Lima, and is narrated by Owen Wilson: Apparently Ruscha calls his font ‘Boy Scout … Continue reading

August 18, 2016
by Dan
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Welcome to The Last Bookstore

Welcome to The Last Bookstore is a short, inspiring documentary about Josh Spencer, owner and operator of The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles:

February 24, 2015
by Dan
1 Comment

Jesse and the Typewriter Shop

Related to yesterday’s post on Gramercy Typewriter Co. in New York, here’s a short film about U.S. Office Machines, one of the last remaining typewriter repair shops in Los Angeles: (Thanks Sam!)

July 28, 2014
by Dan
0 comments

Church of Type

Church of Type is the new letterpress studio in Santa Monica, California, of veteran designer and printmaker Kevin Bradley. In this lovely short film, Bradley talks about relocating to Los Angeles, typography, the printing press, and making things by hand:

February 26, 2014
by Dan
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Eve Babitz: Muse and Writer

Lili Anolik on the stranger-than-fiction life of Eve Babitz, “an irresistible hybrid of boho intellectual and L.A. party girl”, for Vanity Fair: Eve Babitz’s claims to fame rest, in large measure, on her claims on the famous. She’s the goddaughter, of … Continue reading

September 12, 2013
by Dan
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TateShots: Ed Ruscha’s Photography Books

In this new TateShots video, artist Ed Ruscha talks about the “cultural curiosities” — the gas stations, swimming pools and parking lots of Los Angeles — that he photographed for his books:

September 3, 2013
by Dan
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The Last Bookstore

At The Paris Review, Casey N. Cep visits  The Last Bookstore in (where else?) Los Angeles : The Last Bookstore has some of the most beautiful book art I’ve ever seen. You can wander and wander through this wonderland of cuttings, foldings, … Continue reading

August 2, 2013
by Dan
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My Lunches with Orson: Peter Biskind on WNYC

Film historian Peter Biskind talks to WNYC’s Leonard Lopate about his new book My Lunches with Orson, which collects Orson Welles’ conversations with Henry Jaglom: WNYC Leonard Lopate: My Lunches with Orson mp3 (Full disclosure: My Lunches with Orson is published by Metropolitan Books, … Continue reading

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