My favorite stories from 2013

#dailybougainvillea #morningwalk

I know, I know—it’s practically 2015! But my week of visiting family for the holidays melted almost imperceptibly into a week in Vegas covering the Downtown Project for Gizmodo. And you know the rule: For each day in Vegas you need at least one day at home to recover. So here we are, three weeks into the new year and I’ve just now had time to catch my breath and take a proper look back at the old one.

As goes the annual tradition, I round up my favorite stories from the previous year (see: 201220112010) and give a little play-by-play analysis. 2013 was fun. It was a year of big changes, even to my own identity—remember, I started the year as Gelatobaby and ended the year as A Walker in LA!—and big steps for causes I care about. It was also challenging in many ways, personally and professionally, which I can only think is a good thing. To toast these shiny new frontiers, I’ve divided 2013 up a little differently, creating categories that include not only things I wrote, but some things I said and did, and some things that were said about me.

The Regular Gigs

In August I started as the Urbanism Editor at Gizmodo where I’ve written over 100 stories. Here’s the one that was most popular. Here are two of my favorites I wrote: Her and its vision of a future Los Angeles and the LA Aqueduct’s 100th anniversary, or the mules that built LA.

After writing an article for Los Angeles Magazine about living in LA without a car, I was asked to write a weekly column for their website where I highlight the weird and wonderful things I see while walking around Los Angeles. Like this.

Over at T: The New York Times Style Magazine, I wrote about the most classy and creative women in Los Angeles (not on purpose—they just all happened to be women!): Ellen Bennett, Amanda Chantal Bacon, Tara Maxey and Matt Poley (okay, Matt’s my token dude), and Deborah Sussman.

DnA: Design and Architecture, the KCRW radio show I’ve worked with forever, expanded its format, adding six additional DJ’s—”design journalists”—to report on emerging local designers. I was lucky enough to interview Brendan Ravenhill, Tanya Aguíñiga, Scout Regalia, Jennifer Parry Dodge, Bari Ziperstein, a group of CalArts graduates on their debt-ful futures, and the president of Muji at their new LA store (he loves to ride public transit in LA!).

I love writing for the LA Weekly, where I got to write profiles of two outstanding locals for the annual People issue—the city’s pedestrian coordinator Margot Ocañas and JPL’s Bobak Ferdowsi (who you know better as Mohawk Guy)—a diary of Pacific Standard Time Presents, the Getty’s modern architecture extravaganza, and I even wrote a story where they put my name on the cover, about Arts District real estate visionary Tyler Stonebreaker.


After finding myself fuming about a TOTALLY STUPID article someone wrote about LA, I decided that instead of chastising the clueless writer on my blog, I would reward them for achieving a new level of LA-hatred. The “LA Haterating” series became a cult hit, and I’m sorry to say I had enough material to write five of these pieces. Although I will say towards the end of the year, LA was blessed with some ridiculously generous press and I wondered if I was being put out of business

Becoming a Writer

One of the most popular stories I wrote this year started as a talk I gave around a campfire at CAMP, the new creative business conference run by my friend Sonja Rasula. When I got flooded with emails and tweets asking me to post the story, I was thrilled to publish it on Medium where it still gets shared a few times a month.

Urban Adventures

I had the best year exploring all that LA and its environs had to offer. I hiked Mt. Washington. Took photos of Palm Springs midcentury houses on a bike. Went to a party at Jackie Treehorn’s house. Rode CicLAvia to the Sea. Walked six miles of Wilshire (on National Walking Day!) and produced an audio tour for CicLAvia. I serendipitously bumped into Critical Mass and rode around LA with hundreds of strangers. Kayaked the LA River. I walked (almost) the entire Big Parade. Took a 24-hour camping trip to the desert. Helped lead the annual Design-n-Dim Sum bike ride. Walked nine miles from the San Gabriel Mission to downtown LA for the city’s 232rd birthday. Had a bike decorating contest and ride for my 36th birthday. I helped organize walks all over the city for Walktober.

Since stuff like this is no fun to find out about after the fact, I put together a list of where to find LA stair walks near you. And as always, check out de LaB for fun adventures like the dim sum bike ride and Los Angeles Walks for more walks as well as ways to get involved with our advocacy work.

Other Places I Walked

Sayulita, MexicoMiami. Arizona (twice). France and Switzerland (and Italy for about three hours, although I was on skis almost the entire time). Big Bear. Boston. Santa Barbara. Colorado (four times, including testing out Denver’s B-Cycle bike share in a minidress). Zion National Park. New York City. St. Louis. New Jersey.

Votes of Confidence

Two nonprofits I work with got blessed with support and funding in 2013. design east of La Brea, or de LaB, which features the work of designers and architects working east of La Brea, received a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to produce our new series Making LA. And over at the pedestrian advocacy organization Los Angeles Walks, we launched our Hey, I’m Walking Here campaign and raised over $13,000 on Kickstarter.

Talking ’bout Walking

There’s nothing I like running my mouth about more than walking. In August, I was featured in a New York Times article about LA’s pedestrian renaissance. While walking the Big Parade, I was interviewed for the new show City Walk. And I was honored to be on panel on walking for SAG featuring my hero Ed Begley Jr. And while I wasn’t always talking about walking, I loved being a regular guest on the Participant Media/Pivot TV show Take Part Live.

2014 is already shaping up to be a great year. Thanks for reading and for all your support and ideas! Be sure to follow along on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or right here at A Walker in LA to see what happens next.

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  • Tannaz Sassooni

    umm.. you’re amazing, and i’m so happy i found this blog. i pretty much feel like i’m in vehement agreement with so many of the things you find important about our fair city. excited to read, and learn, more and more.

  • Alissa

    Aw, thank you so much for reading! LA is the best!

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