These are a few of the wonderful writers I've worked with over the years at California, Mother Jones, and on other magazine and book projects and exhibitions.
Pat Aufderheide and I were colleagues in the early days at In These Times, where she showed the brilliance that later filled her books and articles on the media.
Lynda Barry, who is best known for Ernie Pook's Comeek and other comics, accepted my invitation to write and illustrate a regular back-page series in Mother Jones, called "1619 East Crowley," on her childhood neighborhood. Some of the editors were cool on the column, but its disarmingly sophisticated examination of a place where personal feelings met cultural change was enormously popular with readers.
Laurie Becklund was introduced to me by Patrick Dillon at California magazine and we almost instantly became intellectual soulmates. A long-time writer for the LA Times, she contributed a wonderful travel piece on her experiences in Chile to the magazine. She died in 2015.
David Beers became a colleague and collaborator at Mother Jones shortly after we were both hired in the late 1980s. Founder of The Tyee, Canada's award-winning news site, and author of an award-winning autobiography on growing up in Silicon Valley, he remains one of the best (and definitely funniest) editors I've known. Years later, he hired me to write a review of the photography of Ragubir Singh, who tragically died while I was composing the piece, so it became a posthumous homage.
Lowell Bergman produced a piece on his experiences at 60 minutes that I asked artist Mark Zingorelli to turn into a graphic story. Lowell, who is the Al Pacino character in Michael Mann's movie, The Insider, teaches with other friends at the Berkeley J-school.
Arnold Bloom is a renowned botanist at UC Davis. We met when I was working to construct a portal at the University of California Office of the President on UC-wide climate change researc, and I later helped him with a digital version of his undergraduate textbook, Global Climate Change: Convergence of Disciplines.
Ken Brower wrote an insightful article on the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley that became a cover story of California. Later, I re-edited the article for Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, in which he also wrote about Yosemite's remarkable climbers, including his father David Brower, in the chapter called Coming Down From the Mountain.
Denise Caruso, a former writer on technology for the NY Times, hired me to help write about her Hybrid Vigor Institute and it turned into an ongoing conversation.
Michael Castleman was my editor when I served as the art director of Medical Self-Care magazine and I later worked with him as a writer at Mother Jones and California magazines.
Jonathan Cohn was briefly a writer for Mother Jones before launching his stellar career as a writer on health care at The New Republic and elsewhere.
John Cook, who has had an illustrious career with BuzzFeed and other digital media, was a talented and thoughtful former philosophy major when I worked with him as an editor at Mother Jones.
Michelle Cottle became a well-known political writer and commentator in Washington after working as a fellow at Mother Jones, where she met her future husband, Chris Orr.
Keay Davidson once flattered me by calling me his Maxwell Perkins after his article on Dark Matter for California was chosen for the Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology in 2009—the last article I edited for the magazine. He also wrote for us on Thomas Kuhn and woolly mammoths.
Patrick Dillon, the author of Lost at Sea and Circle of Greed, was my indispensable colleague and executive editor at California.
Mark Dowie and I have crossed paths for years, often at the former Twin Pines cafe in Point Reyes. A tough investigative reporter in the early days of Mother Jones, he began teaching at the J-school at UC Berkeley, where he covered a story on an unique multidisciplinary collaboration on nuclear terrorism for California.
Douglas Foster was the editor during the first half of my tenure at Mother Jones and now teaches at the Northwestern J-school.
Eduardo Galeano, the legendary Latin American author, met me through Sebastiao Salgado, who had jokingly allowed his Paraguayan friend to believe I was a beautiful woman. When we finally met at the airport, he became red-faced over the affectionate letters he'd sent me in Spanish, which I didn't speak at the time.
Edward Gargan, NY Times writer and author of The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong, wrote the cover story on modernization's rapid destruction of traditional Chinese culture for a special California issue on China prior to the Beijing Olympics.
Howard Gardner, the famed professor of education at Harvard, wrote on the Great Society Slump in the 20th anniversary issue of Mother Jones.
Cynthia Gorney, the National Geographic and New Yorker writer and former journalism professor at Berkeley, profiled swimmer Natalie Fobes for California—and sent me several talented interns from her classes.
Matt Groening contributed two cover pieces to Mother Jones when he just launching The Simpsons.
Quentin Hardy wrote two covers for us at California, on controversial Boalt professor John Yoo and on new brain research. Later a tech columnist for the NY Times, I still occasionally get together with Quentin to knock my brain cells around.
Paul Hawken took a couple of years to say yes to my entreaties to publish Natural Capitalism in Mother Jones. We devoted an entire issue to his and Amory Lovins' revolutionary ideas on reforming our economic system, and later published a heavily requested reprint.
Adam Hochschild, the author of King Leopold's Ghost and To End All Wars, was filling in as editor at Mother Jones when I first worked as art director, and he was board president during my career there. I first met Adam when he came to a little magazine in North Oakland where I worked in the 1970s to talk about the new magazine he wanted to start, then named New Dimensions and later Mother Jones.
Nicole Hollander is the author of the Sylvia series of cartoons, books, and theater pieces in Chicago. We met when I worked at In These Times in the late 70s and have been friends since.
David Hollinger, a respected historian at Berkeley, got me into trouble at Mother Jones by convincing me of some of his forward-thinking ideas about race in America. Later, he became an important intellectual supporter and contributor to California.
Molly Ivins was a regular (though not always deadline-reliable) columnist for Mother Jones. Acerbic, brilliant, and funny, the late Texas journalist later became the subject of a one-woman show starring Kathleen Turner.
Pico Iyer wrote two articles for us at California, including one of my favorites, on Cuba.
Maz Jabroni is a popular standup comic who wrote a very funny piece on his experiences as a Berkeley student for California.
Nathanael Johnson was a journalism graduate student when he contributed written and audio pieces to California, including a squeamishly funny radio feature on the "killer beetles" in the prep lab at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. An insightful writer on the environment, he has written on pig farming for Harpers and a brave and informative series on GMOs for Grist.
John Judis was the founding editor of The Eastbay Voice, which we produced in his garage. Later a colleague at In These Times, John went on to a career as a well-respected political writer of numerous books and articles, including one he wrote for me at California on Schwartzenegger.
Maxine Hong Kingston sat next to me at a Mother Jones event in the 1980s to support Salmon Rushdie and it took me awhile to realize that she was the author of the groundbreaking book, Woman Warriors, which I'd found so inspiring. Later, we featured her in the centennial issue of California with her high school buddy, artist Rupert Garcia.
Paul Krugman wrote an article on inequality for me at Mother Jones when he was a professor at Stanford in the late 80s. To Paul's delight, Arnold Laffer picked a fight with him about it in the letters section.
Andrew Lam, longtime editor at New American Media and author of books related to the Vietnamese diaspora, wrote several pieces on culture for California, including one on cuisine from his book East Eats West.
Sally Lehrman is a fabulous science writer who helped me improve the science coverage at California magazine and wrote a piece on future Nobel Prize winner Randy Scheckman.
Michael Lind probably hastened my departure from Mother Jones with his controversial articles about race and liberal politics. With several books under his belt, Mike remains one of the most original writers on American politics. He also introduced me to Dana Gioia, who told me a very entertaining story about the time his corporate boss accidentally found out he was a poet.
Sandra Tsing Loh, the performing artist and Atlantic contributor, agreed to write a bitingly humorous piece on her mother for Mother Jones.
Joe Loya is the author of The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell and a good friend.
Dale Maharidge wrote a series on poverty for Mother Jones. .
Malcolm Margolin was the beloved editor and force behind Heyday Books. Our long-running conversation generated many ideas and insights.
Lisa Margonelli, the author of Oil on the Brain, wrote articles about energy research at Berkeley for California magazine. One, "Startup U," was honored with a Best Feature Article by Folio and another by the Society of Professional Journalists
Merrill Markoe, who co-created The Letterman Show, wrote a very funny piece about her Berkeley sorority experience for California magazine. If you haven't yet seen this dog story video by Merrill, you are in for a treat.
Brad Matsen, the author of insightful and beautifully written books on Jacques Cousteau, the Titanic, and others, became a friend after he and his pal, artist Ray Troll, created a special issue on the ocean for Mother Jones. Brad wrote further pieces for me at the magazine and mentored me through several of my own writing and editing projects over the years. In 2015, he lured me to Port Townsend, Washington, where I now live.
Chuna McIntyre is a delightful and luminous Y'upik cultural historian who contributed to and was featured in Russian California: Tales from Fort Ross and Beyond. We bonded at an otherwise boring academic meeting over an exhibition and book I'd admired and he helped produce on Russian and American native peoples, Crossroads of the Continents.
Walter Russell Meade, the well-known foreign policy scholar and writer, reluctantly agreed to write an article in Mother Jones, challenging the Left's anti-global politics. Published after I left the magazine, the article's message was muffled by the editing and art direction, as Meade had worried it would be.
Louis Menand wrote a masterful essay on multiculturalism for Mother Jones, "Mixed Paint." He later contributed to the 20th Anniversary issue as well.
David Moberg was a founding editor of In These Times when we were starting it up, and has spent over four decades writing insightfully for that magazine and others on American labor.
Thomas Moore has written several books on the spiritual life, and contributed two major pieces to Mother Jones, including one I edited called "The Soul of Sex," from his book of the same name. I later visited him in New Hampshire when we almost collaborated on a book of photographs and essays.
Bharati Mukherjee wrapped herself in an American flag in an Iowa cornfield to be photographed for a feature she wrote on multiculturalism for Mother Jones. Later, as a professor at Berkeley, she contributed to California magazine.
Carole Naggar wrote the soaring essay for a photography book I produced called World Views. She and her husband, Fred Ritchin, influenced my thinking about photography over the years.
Graham Nash was a co-chair of the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography, and served as host for an standing room-only event I produced with Sebastiao Salgado and Eduardo Galeano.
Peggy Orenstein served as managing editor of Mother Jones during my first four years there. Always and insightful and deft writer, she went on to author several books and write original and popular essays on feminism and other topics for New York magazine and the New York Times Sunday Magazine.
Chris Orr, the film critic for The Atlantic, served as an editor of Mother Jones with me in the mid-1990s. Smart, and a good guy.
Michael Pollen, a neighbor and journalism professor at Berkeley, contributed an excerpt from Omnivore's Dilemma to a California issue on food featuring Alice Waters.
Paula Poundstone, the stand-up comedienne and television personality, wrote the comic back page for Mother Jones for two years in the 1990s.
Fred Ritchin is a visionary teacher and writer on photography and media who served as an intellectual advisor to the International Fund for Documentary Photography.
Richard Rodriguez generously contributed a piece called "Disappointment" for the inaugural issue of the redesigned California magazine, in 2006. The next year, it was selected by David Foster Wallace for the Best American Essays collection, whose editor told me it was the first time an alumni magazine essay had been chosen.
Sandip Roy wrote the book, Don't Let Him Know, and was a frequent contributor to California magazine.
Paul Saffo is a brilliant polymath and forecaster who we were lucky enough to recruit for the board at California magazine. I'll never forget his comment that Silicon Valley "manages by momentum."
Mark Schapiro was a colleague at Mother Jones and later the director of the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Orville Schell is the author of several books on China and the former Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Berkeley. Orville was indispensable in helping California magazine get its footing and contributed several pieces.
Peter Schrag, a long-time and insightful political columnist for the Sacramento Bee, wrote pieces on California's lost promise and politics for me at Mother Jones and California.
Amartya Sen is probably the most endearing Nobel prize winner you would ever meet. The Harvard economist gave a filmed interview and excerpt to California that was reprinted in a Bengali-language newspaper with millions of readers. The only thing I could read was our magazine's URL.
Eric Simons, the author of Darwin Slept Here and The Secret Lives of Sports Fans, started with me at California magazine and has subsequently worked on several of my projects. He currently edits Bay Nature magazine.
Theda Skocpol wrote about the how Republicans rode to power on the Clinton health care failure for Mother Jones. Later, at a lunch, she related to me her horrific battle to obtain pay equity at Harvard.
Dashka Slater first made me a loyal reader when she wrote well-reported and crafted features for the local alternative newspaper. Later, I was happy to recruit her for California.
Rebecca Solnit is the author of several insightful and original books. She contributed a major chapter to Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, on how Darwinism played out in the park.
Kevin Starr, the late California historian, author and USC professor, agreed to write a column for California, and gave me background on the 20th century Southern California cults that my kooky great uncle hung around.
Gloria Steinem wrote an homage to Clay Felker in California and joshed with editor Pat Dillon about starting a homey cafe with checkered curtains.
Charlotte Stoudt wrote about Stephen J. Hawking and experimental musician Conlan Nancarrow for California. She later served as the story editor for the Showtime series, Homeland.
Sandy Tolan was the editorial supervisor for an innovative reporting project at the Berkeley j-school on climate change that became a special issue of California and won a Peabody. Now at USC, he also contributed a feature on the Delta for the magazine.
James Traub had written for Mother Jones before I approached him about writing a piece on education reform for Blueprint.
Erik Vance was one of the finest young journalists I'd worked with as an intern and fellow at California before he launched his career as a respected science writer and author of the book, Suggestible You.
Frank Viviano tackles tough subjects, like the southern European mafia. I gave him a break from all that to write an essay on Viktor Kolar, who has spent his life photo-documenting his Czech border town of Ostrava with remarkable sensitivity and grace.
Gerald Vizenor, the distinguished scholar and author of numerous books on Native American culture, wrote on Ishi for California, and provided moral support for my tenure as editor there.
Alice Waters is the famous Chez Panisse chef, author, and activist who sat down to be interviewed for a cover story at California and later starred at an event to raise money for the magazine.
Ethan Watters wrote a brave piece for me at Mother Jones that tried to understand rather than simply revile Ward Conerly, who was hated by the Left. Later, we crossed paths at the San Francisco Writers Grotto, which he co-founded.
James Weinstein, historian and author of books on the American Left, was the founder of In These Times, my mentor, and my friend. Also a terrible punster. I still miss him.
Duncan Williams wrote the forthcoming book I edited, American Sutra.
Tom Wolfe wrote a tribute to Clay Felker for the ages. In one of those cinematic stop-the-presses moments at California magazine, we waited and waited by the fax machine one night for the second half of his essay to arrive. Totally worth it.
Patti Wolter, the delightful managing editor at Mother Jones, went on to a stellar career in New York and then at the Northwestern J-school.
Daniel Yankelovich was way behind on a deadline when I got on the phone and learned he'd been in a terrible accident in San Diego. I gave him the choice to bail but he decided to press ahead and contributed an article to Mother Jones shortly after the 1994 elections that accurately predicted Gingrich would overreach and fail. It's available in the Mother Jones section of this site. He later got me a job with Blueprint, the policy journal of Progressive Policy Institute and the DLC. Many tributes were written to Dan when he died in 2017.
Some of the photographers I've been privileged to work with: Shahidul Alam, Nubar Alexanian, George Ballis, James Balog, Ernesto Bazan, William Coupon, Robert Dawson, Macduff Everton, Larry Fink, Bob Fitch, Jim Goldberg, Nan Goldin, Marcus Hanschen, Abigal Heyman, Graciela Iturbide, Jeff Jacobson, Ed Kashi, Viktor Kolar, Antonin Kratochvil, Bud Lee, Archie Lieberman, Ken Light, Sally Mann, Mary Ellen Mark, Susan Meiselas, Pedro Meyer, Duane Michals, Wayne Miller, Richard Misrach, Julio Mitchel, Andrea Modica, Nicholas Nixon, Gordon Parks, John Pfahl, Marc Riboud, Eugene Richards, Joseph Rodriguez, Sebastiao Salgado, Lonny Shavelson, Ragubir Singh, Michelle Vignes, Alex Webb, Sandra Weiner, and Marion Post Wolcott. Painters and illustrators include Mike Biskup, Steve Brodner, Philip Burke, Rupert Garcia, Max Grover, Brad Holland, Anita Kunz, Victor Juhasz, John Mattos, Hal Mayforth, C.F. Payne, Ward Schumaker, Art Spiegelman, Richard Thompson, Ray Troll, and Mark Zingarelli.
Apologies to anyone I've neglected to mention!