cover image Boom Times for the End of the World

Boom Times for the End of the World

Scott Timberg. Heyday, $20 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-59714-598-5

This insightful compendium brings together highlights from the career of Los Angeles Times reporter Timberg (Culture Crash), who died in 2019. Los Angeles culture serves as the through line for most of these pieces, which include a profile of L.A. Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel; an ode to photographer William Claxton, who captured the major players of the L.A. jazz scene in the 1950s; and a consideration of how a rancorous 2001 panel about an exhibit at the L.A. County Museum of Art reflected the fractured state of public discourse in the city. Timberg had a talent for finding global themes, such as in “Leaving Los Angeles,” where he uses his 2008 layoff from the Los Angeles Times to explore the financial damages wrought by the Great Recession. The selections attest to the richness of Timberg’s analysis and demonstrate that the author was as comfortable dissecting the legacy of pianist Glenn Gould and the stories of Ray Bradbury as he was Spike Jonze films and lyrics by rap group the Coup. Though readers’ mileage may vary based on their interest in Los Angeles, Timberg proves himself an authority on the city and its enthrallment to “fantasy, boosterism, and magical thinking.” This is a fitting testament to a skilled cultural critic. (Mar.)