Local Girl Makes History
Local Girl Makes History
Exploring Northern California's Kitsch Monuments




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Fall preview: New books from Sebold, Junot Diaz, Roth
"Go ahead. Call your friends and family now, let them know you'll see them when you see them - most likely in late December. The lineup of fall books this year is that good. . . The following are some of the other fall titles of note. . . Dana Frank's Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California's Kitsch Monuments (City Lights)."
-Oscar Villalon, San Francisco Chronicle Aug 26, 2007

UCSC professor explores Northern California's 'kitsch monuments'
"How does a 2,000 year-old tree at Big Basin Redwoods State Park trace the history of imperialism? Who are the 'Cave People' at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk? Why were two giant white stone cats erected by Highway 17 in Los Gatos? What is the real story behind the Greco-Roman-style Pulgas Water Temple built on the San Francisco Peninsula?"
-Scott Rappaport, UC Santa Cruz Oct 17, 2007

In the Shadow of the Cat
"To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone talks about the Los Gatos stone cats, but no one does anything about them. But now Dana Frank has tracked down their history in her new book on the area's kitsch monuments. . .

I love when you talk about the process—'I was nervous about doing this or talking to this person,' and setting the scene and showing the drama of the research and interview process, in a way.

That's interesting, because I just kind of take for granted that that's in there. It's also a way of pulling the reader into the story. This is a piece of creative nonfiction, that's the genre I'm playing around with. I wanted to write a book using every literary skill I could marshal or develop to make people feel things—I wanted to make people laugh, and I wanted to make them cry. Every time I read the very end, I cry. The part about Ramona and me. I feel like the conclusion to the last chapter is the best thing I ever wrote."

-Steve Palopoli, Metro Silicon Valley Oct 17, 2007

Bookends: Historian looks sideways at local landmarks
"The Boardwalk's Cave Train has its friends and foes

But few in either camp have ever thought of the kitschy, campy ride in socio-political terms.

Not so Dana Frank, a regular visitor to the Boardwalk in the '60s when her family made trips to the seashore from Los Altos."

-Chris Watson, Santa Cruz Sentinel Oct 29, 2007

HISTORY: 'Ces' Wood cut a dashing figure, built 'The Cats'
"It is unlikely that Los Gatos was ever home to a more multifaceted and colorful citizen than C.E.S. Wood. Books have been written about his life, each trying to capture the essence of a man who was a soldier turned pacifist, a lawyer who could inflame public passions for the International Workers of the World at the same time he was representing powerful corporations, and a land-owning, self-described anarchist who counted among his friends Emma Goldman, Margaret Sanger and Mark Twain."
-Peggy Conaway, San Jose Mercury News Nov 13, 2007

Los Gatos Cats immortalized in local author's book
"Anarchy. Living in sin. Housewives in revolt. Sounds like something from the 1960s, but actually it's Los Gatos in the 1920s and '30s as seen through the eyes of author Dana Frank."
-Judy Peterson, San Jose Mercury News Nov 26, 2007

One for the Road: Local Girl Makes History
"Like yesterday's selection, today's book pick comes via a San Francisco book store. Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California's Kitsch Monuments is a unique title that grabbed my eye while browsing the City Lights website. The famous SF bookseller is also the publisher of this niche kitsch guide to Northern Cali's special structures. Author Dana Frank is a Bay area historian who takes a series of local daytrips to places she has visited since her youth, uncovering secrets and exploring urban myths of popular spots like the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's Cave Train Ride and the Puglas Water Temple.

The result is a smart and funny memoir mixed with historical research and reflections on politics and culture too."
-Kelly Amabile, Gadling Dec 11, 2007

The Psychogeographer Afoot 1
"Briefly noted:

in Local Girl Makes History, Dana Frank, historian at Santa Cruz, revisits the kitschy landmarks of her childhood, and Californian history is delightfully illuminated from all sides by her examination of these most marginal, and thus most interesting, of public monuments. History is recollection, not the mere fact of the past, and Professor Frank is a funny, smart, and amiable guide not only to the sites she revisits, but also to the practice of good history, which is always as much made as found, and is always local. She pays attention to all sorts of stories, not only the sort to which too many historians confine themselves, and has a real conversation with the communities telling them, and lets herself be one of the tellers too. Historians too rarely trust their own memories, but Dana Frank does, and her blend of narrative wit, personal engagement, and eye for detail make for a very good little book."
-Wunderkammer: The Online Journal of Baltasar VanHonkytonk Dec 14, 2007

Professor melds curiosity, research into book of funky milestones
"Dana Frank - historian, author, UC Santa Cruz professor and Los Altos native - didn't plan on using her skills as a researcher to dig up her own childhood monuments when she returned to her alma mater to teach, but questions arose.

Whatever happened to that beloved and incredibly offensive Cave Train Ride on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk? Who was behind the two cat sculptures on Highway 17 near Los Gatos? What urban legends about the mysterious Pulgas Water Temple on the Peninsula could be true? And what is up with the engravings on 2,000-year-old redwoods in Big Basin Redwoods State Park?"

-Reyhan Harmanci, SF Chronicle Jan 10, 2008