Use All Five

Sunset Market Plaza: Meditations on Strip Malls in Los Angeles

Regular price $45.00

Strip-malls are synonymous with the landscape of Los Angeles. From Boyle Heights to Marina del Rey, the humble hustle of these businesses gives life to the city. The strip-mall’s ubiquity is hard to overstate—they are easily spotted in any neighborhood. They are a constant backdrop for any LA resident, which is why they’re also so heavily featured in LA-based films. In Sean Baker’s Tangerine, released in 2015, protagonist Sin-Dee roams the streets of Hollywood in search of her boyfriend. Some of her most heightened scenes take place at a strip-mall intersecting Highland Ave and Santa Monica Blvd. Likewise, the Coen brother’s 1998 classic, The Big Lebowski, centers on another Hollywood strip-mall.

Sunset Market Plaza celebrates the cultural impact of strip-malls in Los Angeles. Self-published by Use All Five, the book features a directory of some of our favorite strip-malls, along with material about the strip-mall’s history, and visual reimaginings of the strip-mall in our future. We worked closely with Shaina Goel to produce many of the book’s texts, including descriptions of strip-mall businesses and short essays. Artist Catherine Opie contributed a selection of her Mini-Malls photo series. Urban planning scholar Jonathan Crisman interviewed influential strip-mall developer Sam Bachner. Together they discuss the historical precedents that shaped the strip-mall’s present day ubiquity.

The book is printed locally in Los Angeles County by Chinatown-based Press Friends and Pasadena-based Typecraft. Vibrant green-and-black risograph spreads combine with digitally printed sections (mixing glossy and uncoated papers) in the 165-page spiral-bound book. Each cover is unique, with hand-placed compositions of stickers in varying color palettes, arranged to construct the book’s title. Use All Five selected this eclectic combination of inks and papers as tribute to the strip-mall’s wonderfully awkward, idiosyncratic appearance.