The Dawn of L.A. new Wave (style)
2 Full Issues of Wet Magazine, 1978

 





 
   
 


Wet Magazine was started in 1976 by a Los Angeles architecture school graduate, Leonard Koren, whose publication revolved around the idea of "gourmet bathing." I have some of the first issues, and they are filled with articles about anything water -- water bottling plants, waterbeds, life guards, people taking showers, people writhing in mud, communal bathtubs... The articles were presented with a looseness and playfulness that reminds me of the way Nest Magazine looks at the idea of "home," or the way the band Cibo Matto wrote about food. But as Wet Magazine progressed, it became more expansive and, I think, more interesting. Its articles began to reflect a kind of smart artsy fringey L.A. attitude that was emerging at the same time as punk, but had its own distinct flavor. These two issues of Wet Magazine, in their articles and in their ads, show the emergence of an aesthetic that, by the 1980s, became that quintessentially L.A. pink flamingo leopard skin Go-Gos plastic palm tree air brushy trendiness that you could go to Melrose and really revel in (does anyone out there remember the store "Flip"?). To see the beginnings of that via Wet is interesting because, in a completely rough and un-watered down way, it captures something so true to the spirit of L.A. even today -- a kind of collaged fantastical diagonal way of thinking. I hope you see what I mean (and like it).