USC Libraries and KCET bring back Lost LA for Season 3

Nathan Masters (left), USC Libraries’ manager of academic events and programming communications, hosts the “Lost L.A.” series. In it, he travels to various locations in L.A. and interviews historians. (Photo courtesy of KCET)

The third season of “Lost L.A.,” a collaborative TV series between public broadcaster KCET and USC Libraries, will premiere on Oct. 9.

The series, which explores Los Angeles’ history through archival materials, will feature other regions and landmarks in California in its third season.

“With this season, we are exploring the far reaching impact L.A.’s past has had beyond the city’s borders,” said Juan Devis, KCETLink’s chief creative officer. “We discover the profound connections of Los Angeles to neighboring regions like Yosemite and Palm Springs. The ebb and flow of Angelenos visiting these areas has helped to shape their identities, and created powerful links to the lives of its many residents.”

The upcoming season aims to showcase areas beyond city borders, while also examining Los Angeles as an inspiration for multiple cultural achievements such as art and poetry.

“This new season … is very much about Los Angeles as a source of imagination and inspiration for California and beyond,” said Catherine Quinlan, dean of USC Libraries. “KCET [has] done remarkable work in tracing the historical relationships of our city to West Coast myth-making, global cultural exports and the poetry and politics of natural landmarks across the state.”

The partnership between KCET and USC Libraries started in 2011 when Nathan Masters, USC Libraries’ manager of academic events and programming communications, began to write illustrated blog posts on L.A.’s history.  

“Lost L.A.” investigates the expansive history of the region utilizing resources from libraries and archives, including documents, photographs and artifacts. Masters assumes the role of both storyteller and host by traveling to multiple locations and interviewing key historians about the local landmarks.

As a child, Masters became fascinated with the past rurality of Orange County, particularly when oranges and farmland still dominated the landscape.

“I always had this understanding, that even a place that can seem so permanent, even your childhood home, [has a] transience to [it], there is a history that predates it,” Masters said. “For me, the emotional power comes from being able to explore the history of this region.”

The first episode of the upcoming season will explore Yosemite National Park. It will recount historical events such as the valley’s first settlement,  a 1970 riot that occurred in the park and the famous Yosemite “firefall.”

“Yosemite is the lens through which Angelenos view the preservation of the American West and California’s natural beauty,” Masters said. “We approach [the park] that way, that it has an L.A. connection still.”

“Lost L.A.’s” third season will premiere on KCET and episodes will be available for streaming on different platforms. A sneak preview of the second episode will be shown at Doheny Memorial Library on Oct. 20.