Mark Arax ("The Valley's Not So Civil War," page 16) is a senior writer for West and co-author, with Rick Wartzman, of "The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire."

Damon Winter (Cover, "Civil War" photos) is an award-winning Times photographer.

Gary Gilbert (The Rules of Hollywood, page 14) was a writer and executive producer on the "Seinfeld" pilot and co-creator of the series "Sister, Sister."

Anne Lamott ("Dance Class," page 24), a contributing writer to West, is the author of 10 books.

Gary Kelley ("Dance Class" illustration) has done work for the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Playboy and others.

Martin J. Smith and Patrick J. Kiger ("Smell-O-Vision," page 26) co-authored "Poplorica." Smith is a senior editor for West.

Owen Smith ("Smell-O-Vision" illustration) has been published in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly and others.

Daniel Handler (California Story, page 31) is the author of "The Basic Eight" and "Watch Your Mouth" and, as Lemony Snicket, the children's novels in "A Series of Unfortunate Events."

Jessica Gelt ("Mad Hot Music," page 34) is assistant research editor for West.

Sorina Diaconescu ("Blast It," page 38) is an editor at Hollywood Life whose work has appeared in The Times, LA Weekly and Variety.

Kurt Iswarienko (Grammys section photos) is an L.A. fashion photographer.

Lynell George ("Sly and Me," page 42), a senior writer for West, is the author of "No Crystal Stair: African-Americans in the City of Angels."