MIKE KESSLER | writer + editor | Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles Magazine

Fowl Play (Jan. 2016)
The bizarre peacock murders of Palos Verdes.

On The Waterfront (May 2015)
Going deep with the police dive team at the Port of L.A.

Gone Girls: Human Trafficking on the Home Front (Nov. 2014)
On the sex trafficking of minors in L.A.
Finalist for 2015 CRMA award in the Civic Journalism category.

Grass Roots (Sep. 2013)
On illegal marijuana farming on L.A. County’s public lands.

Ghost Cat (Nov. 2013)
Meet the mountain lions of L.A.

What Happened to Mitrice Richardson? (Sep. 2011)
The arrest, disappearance, and death of a young woman in Malibu
Finalist for 2012 National Magazine Award in Reporting category.

An update to the Mitrice Richardson story (2012)

Tea Time with Carla Gugino (Nov. 2009)
Actor profile


5280 (Denver)

Out in the Cold (Nov. 2007)
How cancer-stricken nuke workers were not compensated by the Feds.
Finalist for 2008 National Magazine Award (Public Interest); winner 2008 CRMA award; winner 2008 WPA Maggie award; finalist for Northwestern University’s John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism; inclusion in “Best American Magazine Writing 2008.”

A Leg to Stand On (Dec. 2006) (PDF)
Profile of the remarkable Ralph Green, who lost a leg in a Brooklyn shooting and became a champion skier.
Bronze, 2007 City and Regional Magazine Awards

The Gift of Gil (Dec. 2007) (PDF)
The story of a man who everyone who most ignore, but touches everyone who knows him.

Your Tiny Problem (June 2006)
In defense of small dogs.



Does Radical Honesty on Social Media Make Us Happy? (April 2015) Short essay about letting down your guard on social media.

Insane in the Membrane (March 2012)
A deep-dive about W.L. Gore, the makers of Gore-Tex, and the competitors who say the fabric giant doesn’t play fair.

The Giving Trip (Dec. 2009)
Is “voluntourism” all it’s cracked up to be? I biked through Vietnam and built a playground to find out.

The Believer (Aug. 2010)
Short profile of a great American marathoner.

Last Resort (March 2009)
The story of a hard-partying ski-town legend who threatened to blow up Aspen.



Julia Louis-Dreyfus Has a Thing for Clowns (2014)
A shorty on one of TV’s funniest funniest people.

Rebooting the Cosmos (2014)
A shorty on the new Cosmos show.

The Tao of Rick (2013)
I sat with Rick Rubin and listened to music. It was probably the single coolest hour of my journalism career.


New York Times Magazine

How to Get Rid of a Gun (June 2005)



Free Fall (Dec. 2005)
Profile of extreme skier Jamie Pierre (RIP).
Notable list of the book “Best American Sports Writing 2006.”

A Short Ode to Nachos (Jan. 2007) (PDF)



The Pest Who Shames Companies Into Fixing Security Flaws (Nov. 2011)
Profile of an internet privacy crusader.


The California Sunday Magazine

The Fire Forecast: Bracing for a Dry Summer (June, 2015)
1,000-word scene piece on California’s high-risk fire season.


The Trace

How To Tell A Mass Shooting From Gang Gunfire, And Other Lessons From The Forgotten Streets of San Bernardino (December, 2015)
A look at everyday violence in San Bernardino in the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 2 mass shootings.

I Can Tell You I’ve Been To More Funerals That Are Gun-Related Than I’ve been Graduations (June, 2015)
A series of interviews with residents of Los Angeles’s most dangerous neighborhoods about the role guns play in daily life.



What If The Key To Ending Homelessness Is Just That — A Key? (May, 2015)
On the “Housing First” method of addressing chronic and veteran homelesness.

The Era of Flying Robots is Upon Us, And It’s Going To Be Very Cool (Or Utterly Terrifying) (March 20, 2015)
On non-military drones, FAA regulations, and what the future holds for the commercial use of “flying lawnmowers.”

Prison is the New Mental Hospital (Jan. 2014)
What happens when the mentally ill get out of prison in California.
(Reported with financial assistance from The Investigative Fund.)


Mountain magazine

The Llama and the Nudge (Summer 2015)
An essay I wrote about trekking with camelids.

Undocs in the Shining City (2011)
The role of immigrants in ski towns throughout the Western U.S.
Finalist for 2012 WPA Maggie award in Feature Writing.

High in the High Country (2009)
Before Colorado legalized pot, I wrote this story about why it should.

A Local Hero’s Hill (2009)
Our wounded warriors take to the slopes.

Anger Essay (2012) (PDF)
A magazine sent me heli-skiing, but the heli-ski guides were total jerks.


New York

42 Minutes with Harry Shearer (May 2011)



Bittersweet Symphony (Feb. 2009) (PDF)
The convergence of gourmet chocolate and the science that says it’s good for you.


Yoga Journal

Is 420-Friendly Yoga More Clever Than Marketing? (May 2014)
An editor asked me to smoke cannabis (legally) and do yoga. This is what happened.


Men’s Health

Crazy in Love (Nov. 2011)
On the science of jealousy.


Men’s Journal

The War on Heli-Skiing (Feb. 2008)
Environmentalists versus extreme leisure seekers in Wyoming.



There’s a Bomb in My Backpack (June 2009) (PDF)
My attempt to sneak into the US from Canada.

How to Light a Fire in the Smokies (Aug. 2008) (PDF) 



Brothers in Arms (April 2008)
The sad story of two Army brothers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Bark if You Love Howard Dean (Sep. 2003)
Scene piece about a dogs-for-Dean-meet-up in NYC.

Sure You Can Play Kenny G.; Just Don’t Ever Call Me Again (Sep. 2003)
On dating “dealbreakers.”


Los Angeles Times

Rain Noir Stirs Mystery in LA (Jan 2001)
Commentary about rain in L.A.


Budget Travel

Last-Minute Long-Haul (Aug. 2009)
Tokyo on the fast-and-cheap.



Fly Low (2010)
Mini profile of skiwear entrepreneur.

phone: 323.248.1492
© 2018 Mike Kessler

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