A Short History of Whole Life Times

Through natural disasters, location changes and a succession of owners, our holistic community publication has continued to be a nexus point for innovative thought in the Los Angeles community for decades.

The oldest known issue of Whole Life Times was published in 1978 by Josef Cottler, who founded both Whole Life Times and the Whole Life Expo. At that time the magazine was a national, bi-monthly publication, tabloid size New Age magazine printed on newsprint. Every bit of content was typed on typewriters, then cut and pasted (for some sections, line-by-line) onto boards that were sent to a linotype shop to be set, and then photographed by the printer. The actual process of printing the magazine was like duplicating a photo negative many times over.

In 1986, Paul Andrews and Art Kunkin, founder of the L.A. Free Press, purchased Whole Life Times and moved the office from Pacific Palisades to Santa Monica. The staff began using computers to input text, but paste-up and lino were still part of what often was a succession of all-nighters to get the magazine out on time.

In 1989, the offices moved again, this time to Playa del Rey.

Abigail Lewis came aboard as editor in 1990, and over the next 10 years acquired ownership of the magazine, while also serving as publisher and editor-in-chief. Under her aegis the magazine continued to cover leading-edge New Age information and metaphysics, and expanded to include sustainability,  holistic health and human potential. We moved the office back to Santa Monica in 1992, and then to Malibu just a couple of months before the earthquake of ’93 caused the roof of our Santa Monica Boulevard office (we had been on the top floor) to collapse.

The next narrow escape was the devastating Malibu fire of 1993. Anxious staffers loaded our bulky desktop computers (there were no laptops as yet) into their cars and drove them to safe places, then watched TV reports showing the hillside ablaze above Pacific Coast Highway right behind our office. As the flames drew ever closer, news teams were forced to leave the site and it was several days before anyone knew if the building had survived.

The earthquake of January 1994 did little damage to our building, but floods resulting from decimated forests in the previous year’s fire closed Pacific Coast Highway for months, forcing Westside staffers to drive over Topanga Canyon and Saddle Peak just to get to their jobs every day. That’s true dedication!

In 1999 our holistic magazine was redesigned to a 10×12 format with a glossy cover, and in 2002 it was acquired by Dragonfly Media as part of a five-magazine chain. Dragonfly’s strong editorial focus soon won the loyalty of long-time readers, as integrative health and sustainability coverage continued, augmented by increased emphasis on social responsibility and progressive politics.

Just three years later, Conscious Enlightenment Media (CE) took ownership of four of the five Dragonfly publications and moved the office first to Sunset Boulevard, and then downtown. CE redesigned the magazine once again and shifted the focus once again, to green lifestyle and yoga.

Conscious-lifestyle innovator Gaiam took over the four-magazine chain in 2008. Quickly realizing it didn’t work for their business model, Gaiam published its last issues of the magazines the following April and shuttered all offices.

But our grassroots are deep. Two months later, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Whole Life Times rose once again to serve the Los Angeles holistic health and metaphysical community.

We are now the oldest continuously running editorially based holistic health and metaphysics magazine in the country, possibly in the world. We publish bimonthly in four-color on glossy, FSC-certified paper—unique in our market—as well as online. The Whole Life Times app is available free in the app store.

Thank you for checking us out! We look forward to serving our community for many years to come.

Update: Starting with our October/November 2016 issue, long-time media pro Gina Salvati will be carrying Whole Life Times forward. We’ve been publishing now for nearly 40 years, and look forward to another 40.