Blogs

LAVA Broadway on My Mind walking tour #9: R.B. Young (March 2014)

In July 2013, LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association launched a series of free walking tours along Broadway meant to raise consciousness about the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the pending implementation of Strategy One, Phase One of the City of Los Angeles' Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. Each walking tour follows and departs from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.

This month's tour, hosted by Richard Schave (Esotouric/LAVA) and Nathan Marsak with Kim Cooper (with ghostly tales from Scramarama featuring Deniz Tek and Brute Force), Michelle Gerdes and a special guest appearance by Canned Hamm, focused on the architecture of Robert Brown Young

Read about this tour here, and watch video of the walk here.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 - 4:08pm

Circuit Bending and Louise Varèse at the LAVA Sunday Salon, May 2014

On the last Sunday of each month, LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles, for a structured Salon featuring formal presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another. If you're interested in joining LAVA as a creative contributor or an attendee, we recommend Salon attendance as an introduction to this growing community. 

Because of the scope and scale of the program, this month's Sunday Salon did not follow our usual varied two-act structure, but focused almost entirely on Electronic Music. The program includes the history of the genre, some theoretical discussion, a performance and a hands-on demonstration.  

Our focus is on Electronic Music, and the sub-genre known as Circuit Bending. Circuit Bending is the creative rewiring of pre-existing circuits to make new media. Often these circuits are found in inexpensive children's toys and "obsolete" devices. Important aspects of Circuit Bending are the D.I.Y (Do It Yourself) autodidactic nature of immediate exploration into new electronic sounds and the ability to engage in instrument building without the need for an electrical engineering degree. The artists presenting today, Andy Ben, Jeff Boynton and Mona Jean Cedar, explore the implications of Circuit Bending through a variety of contexts, including performance, documentary video and education.

For Mona Jean Cedar (poet, dancer and sign language interpreter) and Jeff Boynton (electronic musician), "Circuitry and Poetry" arose out of a desire to create collaborative artwork. Jeff's initial impulse was to create interactive electronic instruments that would respond to Mona's hand and body movements. This did not happen immediately due to the steep learning curve of electronics, but it led to the discovery of the "black art" of Circuit Bending. This was the jumping off point, and eventually Jeff was able to develop interfaces that would allow Circuit Bent instruments to respond to light, sound and movement. Mona had already been creating work in which poetry and movement was composed specifically for how well they will work with sign language. Presenter Andy Ben is a musician and technologist and film maker who is interested in the digital convergence and post consumer culture.

The LAVA Sunday Salon also featured a short presentation by the scholar and writer Fanny Daubigny about the American translator Louise Varèse and her work with 19th century French poetry. (Louise Varèse was the wife of Edgar Varèse, whose compositions are considered a cornerstone of electronic music.)

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 10:22pm

Nathan Marsak on Los Angeles Cemetery Architecture at the LAVA Sunday Salon, April 2014

On the last Sunday of each month, LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles, for a structured Salon featuring formal presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another. If you're interested in joining LAVA as a creative contributor or an attendee, we recommend Salon attendance as an introduction to this growing community. 

At the April 2014 LAVA Sunday Salon, architectural historian Nathan Marsak, author of Los Angeles Neon, presented on Los Angeles's great public mausolea. In this cultural and architectural history of how Los Angeles came to understand the community mausoleum, Marsak charts the southland's parallels with and digressions from America's developing mores and attitudes toward the space of death.

Emerging from the early 20th-century Garden Cemetery movement, Los Angeles not only contributed the concept of the memorial park, but also many of the finest--and sometimes strangest--grand public mausolea known. Los Angeles, long noted for its mimetic "California Crazy" and futuristic Googie architecture, needed, in its funerary architecture, to strive for solemnity and sublimity.  Nevertheless, its cemetery buildings betray a peculiar and genuinely Southern Californian ethos in their expression.

Discussed are the 1903 Chapel of the Pines crematory and columbarium; the early community mausolea of the 'teens; the interbellum wonders of Forest Lawn's neogothic Great Mausoleum, Angeles Abbey's Arabian wonderland, and early-Christian meets Art Deco at Calvary Cemetery. Particular study is given to the postwar era and the specific challenges mausoleum design faced adapting to Modernism--it is during this period they are routinely disparaged as filing cabinet necro-tenements--and how new considerations of population and land management influenced the building of open garden-court mausolea and columbaria.

Their legacy has left us with a means to gauge the city's development (as well as remarkable tile work and stained glass).  Through this lens, Marsak reveals this significant, yet little-valued aspect of our architectural landscape.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014 - 6:41pm

Poetry Noir at the LAVA Sunday Salon, April 2014

On the last Sunday of each month , LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), for a loosely structured conversational Salon featuring short presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another.

At the April 2014 Salon, in celebration of National Poetry Month, Suzanne Lummis, Cece Peri and Dale Raoul presented a series of readings in the vein of Poetry Noir. The readings explore the themes of this genre: crime, decay, anonymity, hauntings from the past and a palpable sense of place and feel unique to Los Angeles. At the end of their reading, author Kim Cooper spoke briefly about her novel The Kept Girl, which stars the young Raymond Chandler and the real Los Angeles cop who is a likely model for Philip Marlowe.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 3:03pm

Tom Sitton presents at the LAVA Sunday Salon, March 2014

On the last Sunday of each month , LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), for a loosely structured conversational Salon featuring short presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another.


ABOUT THE PRESENTATION: In its first century of existence, beginning in 1850, Los Angeles County government evolved from a frontier institution with only a few constituents, a meager treasury and few duties, to an early American "urban county" and an innovator in local government at this level. The issues faced by the county’s leadership in the form of the Board of Supervisors had a profound effect on the economy and quality of life in what would become the most populous county in the nation. Many of these challenges, as examined in The Courthouse Crowd: Los Angeles County and its Government, 1850-1950, would persist in the post-World War II era and are still apparent today. In his presentation, author Tom Sitton discusses a few of these issues and some of the increasingly powerful Supervisors who faced them, share a colorful "rogues' gallery" of some of the most corrupt politicians in the region's history, and describe how the book was written. 

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 7:04am

LAVA Broadway on My Mind walking tour #7: Claud Beelman (March 2014)

In July 2013, LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association launched a series of free walking tours along Broadway meant to raise consciousness about the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the pending implementation of Strategy One, Phase One of the City of Los Angeles' Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. Each walking tour follows and departs from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.

This month's tour, hosted by Richard Schave (Esotouric/LAVA) with Gordon Pattison and John Kilduff, focused on the Art Deco architecture of Claud Beelman

 Read about this tour here, and watch video of the walk here.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 6:52pm

Kim Cooper and Paul Rogers present at the LAVA Sunday Salon, March 2014

On the last Sunday of each month , LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), for a loosely structured conversational Salon featuring short presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another.

At the March 2014 Salon, we featured a joint presentation centered around The Kept Girl (Esotouric Ink, 2014)LAVA co-founder Kim Cooper’s novel of 1929 Los Angeles starring the young Raymond Chandler, his devoted secretary and the real-life cop who is a likely model for Philip Marlowe. Kim dug deep into the book’s true crime and literary inspirations and the process of bringing the book to press. Artist Paul Rogers discussed his cover art for The Kept Girl, then offered a freeform discussion of his often historic L.A.-themed creative process, from the germ of an idea, to photos, sketches, all the way to a complete series of prints.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 10:08pm

LAVA presents "20 Years After: Charles Bukowski Memorial" - March 9 2014

On the 20th anniversary of Bukowski's death, LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association hosted an evening of poems, toasts and memories at the King Eddy Saloon on East Fifth Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

The evening was hosted by Richard Schave (Esotouric’s Haunts of a Dirty Old Man bus tour & the De Longpre bungalow preservation campaign) and included readings from five notable Los Angeles poets and friends of the late writer: Dan Fante, S.A. Griffin, Suzanne Lummis, Joan Jobe Smith and Fred Voss. The event concluded with a toast from S.A. Griffin.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 3:50pm

Joe Oesterle and Count Smokula present at the LAVA Sunday Salon, February 2014

On the last Sunday of each month , LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), for a loosely structured conversational Salon featuring short presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another.

At the February 2014 Salon, back by popular demand, we welcomed LAVA Visionary Joe Oesterle, author of Weird Hollywood and the classics Weird California and Weird Las Vegas. Joe read some spooky stories from his books and share anecdotes from his weird road travels, and signed copies of Weird Hollywood. The multi-talented Joe Oesterle is a former Senior Editor of National Lampoon, a visual artist, musician, animator and curator of the strange and marvelous. At the Salon, Joe was joined by Count Smokula, a 496-year-old accordion-playing vampire from the vaguely Eastern-European nation of Smokesylvania. A mainstay in the Los Angeles Underground scene, the Count has been described as a cross between Bela Lugosi and Jackie Mason. The Count delighted us with several numbers on his accordion and some gems of home-spun philosophy.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 10:52am

Joan Jobe Smith and Fred Voss present at the LAVA Sunday Salon, February 2014

On the last Sunday of each month , LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), for a loosely structured conversational Salon featuring short presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another.

At the February 2014 Salon, Poet Fred Voss read from his Bloodaxe (UK) collections Hammers And Hearts Of The Gods and Carnegie Hall With Tin Walls and from Tooth And Fang And Machine Handle, his winning chapbook from Nerve Cowboy's (USA) 2013 Competition. Poems mostly about his working experiences, reflections on those experiences, and his 35-year life as a machinist which will include non-machine shop philosophical poems and a couple domestic-comedy “Frank & Jane” poems which bear a striking resemblance to his marriage to poet Joan Jobe Smith.

A teenager in 1950s’ L.A., go-go girl in swinging 60s-70s, poet, writer, teacher, mentor, founding editor of PEARL, and confidante of Charles Bukowski for nearly a decade, Joan Jobe Smith read selected poems about the movies, lands of a 1,000 dances, and her friendship with Bukowski from her 2012 literary profile Charles Bukowski: Epic Glottis: His Women & His Art (& me), and the 2013 Bukowski Anthology, both published by Silver Birch Press.

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Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 7:26pm