Blogs

Brent E. Walker on Charlie Chaplin and Keystone's Centennial at the LAVA Sunday Salon, July 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 July  2014 LAVA Sunday Salon, Brent E. Walker presented on Charlie Chaplin & Keystone’s Centennial.

One hundred years ago, Charlie Chaplin made his film debut in Mack Sennett’s Keystone Comedies. Within the year, he would become the biggest star in motion pictures, going on to set filmmaking artistic standards that some feel have never be duplicated. During that first year of 1914, Chaplin filmed in various Los Angeles neighborhoods, and—in several cases—used actual events (ranging from the dedication of a Wilmington wharf to various auto races on streets and tracks) as a backdrop for his comedies. Brent E. Walker, author of Mack Sennett’s Fun Factory, took us on a guided tour of Chaplin in 1914, and the Los Angeles history revealed in these early comedies.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 7:35am

David Boulé on The Orange and the Dream of California at the LAVA Sunday Salon, July 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 July  2014 LAVA Sunday Salon, David Boulé presented on The Orange & the Dream of California.

Cloaked in mystery and available only to the elite until modern times, the orange has been known as the fruit of the gods, the food of emperors, a token of gratitude and a symbol of health, wealth and love. Since it entered history, the dream of California has been that it is a place of plenty, of potential, of personal opportunity. The orange became a glowing symbol of this dream. David Boulé, author of the recently released The Orange and the Dream of California (Angel City Press), will take a lively, literary and extraordinarily visual look at this colorful and captivating history and reveal the tremendous impact of the orange on the culture and development of California, and how these two entities have built on one another to feed the imagination and conjure a compelling fantasy.

A third generation Californian, David has a lifelong fascination with the history, culture, achievements and uniqueness of the region. “The enduring image of California as paradise and the orange as unique among all fruit is because, partially, these things are true. These traits have then been magnified by poets and boosters, artists and hucksters, songwriters and bureaucrats—with both artistic and commercial motivation—to appeal to people’s continuing desire to believe that such exceptional perfection can really exist,” he says.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 12:12pm

LAVA Broadway on My Mind walking tour #10: R.B. Young (June 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, focused on the architecture of Robert Brown Young, including discussion of Clifton's Cafeteria, the difficulty of preserving or landmarking decorative terrazzo, recent damage to the Art Deco facades of 533 and 735 South Broadway, Swelldom, Bringing Back Broadway, the Tahoma Building, the OT Johnson Building and the OT Johnson Block, as well as a notable freakshow presentation in 1915.    

Read about this tour here or watch the video here.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 7:14pm

Milt Stevens on 24 Writers: 20th Century Science Fiction at the LAVA Sunday Salon, June 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 June 2014 LAVA Sunday Salon, Milt Stevens presented (video link) 24 writers: 20th Century Science Fiction

Milt Stevens, a long time Science Fiction fan who for a bit over fifty years has been a member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society — the world’s oldest science fiction club, and which for many years met down the street at Clifton’s Cafeteria — will talk about 24 writers who are major influences on 20th century SF. By Milt’s own admission his presentation will be anecdotal and by no means comprehensive. Some of the writers to be discussed are Jack Williamson, Kurt Vonnegut, Leigh Brackett, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Murray Leinster, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, Poul Anderson and Ray Bradbury.

 

 

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 6:21pm

The Magical World of Jack Parsons at the LAVA Sunday Salon, June 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 June 2014 LAVA Sunday Salon, Craig Berry presented on The Magical World of Jack Parsons.

The fascinating story of Jack Parsons — follower of Aleister Crowley, pioneering rocket scientist, and early member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society — has become increasingly well known in recent years. But few have examined his beliefs and practices. To really understand the man who summoned the goddess Babalon into physical manifestation, you need to start with the law of Thelema, proceed through Ordo Templi Orientis, Qabalah and Enochian magick, and continue to the reception of Liber XLIX and the transformation of Witchcraft for a new Aeon. Join Craig Berry, an initiate of Ordo Templi Orientis, on a journey through the magical world of Jack Parsons.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 11:57am

LAVA Broadway on My Mind walking tour #9: R.B. Young (May 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. If you can't see the video below, click here.

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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