History

Lecture: Bones, death, and other fun stuff with Paul Koudounaris at the Brand Library

For the past decade, Dr. Paul Koudounaris has been documenting famous macabre sites and researching our cultural relationship with death, producing two books, Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies, which have found great acclaim and a cult following. Those books were mostly confined to Europe, however. His forthcoming book, Memento Mori, will be his most ambitious, expanding his subject matter to a global level and presenting little known macabre sanctuaries in Asia, Africa, and South America. He will give a peek at the new material tonight in a special lecture for the Brand Library, taking the audience on a world tour, from burial caves in Indonesia to gilded corpses in Taiwan to skull festivals in Bolivia to decorated skeletons in Germany . . . the world's most spectacular macabre sites will be opened up to the audience with a spectacular slideshow of his own photos.

Pershing SquaReNew Announcement and John Parkinson walking tour

The Pershing Square Restoration Society invites you to attend an announcement from Councilman Jose Huizar and the Department of Recreation and Parks about a proposed new direction for Pershing Square and the former Pershing Square Task Force.

In 2013, the Pershing Square Task Force was formed with the intent of "Re-Envisioning" the historic park. Public response has overwhelmingly supported a different model: the restoration of the 1910 John Parkinson landscape design that was demolished in 1951 to put in underground parking. More than 1500 people have signed the petition asking for restoration and the campaign has been prominently covered by The Los Angeles Times, Which Way LA? and Curbed. 

Apparently in response to the popular support for restoration, the Pershing Square Task Force has changed its name to Pershing SquaReNew, and announced a new mission statement. It is now identified as "a non-profit dedicated to supporting and facilitating the park's revitalization--along with a number of efforts that will not only restore Pershing Square, but place Los Angeles on the map of inspiring, world-class public spaces." 

Please join social historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave (LAVA, Esotouric) at Pershing Square to hear what sort of restoration Pershing SquaReNew is proposing. (Sorry, author Stephen Gee will not be able to attend.) After the announcement, these principals of the Pershing Square Restoration Society will lead a free walking tour of nearby John Parkinson buildings, including those around his namesake Square. All are welcome--please spread the word!

(Postponed) LAVA's 41st Sunday Salon

An important message from LAVA - September 9, 2014

Dear friends,

It is with no small amount of regret that we are putting the monthly LAVA Sunday Salon and Broadway on My Mind walking tour series on hiatus, effective immediately. Both events take place at Les Noces du Figaro restaurant, which is closing down for several months of renovations.

We will be working closely with Jonathan Mgaieth of Figaro to determine a relaunch date as soon as the restaurant reopens, hopefully in early 2015. So stay tuned, and we hope to see you at other LAVA events in the meantime.

Please know that your continued thoughts and good will are the rock upon which LAVA builds its house.

With thanks for your understanding, we remain,
Richard Schave and Kim Cooper
LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association

 

Join LAVA for our revived free monthly Sunday Salon series. We return to South Broadway, to the mezzanine of Les Noces du Figaro, which was recently opened by the family behind Figaro Bistro in Los Feliz. This handsome space was formerly Schaber's Cafeteria (Charles F. Plummer, 1928), and the mezzanine features wonderful views of the Los Angeles Theatre.

On the last Sunday of each month, LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), 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. We also recommend the eclairs.

Read about the original Sunday Salon at Clifton's Cafeteria.

Presentation One: Jean Harlow Part 2

The name resonates. Blonde Bombshell. Platinum Blonde. The labels applied by press agents during Jean Harlow's seven-year career still carry a charge seventy years later. Harlow created the mold: the first blonde sex symbol who captured the attention of a nation, then touched their hearts with her genuine warmth and candor. At a time when Harlow's star shone its brightest, Los Angeles and the movies gave birth to a district that exists as much in the mind as on the map. Hollywood historian Darrell Rooney is co-author of Harlow In Hollywood. He returns to the LAVA Sunday Salon to pick up where he left off at his January 2014 presentation, with Jean Harlow's story following the mysterious death of her husband Paul Bern.

Presentation Two: Preserving the Legacy of Wurdman & Beckett's Animal Hospital in West Hollywood

West Hollywood residents and area historians Kate Eggert and Krisy Gosney of Dead History Project fell into historic preservation activism when two 110-year-old bungalows on their street were threatened with demolition. Everyone said they wouldn’t win... until they did. Recently, they went to a West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission meeting on a whim. The Commission discussed a 1938 Wurdeman & Becket streamline moderne animal hospital and a 1959 Barry Berkus mid-century modern office building, both slated for demolition and the site for redevelopment. They were told these buildings were a lost cause. But as a little research revealed the significance of the site, they knew they would fight. Their grassroots preservation campaign has garnered significant media attention and the support of the Los Angeles Conservancy, Art Deco Society, the family of architect Welton Becket and hundreds of passionate citizens. Responding to the rising community outcry, the developer has begun suggesting ways in which the Wurdeman & Beckett structure can be integrated into a modern building. This LAVA presentation is about the process through which Kate and Krisy are tackling the biggest preservation fight of their careers, the highs and lows, and the delicate dance of politics, ego, money and information that impacts any community when developers seek to build on an historic site.

Lowriting: the Photography of Arturo Meza

Art Meza was born and raised in Los Angeles. His photography infuses elements of his daily surroundings—his love for classic car and Lowrider culture, and pride of his Chicano upbringing—to produce images with “Chicano Soul.” Art will share images from his book, Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories from the Chicano Soul. The book also includes essays and poetry by contributors including Luis J. Rodriguez, Luis Alberto Urrea, Lalo Alcaraz, Gustavo Arellano, and Alvaro Rodriguez.

This free program is presented by Photo Friends LAPL and generously sponsored by Christy & Stephen McAvoy. Feel free to bring your lunch.

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

Bungalows. Crime. Hollywood. Blondes. Vets. Smog. Death.

This was Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles, which resonated under deft and melancholy fits from his writer’s bow.

Join us as we go down the mean streets that shaped his fiction, and that in turn shaped his hard-boiled times, in a four hour tour of downtown, Hollywood and surrounding environs: The Los Angeles Athletic Club, the Larry Edmunds Bookshop, the Hotel Van Nuys, Paramount Studio’s gates, and much, much more, including a Chandler-themed gelato stop at East Hollywood cult favorite Scoops.

Through published work, private correspondence, screenplays and film adaptations, we trace Chandler’s search for meaning and his anti-hero Philip Marlowe’s struggle to not be pigeonholed or give anything less than all he has, which lead them both down the rabbit hole of isolation, depression, and drink.

Tour passengers will have the opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of co-host Kim Cooper's mystery novel The Kept Girl, inspired by this tour and starring the young Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe on the trail of a cult of murderous angel worshippers.

The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour

"This bus tour... has established itself as an L.A. classic." -The Los Angeles Times

The Black Dahlia murder in 1947 is the most compelling unsolved crime Los Angeles has ever known. What Jack the Ripper is to London, the Torso Killer to Cleveland, the Black Dahlia is to L.A. And yet unlike those other cases, the name Black Dahlia refers not to the killer, but to the victim. What was it about Elizabeth Short that keeps her the object of obsessive fascination by writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, cops and readers, more than sixty years after she was slain?

The Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus Tour seeks to answer this question by intimately exploring the last weeks of Elizabeth Short's life, asking not "who killed her?" but "who was she?"

The tour takes us from the human hustle of Main Street to the serene lobby of the Biltmore (the second-to-last place she was seen alive), to the newspaper offices and the Greyhound station where she checked her bags, and concludes at the site where her bisected body was found in Leimert Park and with a little known suspect who lived nearby.

From the few personal possessions she left behind to the friends who scarcely knew her, from the mass hysteria of the investigation with its fruitless leads, wacko suspects and false confessions, the tour reveals all that's known about this enigmatic black-haired girl who reinvented herself at whim, and shows how she came to be the unfortunate symbol of her time and place.

(Postponed) The Flâneur & The City: Broadway On My Mind walking tour #13

An important message from LAVA - September 9, 2014

Dear friends,

It is with no small amount of regret that we are putting the monthly LAVA Sunday Salon and Broadway on My Mind walking tour series on hiatus, effective immediately. Both events take place at Les Noces du Figaro restaurant, which is closing down for several months of renovations.

We will be working closely with Jonathan Mgaieth of Figaro to determine a relaunch date as soon as the restaurant reopens, hopefully in early 2015. So stay tuned, and we hope to see you at other LAVA events in the meantime.

Please know that your continued thoughts and good will are the rock upon which LAVA builds its house.

With thanks for your understanding, we remain,
Richard Schave and Kim Cooper
LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association

 

Join us the latest installment of The Flaneur & The City: Broadway On My Mind walking tour series. (This tour series was originally titled Broadway Streetscape Master Plan Awareness walking tour.)  

About This Tour:

This month’s tour will be the fifth in a series of tours which focus on the architect Robert Brown Young, whose career spans the 19th & 20th centuries, the residential and commercial. His work on Broadway is the perfect introduction to understanding Young and his iconic structures.  

Our goal with these tours is to explore the history of the built environment on Broadway, while seeking to understand the scope of the work of Strategy One, Phase One of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan and the “Road Diet,” which has recently begun.

Press clippings: the walking tour series is featured in Mike Sonksen's KCET Departures report, "Punk Rock, Poetry, and Public Policy." 

Video from previous Broadway On My Mind walking tours: tour #1, tour #2, tour #3, tour #4, tour #5tour #7.

ABOUT THE TOUR SERIES: In July 2013, LAVA launched a series of monthly 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 (PDF). Each walking tour will follow and depart from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.

Stretching from 2nd Street to Olympic, the District contains the most intact collection of Beaux-Arts buildings in Los Angeles, and the largest collection of historic theaters anywhere in the United States.

As Broadway’s vast scope and scale can be overwhelming, on each walking tour we will look closely at several different historic buildings, in order to acclimatize the observer to better understand and appreciate the whole. We will also be looking at the historic streetscape, with attention paid to street lights, sidewalks (terrazzo in particular), basement hatches, sidewalk vents, glass blocks, manhole covers, granite curbs and signage.

Motivation for this tour series:

With City Council’s June 2013 approval of funding for Strategy One, Phase One of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan, we believe that it is it is imperative to develop a greater public awareness and understanding of Broadway’s architectural and scenic qualities, and to bring the informed voices of the community into discussion of the proposed changes and alterations. We believe that no element of Broadway’s streetscape can be altered without causing a transformation of the whole, requiring careful consideration before any permanent or semi-permanent changes are made. Broadway’s architectural character is defined not by any single feature (uniform height limits, predominance of theaters) or single landmark building (Eastern Columbia, Bradbury Building, Los Angeles Theater), but upon the concord of all of it, and the strength of the impression which all together they provide. No feature or building is of dominant importance, but each contributes, and all are vitally fused together into our National Register landmark district. Many of the salient architectural and streetscape features which will be the focus of this tour series are proposed to be impacted by the yet-unfunded Strategy One, Phase Two of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. The evolving situation demands public input and public awareness. We hope that you will join us on the tour series to better understand Broadway and become an advocate for its continued preservation, stewardship and vibrancy.

(Postponed) LAVA's 40th Sunday Salon - LAVA Visionary of the Year Lecture

An important message from LAVA - September 9, 2014

Dear friends,

It is with no small amount of regret that we are putting the monthly LAVA Sunday Salon and Broadway on My Mind walking tour series on hiatus, effective immediately. Both events take place at Les Noces du Figaro restaurant, which is closing down for several months of renovations.

We will be working closely with Jonathan Mgaieth of Figaro to determine a relaunch date as soon as the restaurant reopens, hopefully in early 2015. So stay tuned, and we hope to see you at other LAVA events in the meantime.

Please know that your continued thoughts and good will are the rock upon which LAVA builds its house.

With thanks for your understanding, we remain,
Richard Schave and Kim Cooper
LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association

 

Join LAVA for our revived free monthly Sunday Salon series. We return to South Broadway, to the mezzanine of Les Noces du Figaro, which was recently opened by the family behind Figaro Bistro in Los Feliz. This handsome space was formerly Schaber's Cafeteria (Charles F. Plummer, 1928), and the mezzanine features wonderful views of the Los Angeles Theatre.

On the last Sunday of each month, LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), 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. We also recommend the eclairs.

Read about the original Sunday Salon at Clifton's Cafeteria here.

LAVA Visionary of the Year Lecture: Forgotten Artists: The Master Tailors of Hollywood's Golden Age

Who made Clark Gable look the part of a superstar? Who dressed Humphrey Bogart, the Ice Follies, and an entire generation of Filipino migrant workers? Who led Liberace from traditional white tie and tails towards outfits shimmering with Swarovksi crystals? The long-forgotten master tailors of Hollywood’s golden age, that’s who! While Tinseltown’s great dress designers — Adrian, Irene — remain well-known, the tailors whose genius rendered Fred Astaire and William Powell impossibly suave have faded into obscurity… until now. Join Los Angeles retail historian, and LAVA Visionary of the Year, Marc Chevalier, as he reveals the marvelous, surprising stories of Hollywood’s top three tailors, whose extraordinary careers rose and fell with the movie industry.

Marc's presentation will be divided into two sections, each about 45 minutes in length, with a 15 minute break in between.

The Salon will be followed by a free walking tour, The Flaneur & The City: Broadway on My Mind walking tour #13. Please visit the tour series Landing Page for videos and descriptions of past tours and the goals of the series.

Wiltern Theatre All About Tour and Reception

Please join us for our first All About at the beautiful Art Deco Wiltern Theatre. Opened in 1931, the Wiltern was threatened with demolition and was only saved because of the determination of local preservationists.

Come hear the story of the rescue and restoration, then take docent-guided tours of the entire theatre, including backstage areas not accessible to the public! We’ve been granted FULL ACCESS for this tour; don’t miss this rare opportunity!

This Tour will feature the same presentation and 4 tour loops as the day's earlier tour, and a Reception in the lobby following the tour. Special guests to be announced. Your ticket includes admission and appetizers. There will also be a cash bar. Tickets are $35 ($30 for LAHTF members, click the "Redeem Benefits" button during checkout to apply LAHTF Member Discount).

Wiltern Theatre All About Tour

 

Please join us for our first All About at the beautiful Art Deco Wiltern Theatre. Opened in 1931, it was threatened with demolition and was only saved because of the determination of local preservationists. Come hear the story of this rescue and restoration, then take docent-guided tours of the entire theatre, including backstage areas not accessible to the public! We've been granted Full Access for this tour; don't miss this rare opportunity!

The first tour is at 12:00pm. it will feature a historical slide presentation and 4 tour loops covering the entire theatre.

Tickets are $15 ($10 for LAHTF members, click the "Redeem Benefits" button during checkout to apply LAHTF Member Discount).