Talks

LAVA's 39th Sunday Salon

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.

Presentation One: Charlie Parker's Central Avenue Jazz 

Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker arrived at Los Angeles' Union Station in December of 1945 all but tied to his seat. Somewhere in the southwestern desert his heroin withdrawals had caught up with him and the rest of the band knew they were going to be in for a long trip. But none was going to be as long as Parker's.

The two titans of bebop, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, had booked a winter gig in sunny LA. Six nights a week in a Hollywood nightclub was a nice way to get out of the City and introduce a new audience to their innovative bebop sounds -- but Parker's spiraling drug problem was a liability before the band had even packed their bags.

When the residency finally ended, relationships were in shambles, box office receipts were disappointing and the band was eager to just get home. But Parker didn't show up for the flight. It took him over a year to finally get out of Los Angeles. During his extended stay, Parker had disastrous recording sessions, transcendent recording sessions, he signed over royalties to his drug dealer, lit his hotel room on fire and eventually served six months in a mental institution.

Author Sean J. O'Connell chronicles Los Angeles's unique 20th century jazz scene in his newest book, Los Angeles's Central Avenue Jazz. For his first LAVA presentation, he will chart the journey of jazz' greatest destructive genius through the nightclubs and back alleys of 1940s Los Angeles.

Presentation Two: Living a Magickal Life

What is magick and how does one live it? From kitchen witchery and crafting to ceremonial magic, join us to examine the core principles underlying magick and discover ways to enrich your life by creating change in accord with Will.

Soror Lilya is an Initiate of Ordo Templi Orientis, a Thelemite and a Crafter who has been working with Magick for over 20 years.

The Salon will be followed by a free walking tour, The Flaneur & The City: Broadway on My Mind walking tour #12. Please visit the tour series Landing Page for videos and descriptions of past tours and the goals of the series.

Don't Turn Your Back: Real L.A. Murders from the Dawn of Forensic Science

To purchase a ticket for this special event, click here. If you'd like to be contacted when another crime lab tour and lecture are scheduled, subscribe to LAVA's occasional Crime Lab Newsletter.

Join us in the Cal State Los Angeles teaching crime lab for an afternoon’s inquiry into the history of forensic science in Los Angeles, in support of new research coming out of the Criminalistics Department.

Presenters:

Mike Fratantoni, an LASD Deputy who sits on the board of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Museum, makes a return engagement to the crime lab to present two fascinating and complex cases which will explore the development of forensic investigation.

Meiling Cabral is Chair of the California Association of Criminalists’ Historical Committee, and a forensic investigator for the LAPD. Meiling combines a practicing forensic scientist’s experience and an historian’s passion for reconstructing the past. For each of Deputy Fratantoni’s case presentations, she will provide a “Then & Now” forensic overview, highlighting technological breakthroughs, methodological changes and how the cases have influenced the development of modern forensic investigation.

Case One: Poor Little Louise Peete

In 1920, a homeless Louise Peete turned her romantic attentions towards elderly mining executive Jacob Denton, and moved into his house off Wilshire Boulevard. In May, Denton disappeared. When his friends called, Louise claimed that Denton had gone into hiding after being disfigured in a sword fight. For months, she lived and entertained in Denton’s mansion, until the police agreed to search the house. Denton’s murdered body was discovered buried in the basement, but Louise Peete had flown the coop. Captured and tried, she was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in San Quentin. She served eighteen years, and was once again homeless. Good-hearted Margaret Logan offered Louise a position as paid companion and housekeeper. Five years later, Margaret vanished. Her body was discovered in the backyard of her Pacific Palisades home. Thanks to the forensic evidence gathered and interpreted by Ray Pinker, LAPD chemist and future director of the CSULA Criminalistics Department, Louise was found guilty of murder and executed in the California gas chamber in 1947.

Case Two: The End of Charlie Crawford

Charlie “The Gray Wolf” Crawford and newspaper editor Hebert Spencer were shot, Spencer fatally, in Crawford’s Hollywood office on May 20, 1931. The investigation and trials that followed are the stuff of Los Angeles legend. Crawford was a racketeer who was in with the crooked “City Hall Crowd” during Prohibition. He died in a hospital ward muttering with his last breath that he’d take the name of his killer to his grave. Forensic investigators in the LAPD went to work seeking the answer. Before they found it, David Clark, a former Assistant District Attorney and candidate for a municipal judgeship, walked into the Hall of Justice and confessed. Homicide detectives were incredulous, and the forensic investigation continued. The first trial resulted in a mistrial, the second in acquittal. In his presentation, Deputy Frantantoni will walk us through the landmark forensic analysis and pull back the curtains on this rich and fascinating period of Los Angeles history, and a story so twisted, no less a noir master than Raymond Chandler fictionalized it.

Noir California: The Masters of 20th Century Crime Fiction

A panel of experts discuss 20th century crime fiction in California. Denise Hamilton (editor, L.A. NOIR) leads a conversation between Julie M. Rivett (Dashiell Hammett scholar & granddaughter, editor of THE HUNTER & OTHER STORIES), Kim Cooper (Esotouric crime historian, author of THE KEPT GIRL) and Tom Nolan (author of ROSS MACDONALD: A BIOGRAPHY) at the Pasadena Central Library. Reception at 6:00pm, discussion 7:00pm-8:30pm). Books will be available for purchase and signing.

LAVA's 38th Sunday Salon

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.

Presentation One The Mystique of the Orange.

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 bureaucratswith both artistic and commercial motivationto appeal to people’s continuing desire to believe that such exceptional perfection can really exist,” he says.

Presentation Two 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, will take us on a guided tour of Chaplin in 1914, and the Los Angeles history revealed in these early comedies.

PLEASE NOTE: this Sunday Salon will be slightly longer than usual in order to accommodate three talks.

The second presentation will end at 1:45pm. The third presentation runs from 2:00pm-2:30pm, and will serve as an introduction to the Broadway On My Mind Walking Tour which immediately follows.

Presentation Three: Open Street Map & Historical Overlays

Join us as Charlotte Wolter explains how OpenStreetMap is creating an open, free map of the world that anyone can use.

It works by marshaling the energies and knowledge of tens of thousands of volunteers around the globe who contribute their time and local knowledge in a phenomenon known as “crowd-sourcing,” focusing this mass of people in a common effort for the common good.

[OpenStreetMap] is also a sophisticated technical effort, one in which some of the best minds in geographic / mapping science and computing have contributed their abilities to create the storage system that keeps all of OpenStreetMaps’ huge data files safe and quick to access.

These programmers also have helped to develop an online mapping interface that make it easy for anyone to contribute to OpenStreetMap. If you have an interest in the history of a place, OpenStreetMap (and its corollary, OpenHistoricalMap) are here to provide a way to put that history, literally, on the map.

If you’d like to map historical sites that still exist, you’ll use OpenStreetMap. For lost locations, OpenHistoricalMap is the place where contributors can provide reconstructions of places that existed in the past, whether the buildings still exist today or not.

In this presentation, you will have an opportunity to try your hand at contributing to OpenStreetMap, using your knowledge of historic sites in Los Angeles. You can even bring your laptop computer if you’d like to learn how to edit Open StreetMap at home. The tools and techniques you’ll discover in this presentation will also be useful if you’d like to add lost locations to OpenHistoricalMap .

The Salon will be followed by a free walking tour, The Flaneur & The City: Broadway on My Mind walking tour #11. Please visit the tour series Landing Page for videos and descriptions of past tours and the goals of the series.

Drive the California Dream: Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles County

The variably named and numbered Pacific Coast Highway spans 1,700 miles from Canada to Mexico. Seventy-five of those create a dramatic drive through Los Angeles County, showcasing the iconic cities of Malibu, Santa Monica, South Bay, San Pedro and Long Beach. Past scenic seascapes and famous beaches, “PCH” has become over the decades a symbol for Southern California coastal life, encompassing pleasure piers and amusement parks, surfing, yachting and other water sports. No longer just a road, PCH is a ribbon of destinations and the byway through the California dream. Ride with author Carina Monica Montoya via vintage images from the California Department of Transportation and new photos by John Moss through this remarkable road’s history and the picturesque coastal communities it serves.

East of West LA: Kevin McCollister

Photographer Kevin McCollister presents images from his series, East of West LA.

“East of West LA is an ongoing project, now in its eighth year. Without quite realizing it, I’ve taken on the task of refuting the exhausted caricature of Los Angeles as a city of laid-back pleasure-seekers with photographs of Hispanic grandmothers, bridges over the sluggish L.A. River, neon apartment signs, storefront churches, and more. What started off as a whim has grown into a serious commitment resulting in gallery shows, widespread Internet coverage, and my book, East of West LA.”

LAVA's 37th Sunday Salon

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.

Presentation One: 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.

Presentation Two: 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.

The Salon will be followed by a free walking tour, The Flaneur & The City: Broadway on My Mind walking tour #10. Please visit the tour series Landing Page for videos and descriptions of past tours and the goals of the series.

Kim Cooper signs "The Kept Girl" at L.A. Times Festival of Books

The annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books takes place April 12 (10am-6pm) and April 13 (10am-5pm) at USC, with numerous scheduled talks and signings.

Join LAVA co-founder Kim Cooper at booth #367 at the end of the day Sunday, where she'll be signing her new historic Los Angeles mystery The Kept Girl in the company of fellow Sisters in Crime Los Angeles scribes Rosalkind Barden, Donna Chaffee, Chris Lynch and Naomi Hirahara.

Kim Cooper's "The Kept Girl" reading and book signing

LAVA co-founders Kim Cooper and Richard Schave invite you to join them at Vroman's Bookshop for a reading and book signing for The Kept Girl (Esotouric Ink), Kim's debut novel of 1929 Los Angeles. Kim will read a selection from the book, answer questions and write something sweet inside your copy. Vintage attire is encouraged, but not required.   

The Kept Girl is inspired by a sensational real-life Los Angeles cult murder spree which exploded into the public consciousness when fraud charges were filed against the cult's leaders in 1929. The victim was the nephew of oil company president Joseph Dabney, Raymond Chandler's boss. In the novel, Chandler, still several years away from publishing his first short story, is one of three amateur detectives who uncover the ghastly truth about the Great Eleven cult over one frenetic week. Informed by the author's extensive research into the literary, spiritual, criminal and architectural history of Southern California, The Kept Girl is a terrifying noir love story, set against the backdrop of a glittering pre-crash metropolis.

An Afternoon In Old Monterey Park: El Encanto history tour

LAVA invites you to join us for an afternoon of historic discovery at the historic and breathtaking El Encanto, perhaps the most beautiful building in the San Gabriel Valley. This is a free, drop-in event; no tickets or reservations required. If you'd like to support LAVA's free programming, click here.

El Encanto was built in 1927 by Peter N. Snyder, the visionary Greek developer known as the “Father of the East Side,” as a leasing office and community center for his ambitious development Midwick View Estates. Nestled in a natural valley on Atlantic Boulevard south of Garvey, it was to be the Beverly Hills of the East Side. The covenants on the lots required the fashionable Spanish Colonial revival as the architectural style, and Snyder took the lead with several showcase hillside homes that he built himself. The centerpiece of the Midwick View Estates’ opening ceremonies, El Encanto is ideally placed perpendicular to Atlantic Boulevard opposite “The Cascades,” a series of tiered fountains and statuary which recalls the ancient beauty and aesthetics of Snyder’s native Greece. Sadly, the stock market crash and great depression killed all chances for this development to thrive but through some astonishing quirk of good fortune, El Encanto survived almost untouched.

Tile historian Brian Kaiser and El Encanto’s own Richard Gorman will lead two tours, each beginning at fifteen minutes after the hour. Richard will discuss of the history of the site and its varied uses over the decades, as well as its current role as office for the Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce. Brian will give an overview of Southern California ceramic tile technology and design in the 1920s, and how El Encanto is a rare intact specimen of that golden age, with some very intriguing glazes and stylistic choices.