Talks

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.

LAVA's 36th 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.

Because of the scope and scale of the program, this month’s Sunday Salon will not follow our usual varied two-act structure, but will focus almost entirely on Electronic Music. The program will include the history of the genre, some theoretical discussion, a performance and a hands-on demonstration. We will break for about ten minutes about an hour into the presentation.  

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 will also feature 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.)

The Salon will be followed by a free walking tour, The Flaneur & The City: Broadway on My Mind walking tour #8. Please visit the tour series Landing Page for videos and descriptions of past tours and the goals of the series.

Crash and Spatter

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 development of new breakthroughs in forensic science coming out of the Criminalistics Department.

We are delighted to announce the debut crime lab appearance of Prof. David Raymond, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at CSULA. Prof. Raymond will provide an overview of Forensic Engineering with a focus on his specialty, Forensic Injury Biomechanics. The presentation will introduce attendees to the field of forensic engineering and subspecialties; including injury biomechanics. Dr. Raymond will provide some historical background on the genesis of this field along with modern applications of injury biomechanics in engineering design and in forensic applications. Finally Dr. Raymond will demonstrate the utility of biomechanics in forensic science through the presentation of real-world cases.

For the second presentation, LAVA crime lab host Prof. Donald Johnson will provide an overview of Blood Stain Patterning through his long working relationship with Dr. Raymond.

The first topic covered will be the development of an Automated Imaging System for Blood Stain Patterning, demonstrating their work in producing more sophisticated mathematical models—recognizing that trajectories are arcs, not straight lines, for example — leading up to a means by which wound origin and trajectories can be quickly processed by forensic investigators at crime scenes. Numerous real-life case examples will be used to illustrate this discussion.

Next Prof. Johnson will discuss their work on micro RNA, which is leading to determination of wound of origin for blood stains. Using the 1990s-era British murder case against Sion Jenkins as a jumping off point, Prof. Johnson will explain the methodology and instruments by which his graduate students are learning how to pinpoint proteins in RNA specific to respective organs and account for them in blood stain patterns.

By proving the wound of origin for blood evidence, forensic scientists can discount the claims of suspects who insist a victim’s blood at a crime scene got there by innocent means (nose bleed, minor accidental injury, etc.). Using the new analytical methods developed in Prof. Johnson’s lab, a scientist can prove that the blood stain in question originated with bleeding from the lungs, and not from the mucus membrane in the victim’s nasal passage.

Racetrack Culture, presented by Anne Fishbein

“I’ve always been interested in the culture surrounding horse racing. On attending a race, it becomes evident that people are drawn to this kind of event for a wide number of reasons: love of the sport, connection to the tradition, and gambling, to name a few. Most notably what I observe is a place seemingly lost in time. The tracks are old and either in a state of neglect or attempted renewal. Some try to modernize; others try to emphasize their nostalgic link to the past. Most intriguing to me are the patrons, represented by widely mixed demographics of age, circumstances, and background. As a photographer, the unifying factor of these racetrack goers is their ability to transcend, through the lens, in to a kind of timelessness that revisits a world when horse racing played a much bigger role in our collective imagination. This phenomenon has a direct link to the beginning of my interest in photography in that my strongest connection has always been to the photographs that predate me and my experience.”
www.annefishbein.com

Please feel free to bring your lunch.

The Photographer's Eye is a FREE lecture series featuring LA photographers talking about their work. Presented by Photo Friends of the LAPL and generously sponsored by Christy & Stephen McAvoy

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Rock & Roll Seen (encore presentation)

Los Angeles through the Lens of Chuck Boyd 1965-1969

Photographer Chuck Boyd was embedded in the Los Angeles rock & roll scene of the 1960s. A professional photographer, he left behind a collection of nearly 30,000 images of music legends spanning two decades. His photo collection is now overseen by Jeff Schwartz and Chuck’s siblings.

Jeff is an award-winning teacher, author, and music historian. He will share images from Chuck’s archives, discuss “rock & roll archaeology,” and talk about Chuck’s life and the challenges of directing a photo archive.

This free talk is a repeat performance of Jeff's 2013 standing room only presentation, presented by Photo Friends of the LAPL and generously sponsored by Christy & Stephen McAvoy

The Orange and the Dream of California

Cloaked in mystery and, until modern times, available only to the elite, the orange has been known as the fruit of the gods and a symbol of health, wealth, and love. The dream of California, since its discovery by Europeans, has been that it is a place of plenty, of potential, of personal opportunity. When the orange and California were finally linked, their partnership created a compelling fantasy and a fantastic reality. The Orange and the Dream of California takes a lively, literary, and extraordinarily visual look at the symbiotic relationship between the Golden State and its “golden apple.” The orange became a symbol of everything California promised, and California became the center of the Orange Empire. “The orange and California have built upon one another for hundreds of years,” explains author David Boulé, “crafting a vision that appeals to our universal desire for beauty, health, enchantment, and reinvention.” Books will be available for purchase and personally signed by the author.

LA in Focus is a free lecture series presented by Photo Friends of the LAPL and generously sponsored by Christy & Stephen McAvoy photofriends.org

LAVA's 35th 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.

The Salon will be broken into two distinct presentations each lasting about 45 minutes. You are encouraged to arrive early if you wish to order food and beverages from the counter downstairs, and bring your meal upstairs. 

Presentation One: In celebration of National Poetry Month, Suzanne Lummis, Cece Peri and Dale Raoul will present a series of readings in the vein of Poetry Noir. The readings will 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.

Presentation Two: Architectural historian Nathan Marsak, author of Los Angeles Neon, will present on Los Angeles's great public mausolea. In this cultural and architectural history of how Los Angeles came to understand the community mausoleum, Marsak will chart 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 will be 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 will be 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 will reveal this significant, yet little-valued aspect of our architectural landscape.

A Rrose in a Prose curated reading at the 2014 L.A. Zine Fest

A Rrose in a Prose, L.A.’s most ramshackle monthly literary salon, is pleased to announce that this month’s event will be something very special: a curated reading onstage at the 2014 L.A. Zine Fest!

Founded by music journalist and editor D. M. Collins (L.A. RECORD) in 2012 out of a sense of desperation, A Rrose in a Prose is a cure for the boring open-mic readings and pushy poetry slams you may have suffered through at coffee shops throughout the Southland. Featuring writers from all genres, and we mean all of ‘em—poets, fiction writers, essayists, eroticists, educators, rappers, playwrights, political pundits, bards, braggarts, addicts, comedians, conspirators, and critics, to name a few—and from all walks of life, A Rrose in a Prose’s hand-picked, cross-pollinated, round-robin style readings are never dull, never safe, and might just help you find your next literary crush.

This month, of course, the theme is zines. And so for the first time, we’ll be bringing David Markey (We Got Power! Films), Kim Cooper (Esotouric Bus Adventures, LAVA, Scram Magazine), Allison Wolfe (LadyFest, Bratmobile), and Gene Sculatti (Rolling Stone, Billboard) together to read some of the pivotal early works that helped them mold themselves into the artists, pundits, and smarty-pants they’ve since become. We're certain their stories, and of course their writings, will provide some laughter, some learning, and a sense of legacy for the crowd at Zine Fest.

Now in its third year, L.A. Zine Fest is an annual gathering of zine makers, DIY publishers, graphic novelists and readers, the kind of festival that hits that sweet spot between “convention” and “community.” This year, it’s all coming coming together at Helm’s Bakery in Culver City, where over 175 exhibitors of zines and indie publications are scheduled to spread small press goodies across countless booths and blankets and tables for your perusal (and purchase)!

There’ll also be a whole day’s worth of presentations, readings, and events; Doors open at 10am, A Rrose in a Prose hits the main stage from 4:15 to 5 p.m.