Pershing Square Restoration Society advocates for preservation of the Downtown L.A.'s park's threatened historic monuments

For immediate release
 
 
June 2, 2016
 
 
Pershing Square Restoration Society advocates for preservation of the Downtown L.A.'s park's threatened historic monuments 
 
 
WHO: Pershing Square Restoration Society, a grassroots historic preservation advocacy group.
WHAT: New petition calls on the city and the Pershing Square Renew public-private partnership to commit to preserve and retain on site the monuments in Downtown L.A.'s Pershing Square that have been threatened with possible removal.
MORE INFO: Petition link - https://www.change.org/p/department-of-recreation-and-parks-save-the-per... / Information page about the endangered and missing monuments - http://restorepershingsquare.blogspot.com/p/save-pershing-square-monuments.html
CONTACT: Kim Cooper, toursATesotouricDOTcom, 213-373-1947
 
 
LOS ANGELES -  Historic Pershing Square, in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, might be the worst public park in America. But after decades of neglect, Angelenos are finally taking notice. 
 
 
The failure of Pershing Square as usable public space has become a hot topic of conversation online and in real life, while in The Los Angeles Times, Gale Holland observed "Neither the people who run the park, nor the homeless, are to blame for Pershing Square's squalor. The scrambled landscape is a massive failure of civic vision. The park was redesigned in the 1950s, the 1980s and the 1990s. With each makeover, it became less appealing, more confused and finally, just weird."
 
 
The time is long past ripe to properly fix Pershing Square. So residents were intrigued by CD14 Councilman Jose Huizar's launch of Pershing Square Renew, a non-profit public-private partnership dedicated to improving the park, and its announcement of an international design competition meant to provide a road map for the park's future. Dozens of designers submitted their visions for Pershing Square, and last month, French firm Agence Ter was selected as the competition winner.
 
 
Agence Ter's design is pleasant enough, a simple, flat, green space. But there's something important missing: nowhere in their renderings appear any of Pershing Square's historic monuments: No Beethoven (1932), no Doughboy (1924), no Spanish American War Memorial (an official Historic-Cultural Monument recognized as the oldest piece of public art in Los Angeles, 1900).
 
 
Members of the grassroots Pershing Square Restoration Society (PSRS), a loosely knit consortium of architectural historians representing more than 2000 Change.org "Restore Pershing Square" petition signers, hoped this might just be an oversight in a rushed competition environment. But then they read this Facebook comment from CD14 Downtown Area Director Sara Hernandez: "Nothing is considered a cultural landmark or required to stay besides the statues which are public art and can be moved around the park or possibly placed elsewhere in the city." 
 
 
Dismayed that the Councilman's office is suggesting the removal of Pershing Square's monuments from the park, PSRS have launched a new Change.org petition, "Save the Pershing Square Monuments." It calls on all responsible parties to commit to preserving the monuments in place. PSRS also hopes to see the missing monuments, which include a magnificent French bronze war cannon (1751) recently located at the San Pedro Maritime Museum and a memorial slab for a famous 1930s squirrel called Benny, returned to the park.
 
 
The "Save the Pershing Square Monuments" petition is at:
https://www.change.org/p/department-of-recreation-and-parks-save-the-pershing-square-monuments
 
 
A webpage listing the monuments, with photos and history, is at:
http://restorepershingsquare.blogspot.com/p/save-pershing-square-monuments.html
 
 
Pershing Square Restoration Society co-founder Kim Cooper says, "The Pershing Square monuments aren't just inconvenient hunks of metal that can be moved around the city like chess pieces; they are Los Angeles history incarnate. The mothers who wept beside the Doughboy, the music lovers who came many miles to stand quietly with Beethoven, the old soldiers who remembered distant friends when they passed the Spanish American War Memorial are still there in Pershing Square as long as the monuments remain. It would be a civic disgrace to do anything other than restore the monuments to their prominent places within the park."
 
 
And PSRS co-founder Richard Schave adds "The last time the city redesigned Pershing Square, the historic monuments were clearly an afterthought, shoved into a corner where they're easy to miss. If we're finally going to get Pershing Square right and make the great public space that Los Angeles deserves, the first step is to treat the monuments like the civic treasures that they are."
 
 
The "Save the Pershing Square Monuments" petition is filled with passionate comments, as citizens weigh in with their heartfelt hopes that any future Pershing Square will include its past. A sample:
 
 
The history of the park should be maintained as much as possible. The monuments are all treasures to the city. (Courtland Jindra)... If those of us who remember allow our own history to be destroyed, then it will be erased from memory forever. (Adriene Biondo)... Please preserve the history of Pershing Square. L.A. is changing too fast and preserving the historic elements of Pershing Square is one way to save some of the city's soul for the future. (Tamara Raskin)... Do not remove the Pershing Square Monuments. Our history is precious to us. Stop erasing the old, beautiful, and historical, City of Los Angeles we all know and love. (Karen Coplen)... These artworks are part of our collective history and must be preserved. (Thomas Nagano)... Respect the Pershing Square Monuments; they must remain within the Pershing Square redesign boundaries. (John Girodo)... The preservation of LA History is just as important as its future. (Nicole Pasten)... I value Los Angeles' history as precious and fragile, and as a life-long Angelino, I want to see it PRESERVED -- not destroyed and replaced. (De Ann Lewis)... Respect Angelino history and build upon it rather than hide, bury or destroy it. (Anne Laureano)... History, tradition, cultural icons are IMPORTANT, and can be incorporated in the renewal plan, don't destroy or move them! (Carol Edger Germain)... The monuments are as much a part of Pershing Square as anything else. It's bad enough that a company NOT from L.A. got the contract, but to let them rob us of such a very special part of our city's history, well - that simply won't do. The monuments need to be in Pershing Square forever. (Carol Gwenn)... The Beethoven statue is a site-specific work, meant to honor William Andrews Clark, Jr.'s philanthropic venture: The LA Philharmonic. (Nina Schneider)... Save the monuments, but do not put them in a sad Postmodern corral as Legorreta did. (Jay Platt)... I strongly believe that we should nurture and protect historical buildings and markers within the city and to develop as a mosaic where the layers can be seen and appreciated.. LA is rich with history. the best cities on earth have figured out how to manage this. this kind of awareness makes us better!! a rich destination with many layers and textures! (Janet Klein)... It is without question that we should reinstall these important markers of our past and memorials to those who have gone before. They are part of our shared collective memory, and represent the highest and most noble parts of our great city. (Nathan Marsak)... It would be so EASY to keep these historical reminders in the new park and give it a nuovo-retro vibe. Don't miss your chance! (John Orr)... I care about my city's history. Knowing our past gives us strength for the future (Dawn Garcia).
 
 
Angelenos have strong, harmonious opinions about the next steps for Pershing Square—the want to see the historic monuments protected. Now, as Pershing Square Renew seeks funding to redesign the park, will the Department of Recreation and Parks, Councilman Jose Huizar and Agence Ter listen? 
 
 
Visit the Pershing Square Restoration Society website at http://restorepershingsquare.blogspot.com/
 
 
View John Parkinson's original Pershing Square in a film clip from "Shoes" (Lois Weber, 1916; restored 2010 by EYE Filmmuseum)
https://youtu.be/80K_43sqgr8
 
 
The Pershing Square Restoration Society preservation campaigners Kim Cooper and Richard Schave (Esotouric / LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionary Association), Stephen Gee (John Parkinson's biographer) and Courtland Jindra (United States World War I Centennial Commission) are available for interviews, as are many petition signers. Contact Kim (toursATesotouricDOTcom, 213-373-1947). 

Campaign to Restore Pershing Square Announces Updated 1910 John Parkinson Design Proposal

For immediate release
 
October 5, 2015
 
Campaign to Restore Pershing Square Announces Updated 1910 John Parkinson Design Proposal
 
LOS ANGELES -  Historic Pershing Square, in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, might be the worst public park in America. But after decades of neglect, Angelenos are finally taking notice. 
 
The failure of Pershing Square as usable public space has become a hot topic of conversation on blogs and in real life, while in The Los Angeles Times, Gale Holland observed "Neither the people who run the park, nor the homeless, are to blame for Pershing Square's squalor. The scrambled landscape is a massive failure of civic vision. The park was redesigned in the 1950s, the 1980s and the 1990s. With each makeover, it became less appealing, more confused and finally, just weird."
 
 
The time is long past ripe to properly fix Pershing Square. So residents were intrigued by Councilman Jose Huizar's launch of Pershing Square Renew, a non-profit dedicated to improving the park, and its recent announcement of an international design competition meant to provide a road map for the park's future. Architecture firms from around the world have expressed interest in entering the competition with new visions for Pershing Square.
 
 
But in light of the many failed Pershing Square redesigns, the grassroots Pershing Square Restoration Society (PSRS), a loosely knit consortium of architectural historians representing more than 1900 Change.org "Restore Pershing Square" petition signers, says NO to yet another trendy redesign, and YES to the careful restoration of a formerly great Los Angeles park.
 
 
That's why PSRS has partnered with Brian A. Kite, Managing Principal of SRK Architects, to support his firm's entry into the Pershing Square Renew design competition with a proposal adapting elements of John Parkinson's classic 1910 design to the needs of twenty first century Los Angeles. The park was among Parkinson's early commissions; the iconic L.A. architect would go on to design City Hall, Union Station and Bullock's Wilshire. 
 
 
Architect Kite's proposal begins at the source, John Parkinson's original "Central Park" blueprints with their diagonal paths, central fountain, bench seating and traditional sculptures and plantings, while taking into account the presence of the 1950s-era underground parking garage and driveways, in addition to modern transit, special event and lifestyle needs. 
 
 
When asked to describe his approach to re-imaging Pershing Square, the native Angeleno architect Kite said, "The opportunity to re-create the heartbeat of Los Angeles in the form of a new, majestic, historically relevant central open space must speak immediately to the aspirations of all Angelenos. Thru this global interactive design process, our collective notions of place will be tested to discern elements or whole expressions worthy as true purpose for this land known as Pershing Square. SRK's approach to design derives from personal and historical perspectives universal in nature and timeless in the human psyche. Ours will attempt to bring forward this historical perspective into a blended twenty first century new expression of place creating a beautiful respite from the City while addressing our evolving urban context. In the end, we advocate a highly integrative approach yet for the purpose of creating contemplative, inspirational opportunity--an antidote to stress in modern life."
 
 
In celebration of the decision to enter John Parkinson's updated design in the competition, PSRS has created a 47-second-long promotional video (https://youtu.be/LDc0KqmL3hg) featuring recently rediscovered 1916 footage of the original park (https://youtu.be/80K_43sqgr8), shot on location for feminist film pioneer Lois Weber's feature production "Shoes" and newly restored by EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. With original music by Skip Heller's Hollywood Blues Destroyers and animation commissioned by director Kasten/Creative, the hopeful clip celebrates the beauty of Parkinson's lost park while encouraging viewers to get involved with the restoration efforts by signing the Change.org petition.
 
 
The clip's composer, Skip Heller, says, "The city is our home, not just our apartments. It's time to restore this beautiful place to our collective public life."
 
 
And PSRS founder Kim Cooper adds, "Ever since John Parkinson's park was dug up in the early 1950s for the parking lot and bomb shelter, Angelenos have been unhappy with Pershing Square. This design competition offers a wonderful opportunity to undo the mistakes of the past and return to the successful design that worked beautifully for four decades: a true urban oasis as imagined by a beloved Los Angeles architect. And we are so appreciative that the film historians at EYE Filmmuseum are gracioualy permitting us to use their beautifully restored 1916 footage from a previously 'lost' film in the campaign to bring the currently 'lost' park back to life."
 
 
About "Shoes" (Lois Weber, 1916; restored 2010 by EYE Filmmusem): A "sociological" film that the pioneering female film director directed for the Bluebird Photoplays, "Shoes" was based on the novel "A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil" (1912) by social reformer Jane Addams and depicts the struggles of working class women for consumer goods and upward mobility. The film stars Mary Maclaren as a poverty-stricken Los Angeles shopgirl who is so desperate to replace her only pair of shoes that she sells her virginity. Although the film was the most booked Bluebird production of the year, the only known surviving copy of "Shoes" was a heavily deteriorated nitrate print residing in the collection of EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam. In 2008, the institute undertook a three-year project to restore the feature and return it to the screen. The print was digitally scanned, completed with fragments from another source, and then digitally corrected to the greatest extent possible. English titles were recreated based on translation from the Dutch titles and the original color tinting was recreated by matching the source material. The final result is the best possible version, allowing the previously lost film "Shoes" to be screened around the world.
 
 
The "Restore Pershing Square" Petition is filmed with passionate comments, as citizens weigh in with their heartfelt hopes for the future of Pershing Square. A sample:
 
 
As an architect I have watched re-envisioning without consideration of original design intent fail. LA has some classics, preserve this one! (Kathleen Scott)... Don't over do it! Please hear the public. (Daniel Amado)... Concrete does not belong in parks! We experience enough brick and mortar from living and working in DTLA -- they got the park right the first time with greenery, comfortable seating, fountains and statues. (Kathryn D'Anna)... People need trees to sit under, lawns to picnic on and ponds to gaze at. And flowers. We already have enough concrete and asphalt, thank you very much. (Glenn Primm)... I live and work downtown, and as much as I love our built environment, a restored and green oasis would bring some appropriate balance for all downtown stakeholders. What we have now is just plain ugly! (Escott Norton)... LA deserves a world-class square akin to other great cities and the former design of Pershing Square would create that engaging public space that will activate Pershing Square once again. (Brigham Yen)... Please restore the park to its original beauty. Listen to LA natives: the natives never wanted a car oriented city but a pedestrian one. (David del Real)... I grew up in LA and I love the way the old Pershing Square created a central and focal point for not just downtown but all of Los Angeles. We need to return her to her old natural glory. (Alexandro Huerta)... I work in downtown LA and am keenly aware of the area's lack of green space. The original park with shade trees, paths and seating are greatly needed. Pershing Square is currently one of the worst public spaces I have ever encountered. (David McDonald)
 
 
Angelenos have strong, harmonious opinions about the next steps for Pershing Square—the want to see John Parkinson's classic park restored. Now, as The Pershing Square Restoration Society and Brian A. Kite of SRK Architects prepare a proposal that brings Parkinson's park into the modern age, will the design competition's judges and advisory board listen? 
 
 
See the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-garcetti-la-city-council-recreation-and-parks-don-t-re-envision-pershing-square-restore-pershing-square
 
 
Visit the Pershing Square Restoration Society website at http://restorepershingsquare.blogspot.com/
 
 
View the 47-second Restore Pershing Square clip
https://youtu.be/LDc0KqmL3hg
 
 
View the complete Pershing Square  scene from "Shoes" (Lois Weber, 1916; restored 2010 by EYE Filmmuseum)
https://youtu.be/80K_43sqgr8
 
 
Short film by Kasten/Creative
http://www.JeremyKasten.com
 
 
Short film music by Skip Heller's Hollywood Blues Destroyers
http://www.hollywoodbluesdestroyers.com
 
"Shoes" footage (Lois Weber, 1916) courtesy of EYE Filmmuseum (restored in 2010)
http://www.eyefilm.nl/en
 
 
Restoration Proposal by SRK Architects, Los Angeles
http://srkarchitectsinc.com
 
 
The Pershing Square Restoration Society preservation campaigners Kim Cooper and Richard Schave (Esotouric / LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionary Association) and Stephen Gee (John Parkinson's biographer) are available for interviews, as is Architect Brian A. Kite AIA. Contact Kim (toursATesotouricDOTcom, 213-373-1947). 

Walk through two complex arson cases at top LASD investigator Ed Nordskog's latest forensic science seminar

For immediate release

January 8, 2015

Walk through two complex arson cases at top LASD investigator Ed Nordskog's latest forensic science seminar

WHAT: Cal State Los Angeles Professor Donald Johnson, in association with LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association and Esotouric, present a new program in their quarterly forensic science seminar series: "Where There's Smoke " hosted by Ed Nordskog, top arson investigator for the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

WHEN: Sunday, January 18, 12:00pm-4:00pm

WHERE: The Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center (Cal State L.A.), 1800 Paseo Rancho Castilla, Los Angeles, CA 90032

COST: $36.50 per person, includes refreshments. A portion of the proceeds from this event supports the graduate level research of Cal State Los Angeles Criminalistics graduate students.

ED NORDSKOG'S BOOKS: Copies of "'Torchered' Minds: Case Histories of Notorious Serial Arsonists" and "Fire Raisers, Freaks and Fiends: Obsessive Arsonists in the California Foothills" will be available for purchase at the event. More info at http://www.torcheredminds.com

RESTRICTIONS: Due to the graphic nature of the presentation, children may not attend.

PHOTOS: Images from a previous event at http://lavatransforms.org/crimelabpics

INFO/RESERVATIONS: http://lavatransforms.org/crimelabjan2015or call 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES- What makes someone set fire to buildings? What twisted line of thinking drives an otherwise nondescript citizen to endanger the lives of strangers? How do investigators get into the minds of arsonists and crack their crimes wide open? On January 18 you can join Ed Nordskog, top arson investigator for the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, for a fascinating afternoon of lectures and live demonstrations, drawing on his own casework and notorious, high profile cases.

Ed Nordskog will present in detail just how two fascinating recent cases were solved.

Case #1 - St John Vianney Catholic Church arson, Hacienda Heights. In April 2011, a brazen arsonist entered the church sanctuary and carefully ensured its destruction. Two priests sleeping in the attached building narrowly escaped with their lives. You’ll marvel at the two-year, multi-agency investigation, the bizarre suspect and how toilet paper became the key to breaking the case.

Case #2 - Marijuana Shop Fires. Beginning in 2009, black street gangs began firebombing marijuana dispensaries throughout the Los Angeles basin, with a large number occurring in Hollywood and West Hollywood. Watch as the facts fall into place through the recently concluded four-year investigation, resulting in the convictions of 11 conspirators and a surprising ring leader. 

In between the lectures, experience a rare hands-on opportunity to view real examples of deadly explosive devices, carefully neutralized for your educational pleasure.

By the end of Ed’s presentations, attendees will have gained familiarity with the real-world experience of a top arson investigator, and with the shadow worlds inhabited by two very different types of arsonist.

ABOUT LAVA'S QUARTERLY FORENSIC SCIENCE SEMINAR SERIES: Turn on the TV today and odds are good you'll see white lab coats, DNA swabs and magnified fingerprints on computer screens. CSI is hot stuff, in fictional series ("NCIS: Los Angeles," "Bones," "Dexter," "CSI") and documentary programming. But it's not often that the general public gets a chance to tour a real crime lab with the forensic investigators and educators who use its tools to solve crimes and develop new research strategies. Leave it to LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association), the creative consortium helmed by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, the married couple whose Esotouric bus adventures have transformed the guided tour experience, to make a real-life CSI experience accessible to interested laypersons. Working closely with one of LAVA's most intriguing Visionary members, Professor Donald Johnson, they've developed a series of events highlighting the work conducted at Cal State L.A.'s state-of-the-art Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, presented through tours and short lectures from the scientist/educators and graduate students who work there.

Since the program launched in October 2010, LAVA's popular lectures and tours in the CSULA crime lab have included presentations on Phil Spector trial trace evidence, the Patrick Tillman death investigation in Afghanistan, a comparison of the 1950s Harvey Glatman case with the 1995 murder of Linda Sobek, the use of dental records to identify mass disaster victims, and more.

A portion of the proceeds from these events supports the research of Criminalistics graduate students at Cal State Los Angeles. Space is very limited and pre-reservation recommended for this rare opportunity to tour the crime lab, learn from experienced forensic investigators and educators, and discover the real art and science of crime scene investigation.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to tour Cal State LA's state-of the-art teaching and research facilities in the Criminalistics Department of the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.

ABOUT ED NORDSKOG: Ed Nordskog is an active arson/bomb detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He has been a detective since 1990, working specifically in the arson and explosives world since 1997. He has conducted over sixteen hundred fire investigations and as of this writing has personally arrested and interviewed over 250 persons who were convicted of fire setting and related crimes. He has testified in court as a recognized expert in this field on over fifty-five occasions. He has been consulted by prosecuting attorneys on death penalty cases involving arson and murder on three occasions. He has been personally involved in over twenty serial arson investigations. The author has a master's degree in emergency services management and is certified as a fire investigator by the California State Fire Marshal and the California Conference of Arson Investigators. He is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Arson Investigation Course, the ATF Advanced Arson Investigation Course, the Forensic Fire Death Investigation Course, and numerous other arson investigation courses. He is involved in course development and teaches fire scene investigation, major arson case investigation, serial arson investigation, and arson murder/fire death investigation. He is a course developer and instructor for the state of California's Arson and Explosives Investigation Course. He is an instructor for the state of California's Homicide Investigator's Course. In 2004, the author was named Arson Investigator of the Year by the International Association of Arson Investigators and Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the International Association of Special Investigations Units; both of these awards are for his work as the lead investigator on a massive arson for hire scheme, involving fifty-five burned properties. He has received over eighty-five commendations, awards, and medals throughout his law enforcement career related to successful criminal investigations. He is author of the books "'Torchered' Minds: Case Histories of Notorious Serial Arsonists" (http://www.torcheredminds.com) and "Fire Raisers, Freaks and Fiends: Obsessive Arsonists in the California Foothills."

ABOUT LAVA: Through participation in LAVA, a select group of creative professionals come together to promote cultural programming that speaks to the urban experience while promoting positive public space. LAVA's creative partners share a love for L.A. and unique ideas for exploring it in their work. Formed by social historians RICHARD SCHAVE and KIM COOPER—proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures and the 1947project time travel blog series (including On Bunker Hill and In SRO Land)—LAVA brings together L.A.'s most visionary promoters, artists, writers and thinkers. The first crop of Visionaries in the growing curated community includes cultural chronicler ADRIENNE CREW, artist and Eastside historian AL GUERRERO, Cacophony Society co-founder AL RIDENOUR, avant garde fashion maven A. LAURA BRODY, poet/publisher ALEIDA RODRIGUEZ, back-to-nature pioneer ALICIA BAY LAUREL, filmmaker ALLISON ANDERS, writer/curator ALLON SCHOENER, designer/mom of Chicken Boy AMY INOUYE, actor/musician ANDY BEN, custom tours maven ANNE BLOCK, documentarian/radio producer ANTHEA RAYMOND, author/gallerist APRIL DAMMANN, memoirist BARBARA KRAFT, pop culture historian BECKY EBENKAMP, ethnomusicologist BETO GONZALEZ, puppeteer BOB BAKER, tile historian BRIAN KAISER, producer/promoter CHRISTIAN VOLTAIRE MEOLI, cultural events programmer CHRISTINA GALANTE, musician COUNT SMOKULA, performance artist CRIMEBO THE CLOWN, writer/Libros Schmibros proprietor DAVID KIPEN, Novelist DAVID ROCKLIN, forensic educator DEREK PACIFICO, literary curator D.M. COLLINS, sculptor DONALD GIALANELLA, forensic scientist/educator DONALD JOHNSON, author/educator DOROTHY RANDALL GRAY, educator and historic cemetery board member DWAIN CARLO CRUM, arson investigator and author ED NORDSKOG, artist ELENA MARY SIFF, documentarian ELIJAH DRENNER, conversation curator ERIC VOLLMER, social connector EVONNE HEYNING, musician/performance artist FEATHERBEARD, photographer GARY LEONARD, pop critic/outsider artist GENE SCULATTI, musician/artist GEORGE EARTH, songsmith HARVEY SID FISHER, theater director HOLLY WITHAM, musician/writer IAN WHITCOMB, artist JASON HADLEY, food blogger JAVIER CABRAL, musician JEFF BOYNTON, filmmaker JEREMY KASTEN, musician JIMI CABEZA DE VACA, social historian JOAN RENNER, writer/artist JOE OESTERLE, writer JOHN BUNTIN, filmmaker JON ALLOWAY, documentarian JOHN DULLAGHAN, Musso & Frank co-owner JORDAN JONES, performance artist JULES ROCHIELLE, cemetery historian KARIE BIBLE. curator JULIE RICO, cultural curator and writer KIM OHANNESON, "Kristin's List" cultural chronicler KRISTIN BEDFORD, songstress/prognosticator MADAME PAMITA, esoteric scholar MAJA D'AOUST, author/broadcaster MANNY PACHECO, writer MARGUERITE DARLINGTON, performer McCRISTOL HARRIS, visual artist MELVIN HALE, journalist MICHAEL LINDER, photographic archivist MICHAEL RISNER, poet/dancer MONA JEAN CEDAR, architectural historian NATHAN MARSAK, writer NEAL POLLOCK, theater director NICHOLAS HOSKING, L.A. Historic Theater Foundation rep NICK MATONAK, music producer NO'A WINTER LAZERUS, musician OCTAVIUS, writer /photographer /musician PAUL KOUDOUNARIS, peace activist PAUL NUGENT of the Aetherius Society, 3-D photography expert RAY 3D ZONE, activist and performer RD PLASSCHAERT, historic ghost seeker RICHARD CARRADINE, artist/musician RICH POLYSORBATE 60, filmmaker/preservationist ROSS LIPMAN, singer-songwriter RUTHANN FRIEDMAN, poet S.A. GRIFFIN, ghost hunter SARAH TROOP, social networking mistress SHAWNA DAWSON, painter/gallerist SUSAN DOBAY, artist/writer/activist SUSANNA DAKIN, Warhol star and writer TERE TEREBA, sculptor TOM WALKER, musical entertainer THE UKULADY, and hat designer YASMIN DIXON.

Applications from prospective LAVA members are being taken at http://lavatransforms.org/apply

To learn more about LAVA, please visit http://www.lavatransforms.org

LAVA founders Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, Professor Donald Johnson, Ed Nordskog and most of LAVA's Visionary members are available for interviews, and a very limited number of journalists on assignment can be accommodated at the event. Contact Kim at amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947

One-Time-Only Bus Tour Reveals Hidden Gems of Southern California Cemetery Architecture

For immediate release
 
 
November 20, 2014
 
 
One-Time-Only Bus Tour Reveals Hidden Gems of Southern California Cemetery
Architecture  
 
WHAT: Esotouric presents its 2014 edition of Richard Schave's birthday bus tour, this year's unique edition featuring "Public Mausolea of Los Angeles and Orange Counties"
WHEN: Saturday, November 29, 10am-5pm 
COST: $62/person, cost includes Indian buffet lunch.
WHERE: Departs from The Daily Dose, 1820 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021. INFO: http://www.esotouric.com/birthdaybus-2014 or call 213-373-1947
 
 
LOS ANGELES- Each year for his birthday, social historian Richard Schave organizes a very special all-day bus tour and mobile birthday party through his tour company Esotouric, opening the guest list to anyone with a passion for unexplored Southern California. 
 
 
On the birthday bus, guests explore hidden gems of local history and architecture, visiting select locations that will never again be part of an Esotouric bus adventure. In 2012, the birthday bus toured Riverside's train museum and the lost town of Spadra's secret cemetery and magnificent Phillips Mansion. In 2013, birthday tourists explored the offbeat museums of the Antelope Valley.  
 
 
And for the 2014 tour, Richard's dear friend, architectural historian Nathan Marsak, leads a guided tour of the stunning and poorly understood Public Mausolea of Los Angeles & Orange Counties, each one a masterpiece of American cemetery architecture. So climb aboard for a 7-hour excursion exploring some of the greatest buildings in the Southland that you've never seen—unless you go to a lot of funerals.
 
 
Lunch (Indian buffet with vegetarian options) is included in the ticket price.  
 
 
Tour host Nathan Marsak, in addition to being the author of "Los Angeles Neon," is renowned as America's wittiest historian of mortuary architecture. At each of the mausolea visited, Nathan will share the histories and structural secrets of these magnificent structures, revealing their compelling narratives through vintage photographs and insights into the architect, engineer and civic groups that funded each project.
 
 
During the on-the-bus portions of the tour, Nathan will argue a slightly more esoteric point: showing how the development of both these public mausolea and of Modernism in Los Angeles were concurrent and connected. They shared many of the same goals and tapped into the same revolutionary material: concrete, with its plasticity adapted to vernacular styles based on indigenous forms and innovative local building methods, and which also served the need for a durable and hygienic space. By tour's end, Nathan will reveal these seemingly traditional structures as standing firmly within the West Coast Modernist canon.
 
 
Public Mausolea to be visited:
 
 
Forest Lawn (formerly Sunnyside Memorial Park) (Long Beach, 1922, Cecil Bryant, architect). This Spanish Renaissance gem is a showcase of ceramic tile design by the local CALCO Pottery headed by Rufus Keeler, later of Malibu Pottery. It contains unusually fine examples of pictorial stained glass, and its dome with its suspended Foucault's Pendulum is a breathtaking architectural space.
 
 
Community Mausoleum (Anaheim, 1914, Charles E. Shattuck, architect). Constructed by the Pacific Mausoleum Company of Los Angeles. The interior tile and white Columbia marble is by Musto Sons-Keenan, and the cast iron & bronze grillwork by Pacific Ornamental. The proportions of the building are perfect Classic Greek Doric: narrowing shafts, triglyphs over the architrave, extending pediment. The ventilation, sanitation, and drainage are all patented designs of Charles E. Shattuck. Also on view at Anaheim Cemetery will be several beautiful small private mausolea that are not usually open to the public.
 
 
Fairhaven (Santa Ana, 1916, Charles E. Shattuck, architect). An Egyptian-Beaux Arts masterpiece conceived of by the visionary cemetery developer Oliver Linden Halsell, it is constructed of granite with thirty-two different kinds of marble and stone used on the interior floors and walls.
 
 
Calvary Mausoleum (East Los Angeles, 1936, Ross Montgomery, architect). The facade is Art Deco-Moorish-Hollywood, complete with processional columns capped with triumphant angels. The interior is inspired by Tuscan church interiors of the Quattrocento, rich with marble and stenciled faux wood. The mausoleum was financed in large part by Estelle Doheny, and is the final resting place for both she and her oilman husband Edward. For many decades, the bishops of Los Angeles reposed here, too, before being moved to the new downtown Cathedral in 2002.
 
 
And if you're looking for offbeat L.A. history but can't wait to ride the Esotouric bus, there's plenty of good stuff online. Esotouric's podcast You Can't Eat The Sunshine launched in January 2013 and can be found at http://esotouric.com/canteatsunshine and on iTunes. And in addition to this and other historic Los Angeles bus tours, Esotouric's team created the 1947project "time travel blog" series of alternate history websites, including In SRO Land ("lost lore of the historic core" at www.insroland.org), On Bunker Hill (www.onbunkerhill.org) and the original 1947project ("a crime a day" from 1947, 1927 and 1907 at www.1947project.com and 1947project.blogspot.com).
 
 
Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule (free events starred)
Saturday, November 22 - Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour
Saturday, November 29 - Special Event: Richard's Birthday Bus Tour of Public Mausolea of Los Angeles & Orange Counties  
Saturday, December 6 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour
*Sunday, December 7 – "The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words" talk, book signing and walking tour (info at lavatransforms.org)
Saturday, December 13 - East Side Babylon crime bus tour 
Saturday, January 10 - The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour
Saturday, January 17 - Charles Bukowski's Los Angeles
Sunday, January 18  - Where There's Smoke forensic science seminar (info at lavatransforms.org)
*Thursday, January 22 - Pasadena Central Library talk on "The Kept Girl" (info at lavatransforms.org)
Saturday, January 24 - Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles
Saturday, January 24 - The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern California Nightmare
Sunday, February 1 - South L.A. Road Trip: Hot Rods, Adobes, Googie & Early Modernism 
Saturday, February 7 - Boyle Heights & The San Gabriel Valley: The Hidden Histories of L.A.'s Melting Pot 
Saturday February 14 - Route 66 Road Trip: Roadside Architecture, Citrus, Drive-Ins & Cemeteries 
Saturday, February 21 - The Lowdown on Downtown 
Saturday, February 28 - Wild Wild Westside crime bus tour
 
 
Esotouric's Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are proud members of LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. http://www.lavatransforms.org
 
 
Tour hosts Nathan Marsak and Richard Schave are available for interviews. Journalists and photographers on assignment can often be accommodated on Esotouric bus tours. Contact Kim at toursATesotouricDOTcom, 213-373-1947.

As Mystery Lovers Converge on Long Beach, CA, the Raymond Chandler Bus Tour Is There To Meet Them

For immediate release
 
October 6, 2014  
 
As Mystery Lovers Converge on Long Beach, CA, the Raymond Chandler Bus Tour Is There To Meet Them
 
WHAT: A special day-long edition of Esotouric's "Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place" bus tour, coinciding with the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention
WHEN: Wednesday, November 12, 9am-5pm (the regular four-hour tour is also scheduled on Saturday, October 18, departing from Downtown L.A.)  
WHERE: Special tour departs from the Hyatt Regency, 200 South Pine Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802.
COST: $90/person. 
TOUR LINK: http://esotouric.com/chandlerlongbeach-1
GENERAL INFO: visit http://www.esotouric.com or call 213-373-1947
 
 
LOS ANGELES- Each year in the fall, hundreds of mystery authors and their fans converge on one North American city for Bouchercon, an international convention of the art and craft of mystery fiction. 
 
 
This year, Bouchercon is in Long Beach, CA. The program is packed with provocative panels, readings, book signings, socializing and the selection of the winners in the annual Anthony Awards for best mystery writing. And while the convention proper begins on Thursday, November 13, many attendees will be arriving early to get settled and see the Southern California sights. 
 
 
And that's where Esotouric, the eclectic bus adventure company whose tours reveal L.A.'s secret history, comes in. Among Esotouric's most popular tours is the one that follows in the footsteps of the city's greatest detective novelist, Raymond Chandler, from the downtown streets he roamed as a young oil executive to the Hollywood studios and bookshop backrooms where he crafted his iconic noir narratives. 
 
 
Just for Bouchercon (and any locals who'd like to tag along), they've scheduled a special pre-convention, day-long edition of the Raymond Chandler bus tour, conveniently starting and ending at the Hyatt Regency convention hotel.
 
 
ABOUT THE TOUR: Esotouric's "Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place" is a detail-drenched exploration of the 20th century city that shaped Chandler's fiction, and that in turn shaped his hard-boiled times. The route stretches from the Art Deco gems of Downtown Los Angeles to the mean streets of Hollywood, featuring locations where Chandler worked, drank or set memorable scenes from his books and screenplays. Locations include The Oviatt Building ("The Lady in the Lake"), the Hotel Van Nuys ("The Little Sister"), Bullock's Wilshire ("The Big Sleep"), The Bryson ("The Lady in the Lake"), Paramount Studios ("Double Indemnity"), Hollywood Boulevard ("Raymond Chandler Square"), the historic Larry Edmunds Bookshop and beyond. Drawing on published and unpublished work, private correspondence, screenplays and film adaptations, the tour traces Chandler’s search for meaning and his anti-hero Philip Marlowe’s adventures in detection, which lead them both down the rabbit hole of isolation, depression, and drink. The tour is a revealing time travel journey into the literary history of Los Angeles, and a rare chance to soak up that atmosphere with others who love noir fiction.
 
TOUR HOSTS: Since 2007, Esotouric's Raymond Chandler tour has been led by Richard Schave with assistance from his partner in Esotouric and life, his wife Kim Cooper. Kim takes her role as tour assistant seriously, and through her research into the writer and his time has made a number of original discoveries. Most prominent among these is the existence of Thomas H. James, a famously idealistic LAPD officer of the 1920s whose beat was two blocks from Chandler's oil company offices and who shares many characteristics with the character of Philip Marlowe. Tom James features alongside the young Chandler in Kim's 2014 novel, the fact-based cult mystery "The Kept Girl." (Kirkus calls it "commendable.") And just this month, British travel guide publishers Herb Lester issued "The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles: A Guide to the Usual and Unusual" with text by Kim Cooper and art by Paul Rogers. Passionate historians of their native city, Richard and Kim are the perfect guides on a trip through nearly all that survives of Raymond Chandler's noir Los Angeles.
 
 
LINKS:
 
 
Raymond Chandler bus tour for Bouchercon:
http://esotouric.com/chandlerlongbeach-1
 
 
"The Kept Girl" by Kim Cooper (Esotouric Ink, 2014)
http://www.thekeptgirl.com
 
 
About Thomas H. James, the Real Life Philip Marlowe
http://goo.gl/UPaf6h
 
 
"The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles: A Guide to the Usual and Unusual" (Herb Lester, 2014)
http://www.herblester.com
 
 
Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule (free events starred)
 
Saturday, October 11 - The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour
Saturday, October 18 - Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place
*Thursday, October 23 – Union Rescue Mission Walking Tour: 123 Years On Skid Row / Of Scrap & Steel screening (info at lavatransforms.org)
Saturday, October 25 –Wild Wild Westside crime bus tour
Sunday, November 9 - Don't Turn Your Back crime lab seminar (info at lavatransforms.org)
Wednesday, November 12 – Bouchercon edition of Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place
Saturday, November 22 - Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour
Saturday, November 29 - Special Event: Richard's Birthday Bus Tour of Public Mausolea of Los Angeles & Orange Counties  
Saturday, December 6 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour
Saturday, December 13 - East Side Babylon crime bus tour 
 
 
Esotouric's Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are proud members of LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. http://www.lavatransforms.org
 
 
Tour hosts Richard Schave and Kim Cooper are available for interviews, and journalists and photographers on assignment can often be accommodated on Esotouric bus tours, including the regularly scheduled Raymond Chandler tour on October 18. Review copies of "The Kept Girl" and "The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles" are available. Contact Kim at toursATesotouricDOTcom, 213-373-1947.

Discover Circuit Bending secrets at LAVA’s free Electronic-Music themed Sunday Salon

For immediate release

May 19, 2014

Discover Circuit Bending secrets at LAVA’s free Electronic-Music themed Sunday Salon

WHO: Presented by LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association.
WHAT: This month, the LAVA Sunday Salon cultural speaker’s series dedicates the entire two-hour program to Circuit Bending, a subset of Electronic Music that uses repurposed children’s toys to create bold new instruments. Presenters: Andy Ben, Jeff Boynton, Mona Jean Cedar and Fanny Daubigny.
WHEN: Sunday, May 25, 12pm-2pm followed a free Broadway On My Mind architectural walking tour of Robert B. Young’s downtown landmarks at 2:30pm hosted by Richard Schave of Esotouric. LAVA Salons fall on the last Sunday of the month.
WHERE: Mezzanine level, Les Noces du Figaro restaurant, 618 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014.
COST: Free, no reservations required for Salon attendance. Walking tour is also free, with reservations required.
GENERAL LAVA SUNDAY SALON INFO: http://lavatransforms.org/lavasalonsfigaro
MAY 25 SALON INFO: http://lavatransforms.org/salon514
WALKING TOUR INFO: http://lavatransforms.org/flaneur-broadway-on-my-mind-9
CONTACT: Kim at amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES- Launched in 2010 by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, the proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures, the creative consortium LAVA (The Los Angeles Visionaries Association) has established itself as one of the city’s most intriguing arts collectives, with a calendar packed with compelling, offbeat urban events and an ever-growing list of notable Visionary contributors.

Once a month, on the last Sunday, LAVA hosts a free curated series of cultural presentations, the LAVA Sunday Salon. The popular program feature talks and performances from a remarkable collection of writers, musicians, visual artists, historians, clowns, archivists, collectors, fashion designers, curators, theater companies, fortune tellers, film directors, educators, preservationists and scientists. Formerly held at Clifton’s Cafeteria, , the LAVA Sunday Salon remains on Broadway in the mezzanine of the restaurant Les Noces du Figaro, the former site of Schaber’s Cafeteria.

LAVA’s Sunday Salon is one of the hottest (free) tickets for urban explorers seeking intelligent conversation, connection and inspiration—it is an incubator for the most exciting ideas and research celebrating Los Angeles history and culture.

The LAVA Sunday Salon returns on Sunday, May 25 from noon-2pm, and all are welcome to dine together and socialize, or attend compelling presentations by LAVA Visionaries, followed by a free Broadway architecture tour highlighting Robert B. Young’s work, hosted by LAVA co-founder Richard Schave.

ABOUT THE MAY 25, 2014 LAVA SUNDAY SALON

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.)

AFTER THE SALONBROADWAY ON MY MIND WALKING TOUR
Free, reservations required from
http://lavatransforms.org/flaneur-broadway-on-my-mind-9

The latest in Richard Schave’s series of monthly Broadway walking tours departs from Les Noces du Figaro bound for several local landmarks designed by architect Robert Brown Young, whose career spans the 19th and 20th century, residential and commercial. His work on Broadway is the perfect setting to begin to understand Young and his iconic structures.

The goal of 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.

Photos and video from some past LAVA Sunday Salons are here:

LISTING OF PAST SUNDAY SALONS AT FIGARO:
http://lavatransforms.org/lavasalonsfigaro

LISTING OF PAST SUNDAY SALONS AT CLIFTON’S CAFETERIA:
http://lavatransforms.org/cliftonsalons

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS ON VIDEO AND IN PHOTOS:

“Old Bunker Hill: One Family’s Perspective” (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EloQciq6SbI

IAN WHITCOMB (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94lPdqRcXVs

RAYMOND CHANDLER AND THE KEPT GIRL (video)
http://lavatransforms.org/salon-cooper-rogers-march2014

CACOPHONY SOCIETY / GENE SCULATTI / IAN WHITCOMB (video): http://lavatransforms.org/salonvideo311

MESMERELDA, THE SKID ROW MISFORTUNE TELLER (video): http://lavatransforms.org/hauntsandhorrors

GENE SCULATTI’S FOLK ART SCROLL (photos):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardschave/sets/72157623729484726/

JOAN RENNER’S COSMETIC EPHEMERA COLLECTION (photos):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardschave/sets/72157624174080520/

ABOUT LAVA: Through participation in LAVA, a select group of creative professionals come together to promote cultural programming that speaks to the urban experience while promoting positive public space. LAVA’s creative partners share a love for L.A. and unique ideas for exploring it in their work. Formed by social historians RICHARD SCHAVE and KIM COOPER—proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures and the 1947project time travel blog series (including On Bunker Hill and In SRO Land)—LAVA brings together L.A.‘s most visionary promoters, artists, writers and thinkers. The first crop of Visionaries in the growing curated community includes cultural chronicler ADRIENNE CREW, artist and Eastside historian AL GUERRERO, Cacophony Society co-founder AL RIDENOUR, avant garde fashion maven A. LAURA BRODY, poet/publisher ALEIDA RODRIGUEZ, back-to-nature pioneer ALICIA BAY LAUREL, filmmaker ALLISON ANDERS, writer/curator ALLON SCHOENER, designer/mom of Chicken Boy AMY INOUYE, actor/musician ANDY BEN, custom tours maven ANNE BLOCK, documentarian/radio producer ANTHEA RAYMOND, author/gallerist APRIL DAMMANN, memoirist BARBARA KRAFT, pop culture historian BECKY EBENKAMP, ethnomusicologist BETO GONZALEZ, puppeteer BOB BAKER, tile historian BRIAN KAISER, producer/promoter CHRISTIAN VOLTAIRE MEOLI, cultural events programmer CHRISTINA GALANTE, musician COUNT SMOKULA, performance artist CRIMEBO THE CLOWN, writer/Libros Schmibros proprietor DAVID KIPEN, Novelist DAVID ROCKLIN, forensic educator DEREK PACIFICO, literary curator D.M. COLLINS, sculptor DONALD GIALANELLA, forensic scientist/educator DONALD JOHNSON, author/educator DOROTHY RANDALL GRAY, educator and historic cemetery board member DWAIN CARLO CRUM, artist ELENA MARY SIFF, documentarian ELIJAH DRENNER, conversation curator ERIC VOLLMER, social connector EVONNE HEYNING, musician/performance artist FEATHERBEARD, photographer GARY LEONARD, pop critic/outsider artist GENE SCULATTI, musician/artist GEORGE EARTH, songsmith HARVEY SID FISHER, theater director HOLLY WITHAM, musician/writer IAN WHITCOMB, artist JASON HADLEY, food blogger JAVIER CABRAL, musician JEFF BOYNTON, filmmaker JEREMY KASTEN, musician JIMI CABEZA DE VACA, social historian JOAN RENNER, writer/artist JOE OESTERLE, writer JOHN BUNTIN, filmmaker JON ALLOWAY, documentarian JOHN DULLAGHAN, Musso & Frank co-owner JORDAN JONES, performance artist JULES ROCHIELLE, cemetery historian KARIE BIBLE. curator JULIE RICO, cultural curator and writer KIM OHANNESON, “Kristin’s List” cultural chronicler KRISTIN BEDFORD, songstress/prognosticator MADAME PAMITA, esoteric scholar MAJA D’AOUST, author/broadcaster MANNY PACHECO, writer MARGUERITE DARLINGTON, performer McCRISTOL HARRIS, visual artist MELVIN HALE, journalist MICHAEL LINDER, photographic archivist MICHAEL RISNER, poet/dancer MONA JEAN CEDAR, architectural historian NATHAN MARSAK, writer NEAL POLLOCK, theater director NICHOLAS HOSKING, L.A. Historic Theater Foundation rep NICK MATONAK, music producer NO’A WINTER LAZERUS, musician OCTAVIUS, writer /photographer /musician PAUL KOUDOUNARIS, peace activist PAUL NUGENT of the Aetherius Society, 3-D photography expert RAY 3D ZONE, activist and performer RD PLASSCHAERT, historic ghost seeker RICHARD CARRADINE, artist/musician RICH POLYSORBATE 60, filmmaker/preservationist ROSS LIPMAN, singer-songwriter RUTHANN FRIEDMAN, poet S.A. GRIFFIN, ghost hunter SARAH TROOP, social networking mistress SHAWNA DAWSON, painter/gallerist SUSAN DOBAY, artist/writer/activist SUSANNA DAKIN, Warhol star and writer TERE TEREBA, sculptor TOM WALKER, musical entertainer THE UKULADY, and hat designer YASMIN DIXON.

Applications from prospective LAVA members are being taken at http://lavatransforms.org/apply

To learn more about LAVA, please visit http://www.lavatransforms.org

LAVA founders Kim Cooper and Richard Schave and most of LAVA’s Visionary members are available for interviews. Contact Kim at amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947.

Discover fascinating L.A. crime, noir, art, architecture and political lore at LAVA’s free Sunday Salon and Broadway On My Mind

For immediate release

March 20, 2014

Discover fascinating L.A. crime, noir, art, architecture and political lore at LAVA’s free Sunday Salon and Broadway On My Mind walking tour

WHO: Presented by LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association.
WHAT: This month, the LAVA Sunday Salon cultural speaker’s series offers a Los Angeles history program featuring Kim Cooper talking about “The Kept Girl” (Esotouric Ink), her fact-based 1920s mystery novel starring Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, “Kept Girl” cover artist Paul Rogers on his creative process for turning historic L.A. landmarks into contemporary images, and historian Tom Sitton sharing a rogues gallery of early Southern California politicians.
WHEN: Sunday, March 30, 12pm-2pm followed by Richard Schave’s free Broadway On My Mind architectural walking tour of Claud Beelman’s Art Deco work, including the Eastern Columbia Building, at 2:30pm. LAVA Salons fall on the last Sunday of the month.
WHERE: Mezzanine level, Les Noces du Figaro restaurant, 618 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014.
COST: Free, no reservations required for Salon attendance. Walking tour is also free, with reservations required.
GENERAL LAVA SUNDAY SALON INFO: http://lavatransforms.org/lavasalonsfigaro
MARCH 30 SALON INFO: http://lavatransforms.org/salon314
WALKING TOUR INFO: http://lavatransforms.org/flaneur-broadway-on-my-mind-7
CONTACT: Kim at amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES- Launched in 2010 by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, the proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures, the creative consortium LAVA (The Los Angeles Visionaries Association) has established itself as one of the city’s most intriguing arts collectives, with a calendar packed with compelling, offbeat urban events and an ever-growing list of notable Visionary contributors.

Once a month, on the last Sunday, LAVA hosts a free curated series of cultural presentations, the LAVA Sunday Salon. The popular program feature talks and performances from a remarkable collection of writers, musicians, visual artists, historians, clowns, archivists, collectors, fashion designers, curators, theater companies, fortune tellers, film directors, educators, preservationists and scientists. Formerly held at Clifton’s Cafeteria, , the LAVA Sunday Salon remains on Broadway in the mezzanine of the restaurant Les Noces du Figaro, the former site of Schaber’s Cafeteria.

LAVA’s Sunday Salon is one of the hottest (free) tickets for urban explorers seeking intelligent conversation, connection and inspiration—it is an incubator for the most exciting ideas and research celebrating Los Angeles history and culture.

The LAVA Sunday Salon returns on Sunday, March 30 from noon-2pm, and all are welcome to dine together and socialize, or attend compelling presentations by LAVA Visionaries, followed by a free Broadway architecture tour highlighting Claud Beelman’s Art Deco work, hosted by LAVA co-founder Richard Schave.

PRESENTERS AT THE MARCH 30, 2014 LAVA SUNDAY SALON

1) Join historian TOM SITTON for a presentation on the colorful history of Los Angeles County politics.

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 Tom Sitton’s book “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 will discuss 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.

2) Join author KIM COOPER and illustrator PAUL ROGERS for 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 Cooper will dig deep into her novel’s true crime and literary inspirations and the process of bringing the book to press in its deluxe Subscriber’s Edition. Artist Paul Rogers will discuss his art deco-style cover art for “The Kept Girl” (inspired by the mid-century designs of E. McKnight-Kauffer), then move into a more 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.

LINKS
Kim Cooper’s “The Kept Girl”
http://www.thekeptgirl.com

Paul Rogers on his cover design for “The Kept Girl”
http://drawger.com/paulrogers/?section=articles&article_id=14749

AFTER THE SALONBROADWAY ON MY MIND WALKING TOUR
Free, reservations required from
http://lavatransforms.org/flaneur-broadway-on-my-mind-7

The seventh in Richard Schave’s series of monthly Broadway walking tours departs from Les Noces du Figaro and leads south, with a focus on the Art Deco buildings designed by Claud Beelman around the intersection of 8th & Broadway. The goal of 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.

Photos and video from some past LAVA Sunday Salons are here:

LISTING OF PAST SUNDAY SALONS AT FIGARO:
http://lavatransforms.org/lavasalonsfigaro

LISTING OF PAST SUNDAY SALONS AT CLIFTON’S CAFETERIA:
http://lavatransforms.org/cliftonsalons

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS ON VIDEO AND IN PHOTOS:

“Old Bunker Hill: One Family’s Perspective” (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EloQciq6SbI

IAN WHITCOMB (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94lPdqRcXVs

CACOPHONY SOCIETY / GENE SCULATTI / IAN WHITCOMB (video): http://lavatransforms.org/salonvideo311

MESMERELDA, THE SKID ROW MISFORTUNE TELLER (video): http://lavatransforms.org/hauntsandhorrors

GENE SCULATTI’S FOLK ART SCROLL (photos):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardschave/sets/72157623729484726/

JOAN RENNER’S COSMETIC EPHEMERA COLLECTION (photos):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/richardschave/sets/72157624174080520/

ABOUT LAVA: Through participation in LAVA, a select group of creative professionals come together to promote cultural programming that speaks to the urban experience while promoting positive public space. LAVA’s creative partners share a love for L.A. and unique ideas for exploring it in their work. Formed by social historians RICHARD SCHAVE and KIM COOPER—proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures and the 1947project time travel blog series (including On Bunker Hill and In SRO Land)—LAVA brings together L.A.‘s most visionary promoters, artists, writers and thinkers. The first crop of Visionaries in the growing curated community includes cultural chronicler ADRIENNE CREW, artist and Eastside historian AL GUERRERO, Cacophony Society co-founder AL RIDENOUR, avant garde fashion maven A. LAURA BRODY, poet/publisher ALEIDA RODRIGUEZ, back-to-nature pioneer ALICIA BAY LAUREL, filmmaker ALLISON ANDERS, writer/curator ALLON SCHOENER, designer/mom of Chicken Boy AMY INOUYE, actor/musician ANDY BEN, custom tours maven ANNE BLOCK, documentarian/radio producer ANTHEA RAYMOND, author/gallerist APRIL DAMMANN, memoirist BARBARA KRAFT, pop culture historian BECKY EBENKAMP, ethnomusicologist BETO GONZALEZ, puppeteer BOB BAKER, tile historian BRIAN KAISER, producer/promoter CHRISTIAN VOLTAIRE MEOLI, cultural events programmer CHRISTINA GALANTE, musician COUNT SMOKULA, performance artist CRIMEBO THE CLOWN, writer/Libros Schmibros proprietor DAVID KIPEN, Novelist DAVID ROCKLIN, forensic educator DEREK PACIFICO, literary curator D.M. COLLINS, sculptor DONALD GIALANELLA, forensic scientist/educator DONALD JOHNSON, author/educator DOROTHY RANDALL GRAY, educator and historic cemetery board member DWAIN CARLO CRUM, artist ELENA MARY SIFF, documentarian ELIJAH DRENNER, conversation curator ERIC VOLLMER, social connector EVONNE HEYNING, musician/performance artist FEATHERBEARD, photographer GARY LEONARD, pop critic/outsider artist GENE SCULATTI, musician/artist GEORGE EARTH, songsmith HARVEY SID FISHER, theater director HOLLY WITHAM, musician/writer IAN WHITCOMB, artist JASON HADLEY, food blogger JAVIER CABRAL, musician JEFF BOYNTON, filmmaker JEREMY KASTEN, musician JIMI CABEZA DE VACA, social historian JOAN RENNER, writer/artist JOE OESTERLE, writer JOHN BUNTIN, filmmaker JON ALLOWAY, documentarian JOHN DULLAGHAN, Musso & Frank co-owner JORDAN JONES, performance artist JULES ROCHIELLE, cemetery historian KARIE BIBLE. curator JULIE RICO, cultural curator and writer KIM OHANNESON, “Kristin’s List” cultural chronicler KRISTIN BEDFORD, songstress/prognosticator MADAME PAMITA, esoteric scholar MAJA D’AOUST, author/broadcaster MANNY PACHECO, writer MARGUERITE DARLINGTON, performer McCRISTOL HARRIS, visual artist MELVIN HALE, journalist MICHAEL LINDER, photographic archivist MICHAEL RISNER, poet/dancer MONA JEAN CEDAR, architectural historian NATHAN MARSAK, writer NEAL POLLOCK, theater director NICHOLAS HOSKING, L.A. Historic Theater Foundation rep NICK MATONAK, music producer NO’A WINTER LAZERUS, musician OCTAVIUS, writer /photographer /musician PAUL KOUDOUNARIS, peace activist PAUL NUGENT of the Aetherius Society, 3-D photography expert RAY 3D ZONE, activist and performer RD PLASSCHAERT, historic ghost seeker RICHARD CARRADINE, artist/musician RICH POLYSORBATE 60, filmmaker/preservationist ROSS LIPMAN, singer-songwriter RUTHANN FRIEDMAN, poet S.A. GRIFFIN, ghost hunter SARAH TROOP, social networking mistress SHAWNA DAWSON, painter/gallerist SUSAN DOBAY, artist/writer/activist SUSANNA DAKIN, Warhol star and writer TERE TEREBA, sculptor TOM WALKER, musical entertainer THE UKULADY, and hat designer YASMIN DIXON.

Applications from prospective LAVA members are being taken at http://lavatransforms.org/apply

To learn more about LAVA, please visit http://www.lavatransforms.org

LAVA founders Kim Cooper and Richard Schave and most of LAVA’s Visionary members are available for interviews. Contact Kim at amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947.

Twenty years after his death, L.A. poets celebrate Charles Bukowski

For immediate release

March 3, 2014

Twenty years after his death, L.A. poets celebrate Charles Bukowski

WHAT: “20 Years After: Charles Bukowski Memorial Gathering,” a celebration of the Los Angeles writer on the 20th anniversary of his death
WHERE: The King Eddy Saloon, 131 East 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90013
WHEN: Sunday, March 9, formal program 6:00-7:30pm, informal gathering continues into the evening
WHO: Host Richard Schave (Esotouric’s Bukowski bus tour creator) and poets Dan Fante, S.A. Griffin, Suzanne Lummis, Joan Jobe Smith and Fred Voss.
COST: Free, no host bar
LINK FOR MORE INFO: http://lavatransforms.org/hank20years
RELATED EVENT: Esotouric’s “Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski’s Los Angeles” bus tour rolls on Saturday, March 29. Info http://esotouric.com/bukowski-3-29-14
CONTACT: Kim, amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES- LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association invites lovers of Los Angeles literature to join with friends, fans and followers of Charles Bukowski on the 20th anniversary of his death for an evening of Bukowski poetry, toasts and memories: “20 Years After: Charles Bukowski Memorial Gathering.”

The evening is organized by Richard Schave (who hosts Esotouric’s “Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski’s Los Angeles” bus tour and was one of the people instrumental in the successful campaign to have Bukowski’s endangered East Hollywood bungalow preserved and named a Cultural Historic Landmark) and will include 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. Books will be available for purchase.

The location for this free event is the King Eddy Saloon, a location celebrated in the fiction of Bukowski’s idol, John Fante, and located smack on The Nickel, where the young Bukowski came to learn about the world of men. The formal program is scheduled to run from 6:00 – 7:30pm, after which guests are encouraged to remain and talk Bukowski into the night.

Esotouric’s Richard Schave, who is hosting the event, says, “On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his death, we are honored to give Bukowski’s readers the opportunity to come together on East 5th Street, a place the loomed so large in the writer’s mind, and listen to several of his friends and peers read from his work, and speak from their hearts on his legacy in Los Angeles and beyond. From the SROs of old Bunker Hill and Skid Row to the sex shops and bars at Hollywood and Western, Bukowski’s writing is a meditation on the beauty that dwells within evil and depravity. The power and the innovation of his distinctive voice still speaks loudly, and leaves us Angelenos to look around at our city twenty years after his death and ask ‘What would Charles Bukowski think?’”

When asked for a quote for this press release, Joan Jobe Smith, a longtime friend and colleague of Bukowski who will read at the event, provided a poem:

“What one single meditation-thought to have on Bukowski’s
Memorial Death Day?

How much Charles Bukowski loved us, his readers
and felt us, needed us. We, his Readers, were his world,
while, all alone, he pounded that typer so’s to put
out those volumes of words and place them perfectly properly upon
the page, keeping beat to the grinding of his guts and the pounding
of his heart, up till just days before he died. Because he wanted to tell us
how it is, truth as he knew it, and he knew so much. Because he’d lived it.”

LINKS TO THE FEATURED POETS
Dan Fante – http://www.danfante.net/
S.A. Griffin – http://carmabum.blogspot.com/
Suzanne Lummis – http://suzannelummis.com/
Joan Jobe Smith (interview) – http://blues.gr/profiles/blogs/an-interview-with-editor-poet-joan-jobe-s...
Fred Voss (interview) – http://blues.gr/profiles/blogs/west-coast-poet-fred-voss-talks-about-the...

ABOUT LAVA: Through participation in LAVA, a select group of creative professionals come together to promote cultural programming that speaks to the urban experience while promoting positive public space. LAVA’s creative partners share a love for L.A. and unique ideas for exploring it in their work. Formed by social historians RICHARD SCHAVE and KIM COOPER—proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures and the 1947project time travel blog series (including On Bunker Hill and In SRO Land)—LAVA brings together L.A.‘s most visionary promoters, artists, writers and thinkers. The first crop of Visionaries in the growing curated community includes cultural chronicler ADRIENNE CREW, artist and Eastside historian AL GUERRERO, Cacophony Society co-founder AL RIDENOUR, avant garde fashion maven A. LAURA BRODY, poet/publisher ALEIDA RODRIGUEZ, back-to-nature pioneer ALICIA BAY LAUREL, filmmaker ALLISON ANDERS, writer/curator ALLON SCHOENER, designer/mom of Chicken Boy AMY INOUYE, actor/musician ANDY BEN, custom tours maven ANNE BLOCK, documentarian/radio producer ANTHEA RAYMOND, author/gallerist APRIL DAMMANN, memoirist BARBARA KRAFT, pop culture historian BECKY EBENKAMP, ethnomusicologist BETO GONZALEZ, puppeteer BOB BAKER, tile historian BRIAN KAISER, producer/promoter CHRISTIAN VOLTAIRE MEOLI, cultural events programmer CHRISTINA GALANTE, musician COUNT SMOKULA, performance artist CRIMEBO THE CLOWN, writer/Libros Schmibros proprietor DAVID KIPEN, Novelist DAVID ROCKLIN, forensic educator DEREK PACIFICO, literary curator D.M. COLLINS, sculptor DONALD GIALANELLA, forensic scientist/educator DONALD JOHNSON, author/educator DOROTHY RANDALL GRAY, educator and historic cemetery board member DWAIN CARLO CRUM, artist ELENA MARY SIFF, documentarian ELIJAH DRENNER, conversation curator ERIC VOLLMER, social connector EVONNE HEYNING, musician/performance artist FEATHERBEARD, photographer GARY LEONARD, pop critic/outsider artist GENE SCULATTI, musician/artist GEORGE EARTH, songsmith HARVEY SID FISHER, theater director HOLLY WITHAM, musician/writer IAN WHITCOMB, artist JASON HADLEY, food blogger JAVIER CABRAL, musician JEFF BOYNTON, filmmaker JEREMY KASTEN, musician JIMI CABEZA DE VACA, social historian JOAN RENNER, writer/artist JOE OESTERLE, writer JOHN BUNTIN, filmmaker JON ALLOWAY, documentarian JOHN DULLAGHAN, Musso & Frank co-owner JORDAN JONES, performance artist JULES ROCHIELLE, cemetery historian KARIE BIBLE. curator JULIE RICO, cultural curator and writer KIM OHANNESON, “Kristin’s List” cultural chronicler KRISTIN BEDFORD, songstress/prognosticator MADAME PAMITA, esoteric scholar MAJA D’AOUST, author/broadcaster MANNY PACHECO, writer MARGUERITE DARLINGTON, performer McCRISTOL HARRIS, visual artist MELVIN HALE, journalist MICHAEL LINDER, photographic archivist MICHAEL RISNER, poet/dancer MONA JEAN CEDAR, architectural historian NATHAN MARSAK, writer NEAL POLLOCK, theater director NICHOLAS HOSKING, L.A. Historic Theater Foundation rep NICK MATONAK, music producer NO’A WINTER LAZERUS, musician OCTAVIUS, writer /photographer /musician PAUL KOUDOUNARIS, peace activist PAUL NUGENT of the Aetherius Society, 3-D photography expert RAY 3D ZONE, activist and performer RD PLASSCHAERT, historic ghost seeker RICHARD CARRADINE, artist/musician RICH POLYSORBATE 60, filmmaker/preservationist ROSS LIPMAN, singer-songwriter RUTHANN FRIEDMAN, poet S.A. GRIFFIN, ghost hunter SARAH TROOP, social networking mistress SHAWNA DAWSON, painter/gallerist SUSAN DOBAY, artist/writer/activist SUSANNA DAKIN, Warhol star and writer TERE TEREBA, sculptor TOM WALKER, musical entertainer THE UKULADY, and hat designer YASMIN DIXON.

Applications from prospective LAVA members are being taken at http://lavatransforms.org/apply

To learn more about LAVA, please visit http://www.lavatransforms.org

Event host Richard Schave and the presenting poets are available for interviews, and journalists on assignment can usually be accommodated on the tour bus. Contact Kim at amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947.

San Gabriel Valley true crime weekend with Esotouric’s Pasadena Confidential tour, Frank Girardot’s LAVA crime lab talk on Clark

For immediate release

February 25, 2014

San Gabriel Valley true crime weekend with Esotouric’s Pasadena Confidential tour, Frank Girardot’s LAVA crime lab talk on Clark Rockefeller

EVENT #1: Saturday, March 15, 12-4pm – Esotouric presents “Pasadena Confidential with Crimebo the Clown “ crime bus tour (departs from 1017 South Fair Oaks, South Pasadena, CA 91105, $58/person)
INFO/RESERVATIONS: http://esotouric.com/pasadena-3-15-14

EVENT #2: Sunday, March 16, 12-4pm – Professor Donald Johnson, in association with LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association and Esotouric, presents a fundraiser lecture/tour benefiting the CSULA Criminalistics graduate department: “Name Dropper: Investigating the Clark Rockefeller Mystery” hosted by Frank Girardot (at The Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center at Cal State L.A., 1800 Paseo Rancho Castilla, Los Angeles, CA 90032, $36.50/person)
INFO/RESERVATIONS: http://lavatransforms.org/crimelabmarch2014

CONTACT: Kim, amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES- There’s just something special about the notorious crimes of greater Los Angeles, the way they resonate in the consciousness, and continue to fascinate years after the fact. In March, LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association and Esotouric, L.A.‘s most eclectic bus adventure company, dedicate a weekend to uncovering the reality behind some of the San Gabriel Valley’s most compelling and unusual crime stories.

These two lurid yet educational events — Esotouric’s historic Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour exploring the criminal lore of a grand old neighborhood, and a LAVA crime lab tour and seminar featuring the true stories of crime investigation from longtime San Gabriel Valley reporter Frank Girardot — offer something for anyone seeking an opportunity to get behind the headlines and explore fascinating true crime cases with a depth and seriousness rarely offered to the public. This true crime weekend is a must for intelligent crime aficionados and those with a passion for the untold stories of Los Angeles.

ABOUT ESOTOURIC’S PASADENA CONFIDENTIAL TOUR: The Crown City masquerades as a calm and refined retreat, where well-bred ladies glide around their perfect bungalows and everyone knows what fork to use first. But don’t be fooled by appearances. Dip into the confidential files of old Pasadena and meet assassins and oddballs, kidnappers and slashers, Satanists and all manner of maniac in a delightful little tour you WON’T find recommended by the better class of people! From celebrated cases like the RFK assassination (with a visit to Sirhan Sirhan’s folks’ house), “Eraserhead” star Jack Nance’s strange end, black magician/rocket scientist Jack Parsons’ death-by-misadventure and the 1926 Rose Parade grand stand collapse, to fascinating obscurities, the tour’s dozens of murders, arsons, kidnappings, robberies, suicides, auto wrecks and oddball happening sites provide a alternate history of Pasadena that’s as fascinating as it is creepy. Passengers will tour the old Millionaire’s Row on Orange Grove, thrill to the shocking Sphinx Murder on the steps of the downtown Masonic Hall and discover why people named Judd should think twice before moving to Pasadena. Special guest host: Crimebo the Clown, leading crime bus passengers out onto “Suicide Bridge” for a memorable view of the Arroyo where dozens plunged to their deaths.

ABOUT LAVA’S CRIME LAB EVENT: Frank Girardot, editor of the Pasadena Star-News and author of “Name Dropper: Investigating the Clark Rockefeller Mystery” hosts this March 16 fundraiser for the Criminalistics graduate department at Cal State L.A., the latest in a series of events at the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center at Cal State L.A. Since their debut in fall 2010, LAVA’s crime lab seminars have become the a must for true crime aficionados, mystery writers, television producers and offbeat history buffs.

Leave it to LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association, the creative consortium helmed by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, the married couple whose Esotouric bus adventures have transformed the guided tour experience, to make a real-life CSI experience accessible to interested laypersons. Working closely with one of LAVA’s most intriguing Visionary members, Professor Donald Johnson, they’ve developed a series of events highlighting the work conducted at Cal State L.A.‘s state-of-the-art Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, presented through tours and in depth lectures from scientist-educators, law enforcement investigators and true crime reporters. Between the presentations, graduate students offer insights into their research and tours of the teaching crime lab.

In Presentation One, Frank Girardot goes in depth on the case of Clark Rockefeller, subject of his recent book. Discover the strange tale of a teenaged German immigrant who remade himself as a scion of one of America’s most distinguished families. In April 2013, “Rockefeller” (real name Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter) was convicted in the 1985 slaying of John Sohus, whose trisected body was found in the backyard of a home in San Marino, and whose young wife Linda vanished, never to be seen again. Frank will take us along on “Rockefeller’s” decades-long career of fraud in high places, culminating in the child kidnapping that would draw international headlines and finally deliver him into police custody. The murder case relied heavily on circumstantial evidence that singularly might not have amounted to a conviction. Taken together the evidence, which included blood, fingerprints, old ID cards and a stolen car, was solid. What resulted in the conviction? Probably a simple light shone on a plastic bag sold in a university bookstore for a very limited period of time. The man once known as Rockefeller is now simply Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, 52, a resident of a medium security prison in the San Joaquin Valley serving out a 25-to-life sentence for killing John Sohus.

In Presentation Two, Frank Girardot will lower his guard, roll up his sleeves, and look back on three decades in the newspaper business reporting on criminal investigations and the law enforcement agencies which conduct them, distilling for us the best and the worst, like how a murderous tagger might as well have signed his name at the crime scene, or the paramedics who left brain matter on a dead man’s driveway for his family to clean up, or a con-man who used Craigslist to bilk dozens of needy would-be renters, and what still keeps him up at night: an unsolved double murder in Monrovia that occurred during a ride-along in the 1990s.

By the afternoon’s conclusion, attendees will have a deeper understanding of the real work that’s done by local crime desk reporters, and the tools and techniques used to interpret crime scenes for the benefit of investigating officers and juries. Come discover the reality, so different from and so much more interesting than what you’ve seen on TV.

ABOUT FRANK GIRARDOT: Frank Girardot is the editor of the Pasadena Star-News. Born in Detroit, Michigan, raised in the Silicon Valley, he got start as a copy boy in the late 1980s. Working as a newspaper reporter and editor in Los Angeles since 1989, he has covered floods, fires, explosions, strikes, plane crashes, rapes, suicides, amnesia victims, political conventions, and the murder trial of OJ Simpson. Favorite pastime is following a good murder, as is evidenced in his new book, “Name Dropper: Investigating the Clark Rockefeller Mystery.”

ABOUT LAVA: Through participation in LAVA, a select group of creative professionals come together to promote cultural programming that speaks to the urban experience while promoting positive public space. LAVA’s creative partners share a love for L.A. and unique ideas for exploring it in their work. Formed by social historians RICHARD SCHAVE and KIM COOPER—proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures and the 1947project time travel blog series (including On Bunker Hill and In SRO Land)—LAVA brings together L.A.‘s most visionary promoters, artists, writers and thinkers. The first crop of Visionaries in the growing curated community includes cultural chronicler ADRIENNE CREW, artist and Eastside historian AL GUERRERO, Cacophony Society co-founder AL RIDENOUR, avant garde fashion maven A. LAURA BRODY, poet/publisher ALEIDA RODRIGUEZ, back-to-nature pioneer ALICIA BAY LAUREL, filmmaker ALLISON ANDERS, writer/curator ALLON SCHOENER, designer/mom of Chicken Boy AMY INOUYE, actor/musician ANDY BEN, custom tours maven ANNE BLOCK, documentarian/radio producer ANTHEA RAYMOND, author/gallerist APRIL DAMMANN, memoirist BARBARA KRAFT, pop culture historian BECKY EBENKAMP, ethnomusicologist BETO GONZALEZ, puppeteer BOB BAKER, tile historian BRIAN KAISER, producer/promoter CHRISTIAN VOLTAIRE MEOLI, cultural events programmer CHRISTINA GALANTE, musician COUNT SMOKULA, performance artist CRIMEBO THE CLOWN, writer/Libros Schmibros proprietor DAVID KIPEN, Novelist DAVID ROCKLIN, forensic educator DEREK PACIFICO, literary curator D.M. COLLINS, sculptor DONALD GIALANELLA, forensic scientist/educator DONALD JOHNSON, author/educator DOROTHY RANDALL GRAY, educator and historic cemetery board member DWAIN CARLO CRUM, artist ELENA MARY SIFF, documentarian ELIJAH DRENNER, conversation curator ERIC VOLLMER, social connector EVONNE HEYNING, musician/performance artist FEATHERBEARD, photographer GARY LEONARD, pop critic/outsider artist GENE SCULATTI, musician/artist GEORGE EARTH, songsmith HARVEY SID FISHER, theater director HOLLY WITHAM, musician/writer IAN WHITCOMB, artist JASON HADLEY, food blogger JAVIER CABRAL, musician JEFF BOYNTON, filmmaker JEREMY KASTEN, musician JIMI CABEZA DE VACA, social historian JOAN RENNER, writer/artist JOE OESTERLE, writer JOHN BUNTIN, filmmaker JON ALLOWAY, documentarian JOHN DULLAGHAN, Musso & Frank co-owner JORDAN JONES, performance artist JULES ROCHIELLE, cemetery historian KARIE BIBLE. curator JULIE RICO, cultural curator and writer KIM OHANNESON, “Kristin’s List” cultural chronicler KRISTIN BEDFORD, songstress/prognosticator MADAME PAMITA, esoteric scholar MAJA D’AOUST, author/broadcaster MANNY PACHECO, writer MARGUERITE DARLINGTON, performer McCRISTOL HARRIS, visual artist MELVIN HALE, journalist MICHAEL LINDER, photographic archivist MICHAEL RISNER, poet/dancer MONA JEAN CEDAR, architectural historian NATHAN MARSAK, writer NEAL POLLOCK, theater director NICHOLAS HOSKING, L.A. Historic Theater Foundation rep NICK MATONAK, music producer NO’A WINTER LAZERUS, musician OCTAVIUS, writer /photographer /musician PAUL KOUDOUNARIS, peace activist PAUL NUGENT of the Aetherius Society, 3-D photography expert RAY 3D ZONE, activist and performer RD PLASSCHAERT, historic ghost seeker RICHARD CARRADINE, artist/musician RICH POLYSORBATE 60, filmmaker/preservationist ROSS LIPMAN, singer-songwriter RUTHANN FRIEDMAN, poet S.A. GRIFFIN, ghost hunter SARAH TROOP, social networking mistress SHAWNA DAWSON, painter/gallerist SUSAN DOBAY, artist/writer/activist SUSANNA DAKIN, Warhol star and writer TERE TEREBA, sculptor TOM WALKER, musical entertainer THE UKULADY, and hat designer YASMIN DIXON.

Applications from prospective LAVA members are being taken at http://lavatransforms.org/apply

To learn more about LAVA, please visit http://www.lavatransforms.org

LAVA founders Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, Professor Donald Johnson and most of LAVA’s Visionary members are available for interviews, and a very limited number of journalists on assignment can be accommodated at the seminar and on the crime bus. Contact Kim at amscrayATgmailDOTcom, 213-373-1947.

Crowd-funded subscription publishing is a hit for L.A. noir historians Esotouric

For immediate release

January 21, 2014

Crowd-funded subscription publishing is a hit for L.A. noir historians Esotouric

WHO: Esotouric, L.A.‘s most eclectic bus tour providers, famous for The Real Black Dahlia and Raymond Chandler’s L.A., now publishers of noir period fiction.
WHAT: The launch of the Esotouric Ink imprint with a unique crowd-funding method supporting the printing of Kim Cooper’s 1929 L.A. mystery “The Kept Girl,” which stars the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe.
HOW: 65 Subscribers have stepped in to support this new L.A. publishing house, including The Huntington Library and UCLA Library of Special Collections.
WHEN: “The Kept Girl” is released 2/1/14 in paperback and e-book for Kindle, with Subscribers getting their deluxe copies before anyone else.
INFO: http://www.thekeptgirl.com, contact Kim and Richard, ink-AT-esotouric.com, 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES- A few months ago, Esotouric, the eclectic bus adventure company whose tours reveal L.A.‘s secret history, announced the launch of its new publishing arm: Esotouric Ink. The imprint is dedicated to revealing the lost lore of Southern California through beautifully-designed books calculated to appeal to Esotouric’s intelligent, deeply curious audience of passionate L.A. lovers.

A request went out to Esotouric’s fans that they participate in an old-fashioned crowd-funding method: The Subscription Model. Notable Subscription-funded books include John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad.” Inspired by early publishers who bypassed wealthy patrons to spread production costs among a select group of literate, engaged readers and collectors, Esotouric looked to its faithful audience to help bring the first Esotouric Ink book to life.

The Esotouric community responded eagerly, with a total of 65 Subscribers contributing $65 each ($75 for couples) to the costs of launching the new publishing company. In return, they get their names in every copy of the book, a digital reading copy, a deluxe special edition slipcase and an invitation to an exclusive Subscribers’ Appreciation event. Included among the Subscribers are two of Southern California’s most important repositories for rare books: UCLA Library of Special Collections and The Huntington Library.

The book that has the Subscribers so excited is “The Kept Girl,” the debut novel of Kim Cooper, co-author of the national Amazon bestseller “Fall in Love For Life,” author of the top selling 33 1/3 series book “Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’” and the creator of Esotouric’s true crime tours (The Real Black Dahlia, Pasadena Confidential).

A seasoned non-fiction writer, Kim fell into fiction through a series of unexpected discoveries. Several years ago, she received the gift of a rare, self-published pamphlet by a former LAPD officer, Thomas H. James. In “Chief Steckel Unmasked” (1931) James lashed out at corrupt civil servants and the atmosphere of vice that permeated Los Angeles. Intrigued, she researched James’ police career and discovered that he’d been a high ranking City Hall investigator who was demoted to beat cop for asking too many questions. He became famous for loudly critiquing his bosses while on duty at 7th & Broadway, the busiest intersection in town. Two blocks away, the young Raymond Chandler worked as an executive for the Dabney Oil Syndicate.

Could the forgotten Thomas H. James be the inspiration for the mature Chandler’s great detective anti-hero, Philip Marlowe? It was that question, combined with a real-life cult murder mystery that unfolded in the Dabney offices under Chandler’s nose, and through the telling of James’ story and the cult murder mystery on Esotouric’s bus tours, which inspired Kim’s debut novel. With its vintage Art Deco-style cover by acclaimed illustrator Paul Rogers, “The Kept Girl” reflects Esotouric Ink’s dedication to celebrating L.A. lore with a twist.

ABOUT THE KEPT GIRL: Los Angeles, 1929: a glittering metropolis on the crest of an epic crash. A mysterious prophetess and her alluring daughter have relieved an oil tycoon’s nephew of his fortune. But the kid won’t talk. To find the money, the old man calls on a trusted executive, Raymond Chandler, who in turn enlists the aid of his devoted secretary/mistress, Muriel Fischer, and their idealistic patrolman friend Tom James. Soon the nephew is revealed as a high-ranking member of a murderous cult of angel worshippers, and the trio plunges into an investigation that sends them careening across Southern California, from sinister sanitariums to roadside burger stands, decaying Bunker Hill mansions to sparkling cocktail parties, taxi dance halls to the morgue, all in search of the secretive Great Eleven. But when Muriel goes undercover to infiltrate the group’s rural lair, she comes face to face with disturbing truths that threaten to spoil everything, not just for the cult’s members, but for herself as well. A work of fiction inspired by actual events and featuring the real-life cop who is a likely model for the mature Chandler’s greatest creation, private eye Philip Marlowe, Kim Cooper’s “The Kept Girl” exposes a mystery so horrifying, it could only be true.

ADVANCE PRAISE: “A deeply researched and compulsively readable crime novel.” (Denise Hamilton, author of “Damage Control” and editor of the Edgar Award-winning anthology “Los Angeles Noir”)… “Kim Cooper is the perfect Virgil to 1929 Los Angeles… Her knowledge of the city that was is unparalleled, her imagination unnerving. Aficionados of noir Los Angeles will read ‘The Kept Girl’ with fascination and with growing horror.” (John Buntin, author of “L.A. Noir”)… “A delightful addition to this city’s literature. The effortlessness with which it borrows against the Chandler tradition while… retaining its unique intelligence and slyly contemporary flavor is just plain stunning.” (Matthew Specktor, author of “American Dream Machine”)… “Holy cats, this woman can write!” (David Kipen, editor of “The WPA Guide to Los Angeles”)

“The Kept Girl” by Kim Cooper is released in paeprback and Kindle from Amazon on February 1, 2014 from Esotouric Ink. Audiobook coming soon.

Upcoming Events (details at http://www.thekeptgirl.com/p/events.html):

February 9 – Noir at the Bar group reading at Mandrake, 2692 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90034-2604.

February 13 – Book release party and reading at Skylight Books, 1818 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027. Sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Additional information, including sample chapter, can be found at http://www.thekeptgirl.com and http://www.esotouric.com

Esotouric’s Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are available for interviews about Kim’s novel “The Kept Girl” and the launch of Esotouric Ink, Raymond Chandler, the “real-life Philip Marlowe” Thomas H. James and the bizarre intersection of the Great Eleven Cult with Chandler’s professional life in the oil business. Journalists on assignment can often be accommodated on the Esotouric bus. Contact Kim and Richard, ink-AT-esotouric.com, 213-373-1947

For review copy of “The Kept Girl,” please specify format if an e-book is acceptable (.epub, .mobi or PDF), or mailing address for a hard copy, and provide the name of outlet where the review will appear and proposed publication date to Kim and Richard, ink-AT-esotouric.com.

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