Launched in February by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper--the founding Director and Curator of the Downtown Art Walk non-profit--the creative consortium LAVA (The Los Angeles Visionaries Association) is already making a splash with a calendar packed with compelling, offbeat urban events and a growing list of notable Visionary contributors.
And this weekend, the LAVA calendar is packed with events celebrating the dark and mysterious side of Los Angeles life, where the dead, lost and forgotten souls frolic, and welcome the living to visit their favorite haunts. The events play out in this order...
1) Saturday 6/12, 12-4pm, $58, departing from Cafe Metropol, 923 east 3rd street, LA 90013, http://esotouric.com/mainstreet-6-12-10
First up on Saturday is LAVA founders Richard Schave and Kim Cooper's Esotouric Downtown bus and walking tour HOTEL HORRORS AND MAIN STREET VICE, an exploration of the lost lore of the historic core. From the founding of the city through the 1940s, downtown was the true center of Los Angeles, a lively, densely populated, exciting and sometimes dangerous place. After many quiet decades, downtown is making an incredible return. But while many of the historic buildings remain, their human context has been lost. This downtown double feature tour is meant to bring alive the old ghosts and memories that cling to the streets and structures.
The HOTEL HORRORS portion features some of the wildest, weirdest, goriest and most memorable happenings in historic hotels like the Alexandria, Rosslyn, Barclay and Cecil. Get on the bus to see inside some of these legendary locales and find out where Night Stalker Richard Ramirez liked to stay and the hotel that saw a visit from the Skid Row Slasher, and where two traveling chocolate salesmen laughed so hard they fell backwards out a window to their deaths. Also included are some light hearted stories to help the blood and gore go down.
The MAIN STREET VICE portion is a social history tour celebrating the ribald, racy, raunchy old promenade where the better people simply did not travel, but kicks were had by all who did. Burlesque babes and dirty picture parlors, mummified western outlaws and old time tattoo parlors, wax museums and pawn brokers, "professors" offering sex lectures and magazine peddlers with nudie Marilyn Monroe calendars under the counter, sophisticated steakhouses and nickel donut dives -- these were the pleasures and the people to be found along Main during the first half of the 20th century. We'll visit the scenes of some more unforgettable debaucheries and share stories of crime, smut, passion and commerce. Climb aboard for a time travel journey back to the downtown that's not there anymore, and the surprising amount of gems that survive.
2) Sunday, 6/13, 6-8pm, $5, Annie Besant Lodge 2560 N. Beachwood Drive Los Angeles, CA, 90068, http://lavatransforms.org/maja0610
Maja D'Aoust, the White Witch of Los Angeles and a featured luminary in the LA Weekly's 2010 People issue, hosts MAJA'S MAGIC SCHOOL, a new metaphysical lecture series held on the second Sunday of each month in the historic Annie Besant Lodge in Beachwood Canyon. Maja is the librarian at Manly P. Hall's Philosophical Research Society, where she lectured for four years, theco-author of "The Secret Source: The Law of Attraction is One Of Seven Hermetic Laws, Here are the Other Six" and hostess of the Maja's Mysteriesseries of Esotouric bus adventures. The theme of tonight's provocative lecture is: Witches, Ladies of the Beasts.
3) Sunday, 6/13, 8pm-midnight, free (no-host bar), Aztec Motel, 311 W.Foothill Boulevard, Monrovia , CA, 91016, http://ghoula.blogspot.com/2010/05/junes-spirits-with-spirits.html
GHOULA (Ghost Hunter of Urban L.A.) meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. "SPIRITS with SPIRITS" is a casual gathering of regional ghost hunters and those that just like ghost stories. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends,and toast a ghost! Let's put the "Boo!" back into "booze." All those who attend will receive a free G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you. This month's meeting will be held at the historic (and haunted) Aztec Hotel, one of the iconic roadside attractions of old Route 66. In addition to its place in Southern California's car culture, it is also said to have been (over the decades) a brothel, a speak-easy, a gambling den, a mobster hangout, and a half-way house.
The management has agreed to give attendees tours of haunted room120, where an actress (or possibly a prostitute) died when her head cracked open on the radiator during the throws of passion. In addition, there will be themed live entertainment in the bar, and some other spooky surprises. Interested Angelenos are encouraged to come out and be part of some or all of these LAVA events celebrating the city and encouraging connections.
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 theirwork. Formed by social historians RICHARD SCHAVE and KIM COOPER --proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures and until recently the Director and Curator of the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk -- 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, Cacophony Society co-founder AL RIDENOUR, avant garde fashion maven A. LAURA BRODY, poet and publisher ALEIDA RODRIGUEZ, back-to-nature pioneer ALICIA BAY LAUREL, filmmaker and festival promoter ALLISON ANDERS, former Metropolitan Museum curator ALLON SCHOENER, designer/mom of Chicken Boy AMY INOUYE, custom tours maven ANNE BLOCK, documentarian and radio producer ANTHEA RAYMOND, pop culture historian BECKY EBENKAMP, ethnomusicologist BETO GONZALEZ, master puppeteer BOB BAKER, producer and promoter CHRISTIAN VOLTAIRE MEOLI, 826LA events manager CHRISTINA GALANTE, performance artist CRIMEBO THE CLOWN, the NEA's outgoing Director of Literature DAVID KIPEN, green sculptor DONALD GIALANELLA, author and educator DOROTHY RANDALL GRAY, documentarian and exploitation film historian ELIJAH DRENNER, musician and performance artist FEATHERBEARD, pop critic and outsider artist GENE SCULATTI, songsmith HARVEY SID FISHER, theater director HOLLY WITHAM, no-longer-Teenage Glutster food blogger JAVIER CABRAL, horror film director JEREMY KASTEN, musician and composer of silent film scores JIMI CABEZA DE VACA, social historian JOAN RENNER, journalist and author JOHN BUNTIN,Musso & Frank co-owner JORDAN JONES, performance artist JULES ROCHIELLE, curator and activist JULIE RICO, "Kristin's List" cultural chronicler KRISTIN BEDFORD, esoteric scholar and lecturer MAJA D'AOUST, President of the new LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes MIGUEL ANGEL CORZO, poet and dancer MONA JEAN CEDAR, , theater director NICHOLAS HOSKING, L.A. Historic Theater Foundation rep NICK MATONAK, music producer and impresario NO'A WINTER LAZERUS, musician OCTAVIUS, peace activist PAUL NUGENT of the Aetherius Society, 3-D photography expert RAY 3D ZONE, historic ghost seeker RICHARD CARRADINE, filmmaker and preservationist ROSS LIPMAN, Boyle Heights ghost hunter SARAH TROOP, social networking mistress SHAWNA DAWSON, Warholstar and writer TERE TEREBA, metal artist TOM WALKER, and hat designer and multi-media artist YASMIN DIXON.
Applications from prospective LAVA members are being taken at
To learn more about LAVA, please visit http://www.lavatransforms.org