Friday, June 22, 2012

LAVA to screen King Eddy Saloon film June 28 in LA

LAVA celebrates the King Eddy Saloon with a free screening of Alina
Skrzeszewska's short film about the bar's patrons

WHAT: A site-specific screening of Alina Skrzeszewska's short film "Last One
Left: The last skid row bar in Los Angeles and its patrons: a few brief life
stories" (USA /Germany 2010, documentary, color, 23 min.).

WHEN: Thursday, June 28, 8-10pm

WHERE: In the King Eddy Saloon, 131 East 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90013

COST: Free, but reservations are required and space is limited.



On June 13, 2012, it was announced that after more than 50
years of family management, the King Eddy Saloon had been sold and would be
closing at the end of the summer. This news has been received with great
concern by the many people who consider this last Skid Row bar to be an
essential part of the cultural and social life of downtown Los Angeles, as
well as a place of pilgrimage for fans of the great Los Angeles novelist
John Fante, whose anti-hero Arturo Bandini famously squandered his first
royalty check on the b-girls of the King Eddy's basement speakeasy.

LAVA co-founder Richard Schave loves the King Eddy, and has done extensive
research on the place and its role in LA's literary and cultural history. In
addition to the John Fante connection, it is the last bar standing in the
neighborhood where novelist James M. Cain came to soak up the vernacular
speech that he adapted into the hard-boiled American lingo of his breakout
novel "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1934).

In recognition of the importance of the King Eddy as a place of abiding
human comfort and cultural significance, LAVA is pleased to present this
free, site-specific screening of Alina Skrzeszewska's short film "Last One
Left: The last skid row bar in Los Angeles and its patrons: a few brief life
stories" (USA/Germany 2010, documentary, color, 23 min.). The director will
be present to answer questions after the screening.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT: "I had no idea what to expect when I first moved into
one of the old residential hotels on the Nickel, Los Angeles¹ most notorious
neighborhood. It began with pure curiosity and the desire to plunge into
something seemingly foreign that nevertheless felt strangely close to me.
Rundown hotel rooms where you could hear your next-door neighbors fighting;
streets crowded with people waiting for the bus to a shelter; bars filled
with the weathered faces of old alcoholics: I was irresistibly attracted to
the mysterious and colorful sadness of such places. But it wasn¹t the
sadness itself that fascinated me. Rather, it was something that emerged out
of the sadness, out of desperation, anger, hurt. I would call it the tender
beauty of the broken or fractured. The people I met in Downtown Los Angeles
had all made choices that brought them there - even if they differed wildly.
All of them came as outcasts of some sort and fell into a whole society of
outcasts. Life here is fragile. Surviving another day or another year can be
a miracle. But oddly, the realization of this fragility immediately turns
into its opposite. It becomes the realization of the incredible resources of
strength we as humans have, and, beyond that, the realization of the radical
freedom at the core of our existence: the freedom to choose between good and
evil, between life and death, between love and apathy. The people who live
on the Nickel are not simply victims, but subjects of their own lives. A
beauty that stems from resilience of spirit speaks through their distinct
faces, their language, their music and their movements. The Nickel can never
be captured in just one narrative. What makes it unique is the intense clash
of simultaneous narratives. Together, these stories paint a picture of the
city as a place of attempted escape from the pressures of a society that is
no longer bearable."

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Alina Skrzeszewska was born in Wroclaw, Poland. During
the politically charged years after the outbreak of the Solidarity movement
her family emigrated to West Germany, and Alina grew up in Munich. She
studied Stage Design and Art & Media at the University of the Arts in
Berlin, and received an MFA in Film & Video from the California Institute of
the Arts. She is the recipient of a 12 months DAAD grant, a Nipkow
fellowship, and multiple scholarships from CalArts and the University of the
Arts in Berlin. Alina¹s work meanders between essayistic and documentary
forms. Her films often talk about fringes, borders and boundaries: be they
spaces that carry borders within them, or people whose lives are somehow
fractured. The award-winning "Songs from the Nickel" (2010) is her first
documentary feature. It won multiple prizes for BEST FILM and has it has
screened at more than 25 international film festivals all over Europe, North
America and in South America. Currently, Alina is working on two new film
projects about Downtown Los Angeles.

LAVA co-founder Kim Cooper says: "Anyone who cares about the fragile coral
ecosystem that is the culture of this city should make a visit to the King
Eddy this summer, while it's still under the Croick family's ownership.
They've made a haven in a very hard part of the city where folks who don't
have much money can feel respected and safe. That means everything. As we
lose these ports, we lose our community and our history. Once that's gone,
it will never come back."

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.

Applications from prospective LAVA members are being taken at

To learn more about LAVA, please visit

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