LAVA Goes Gatsby with a weekend of Jazz Age Los Angeles cultural programming
WHAT: F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tours of West Hollywood and LAVA Sunday
Salon celebrating Jazz Age Los Angeles
WHEN: Saturday, June 29, 2013 (Walking Tours at 10am and 5pm) and Sunday,
June 30, 2013 (Salon, 12-2pm)
COST: Walking Tours are $15/person, Sunday Salon is free
MORE INFO: http://lavatransforms.org and the individual links below
Recently honored with a Best Literary Salon award from Los
Angeles Magazine, LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association is fast
establishing itself as one of the city's most intriguing arts collectives,
with a calendar packed with compelling, offbeat urban events and a growing
list of notable Visionary contributors.
So it's no surprise that LAVA is pulling out all the stops in honor of that
Visionary sometime-Angeleno F. Scott Fitzgerald, as Hollywood offers up the
fourth film adaptation of his classic, "The Great Gatsby." During the
weekend of June 29-30, LAVA Visonaries present a range of cultural
programming celebrating Fitzgerald, Jazz Age Los Angeles, and the
literature, architecture and social bonds that continue to fascinate after
nearly a century.
The LAVA events play out in this order...
1) "The Last Days of F. Scott Fitzgerald Walking Tour." Saturday, June 29,
10am-12pm and 5pm-7pm. $15, advance reservations recommended. Hosted by
Adrienne Crew (Dorothy Parker Society) and departing from near the
intersection of Sunset Blvd & N Crescent Heights Blvd, Los Angeles, CA,
90046 (actual location provided to ticketed guests). More info at
ABOUT THE TOUR: LAVA Visionary Adrienne Crew of the Dorothy Parker Society
will host a short walking tour of F. Scott Fitzgerald's (West) Hollywood and
the places that were significant to him at the end of the writer's life. The
tour will begin near the corner of Sunset Blvd and Crescent Heights (exact
details furnished upon registration) and conclude at Greenblatt's Deli,
where Sheilah Graham purchased the Hershey bar which was the last thing
A partial list of both extant and demolished locations along the route: The
Garden of Allah hotel, Schwab's Drugstore, the apartment of Fitzgerald's
mistress Sheilah Graham.
Special guest speakers Martin Turnbull and Marc Chevalier, presenters the
following day at the LAVA Sunday Salon, will be on hand during the first 30
minutes of each tour to enhance the understanding of several of the
locations covered on the tour.
2) "LAVA Sunday Salon: Jazz Age Los Angeles." Sunday, June 30, 12pm-2pm.
Free, no reservations required. Les Noces du Figaro (mezzanine level), 618
S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014. More info at
ABOUT THE SALON: Join LAVA The Los Angeles Visionaries Association for its
revived free monthly Sunday Salon series, formerly held at Clifton's
Cafeteria. LAVA returns to South Broadway, to the mezzanine of Les Noces du
Figaro, which was recently opened by the family behind Figaro Bistro in Los
Feliz. This handsome space was formerly Schaber's Cafeteria (Charles F.
Plummer, 1928), and the mezzanine features wonderful views of the Los
On the last Sunday of each month, LAVA welcomes interested individuals to
gather in downtown Los Angeles for a structured Salon featuring formal
presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another.
The June Salon theme is Jazz Age Los Angeles, and the two talks by LAVA
Visionaries Martin Turnbull and Marc Chevalier will focus on the
intersection of Crescent Heights and Sunset Blvd.
Presentation One: Martin Turnbull on The Garden of Allah
Martin Turnbull, author of "The Garden Of Allah" novels will be discussing
life at that hotel and its infamous bungalow courtyard during the 1920s and
30s. Its bootleg liquor, fizzy flappers, all night parties defined the Jazz
Age in Los Angeles. When Scott Fitzgerald when came to L.A. in the mid 1930s
with his $1000/week contract at MGM, it was at the Garden of Allah he chose
to land. it was also the home-away-from-home for Algonquin Round Table
refugees Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman, Alexander
Woollcott, Donald Ogden Stewart and Marc Connelly, so Fitzgerald must have
feel at home. As did anyone answering Hollywood's siren call lucky enough to
get a room there. Martin's talk will be punctuated by readings from his
first novel in the series, "The Garden On Sunset."
About the Garden of Allah: Formerly the movie star mansion of luminous
silent screen star, Alla Nazimova, the Garden of Allah opened its doors in
1927 at the height of the Jazz Age and in no time, word got out that
Nazimova's Garden could always provide hopeful Hollywood arrivals with a
pillow, a pal and a party. Over those years, a virtual who's who of
Hollywood paraded through the place: Bogie and Bacall, Errol Flynn, David
Niven, Harpo Marx, Tallulah Bankhead, Artie Shaw, Sergei Rachmaninoff,
Dorothy Gish, Kay Thompson, Leopold Stokowski, Orson Welles, Ava Gardner,
and Frank Sinatra.
Bio: Author Martin Turnbull has worked as a private tour guide showing both
locals and out-of-towners the movie studios, Beverly Hills mansions,
Hollywood hills vistas and where all the bodies are buried. For nine years,
he has also volunteered as an historical walking tour docent with the Los
Angeles Conservancy. He worked for a summer as a guide at the Warner Bros.
movie studios in Burbank showing movie fans through the sound stages where
Bogie and Bacall, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, and James Cagney created some of
Hollywood¹s classic motion pictures. His first novel in "The Garden Of
Allah" series, "The Garden on Sunset," was published in 2011, followed by
"The Trouble with Scarlet" in 2012. Originally from Melbourne, Australia,
Martin moved to Los Angeles in the mid-90s.
Presentation Two: Marc Chevalier on the Crescent Heights Shopping Center and
the ballyhoo spirit of the Jazz Age
For his talk, Marc Chevailer, the historian of the Oviatt Building, will
focus on the Crescent Heights Shopping Center, just across the street from
the Garden of Allah. First drawn to the building because of James Oviatt's
proposed but never realized "satellite" shop for his famous downtown
haberdashery, Marc soon become ensorcelled by this beautiful French Norman
revival building. Built in 1925, this towered, marble-trimmed and
mansard-roofed Norman "chateau" housed Schwab's Pharmacy and the Crescent
Heights Market, which fed, drugged and boozed the Garden of Allah's
voracious guests. It was where Hollywood's movielanders shopped, schmoozed,
strove and scrounged for generations Š where F. Scott Fitzgerald nearly died
and Marilyn Monroe got her final prescription, and where Robert Mitchum,
already a star, stocked grocery shelves just for fun. It was home to the
Sunset Medical Center, the upscale Talmadge Jones flower shop (with its
Rolls-Royce delivery trucks), a bakery, a dry cleaner, a beauty parlor, the
infamous Crescent Heights Market (owned and managed by a cantankerous
ex-speakeasy operator from New York, who randomly overcharged Hollywood's
elite for its groceries), and a pharmacy that would be bought out by
Schwab's in 1932. In 1949, Googie's would build its first coffee shop next
to Schwab's. While nothing remains of it today, "the chateau that housed
Schwab's" is ripe for rediscovery. Join Marc as he presents us a rich
palimpsest of Hollywood from its halcyon era as he peels back the layers of
the Crescent Heights Shopping Center, a compound which was drastically
remodeled in the 1960s, and demolished in 1988.
BIO: Marc Chevalier stumbled across "the chateau that held Schwab's" while
doing research for his upcoming biography of James Oviatt, the man behind
L.A.'s Oviatt Building. In 2008, in partnership with filmmaker Seth Shulman,
he researched / wrote / produced a feature-length documentary on the Oviatt
Building's history. An English teacher by profession, Chevalier calls Los
Angeles history his passion/addiction, and credits LAVA's Kim Cooper and
Richard Schave for feeding it regularly.
Interested Angelenos are encouraged to come out and be part of one or more
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 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 http://www.lavatransforms.org