Archives for posts with tag: LAVA

On the last Sunday of each month, the Los Angeles Visionaries Association (LAVA) welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2 p.m.), for a structured Salon featuring formal presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with others. The Salon features two distinct presentations, each lasting about 45 minutes. Admission is free. 



Joe Oesterle, author of Weird Hollywood and the classics Weird California and Weird Las Vegas will read  spooky stories from his books and share anecdotes from his weird road travels, and sign copies of Weird Hollywood. Joe Oesterle is a former Senior Editor of National Lampoon, a visual artist, musician, animator, and curator of the strange and marvelous. At the Salon, Joe will be joined by Count Smokula, a 496-year-old accordion-playing vampire from the vaguely Eastern-European nation of Smokesylvania. A mainstay in the Los Angeles Underground scene, the Count has been described as a cross between Bela Lugosi and Jackie Mason.



Poet Fred Voss will read for about 20 minutes from his Bloodaxe (UK) collections Hammers And Hearts Of The Gods and Carnegie Hall With Tin Walls and from Tooth And Fang And Machine Handle, his winning chapbook from Nerve Cowboy‘s (USA) 2013 Competition. Poems mostly about his working experiences, reflections on those experiences, and his 35-year life as a machinist which will include non-machine shop philosophical poems and a couple domestic-comedy “Frank & Jane” poems which bear a striking resemblance to his marriage to poet Joan Jobe Smith.


A teenager in 1950s’ L.A., go-go girl in swinging 60s-70s, poet, writer, teacher, mentor, founding editor of PEARL, and confidante of Charles Bukowski for nearly a decade, Joan Jobe Smith will read 20 minutes’ worth of selected poems about the movies, lands of 1,000 dances, and her friendship with Bukowski from her 2012 literary profile Charles Bukowski: Epic Glottis: His Women & His Art (& me), and the 2013 Bukowski Anthology, both published by Silver Birch Press.


DATE: Sunday, February 23, 2014

TIME: Noon – 2 p.m.

PLACE: Les Noces du Figaro, 618 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, 90014


The Los Angeles Visionaries Association (LAVA) will host a POEM NOIR reading at the historic Bradbury Building on Sunday, November 24, 2013.  Poem Noir performers include: Carl WeintraubBrendan Constantine and Suzanne Lummis (pictured above). The reading is part of a FREE walking tour called “Flaneur & the City: Broadway on My Mind.”

WHAT: Flaneur & the City…Broadway on my Mind walking tour

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013 from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Los Angeles. Details here.

Listen to a September 2013 interview with Suzanne Lummis on NPR’s “All Things Considered” at this link.


Thank you to S.A. Griffin, Joan Jobe Smith, and Fred Voss for reading their poetry as well as other selections from the Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology at the launch event on Sept. 22nd at Skylight Books in Los Angeles. Despite the Emmy Awards taking place nearby in Hollywood, we attracted an enthusiastic crowd of Bukowski fans and a good time was had by all!

Thanks, too, to Richard Schave of the Los Angeles Visionaries Association (LAVA) for telling us about the Esotouric Bukowski tour. Find out more at (And read our post about the terrific tour at this link.)

And, finally, thank you to Jessica Wilson who tried to live stream the event — but,  for various reasons, the best laid plans often go astray (as they say). Our apologies to all those who tried to tune in. The good news is that Jessica recorded the audio and will post it soon — link to come (we hope — but we live in hope…).

We thank Skylight Books for hosting the event — and appreciate the bookstore’s efforts on behalf of Silver Birch Press.

Photos: S.A. Griffin, Joan Jobe Smith, Fred Voss


On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, I was one of the lucky people with a ticket to an elegant and enlightening event — Raymond Chandler’s 125th birthday celebration. Hosted by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper — the brilliant minds behind the Los Angeles Visionaries Association (LAVA) — the party started out in the noir glamor of the “Invention” bar at the Los Angeles Athletic Club at 7th and Olive in downtown L.A.

The L.A. Athletic Club is where Chandler, who worked across the street at the Dabney Oil offices, came to exercise — his elbows, wrists, and hands — by drinking at the bar and playing bridge. Lucky for us, since this is where the master gained so much of his insight into Los Angeles and the movers and shakers who ran the town.

The festivities then moved to the club’s ballroom — outfitted with pillars to keep the swimming pool on the floor above from crashing through. (It may not be easy to dance around pillars, but it’s easier than dancing under water.) There was no dancing on this particular evening — though one of the speakers, Sybil Anne Davis, who knew Chandler as a child, informed us that “Ray,” as he liked to be called, was a wonderful dancer.


Davis’s mother Jean was Chandler’s last secretary — working for the author in La Jolla, California, during his final years . (Chandler passed away in 1959.) As a child and young teen, Davis and her brother spent a great deal of time with Chandler  (photo of Sybil and Ray at left) — and she offered many anecdotes about his humor, charm, kindness, generosity, and wit. From her mother, she inherited Chandler’s library — consisting of hundreds of books — and read us many of the inscriptions that Chandler had written to his wife Cissy as well as Cissy’s inscriptions to “Raymeo.”


Sybil also showed us a truly iconic piece of art — Raymond Chandler’s silver cigarette case, engraved with his initials: RTC. (See photo at right of similar case.) As all noir lovers know, the cigarette is emblematic of the genre — so I was truly awestruck to be in the same room with this remarkable item. Later, when I had the chance to speak with Sybil Davis, I asked her in a whisper: ” Do you think I could hold, even for a second, Chandler’s cigarette case?” Davis, an effervescent and affable woman — and an attorney by profession — agreed, but by then we were advised to head for the elevators because we were moving across the street for a tour of the Oviatt Building, which served as a setting for Chandler‘s novel The Lady in the Lake.

….to be continued.


On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, the Los Angeles Visionary Association (LAVA) will host a party to celebrate Raymond Chandler’s 125th birthday. Reservations for this free event will open at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 8th, at the LAVA websiteThe festivities will take place  in the historic spaces where the legendary noir novelist learned first-hand about civic corruption, wealth, and vice.

The evening will begin at the Los Angeles Athletic Club (corner of 7th and Olive Street) — Chandler’s old stomping grounds — in the club’s newly redecorated third-floor bar, Invention, where the young oil executive played bridge and avoided returning to the offices of the Dabney Oil Syndicate, visible through the bar’s tall windows. The party will then move down the block to the Oviatt Building, the seat of power for Chandler’s greatest villain — Derace Kingsley (not-so-loosely based on James Oviatt) in the novel The Lady in the Lake  before returning to the club for a last toast to the great author.

The evening will include readings and musings on Chandler’s legacy and his impact on how people view Los Angeles—past, present, and future.

WHAT: Raymond Chandler’s 125th birthday celebration

WHEN: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 7-10 p.m

WHERE: Los Angeles Athletic Club, 431 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90014

ADMISSION PRICE: Free (with cash bar)

RSVP: Starting Monday, July 8, 2013 at 10 a.m., at this link

On the last Sunday of each month, LAVA (Los Angeles Visionaries Association) hosts a Salon in downtown Los Angeles that features formal presentations on cultural and literary topics. On Sunday, June 30th, the Salon will explore Jazz Age Los Angeles with two presentations.

PRESENTATION #1: Martin Turnbull on The Garden of Allah


Martin Turnbull, author of The Garden Of Allah novels will discuss life at the Garden of Allah hotel, including its infamous bungalow courtyard — and the bootleg liquor, fizzy flappers, all-night parties that defined the Jazz Age in Los Angeles. When F. Scott Fitzgerald arrived in  L.A. during the mid-1930s with his $1000/week contract at MGM, he settled in at the Garden of Allah. It was also the home-away-from-home for Algonquin Round Table refugees Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman, Alexander Woollcott, and Donald Ogden Stewart. Martin will punctuate his talk with readings from his first novel in the Garden of Allah series, The Garden On Sunset.

PRESENTATION #2: Marc Chevalier on the Crescent Heights Shopping Center & the Ballyhoo Spirit of the Jazz Age


Marc Chevailer, historian of the Oviatt Building in Los Angeles, will focus on the Crescent Heights Shopping Center, across the street from the Garden of Allah. Built in 1925, this towered, marble-trimmed and mansard-roofed Norman chateau housed Schwab’s Pharmacy and the Crescent Heights Market. It was where Hollywood’s movielanders shopped, schmoozed, strove, and scrounged for generations. While nothing remains of “the chateau that housed Schwab’s,” Marc will describe its halcyon era.

WHERE: Les Noces du Figaro, 618 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014. (213) 915-8687

WHEN: Sunday, June 30, 2013, noon-2 p.m.

PRICE: Free!


Our friends at LAVA (Los Angeles Visionary Association) have asked us to help spread the word about an event scheduled for Saturday, April 27, 2013LAVA Literary Salon: A Dashiell Hammett Evening. This sounds like an amazing event — and if you make at least part of your living as a writer, it’s probably tax deductible (research!) — a special evening to celebrate the life and work of Dashiell Hammett, the author who started the hardboiled detective genre.

Here’s what you can expect…

Julie M. Rivett (Hammett’s granddaughter and editor of several books about him) wlll discuss the author’s professional life, private life, public life, and literary legacy.

Richard Layman, a Hammett biographer, will trace the author’s remarkable journey from high school dropout to world renowned writer.

Q&A with Rivett and Layman.

The Long Beach Shakespeare Company will present scenes starring legendary Hammett characters, including Nick and Nora Charles.

Buffet Dinner that features gourmet fare popular in exclusive restaurants circa 1950.

Date: Saturday, April 27, 2013

Time: 630-10:30 p.m.

Location: Los Angeles Athletic Club, 431 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90014

Tickets: $100 (more information here)

ABOUT THE LAVA LITERARY SALON SERIES: LAVA’s Literary Salon is a place for lovers of great Los Angeles writers to come together in historic spaces for good company, fine food, and fascinating discussions by experts in the field. Events take place in the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club, where Raymond Chandler, then a young oil executive, played bridge and eavesdropped on the powerful men who would shape the city and his detective fiction.