4/27: free lecture, On Bunker Hill blogger Nathan Marsak on LA cemetery architecture

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Kim Cooper

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Apr 26, 2014, 11:51:03 AM4/26/14
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"LAVA Sunday Salon: Poetry Noir and the Architecture of Death." Sunday, April 27, 12pm-2pm. Free, no reservations required. Les Noces du Figaro (mezzanine level), 618 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014. More info at http://lavatransforms.org/salon414

ABOUT THE SALON: LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association presents its free monthly Sunday Salon series on the mezzanine of Les Noces du Figaro on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. This handsome space was formerly Schaber's Cafeteria (Charles F. Plummer, 1928), and the mezzanine features wonderful views of the Los Angeles Theatre.

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 April 2014 Sunday Salon theme is Poetry Noir and the Architecture of Death.

Presentation One: In celebration of National Poetry Month, poets Suzanne Lummis and Cece Peri and actress Dale Raoul will present a series of readings in the vein of Poetry Noir, a genre popularized in Ms. Lummis' literary festivals and teachings. The readings will explore the themes of this genre: crime, decay, anonymity, hauntings from the past and a palpable sense of place and feel unique to Los Angeles.

LINKS: Poetry Noir presenter Dale Roaoul talks about the genre and Suzanne Lummis' work in the noirish Bradbury Building on Esotouric's You Can't Eat The Sunshine podcast #57, http://esotouric.com/canteatsunshine57. Her co-presenter Ceci Peri shares a poem and how the Noir genre changed her life on Esotouric's You Can't Eat The Sunshine podcast #60, http://esotouric.com/canteatsunshine60

Presentation Two: Architectural historian Nathan Marsak, author of "Los Angeles Neon," will present on Los Angeles's great public mausolea. In this cultural and architectural history of how Los Angeles came to understand the community mausoleum, Marsak will chart the southland's parallels with and digressions from America's developing mores and attitudes toward the space of death.

Emerging from the early 20th-century Garden Cemetery movement, Los Angeles not only contributed the concept of the memorial park, but also many of the finest--and sometimes strangest--grand public mausolea known. Los Angeles, long noted for its mimetic "California Crazy" and futuristic Googie architecture, needed, in its funerary architecture, to strive for solemnity and sublimity.  Nevertheless, its cemetery buildings betray a peculiar and genuinely Southern Californian ethos in their expression.

Discussed will be the 1903 Chapel of the Pines crematory and columbarium; the early community mausolea of the 'teens; the interbellum wonders of Forest Lawn's neogothic Great Mausoleum, Angeles Abbey's Arabian wonderland, and early-Christian meets Art Deco at Calvary Cemetery. Particular study will be given to the postwar era and the specific challenges mausoleum design faced adapting to Modernism--it is during this period they are routinely disparaged as filing cabinet necro-tenements--and how new considerations of population and land management influenced the building of open garden-court mausolea and columbaria.

Their legacy has left us with a means to gauge the city's development (as well as remarkable tile work and stained glass).  Through this lens, Marsak will reveal this significant, yet little-valued aspect of our architectural landscape.

Jim Dawson

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Apr 26, 2014, 4:46:17 PM4/26/14
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Kim, would love to be there, but I've got a wedding to attend in Azusa. My best to Nathan.   JD


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