lavaSunspotsLAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association All across this vast and confusing city, little pockets of creative energy flare up, like molten lava oozing from the earth's core. But if you blink, you'll miss them. The failure to find real connection in Los Angeles is a cliché rooted in truth. You could easily spend frustrating years searching for the real thing, those hidden gems and secret gatherings that give this city a soul. Or you can look to a new entity called LAVA (the Los Angeles Visionaries Association) for guidance.

LAVA has been several months in the making, and we're so excited to push it out into the world and see where it takes us. We hope the LA folk reading this will please have a look and let us know what they think of the site.

More info:
LAVA aims to reveal the hidden heart of Los Angeles and facilitate connections between people with shared passions and sensibilities. Through participation in LAVA, a select group of artists comes 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 how to express and explore it in their work.

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. Not virtually, though LAVA's online calendar is packed with gems, but in frequent gatherings of living, breathing, collaborating, connecting human beings, held all around the town — including a monthly Sunday Salon at Clifton's Cafeteria.

The first crop of Visionaries in the growing curated community includes cultural chronicler ADRIENNE CREW, Cacophony Society co-founder AL RIDENOUR, back-to-nature pioneer ALICIA BAY LAUREL, former Metropolitan Museum curator ALLON SCHOENER, designer/mom of Chicken Boy AMY INOUYE, custom tours maven ANNE BLOCK, master puppeteer BOB BAKER, producer and promoter CHRISTIAN VOLTAIRE MEOLI, performance artist CRIMEBO THE CLOWN, the NEA's outgoing Director of Literature DAVID KIPEN, documentarian and exploitation film historian ELIJAH DRENNER, pop critic and outsider artist GENE SCULATTI, no-longer-Teenage Glutster food blogger JAVIER CABRAL, horror film director JEREMY KASTEN, social historian JOAN RENNER, 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, poet and dancer MONA JEAN CEDAR, L.A. Historic Theater Foundation rep NICK MATONAK, music producer and impresario NO'A WINTER LAZERUS, peace activist PAUL NUGENT of the Aetherius Society, social networking mistress SHAWNA DAWSON, and hat designer and multi-media artist YASMIN DIXON.

LAVA's core members are multi-generational (ranging from age 21 through 86) genre-hoppers who are already beginning to collaborate on a series of exclusive LAVA happenings, many of them free to attend. Forthcoming free LAVA exclusives include the L.A.-themed exploitation film series Tinseltown Tarnish (hosted by Elijah Drenner and Jeremy Kasten), a screening of the astrologically-themed 1938 film "When Were You Born" at the historic United Lodge of Theosophy (hosted by Maja D'Aoust) and a new series of "Flâneur & the City" downtown walking tours (led by Richard Schave). And starting in March, LAVA hosts a monthly Sunday Salon at Clifton's Cafeteria, where all curious folks are invited to come learn about the LAVA community and enjoy short presentations from select Visionaries.

LAVA's website debuts today with a community calendar that features an eclectic mix of events: occult lectures, Tom Waits bus tours, musical gatherings, art openings, puppet spectaculars, historic theater tours, saucy nurse performance art, comedy benefits for Haitian relief, ancient Hindu scripture classes, and a free walking tour of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Los Angeles. Coming soon: podcasts, community forums and printable event calendars.

Then there's the community blog, a chance for LAVA's secret weapon to shine. Click BLOG and you'll find ALLON SCHOENER, the 84-year-old cultural historian, author, exhibition originator and art world "Zelig," who in January moved from Hudson, NY to Hollenbeck Palms, the historic Boyle Heights retirement home, dusted off his laptop and started planning his creative life in Los Angeles. Allon's first blog post in a series of recollections of meetings with 20th Century tastemakers is the story of how he brought the first domestic espresso machine to Hollywood in the 1950s. Coming soon: Allon's 100% true tales of life as Charles and Ray Eames' houseguest, socializing with Imogen Cunningham, brainstorming with George Nelson and studying art history with Soviet spy Anthony Blunt.