Episode #128: Chronicling Mid-Century Modern Long Beach and Lomaland’s Lovely Relics

The Prodigal
(‘The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You’)
Reginald Machell (1854-1927)
Oil on two separate canvases, c. 1895
Hand-carved frame by the artist
Reginald Machell placed the Hermetic axiom “The knowledge of IT is a divine silence, and the rest of ^ all the senses” centrally in his painting, “The Prodigal.”

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Join us this month as we talk with Dr. Louise Ivers, architectural historian and preservationist, about her new book, The Remaking of a Seaside City: Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Long Beach, California. We also visit with Kenneth Small and Robert Ray, Head of Special Collections and University Archives at San Diego State University, to hear about their exhibition, “Revisiting Visionary Utopia: Katherine Tingley’s Lomaland – Theosophy in Contemplative Community, Education and the Arts.”

We’ll also discuss the return of the Los Angeles Times to local, private ownership, Hollywood’s Villa Carlotta reopens for short-term tourist rentals as evicted tenants protest, the city reveals the much higher true costs for the Parker Center demolition project, a nice piece in Los Angeles Magazine about our forensic science seminars, West Hollywood approves the enormous Robertson Lane project (which moves and carves up the National Register landmark Factory building) and the developer launches a misleading website using the name of the Save the Factory preservation campaign, your chance to be the owner of the legendary Cerro Gordo silver mining ghost town, we’re not pleased by Frank Gehry’s relentless attempts to demolish Kurt Meyer’s lyrical, landmarked Lytton Savings Bank, the Wiggins Settlement ensures that half the Hotel Cecil remains low-income housing, CBS Television City moves off the Pereira in Peril list and is now a protected city landmark and Thomas Mann’s house was saved from demolition and now it has a library once again.

URLs for podcast

Revisiting Visionary Utopia exhibit

Revisiting Visionary Utopia exhibit press release

Enso Meditation

Robert Ray contact page

Ken Small’s email fohatdharma [AT] gmail.com

Dr. Louise Ivers’ new book The Remaking of a Seaside City: Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Long Beach, California is available from The Historical Society of Long Beach.


September 23 forensic science seminar on the Chester Turner cold case investigation.

Closely Watched Trains

The Los Angeles Times returns to local, private ownership. The future of the paper’s unlandmarked historic Downtown campus remains uncertain.

Villa Carlotta was a special Hollywood community, its tenants protected by rent control. This week, the building reopened as a transient joint. Evicted residents protested the ribbon cutting. Our podcast about Villa Carlotta, when tenants were being made miserable in their homes is here.

The enormous, true costs are revealed for the proposed replacement tower on the Parker Center site as the city fast-tracks removal of the protected artwork, including Joseph Young’s great “Theme Mural of Los Angeles,” ahead of proposed demolition (video). Our Save Parker Center campaign is here.

Some nice press for our grimmest events: Los Angeles Magazine: Inside the Forensics Seminars Where Laypeople Learn About L.A.’s Most Gruesome Crimes – Esotouric’s Forensic Science Seminars are not for the faint of heart.

West Hollywood approves the enormous Robertson Lane project, which moves and carves the National Register landmark Factory building into a meaningless morsel. The developer also registered a website using the name of the preservation group the fought to “Save the Factory” from such insensitive development.

Cerro Gordo silver shaped the west. Now you can shape the ghost town’s next century—if you’ve got $925,000 and a dream. We hope this unique time capsule finds another great steward to follow in the Patterson family’s footsteps.

Shame on Frank Gehry, who has gone to the courts to secure permission to demolish Kurt Meyer’s lyrical, landmarked Lytton Savings Bank. Meyer put his architecture career on hold to save Central Library; this fine architect and Angeleno deserves better. Our podcast interview about Meyer and Lytton is here.

Thanks to the Wiggins Settlement and the efforts of LA CAN, the Hotel Cecil will remain a schizophrenic building, with just over half the rooms dedicated as SRO low-income units and the remainder renovated hotel rooms. Elisa Lam sleuths will meet some interesting people. (PDF link.)

File under Pereira in Peril, and otherwise: CBS Television City is now a protected city landmark. Cheers to our pal Alan Hess, who wrote the LA Conservancy’s landmarking nomination, and to CBS for coming to the table to craft a preservation solution for the future of its historic broadcast production campus. And the citizens of Fullerton aren’t taking the risk to their Hunt Branch library lightly. Can this gorgeous gift from Norton Simon be saved?

Thomas Mann’s house was saved from demolition, and now it has a library once again.



Episode #127: Fighting For the Soul of Los Angeles

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Join us this month as we talk with preservationist John Girodo about his struggles to preserve Hollywood’s historic built environment as that small neighborhood experiences hyper-gentrification. We’ll also visit with social justice advocate Adrian Riskin of MichaelKohlhaas dot org, to discuss his satirical exploration of the shadowy world of Business Improvement Districts and how BIDs influenced the controversial recent defeat of a Skid Row Neighborhood Council.

We’ll also discuss the fate of the Peabody-Werden house, Richard Neutra’s Chuey House, a proposed aerial tram for Dodger Stadium, the Healthy Housing Foundation’s purchase of the nearly empty King Edward Hotel, Jill Stewart of the Coalition to Preserve L.A. on the challenges facing Los Angeles, L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight laments Brookfield’s selling off public art on Bunker Hill, the L.A. Times’ dedicated historian Darrell Kunitomi’s long goodbye to the newspaper’s historic downtown home, a set of newly digitized photo albums from the Cuffe movie ranch in Lone Pine, Burbank’s Book Castle – Movie World bookstore closes its doors after 51 years, peril for Arts District landmark the Pickle Works Building, and the developer who plans to demolish the exquisite streamline moderne Dr. Jones Dog and Cat Hospital in West Hollywood is arrested on Federal bribery and public corruption charges. So stay tuned. . .

URLs for Interviews

Michael Kohlhaas dot org

Los Angeles Poverty Department exhibition: Zillionaires Against Humanity: Sabotaging the Skid Row Neighborhood Council

Hollywood Heritage

Upcoming Events

September LAVA Forensic Science Seminar

Closely Watched Trains

Fate of the Peabody-Werden house, moved to make way for a Boyle Heights housing development, remains uncertain.

Richard Neutra’s Chuey House, which was mysteriously pulled from landmark consideration by the Los Angeles Conservancy, is back on the market–but not as a teardown this time.

Aerial tram proposed for Dodger Stadium.

The Healthy Housing Foundation purchased the nearly empty King Edward Hotel with the aim to renovate rooms and fill it by mid-summer.

Curbed interviewed Jill Stewart of the Coalition to Preserve LA on the challenges facing Los Angeles. We like her idea of turning Parker Center into homeless housing rather than tearing it down.

L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight laments Brookfield’s selling off public art on Bunker Hill: “This Miró masterpiece will be sold to the highest bidder. It belongs in a museum instead.” (The price realised at the May 15 auction was $9,425,000). We’re broken up about Brookfield’s demolition of the Halprin atrium, too.

The L.A. Times’ dedicated historian Darrell Kunitomi is on Facebook saying a long goodbye to the newspaper’s historic downtown home, and offering guided tours of the building until the threatened move to El Segundo.

A set of newly digitized photo albums from the Cuffe movie ranch in Lone Pine contains amazing snapshots of C.B. DeMille’s 10 Commandments ancient Egyptian film set in the Guadalupe dunes.

In vanishing independent bookstore news, Burbank’s Book Castle – Movie World closed its doors after 51 years.

The Pickle Works Building, an Arts District cultural landmark, is in peril from an expanding MTA project. The public Comments for DEIR for the Division 20 Portal Widening and Turnback Facility project just closed. (PDF link.)

The developer who plans to demolish the exquisite streamline moderne Dr. Jones Dog and Cat Hospital in West Hollywood was just arrested on Federal bribery and public corruption charges. Who else was paid off and how many landmarks lost?



Episode #126: From Show Caves to Palm Canyons: Treasures of Southern California’s Desert State Park System

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Join us this month as we get an education from two devoted parks interpreters: LuAnn Thompson shares her favorite things about the landscape and creatures found in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Andy Fitzpatrick introduces us to the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area, including the Route 66 roadside attraction turned State Parks resource, the astonishing Mitchell Caverns.


LAVA Forensic Science Seminar: The Grim Sleeper


Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Providence Mountains State Recreation Area

Recommended Reading:

Anza Borrego Desert Region: Your Complete Guide to the State Park and Adjacent Areas of the Western Colorado Desert by Lowell & Diana Lindsay

Keepers of the Caves: A True Account of Twenty Years of Modern Pioneering by Jack Mitchell

  • Hollenbeck Park Lake in Boyle Heights slated for a major makeover.
  • In rent control news, Costa-Hawkins repeal supporters say they will qualify for November ballot.
  • Landmarking makes all the difference: Crossroads of the World mega-project now plans to incorporate historic Hollywood Reporter building (no word on the gorgeous 1930s garden apartment buildings that are also under landmark consideration).
  • The huge development surrounding Capitol Records returns from the grave.
  • Church of the Angels moves forward after vandalism.
  • Developer in Dispute with Community Stakeholders Warns, ‘I’ll Use My AR-15.’ The parcel was subsequently landmarked.
  • The L.A. Times might move to… El Segundo? We made the trek so you don’t have to!
  • City of Los Angeles following the lead of AIDS Healthcare Foundation in turning old motels into permanent supportive housing. This is good for people experiencing homelessness and for the preservation of the historic built environment.
  • Pasadena plans new anti-suicide barriers for the National Register Colorado Street Bridge, with design recommendations to come. They can’t be uglier than the current chain link solution. . .we hope!

Episode #125: A Farewell to the Caravan Book Store & The Challenges Facing L.A.

Caravan Books

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Join us this month as we talk with Donald Spivack, former Deputy Director of Policy & Operations for the CRA-LA, about the two biggest challenges facing Los Angeles: Homelessness and Open Space. We’ll also visit with Leonard Bernstein, second-generation proprietor of Caravan Book Store, which is closing at the end of this month after nearly 56 years. It is the last shop left on Downtown’s historic Booksellers Row.

We’ll also discuss the unwelcome sale of the Japanese-American landmark Historic Wintersburg for a possible self-storage facility, the Vermonica problem, big changes at the Los Angeles Times as the reporters unionize and a new era of local ownership begins, with the Save 7500 Sunset petition the community rallies to save Parisian Florist and other historic Sunset Boulevard small businesses from an out-of-scale redevelopment project, Tom Bergin’s on the ropes again, hope for retaining some of William Pereira influence in the new development proposed for his Metropolitan Water District HQ, sleuthing the shock demolition of Lawrence Halprin’s taxpayer-funded Crocker Court on Bunker Hill, Malibu’s surfing zone is added to the National Register and we hope this is good news for the neglected Adamson House, outrage and organizing as the Port of L.A.’s redevelopment arm breaks promises made to the Ports O’ Call tenants and San Pedro community and changes to San Gabriel’s outdated preservation policies.


February Sunday LAVA Salon: Poem Noir

March Sunday LAVA Salon: The Los Angeles Mall Reconsidered

LAVA Forensic Science Seminar: Wrongful Convictions: Investigatory Case Studies From the California Innocence Project


RIP Caravan Book Store (1954-2018). The last survivor of Downtown L.A.’s bookseller’s row is closing on 2/24, and with it goes a big piece of Los Angeles’ literary heart. See the 3-D scan.

Caravan Books

Betrayal of preservation promises at Historic Wintersburg, a significant Japanese-American landmark in Huntington Beach.

Can Street Art Be Moved Without Destroying It? Atlas Obscura tackles the Vermonica problem. The Cranky Preservationist stops by, too: Episode 15: Not Vermonica Blues.

Big changes at the Los Angeles Times: the reporters have unionized, then the inept Chicago owners sold the paper to a local owner. The looming question: will the Times be able to remain in its namesake building, which it no longer owns?

A petition is launched to “Save 7500 Sunset” seeking to preserve two blocks of small businesses in Hollywood, including Parisian Florist, one of the finest vintage storefronts we’ve got.

Tom Bergin’s is on the ropes, again.

Renderings released for proposed redevelopment of William Pereira’s Metropolitan Water District HQ: much demolition, but also partial restoration of the low-rise building at the heart of the complex. The sunscreens, removed, we believe, to stymie the landmark nomination, are back.

A civic disgrace: Department of Building and Safety issued a demolition permit in TWO DAYS just before Christmas, then Lawrence Halprin’s significant, taxpayer-funded Crocker Court was destroyed with no public notice. And of course the Cranky Preservationist has something to say about it: Episode 14: Bunker Hill Re-Redevelopment Blues.

Southern California culture spreads its influence around the globe. And now Malibu’s surfing zone is on the National Register, for layers of significance ancient to modern. Maybe now the state will invest in proper restoration of the magnificent tiled Adamson House, which needs some love.

Outrage and organizing as the Port of L.A.’s redevelopment arm breaks promises made to the Ports O’ Call tenants and San Pedro community

San Gabriel, rich with history, gets L.A. Conservancy recognition for beefing up its outdated preservation policies.



Episode #124: The Symbionese Liberation Army & A Vintage Arcadia Xmas

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Join us this month as we talk with author Brad Schreiber about his book Revolution’s End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping, Mind Control, and the Secret History of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA and the upcoming Esotouric bus tour inspired by his research. We’ll also visit with Linda Jensen and her son Adam Wadlow, multi-year winners of an Arcadia Beautiful Holiday Decoration Award for their astonishing display of vintage, illuminated Blow-Mold plastic figures.

We’ll also discuss: our 2017 Los Angeles historic preservation survey, design problems emerge with Agence Ter’s proposed Pershing Square revamp, the Los Angeles Conservancy and Zev Yaroslavsky advocate for preservation of William Pereira’s endangered CBS Television City, the mysterious demolition of Lawrence Halprin’s atrium in Wells Fargo Tower, developer seeks to demolish William Kesling’s fine streamline moderne Wallace Beery house, encouraging news about Sheila Klein’s lost public art installation Vermonica and the collapse of the restored Van De Kamp’s windmill sign on the Arcadia Denny’s.


January’s LAVA Sunday Salon featuring Nathan Marsak on the Aesthetics of Bunker Hill (Sunday, January 28)

Two Days in South LA: The 1974 SLA Shootout tour (Saturday, February 10)

Wrongful Convictions: Investigatory Case Studies From The California Innocence Project (Sunday, March)


Brad Schreiber’s author website. Brad’s book Revolution’s End.

Esotouric’s 2017 Los Angeles Historic Preservation Survey

Pershing Square: attempts to give L.A.’s oldest public park a high-tech revamp are stymied by parking garage topography.

An impassioned plea from Zev Yaroslavsky to preserve William Pereira’s endangered CBS Television City.

Why has a public garden on Bunker Hill been mysteriously demolished? The Cranky preservationist objects to the loss of Lawrence Halprin’s only atrium design.

Wallace Beery’s streamline modern house at risk.

Encouraging news about beloved public art piece Vermonica.

After just 18 months of service, the restored Van De Kamp’s windmill fell off its tower. We just saw it in action.



Episode #123: The Triforium + Topographic Map: Preserving Joseph Young’s Mid-Century Marvels in the Heart of Downtown Los Angeles

Triforium by Joseph Young


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Join us this month for a special episode dedicated to the iconic Civic Center artworks created by Joseph Young (1919-2007), and the various ways that the City and County of Los Angeles are maintaining them. We talk with Clare Haggarty, Deputy Director of Collections for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, about the restoration of Young’s mosaic fountain Topographic Map, on the north side of Neutra and Alexander’s Hall of Records building. We also talk with Cecily Young, one of the artist’s daughters, to learn about The Triforium, his visionary multimedia installation located a block away on the city’s Los Angeles Mall.

We’ll also discuss the city’s removal of Sheila Klein’s Vermonica, East Hollywood’s greatest civic attraction (May 5, 1993-November 21, 2017), two new videos from the Cranky Preservationist, Musicians’ Union Local 47 passes the first hurdle to becoming an Historic Cultural Monument, the proposed demolition of Welton Beckett’s Parker Center, Echo Park’s Jensen’s Recreation Center rooftop sign restored, Grand Central Market’s new owner announced, somewhat encouraging changes to the development plans for William Pereira’s neglected Metropolitan Water District HQ, concerns that the 75-year-old Silent Movie Theatre isn’t closed for long in the wake of Cinefamily’s implosion and the last days of Beverly Hills stationer Francis-Orr (since 1924).

Closely Watched Trains

Esotouric gift certificates are on sale thru 12/24  

A statement from Sheila Klein about the removal of her artwork Vermonica. RIP to the beautiful Urban Candelabra, East Hollywood’s greatest civic attraction (May 5, 1993-November 21, 2017).

The Cranky Preservationist, who loves Los Angeles and HATES what you’re doing to it, returns! Episode 12: Sweet Sidewalk Blues (on Facebook or YouTube) and Episode 13: Golden Arch Hawk Taco Blues (on Facebook or YouTube).

Musicians’ Union Local 47, a landmark of Hollywood and civil rights history, passes the first hurdle on the road to becoming an Historic Cultural Monument.

City estimates about half a billion dollars to tear down Welton Becket’s iconic Parker Center. Adaptive reuse would save millions, and a landmark. Meanwhile, Welton Becket’s young associate Louis Naidorf asks why Los Angeles would demolish a pleasant, adaptable office building like Parker Center.

One of L.A.’s coolest animated signs, the Jensen’s Recreation Center bowler, lives, in its latest restoration by Paul Greenstein.

Grand Central Market celebrates its centennial, quietly changes hands. What’s next for L.A.’s historic breadbasket?

Although the project description remains nebulous, hints of adaptive reuse and respect for William Pereira’s legacy are perhaps on the menu as SOM and James Corner are hired to rework the architect’s neglected Metropolitan Water District HQ in Victor Heights. Learn more about our Pereira in Peril campaign here

Cinefamily has officially shuttered. Their tenancy is just another blip in the 75-year history of the Silent Movie Theater, and we hope this Los Angeles landmark isn’t dark for long.

Beverly Hills stationer Francis-Orr (since 1924) is closing forever on 12/30.

URLs for interviews:

The Triforium Project

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission

Episode #122: Bunker Hill & The French Village: Two Lost Los Angeles Neighborhoods Taken By Eminent Domain

6655 Alta Loma Terrace. 1923. Ray G. Smith, architect.

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Join us this month as we talk with Gordon Pattison, Bunker Hill native son, about the reopening of Angels Flight Railway and other ways in which his lost Victorian neighborhood survives.  We’ll also visit with Elona Anthony, to hear about how her late husband Steven took on the Los Angeles establishment in a one-man battle against the eminent domain seizure that threatened his beloved storybook cottage.  Hollywood museums, land grabs, ideological zealots, police surveillance, historic preservation: The Siege of Fort Anthony is a complex and powerful story that is as relevant today as it was in 1964.

We’ll also talk about the L.A. Weekly’s 2017 Best of L.A. selection of this show as “Best Podcast About L.A. History” (yay!), concerns raised about the proposed Crossroads of the World mega-project, tenants complain of alterations to Rudolph Schindler’s landmarked Sachs Apartments, Craig Sauer’s new 3-D scan of Lloyd Wright’s Sowden House, how the interior of John C. Austin’s 1902 Hiram Higgins house was ruined, Ports O’ Call shopkeepers suing over redevelopment evictions, public outcry against rezoning threat in Burbank’s sleepy Rancho District, a modest proposal to do something more public with the 1870 Merced Theater, CBS Television City is the newest Pereira in peril and the historic 1920s El Cid facade is partially demolished. Plus two exciting new videos from The Cranky Preservationist, who is cranky about Parker Center’s pending demolition, and the loss of public access to Kay Martin’s Bunker Hill paintings.

Closely watched trains:

L.A. Weekly 2017 Best of L.A. – Best Podcast About L.A. History is our own You Can’t Eat the Sunshine

Preservationists and Cultural Heritage Commission express concerns about proposed Crossroads of the World mega-project.

Tenants raise the alarm over alterations to Rudolph Schindler’s Sachs Apartments, a city landmark. 

Explore an L.A. landmark in 3-D #6: Lloyd Wright’s Sowden House, Mayan Art Deco marvel or Black Dahlia crime scene? 

If you ever wondered why Los Angeles needs an interior landmarking ordinance, the ruin of John C. Austin’s 1902 Hiram Higgins house tells the tale.  

In the face of redevelopment, the historic Ports O’ Call shopkeepers are fighting, and suing, to protect their livelihoods. The Port of L.A. can afford to help these little fish.

Burbank’s sleepy Rancho District under rezoning threat as longtime Pickwick Bowl / Viva Cantina owners seek to cash out. Petition link.

Since funding has stalled for the plan to turn the 1870 Merced Theater into a modern TV studio, why not aim for a more public use. Restaurant? Hostel? More on the theater here.

File under: (yet another) Pereira in Peril. CBS Television City to be redeveloped?

Eater LA picked up on our scoop on the demolition of a third of El Cid’s historic facade, got a quote. 

The Cranky Preservationist, who loves Los Angeles and HATES what you’re doing to it, returns! Episode 10: Have You Hugged Your Parker Center Today Blues (on Facebook or YouTube). Episode 11: Kay Martin’s Lost Bunker Hill Paintings Blues (Facebook, YouTube).

Upcoming Events:

We Celebrate Our Tenth Anniversary

From The SLA to DNA–November 5th Forensic Science Serminar

Wrongful Conviction Workshop–March 4th Forensic Science Seminar

October LAVA Sunday Salon–Public Art In The Civic Center

Richard’s Birthday Bus–November 25th