Who We Are
Welcome to LAVA, the Los Angeles Visionaries Association. Whether you’re a Visionary yourself, or just seeking compelling experiences in this city, you’re in the right place.
• Are you an event promoter, artist, writer or performer who would like to be part of the LAVA community? Visit our Application page for more info.
• Are you interested in receiving weekly email announcements of LAVA-sponsored events? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Los Angeles is a city without a center, but with an unjustly bad reputation. It’s also home to fascinating people, places and happenings. But these wonders are dotted over a vast and confusing landscape, drowned out by media blare and corporate blather. You could easily spend years in hard searching to discover the real Los Angeles, those hidden gems and secret gatherings that give this city a soul.
LAVA is the key to the secret Los Angeles you’ve been looking for (or helping to create), and for making connections with people who share your passions and sensibilities. Through participation in LAVA, creative Angelenos come together to provide cultural programming that speaks to the urban experience, and contributes to the creation of that rare thing: positive public space.
Formed by social historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, proprietors of Esotouric bus adventures and the 1947project series of time travel blogs, LAVA brings together the most intriguing creative promoters, artists, writers and thinkers in Los Angeles, sharing their visions for making a better city. Not virtually, though you’ll want to explore our online calendar, but in frequent gatherings of living, breathing, talking human beings, held in select locations all around the town.
Follow LAVA’s path to find friends you might otherwise never meet. Move through the city, exploring LAVA happenings and sharing your feedback. LAVA exists to cultivate connections that will excite, inspire and transform the city and its citizens. Our creative partners share a love for L.A. and a unique vision for how to express and explore that love in their work. LAVA transforms, and its audience transform LAVA.
Why LAVA? We take the image of LAVA, the molten rock cast up from the underworld, from the ancient Sankaya Hindu doctrine, which is that of polar opposites driving the world. A ball of lava contains fire and iron in a highly dynamic situation, very close but never mixing. We also see LAVA as reflecting all of the tightly coiled, passionate energy that exists in various places and minds within the city: each LAVA event provides an opportunity to tap into a well of ideas that in emerging transforms the city and the people who share in the experience.
past events we are quite proud of
- The Daily DoseGrand Central Market (Basement)Grand Central Market (Basement)Benny H. Potter West Adams Avenues Memorial ParkThe Daily Dose CafeStreet corner
- Union Rescue MissionDaily Dose CafeDaily Dose CafeHertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center (Cal State L.A.)The Beverly Hills Women's ClubCentral Library Taper AuditoriumRothenberg Hall, The Huntington Library
In July 2013, LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association launched a series of free walking tours along Broadway meant to raise consciousness about the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the pending implementation of Strategy One, Phase One of the City of Los Angeles’ Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. Each walking tour follows and departs from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.
This month’s special Poem Noir tour, hosted by Richard Schave (Esotouric/LAVA), made its base at Third Street and Broadway. The tour migrated between Grand Central Market, Angels Flight and the Bradbury Building, with topics including the market’s opening in 1917, a remarkable WWI-era festival in the Boston Dry Goods Store, how the Bradbury Building was saved from burning, the history of Angels Flight, the murders of Stephen Nash, the rise and fall of Bunker Hill and the neighborhood’s starring role in the film noir genre, to developer Ira Yellin’s pioneering work of the 1980s.
Historical contributions from Kim Cooper and Gordon Pattison were interspersed with Poem Noir performances by Carl Weintraub, Brendan Constantine and Suzanne Lummis. Special treats: a sneak preview of Gordon’s fictional memoir of his father’s boyhood encounter with John Fante on old Bunker Hill and a poem written on the spot to honor Minnie Epp, the woman who saved the Bradbury Building from a fiery death.