This is a small note to update you on LAVA’s occasional forensic science events in the Cal State Los Angeles crime lab, hosted by Visionary Professor Donald Johnson.
Just announced is the June 3 crime lab seminar, an exploration of two eerily similar Southern California murder cases, which unfolded forty years apart. To learn more about THE KILLER BEHIND THE CAMERA, or to reserve your seat, visit the link below.
The next event on the LAVA crime lab calendar is INSIDE THE MIND OF THE ARSONIST, a new program that debuts this coming Sunday, March 4. We do still have a few seats left for this seminar, and if you’d like to join us we suggest that you buy your ticket very soon. You can get more info or reserve your ticket at the link below.
This is an afternoon focusing on the forensic science and profiling behind the investigation of fire-based crimes. Below is a link to a story in the L.A. Times about our presenter Ed Nordskog and his work on as co-lead investigator on the recent Hollywood arson spree.
The program features an introduction to the six main motives behind the crime of arson, an overview of Ed Nordskog’s investigative specialty, a modification of the standard arson investigation in which he “profiles” the arson scene in order to determine a “motive” for the crime. Also included will be select cases studies of convicted serial arsonists, including nationally known crimes and adjudicated cases on which Ed Nordskog worked personally. Following his presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase copies of his new book ”’Torchered’ Minds: Case Histories of Notorious Serial Arsonists.”
We hope to see you at the event on March 4, but you’re most welcome to check out LAVA’s other interesting events. This month we launch a quarterly series of literary Salon dinners at The Musso & Frank Grill, the oldest restaurant in Hollywood.
Please visit the LAVA website, Twitter or Facebook page (links below), or sign up for the main LAVA Flows email newsletter at the LAVA site for regular updates on events outside the crime lab.
Southern California 1931: Amongst the burgeoning urban sprawl built atop bulldozed orange groves and the bitter realization that you can’t eat the sunshine, recent emigré James M. Cain found a kernel of truth and his voice, which would eventually distill through his novels, ”The Postman Always Rings Twice,” “Mildred Pierce” and “Double Indemnity” and subsequent film adaptations into the unique American genre: Film Noir.
How did this East Coat sophisticate go from managing editor of “The New Yorker” to populist novelist accused of writing dirty books? The tour explores Cain’s L.A. from Hollywood to Glendale and along old Route 66, and includes illuminating visits to Forest Lawn Memorial Park (a Glendale institution and site of the funeral of Mildred Pierce’s “other” daughter, Ray), the Glendale Train Station where the “Double Indemnity” murder plot played out, and the punch line to a Billy Wilder joke so subtle, it’s taken 63 years for anyone to get. The tour will also cover the artisans who transformed Cain’s tales into film, including Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler, Joan Crawford and Lana Turner, each an important contributor to the Film Noir canon.
Please note that, due to limited room capacity, attendees must register to attend the LAVA Sunday Salon. To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, or login to your existing account and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup field will appear just to the left of this text. Enter your email address. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually. If you find you are unable to attend, please return to this page and cancel your reservation. Also, note that the Sunday Salon has a new time slot: 2-4pm.
Join LAVA Visionary and art historian Dr. Paul Koudounaris, author of "Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs" and "The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses" for a very special presentation inaugurating the relaunch of the monthly LAVA Sunday Salon at Library Bar.
Demonically-Possessed Cats with Dr. Paul Koudounaris
Does your cat do things like:
speak in tongues?
wantonly kill people for no apparent reason?
This behavior may be more than simple bad kitty syndrome—your cat may be possessed by a demon. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, there is an entire history of demonically-possessed cats. Felines were once considered by theologians to be easy prey for demons, who could enter their bodies and wreck incredible havoc on mankind. And did you know… demonically-possessed cats are still believed to be with us today?! Dr. Paul Koudounaris has immersed himself in the study of demonic cats, in order to to give a talk on this sadly neglected topic. Cat lovers will like this lecture, and cat haters will like it even more. Neither side will ever look at a domestic cat the same way again.
Please note this lecture has been given by Dr. Koudounaris in abbreviated forms about town, but this only time he will present the full lecture in Los Angeles.
Join us in the Cal State Los Angeles teaching crime lab for an afternoon’s inquiry into the history and practice of forensic science in Los Angeles, in support of new research coming out of the Criminalistics Department.
The Secrets of Forensic Firearm Analysis with Forensic Firearm and Toolmark Examiner Michael I. Kelley
For our first talk, join Michael I. Kelley, who works with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as a trainer in the Firearm Identification unit, and who previously presented on his crime scene reconstruction of Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan, for an in-depth presentation on law enforcement techniques for analyzing projectiles and weapons from criminal investigations.
In this introduction to the science of forensic firearm analysis, illustrated with real crime scene photographs and casework, Mike will cover:
- Examination of ammunition.
- Microscopic comparisons of fired bullets, cartridge cases and toolmarks.
- Distance Determination.
- Serial number restorations.
- Physical fracture matches.
- The Cross Fire (IBIS) System
- Toolmark identification
For our second talk, join LASD Team Leader and educator Nick Guskos, co-author of the 2013 textbook Criminal Investigation: An Illustrated Case Study Approach, for an insightful presentation inside the hidden world of gang communication. Nick takes us deep within the investigation into a case of a murder which occurred inside the walls of the Los Angeles County Jail. You’ll follow along as the case unfolds and is eventually solved through intelligence gathering. Intelligence gathering is the key to understanding all complex criminal organizations, including terrorism. This latter area is the topic of Nick’s doctoral dissertation, and will be covered at the conclusion of his talk.
By the afternoon’s conclusion, attendees will have a deeper understanding of the real work that’s done in the field by forensic investigators, and the tools and techniques used to interpret physical evidence and analyze intelligence for the benefit of investigating officers and juries.