We write to update you on LAVA's occasional Literary Salon series.
The series in currently on hiatus. However, for the benefit of those LAVA members who are only subscribed to this newsletter, we write to pull your sleeves to some upcoming bookish LAVA happenings that we think you will enjoy.
"Serial," the true crime podcast from the producers of "This American Life," has become an internet obsession. The first season broke the iTunes record for fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads and streams and the series has been covered by media from the Wall Street Journal to the Colbert Report.
A 15-year-old murder case is at the core of the story. Host Sarah Koenig has been exploring the disappearance and death of Hae Min Lee and the murder conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed. She and her team have been digging into the details and talking to the people involved, podcasting their findings in a new episode each week. Throughout the series the investigative team hasn’t known what was coming next or how many episodes it would take to tell the entire tale.
Now the story will come to a close in the twelfth episode to be released Thursday December 18. You can listen to the season finale at our Crawford Family Forum with fellow fans of "Serial" and KPCC managing editor of news Kristen Muller and science reporter Sanden Totten. After we hear the podcast, we’ll talk about the findings with special guests, including crime historian and mystery novelist Kim Cooper (Esotouric/ "The Kept Girl"), attorney Alan Jackson (Partner with Brown White & Newhouse LLP and former Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office) and attorney Lisa Kang (Alternate Public Defender for Los Angeles County).
Join us and tell us what you think about the case, the storytelling and its conclusion. Free, reservations required from http://www.scpr.org/events/2014/12/18/1637/serial-season-1-finale-listening-session/
Join us in the Cal State Los Angeles teaching crime lab for an afternoon’s inquiry into the history of forensic science in Los Angeles, in support of new research coming out of the Criminalistics Department. We are delighted to announce a return engagement by LAVA favorite Ed Nordskog, Senior Arson Investigator for the LASD and author of "'Torchered' Minds: Case Histories of Notorious Serial Arsonists and Fire Raisers" and "Freaks and Fiends: Obsessive Arsonists in the California Foothills." Ed will present in detail on how two of his most fascinating recent investigations were solved. Case #1: St John Vianney Catholic Church arson, Hacienda Heights. In April 2011, a brazen arsonist entered the church sanctuary and carefully ensured its destruction. Two priests sleeping in the attached building narrowly escaped with their lives. You’ll marvel at the two-year, multi-agency investigation, the bizarre suspect and how toilet paper became the key to breaking the case. Case #2: Marijuana Shop Fires. Beginning in 2009, black street gangs began firebombing marijuana dispensaries throughout the Los Angeles basin, with a large number occurring in Hollywood and West Hollywood. Watch as the facts fall into place through the recently concluded four-year investigation, resulting in the convictions of 11 conspirators and a surprising ring leader.
By the end of Ed’s presentation, attendees will have gained familiarity with the real-world experience of a top arson investigator, and with the shadow worlds inhabited by two very different types of arsonist. Copies of Ed Nordskog’s books will be available for purchase during the program.
Join us in the gorgeous National Register Pasadena Central Library, as true crime historian/novelist Kim Cooper discusses and reads from "The Kept Girl" (Esotouric Ink, 2014), a 1920s mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler, his devoted secretary and the real-life Philip Marlowe all on the trail of a murderous cult of angel worshippers. Accompanying Kim is husband Richard Schave, her partner in Esotouric bus adventures and LAVA - the Los Angeles Visionaries Association, and the designer of this 1940s-inspired paperback, the debut publication of their L.A.-centric press, Esotouric Ink. Kim's illustrated talk will draw on her years of research into the lost lore of Los Angeles, with a focus on the bizarre Great Eleven cult, which ensnared dozens of credulous Angelenos in their mystical rites before one disgruntled ex-believer brought the whole enterprise tumbling down. You'll hear about Raymond Chandler's pre-literary life as an oil company executive, the idealistic L.A. policeman who is a likely model for Philip Marlowe, the real woman who inspired the character of Chandler's secretary Muriel, and the terrible secrets revealed by the fraud investigation in the Great Eleven's activities. Richard will share insights into how he used cutting edge computing tools to evoke the look and feel of a mid-century book, and Kim will talk abut the deluxe Art Deco wraps created for the Subscribers, whose pre-publication support covered a big chunk of the print cost. The talk will be followed by a Q&A, and copies of "The Kept Girl" and "The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles" will be available for purchase and signing by the author.
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.