Peeping into Pandora’s Box at LAVA’s Sunday Salon

On May 30, LAVA put out a call for culturally curious Angelenos to gather in the upstairs dining room of Downtown’s historic Clifton’s Cafeteria for our third monthly Sunday Salon.

After scattered conversation and dining (the daily specials were pot pie and prailine-topped sweet potato pie), an enthusiastic and lively group gathered ’round featured Visionary Joan Renner as she shared highlights from her seldom-seen collection of vintage cosmetics packages and spoke about the history and social context of cosmetics through the centuries. From intentionally toxic Italian powders meant to “accidentally” poison unwanted husbands to the startling adaption of the Art Deco style to mass-produced make-ups in the middle 1920s, her talk captivated LAVA attendees, who craned their necks to view the lovely preserved treasures in their glass cases and binders.

Before and after the presentation, conversations around the room ranged from ghost hunting to UFO cults, lost Jackson 5 recordings to BookExpo, philosophy to urban preservation, new soundtracks for silent films to peculiar musical scores, neo-vaudeville to customized wheelchairs as art — and beyond. Friendships were formed, collaborations proposed, and all kinds of hungers slaked in this extraordinary monthly gathering of interesting folks who care about the city, the arts and one another.

The Sunday Salon is always held on the last Sunday of the month, from noon to 2pm upstairs in Clifton’s Cafeteria at 7th & Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. Put it in your calendar, and we hope you’ll join us on June 27, for surprises soon to be announced.

And if you missed this one, here are some photos to whet your whistle.