LAVA Sunday Salon April 2010

On the last Sunday of the month starting in March 2010, LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather on the third floor of the historic Clifton’s Cafeteria in Downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), for a loosely structured conversational Salon featuring short presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another. If you’re interested in joining LAVA as a creative contributor or an attendee, we recommend Salon attendance as an introduction to this growing community. We also recommend the shortbread.

Special program at the May 30 Salon: LAVA Visionaries will host curated conversations at tables around the room.

12:30pm: Social historian Joan Renner presents Pandora’s Boxes: According to Greek mythology, when Pandora opened the box that Zeus had warned her never to open, all of the world’s evils escaped and only one thing remained inside – hope. This concept of hope is a fitting metaphor for cosmetics. Each container of face powder or jar of cold cream represents the dreams and desires of a woman seeking a magic potion that would make her beautiful. The exquisite and fragile packages used to market these dreams became the Pandora’s boxes of the early 20th century. Joan Renner has been collecting vintage cosmetics ephemera for over fifteen years. She has an extensive collection of commercial face powder boxes, rouge tins, advertisements, hair net packages and bobby pin cards. Please join her for a discussion of topics ranging from the design of the packaging to the use of arsenic laden face powder by women in 17th Century Italy to “accidentally” poison their unwanted husbands. Once gracing women’s dressing tables, various unique and beautiful items from Joan’s collection will be also be on display. These include items featured in her blog Vintage Powder Room and some never before exhibited. For a sneak peak at Joan’s collection, click this link.

1pm: Charles Fort, the League of Western Fortean Intermediatists, and a little town called Los Angeles: Phenomenologist Charles Fort (1874-1932) spent 27 years of his life humorously shredding orthodox science by collating thousands of accounts of unexplained phenomena which it couldn’t—and still can’t—explain away. The world has only gotten more phenomenal since Fort’s time, and the League of Western Fortean Intermediatists (L.O.W.F.I.) ensures that his spirit lives on: neither cranks nor skeptics, Forteans are characterized by their objectivity, good humor and lust for supernormal adventure. Based in Los Angeles, L.O.W.F.I.’s focus is on the long, strange life of the American southwest, gathering to discuss its enigmas, peculiarities and unexplainable events. Gonzo journalist and L.O.W.F.I. founder Skylaire Alfvegren has spent a lifetime researching the weird, wacky and unexplainable history of her hometown of Los Angeles. Join her as she explains Fort’s importance and the objectives of L.O.W.F.I., while detailing some of her favorite local cases of unexplainable phenomena. For more information, visit:

Clifton’s Cafeteria is at 648 South Broadway, near the corner of 7th Street. There are numerous paid parking lots nearby, and the closest Metro station is Pershing Square. Clifton’s is online at