Gimme All Your Ephemera!

.-3 -5: -6

I started my Bazaar day with the Researching LA 101 panel. First was the lingo lecture: primary, secondary, ephemera. Next was the thinking aspect: who created the record and why? Then there was the major reminders: look for multiple perspectives, even death certificates can be inaccurate, keep notes on where you’ve been and what you’ve found. And lastly was the hard truth: if you want to dabble in the archive arts you’re going to eventually be in a reading room. It’s estimated that only 5% of archives are digitized, and only some of those digitized are online. The reading room will be cold, and you will be asked to use pencil and special colored paper. When the panel was over, I felt ready for the main exhibit hall.

I can’t cover all that I learned or what organizations were represented that day. The room was packed with tables of black and white photos, memories, and stories; tables of different regions, cultures, and businesses. Tables that were surrounded by us – those that feed off of the mana that is history. I made the best haste I could; I had to see it all before the tour of TBD LA started – it was by the grace of the Almighty that I covered a good portion of one of the floors before the tour started.

The TBD LA tour was led by one of its creators, Geoff Manaugh. To hear the explanation through him brought the concept into focus. This exhibit was a pensive look at the multiple possible futures of Los Angeles and how the city has a strange energy that pulls people to it. It’s a city of cults, traffic, and movements both social and geological. The reality of the Los Angles earthquake was poignantly described as a sleeping monster, one we generally choose to avoid thinking about. We always know this monster will awaken but we do not know when. After this dreamy look into the futures of Los Angeles I had to – in true Angeleno fashion – rush to the next big thing: The Pecha Kucha.

The Pecha Kucha was accurately described as archives speed dating. The audience briefly learned about advances in the histories of the Lanternmean House, the Filipino American library, the Metro, LACMA, CSU Dominguez Hills, and the newly budding Punk Rock archives of USC.

In Pecha Kucha fashion I’ll briefly share what was of particular interest to me:

-The Ninja Turtles were at the grand opening of the Metro Blue Line

-Some of Los Angeles’ famous Red Cars (the center of the plot of Who Framed Roger Rabbit) were sent to Argentina and Paraguay after their dismantlement

-CSU Dominguez Hills’ location was originally considered as a place to build Dodger Stadium. Meanwhile, the pending college was to be built in Palos Verdes where it would have aspired to be a sort of Harvard of the west coast

-When LACMA first opened all of its pieces were loans and the establishment was surrounded by reflecting pools

When the Pecha Kucha was over I stayed seated, it was time for the LAtitudes panel. LAtitudes is a recently released literary atlas published by the non profit publisher Heyday Books. Imagine; 19 essays written by very different people with accompanying maps illustrating a variety of geological concepts – all of it regarding the one and only Los Angeles. I only heard four of the authors speak about their contributions and the variety and the enthusiasm for this project shone through like a spotlight. I NEED this book.

I wanted to stay for one more panel – Imbibing LA with the historian from the Museum of American Cocktails – but I needed to leave. I was exhausted. My stomach was growling – the only food I imbibed during my Bazaar day was a Clif bar, which I hastily ate on a nearby bench because I did not want to leave the Bazaar to find real food. My right hand was tired from all of my insane scribbling. My phone was dead from all the historical society websites I was book marking and from all the forays into GoodReads I was making. My mind was buzzing with the LA history, with the LA story.

If you like history too, check these out:

CSUDH Commemoration of Watts Rebellion

Metro Archives

Heyday Publishing / LAtitudes

LA as Subject