Wednesday, August 16, 2006

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Panorama

When the Velaslavasay Panorama lost its Hollywood home to the wrecking ball two years ago, I thought it was the end of the line for the quirky attraction. The Velaslavasay Panorama is based on the 19th century panorama art form, which "encircles the spectator with a 360-degree painting of a continuous scene, affording the viewer an opportunity to experience a complete sensory phenomenon."

But the Velaslavasay Panorama lives, and has even found larger digs: The Union Theatre, just north of Exposition Park and the Historic West Adams district (on 24th Street Between Hoover Street and Vermont Avenue). They're presently refurbishing the theatre and installing a new exhibit, so it's not yet regularly open to the public.

But here's a perfect chance to check out their new home: The Velaslavasay Panorama is holding its annual ice cream social this Sunday, Aug. 20, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Ice cream will come from Mashti Malone's.

A $10 donation will include games, prizes, music and ice cream. Proceeds will go to the Velaslavasay Panorama Refurbishment Fund.

Entertainment will come from Erik Newman, "The Reluctant Aviator," and his aerial bicycle. And music will come from someone who may be familiar to certain Friends of Franklin Avenue: Banjo player Charlie Cox, a street performer who regularly plays outside the La Brea Tar Pits. Players on 2003's Mike's Birthday Race were required to find Charlie at one point during the race and listen to a song; Charlie then gave them a clue card.

More details from the Velaslavasay Panorama's site:

Through donations from the public and grants The Velaslavasay Panorama’s upcoming major panoramic exhibit is in the works and, although not yet open, will shortly be on view to all. The Panorama’s carnivorous plant display, elegant gazebo, and sinister foliage garden will, however, be on display for everyone’s enjoyment.

In the interim before our panoramic exhibit is open, The Velaslavasay Panorama will continue to host events. In addition to the Ice Cream Social, The Panorama’s past events have included film screenings and presentations that vary from Automata’s toy theatre productions and silent film screenings to craft circles.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood lot where the Panorama building once stood still sits empty -- sadly, a common story in Los Angeles, where buildings are cleared for new development (think Coulter's Department Store on Wilshire -- which has been an empty pit for decades, or the Philharmonic Auditorium downtown -- a parking lot since 1985). Whole Foods was originally slated to move to the spot, but pulled out.

The Velaslavasay Panorama
1122 West 24th Street
Los Angeles, California
(213) 746-2166

The Panorama's original Hollywood location

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