Evenings of various wonder in Cypress Park

by Jen Hofer

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The Evenings of Various Wonder occur as an entirely homemade, occasional, and joyful labor of love. I organize them when friends from afar whose work I am excited to share with the local literary and arts communities are coming to Los Angeles at a time when I have the space and wherewithal to host an event. Performers have been from many places in the U.S., from India, from Mexico, from all across Los Angeles, and from right around the corner in Cypress Park. Audience sizes have ranged from around 40 to around 120. Performances have taken place in nearly every room in the house and in the yard, on the roof of the studio, in the studio, and in the Airstream trailer in the eucalyptus grove. I have made no effort whatsoever to regularize or regulate these Evenings into a more “official” form, nor to document them thoroughly or especially carefully, other than via the memories of those who were there. Intrepid performers, crowds of revelers, and friends who dance far into the night are notoriously challenging to document; the few images you see here exist thanks to Rob Ray.

The Evenings of Various Wonder are an opportunity for me to express my enthusiasm for some of the artists, writers and musicians who make me excited to be in the world, and to manifest my gratitude for their work and their being. The primary reasons I built my house are to have a home base and to be able to share the space with others, so as I see it the art, conversation, conviviality, boisterousness, and dance moves that occur on these Evenings and the people—both performers and audience members—who make them happen are crucial elements in making this house a home.   

What follows are the invitations, in chronological order, of the Evenings of Various Wonder I’ve hosted thus far. When’s the next one? I don’t know! Perhaps you should visit and we’ll make something wondrous happen.

Note: The original invitations contained links to each performer’s website or online work; it wasn’t possible to reproduce these for this post, but if you’re curious about these amazing artists, please google them.

Jen Hofer performing a live film narration piece with an image from the film “On The Beach” at an Evening of Various Wonders (inspired by those on Elm Street) at the home of Anna Moschovakis and Trevor Wilson in South Kortright, NY.

Evening of Various Wonders: 02.12.2010

Celebration! Extravaganza! Numerous Delights!

Please join me to enthusiastically appreciate the joys of some of my favorite local and non-local artists and to welcome visiting wanderer Matvei Yankelevich and recent transplant Tisa Bryant to Los Angeles as we belatedly celebrate my birthday (no gifts, please) and in a timely fashion enjoy an Evening of Various Wonders on Elm Street.

Friday February 12, 8 p.m. onward

2905 Elm Street  Los Angeles  CA  90065

BYOB

Home-baked goods provided; additional treats welcome

Matvei Yankelevich will read from his enchanting and adventurous brand-new book, Boris by the Sea!

Textual forays from  Tisa Bryant will knock our socks off and kick our minds into gear!

Katie Shook will perform hand-made puppet magic!

Cat Lamb will swoon us with dynamite sounds, tunes and harmonies!

We shall be oceanically delighted by wondrous sea shanties from MISSINCINATTI, featuring Jessica Catron, Jeremy Drake and Corey Fogel!

It would be a delight to see you!.

Fondly, 

Jen

P.S. I have some very old-school sound equipment (reel-to-reel player/recorder, 78 record players, etc) I would like to donate to a good artistic home. Please let me know if you're interested.

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¡¡Second Evening of Various Wonders on Elm Street!! — 4/20/2010

Ahoy friends!

Tuesday April 20, 7:30 p.m. onward (show begins at 8:30)

2905 Elm Street  Los Angeles  CA  90065

BYOB

Home-baked sweets provided; additional treats welcome

Please join me to enthusiastically appreciate the joys of some of my favorite local and non-local artists and to welcome visiting wanderer Stephanie Barber from Baltimore. It is not yet Mayday, but do please come to Cypress Park to cast off the chains of laborious productivity for one mid-week night and experience the magnificent talents of these enchanting humans:

Jen Nellis will re-navigate "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" via live film narration as vast history and tunneling futures collide in the heart of a dinosaur!

Yelena Zhelezov will perform an abstraction of a Russian game show via hand-made puppets and illuminating projections!

Stephanie Barber's sparkling new performance piece In The Jungle will electrify a new form of fabricated botany and melodic plant research!

We shall swoon as we are rocked into auditory amazement by pitch > like < masses, featuring Jon Armstrong, Andrew Lessman, Billy Mark, Kari Rae Seekins.

It would be a delight to see you!.

Fondly,

Jen

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Welcome Home Rob Ray Evening of Various Wonders: 6/17/2010

Home-baked goods, fresh fruits, homemade salsa with chips from the tortillería around the corner, and Tisa Bryant beautifying the table

Ahoy friends! Extravaganza is in the air!

Thursday, June 17, 7:30 p.m. onward

2905 Elm Street  Los Angeles  CA  90065

BYOB

Home-baked sweets provided; additional treats welcome

Please join me in the backyard eucalyptus grove to enthusiastically appreciate the various joys of the wondrous artists who have lived and worked in the studio at 2905 Elm Street, and to welcome my sweetheart Rob Ray as he arrives in Cypress Park from downtown Troy New York to begin living in my heart and home and making his art in the backyard studio.

The walls of the studio will come alive as portals to actual and potential realities via the two-, three-, and multi-dimensional magic of Alyssa Gorelick, Anne Libby, Max Warsh, and Peter Wilson!
Lee Anne Schmitt will spool filmic ruinations on the philosophical, social and topographic landscapes of the west as we know or imagine it!
Marcus Civin will bridge the past and the future as he magnetizes swirls of errant Elm Street energies into blue goo, actualizing the timeless energies of orgone!
Whether you're wearing socks or not, Monica Howe will definitively knock 'em off (and possibly your feet too!) with her incomparable voicebox and some brand new homemade tunes!
Rob Ray will flex his PowerPoint prowess to propose potential first works to be made in the 2905 Elm Street studio; the assembled audience will have the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cast votes and make Rob do our bidding!

It would be a delight to see you.

Fondly,

Jen

Marcus Civin performing in front of a drawing by Peter Wilson in the studio in the backyard

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Evening of Various and Indivisible Wonders: 9.12.10

Left, Pireeni Sundaralingam in the front room introducing Indivisible and the reading; Right, Pireeni Sundaralingam in the front room reading from Indivisible in front of Mark Sylbert’s drawing. 

Ahoy friends! Fall is nigh and the hot winds are swirling windy whirlwind breezes into our pacific midst! Please join me to enthusiastically, joyously and festively celebrate the publication of the uniquely lovely first-of-its-kind book Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry and to welcome five wonder-inducing contributors and one amazement-inciting editor who will leap from the pages of the anthology to bring their visual, textual and sonic works into the living room at 2905 Elm Street in Cypress Park.

Sunday September 12, 7:00 p.m. onward (show begins promptly at 8:00)

2905 Elm Street  Los Angeles  CA  90065

BYOB

Home-baked sweets and South Asian snacks provided; additional treats welcome

Ro Gunetilleke charts the tensions of ethnic identity, set against the civil war and genocide of Sri Lanka.

A poem by Bhargavi Mandava and a drawing by Mark Sylbert simultaneously unfold and converge as they explore the intersections of identity in time before and after a student’s suicide.

Reena Naryan travels to Fiji and India, exploring her relationship to the women in her life.

Amarnath Ravva will delight us with the marvels of his visual and textual landscapes of South India, as well as his undying love for Apollinaire.

Pireeni Sundaralingam will map out the territory of South Asian American poetry, as seen through an editor's lens.

It would be a delight to see you!.

Fondly,

Jen Hofer and Pireeni Sundaralingam, co-curatorial-conspirators

P.S. Please bring some cash dollars to purchase Indivisible. You can read a review of this exquisite and inspiring anthology here.

Amar Ravva performing excerpts from his forthcoming book American Canyon alongside projections, in the front room.

Bhargavi Mandava reading accompanying/accompanied by Mark Sylbert drawing in the front room.

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Evening of Various and Encyclopedic Wonders: 11.12.10

Hello Friends!!

It's about to be the season for partying at the drop of a hat, and we're ready to drop the hat now!  We will be elated if you might join us for An Evening of Encyclopedic Wonders, an extravagant extravaganza of words, melodies, projected images, occult divinations and dazzling dance moves to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of Encyclopedia Vol. 2 F-K! Please come share the joy with us, and feel free to bring all manner of edible, quaffable cheer! Contributors, if not for you, Vol. 2 would not exist. Come to Cypress Park and be treated like the rock star you are: you get extra credit and a kiss if you wear a shirt that says "Kiss me, I'm an Encyclopedist"!!

Friday November 12, 7:30 p.m. onward

(performances begin at 8:30, with dancing far into the night)

2905 Elm Street  Los Angeles  CA  90065

BYOB
Home-baked sweets provided; additional treats welcome

Performers of all sorts from both volumes of The Encyclopedia Project will be exploring the possibilities of the truly unruly eleven letters A-K. Behold the unforgettable wondrous encyclopedic alphabetic adventures that await you:
 
Greg Chandler's sure-footed fictions will guide us into deep and uncanny CANYONS both interior and exterior.

Playwright and CRACKER author Jonathan Ceniceroz’ latest film collaboration will tease us into the seductions and complications only a hotel room can contain.

Writer Sarah Labrie shall intrigue us into double takes and DOUBLE EXPOSURE with her undeniably with her fantastic prose forays.
 
DOUBLE VOICED Juliana Snapper will excite exhilaration with the operatic joy of her insatiable, indelible voice.

Paula Cronan (EAVES) will animate our imaginations with her moving and mobile images.

Writer and rocker extraordinaire Anna Joy Springer (GODDESS) will embody divinity in word, deed and beyond. 

HB3 (HABERSHAM) accumulates accolades as he celebrates both Vol. 2 and his own fantastic new book, Avalon (with its own soundtrack!).

You might be lured to talk back to the media that talks at you via INTERPRETATION, in the form of live film narration from Jen Hofer.

KILLER culture-maker Chris Kraus will knock our socks off with her wry wit and noir-esque fervor; we'll run barefoot through her reconfigured landscapes.

At intervals throughout the evening, connoisseur of the carnivalesque Mady Schutzman will  invite you into the eucalyptus-ensconced Airstream Argosy to experience her candle-lit tarot talents.

We will end the evening and possibly welcome the dawn by cutting a rug on the hardwood floor to the digi-vinyl delights of DJ Mil Caras.

Given the cross-pollination of friends and contributors, spontaneous expressions of encyclopedic wonderare certainly possible, and definitely welcome. Delight us!

Fondly,

Tisa and Jen, Co-Curatorial Conspirators

P.S. Please bring some cash dollars (or checks or credit cards) to purchase volumes one and/or two of Encyclopedia. You can read a write-up of volume one of this dazzling project here.

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An Evening of Various Wonders! 03.22.11

Ahoy friends! Spring is upon us! Longer days, balmy nights, meandering bike rides, the sweet smells of jasmine, honeysuckle and smog... irresistible! Do not resist!

Tuesday, March 22, 7:00 p.m. onward

2905 Elm Street  Los Angeles  CA  90065

BYOB

Home-baked sweets provided; additional treats welcome (vegan appreciated!)

The delights of Los Angeles will not be resisted by Sommer Browning and Noah Eli Gordon, who descend from their Rocky Mountain apex to grace us with their many charms. Please join me in welcoming them, along with the enchantments of three homegrown wonders:

Eric Lindley will play cat's cradle with our heartstrings via prosey tunes and tuneful prose addressing (and possibly absolving) familial guilt, the soft erasure of bodies, and oblique metonymy.

The tangled strings of heartfelt hybridity will form monstrously rhythmic knots as Janice Lee orchestrates projected and performed adaptations from the score of her forthcoming book Daughter.

What might be found when divine work does the work of divining? A volunteer chorus of readers will perform their hearts out via selections from The Source, a work of ambient research and constrained bibliomancy by Noah Eli Gordon.

It doesn't matter who holds the key to your heart! Sandra de la Loza will set up an Autonomous Lock-picking Zone to demonstrate her pin-slipping prowess, and maybe teach us a thing or two while she's at it.

Sommer Browning's projected poetry comics may shatter your newly-unlocked heart, but you'll want nothing more than to store the pieces in the velveteen pocket of the poetry she will read aloud in the liveliest deadpan this side of the Mississippi.

It would be a pleasure to see you.

Fondly,

Jen

Sommer Browning reading in the front room.

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Happy Hour of Various Wonders: 06.05.11

Ahoy!

Friends from anear and friends from afar! The joy of good company in the beautiful blue late afternoon light! Linguistic, sonic, visual and culinary pleasures! A warm Angeleno welcome, please, for Vivek Narayanan and Rashmi Sadana (and the loveliest Ambika), who grace our fair city with a visit from India -- reason enough for celebration! -- to mingle artfully and enthusiastically with numerous local wonders imported from Culver City, Michigan and Querétaro!

Sunday, June 5, 5:00 p.m. onward

2905 Elm Street  Los Angeles CA  90065

BYOB

Home-made snacks and sweets provided; additional treats welcome

We'll set the BBQ afire after the performances end so bring delicious morsels to grill if you wish

Feel free to email if you need biking, driving or public transit directions

Summer is heating up and a sweet-as-pie stray cat (as yet unnamed—suggestions welcome!) has wandered in through the open kitchen door at 2905 Elm Street and taken up stripey orange residence in our hearts. The birds chirp far into the night, the winter garden has long gone to seed, and the succulents are overflowing with fractal delights. Succulents do not like to be outdone, but they just might be, as we welcome these dazzling fractal delights to Cypress Park:

DanRae Wilson will weave a world of handcrafted puppet enchantments!

Gerhard Schultz and Dylan McKenzie will charm our ears with chiming mathematico-poetic open-string sequences!

Angelenos might take particularly avid interest in these tales from a recently-developing transit system, as Rashmi Sadana guides us through the tentacular subterranean and surface multiplications that are the universe of the blossoming Delhi metro system.

Román Luján will unfasten our understanding of English as he explores the spaces between languages, where anything and everything is possible -- we might never button up our vocabulary again!

The illustrious, sassy, and savvy Mr. S, familiar and foil in the poems of Vivek Narayanan of Almost Island fame, shoots from the hip with an entire cultural landscape as his target: watch out!

It would be lovely to see you!

Fondly,

Jen and Rob

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Various and Reanimated Wonders: 04.19.13

Ahoy friends! For a number of years there have been occasional Evenings of Various Wonder at 2905 Elm Street in Cypress Park, but recently they have become so exceedingly occasional that the unsuspecting Seeker of Wonder, and even the most die-hard Fans of Wonder, might possibly have forgotten entirely that Elm Street is in fact and verifiably a Site of Wonder. Forgetfulness—begone! Memory—get ready to constellate! The present is upon us, and an occasion is nigh! Beloved and brilliant friends from afar—Brooklyn, Houston, and Tijuana—shall join forces with beloved and brilliant friends from anear—Alhambra, Echo Park, Leimert Park (by way of New Zealand), and Lincoln Heights—to remind us that wonder is a state of being and doing. Wonder is precisely the air we need to breathe:

Friday, April 19, 8 p.m. until we stop dancing

2905 Elm Street  Los Angeles CA  90065

BYOB

Home-made snacks and sweets provided; additional treats welcome

If you have a folding chair (or three) you might want to bring?

Feel free to email if you need biking, driving or public transit directions

Abraham Ávila will brave the brutal lines and bad politics at la línea to bring visionary video communiqués from south of the imaginary yet militarized border to our city of angels (or ciudad sin ángeles), this "otro México" which was in fact Mexico until not so very long ago (and perhaps might still be...).

Andrew Beccone will put the anima in reanimation when he proffers "An Incomplete Portrait of the Reanimation Library" in advance of the opening of the Highland Park Branch (see announcement below, please!).

Arshia Haqqani and Kirk Gee will spin vinyl with vim and vigor, spooling soundwaves into our ready ears, making it entirely worth the effort to clear the front room of furniture so we can dance into the wee hours and then some, caught on the oceanic lure of deepsea beats from the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and beyond.

The East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines, via inimitable conductors of spirit and soul Arturo Romo Santillano and Sesshu Foster, will float us into an altered visual-textual consciousness where ethereal realities and yucca-sharp revelations commingle in a barrio that might feel familiar, if only it didn't seem so strange.

John Pluecker will trace the traces of untraced maps and reveal what is irrevocably hidden from revelation in histories of place and person, charting uncharted territories we might recognize as imagined dreams we dreamt we remembered in a dream.

What is the taste bud equivalent of a photographic memory or perfect pitch? Who knows what it's called, but Jorge Galván's got it, and will be dazzling our palates with chileatole, homemade salsa, and other delights based on recipes devised entirely from his impeccable and savory culinary recall.

How many dimensions exist between the 2nd and 3rd? Rachel Bers will lure us toward that question as she colorfully sculpts the plasticity of our multi-dimensional world.

But wait!!! There's more...

A sphere made of many kinds of triangles forms a geodesic dome for this hillside home constructed against a Los Angeles backdrop, Mathematics, 1963.

Reanimation Library: Highland Park Branch

Monte Vista Projects

5422 Monte Vista Street

Los Angeles, CA 90042

April 20–May 19, 2013

Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday  12–5

Resources will be available on-site for visitors who wish to scan or copy images or text for their own use.

All this and more... the more being YOU! We hope to see you at one or more of these wondrous events!

Fondly,

Jen & Rob