Events & Exhibitions
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See yourself in Llano
The Llano del Rio colony was attorney Job Harriman’s project after losing the mayoral race in 1913. By 1914 about 200 socialists had bought shares to participate in his Utopian experiment in the Mojave Desert where they struggled until 1917. The die hards of the group relocated to New Llano, Louisiana where they survived until 1937.
Today, about 1 hour from Los Angeles, the ruins are prominent along Hwy 138, yet over the 3000+ acres held by the colony are additional ruins and foundations. PositionalProjects.org works with the private landowners to offer alternate experiences of these places each May, marking the May Day celebrations at the colony.
This year we consider the residential area south of HWY 138. At its height, 900 people resided at the colony. we’ll tour their foundations, have a historic tent on display with ephemera and reproductions of the colony’s prolific pamphlet production as well as a newly discovered promotional postcard collection. You’ll be able to create your own postcard from Utopia with postage stamps honoring Alice Constance Austin, little known feminist architect of the future residences planned for the colony. The local Antelope Valley trio, Anahata Mousai will offer a magical 30 minute sound bath magnified by the shape of the silo ruin. Relax and look up at the sky while the sounds of crystal bowls, gongs and chimes wash over you.
This February, join Paul Greenstein, co-author of the definitive history of the Llano del Rio Colony and PositionalProjects.org founder Karyl Newman, both will share research from the past and present at LCA’s annual potluck.
Greenstein’s book, Bread and Hyacinths: The Rise and Fall of Utopian Los Angeles is now out of print, bring your copy to be signed by the author. A few copies remain available online.
In December 2017, Newman spoke at the Museum of the New Llano Colony in New Llano, Louisiana to commemorate, connect and share research about the 1917 exodus from the Antelope Valley. With the support of the Leesville Tourism Authority, Museum director Mary Ann Fussell, and local historian Martha Palmer our communities now have a sister-utopian connection between Llano, CA and New Llano, LA and open communication about research and events.
Come to our gathering at the next meeting. What will you learn? Newman will recount the 100 year old journey from California to Louisiana by rail and by car as she shared in her presentation in December at New Llano.
On January 20, 2018, 23 bodies formed a peaceful and silent wall at Trump National Golf Club for #brickxbrick2018 – 12 nationwide wall actions took place around the country simultaneously as part of the #womensmarch.
My friend and fellow artist Andrea Lauer came up with the wall against misogyny concept with Sarah Sandman now known as #pdacollective. I stood with them in #nyc in front of Trump International Hotel in October 2016 and watched as strangers were moved to tears.
My lifelong friend Maribeth Borowski, her sister Kathleen Borowski and their cousin Andrea and I joined #brickxbrick in DC last year, another incredible strength building experience in such difficult times.
As a result, Maribeth and I coordinated #brickxbrick2018 in Los Angeles. We kicked it off with participants and supporters together on Friday for a #bxb suit try on and delicious pot luck.
The LA Bricksters, spanning ages 16-70 gathered again on Saturday morning to don our #politcaljumpsuits. We were in place in Palos Verdes by 10am in solidarity with 11 other simultaneous #brickxbrick #directartactions nationwide. Follow #brickxbrick2018 see them all!
We stood hands clasped in silence for one hour as the public read the patches on our brick print jumpsuits spelling out derogatory quotes made by #45 against women and POC.
Law enforcement came out to make sure we were safe, people stopped, took photos and thanked us, cars honked and gave a thumbs up and only two guys on motorcycles gave us the middle finger!
Thank you Luis, Julie, Mari, and Chris for being our representatives with information about the action for the public so we could stand peacefully.
The beautiful images of our action are by Alyssa Yung.
One hundred years ago this month, two groups of colonists from Llano del Rio made the trip to Stables, Louisiana from the Antelope Valley in California. In honor of this centennial, artist Karyl Newman will travel to New Llano to share her fieldwork, research, events and exhibits organized at sites around the desert ruins of “the most important non-religious Utopian experiment in western American history” – California State Historic Preservation Office. As the 2016-2017 Archibald Hanna Visitng Research Fellow at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, she continues to make discoveries using clues from the Walter Millsap Papers in the Paul Kagan Utopian Communities Collection while seeking out relatives of comrades and their private collections. The Mojave location offers no historic marker and Newman looks forward to learning from Louisiana and the Museum of the New Llano Colony. In lieu of a brick and mortar base for ongoing utopian studies in Llano, please explore the ON ALL Day digital exhibit made possible by a grant from California Humanities at http://bit.ly/4AllonLlano.
An Explorer of the Mojave Desert shared sickening images of illegal dumping with the XMD Facebook group – an abandoned long term camp with rotting food, tents, inflatable mattresses, clothing and much more too gross to go into here. He and many others wanted to organize a cleanup.
Turns out a lot of people care about Giant Rock as the Landers Community Association posted about it and explained the Mojave Desert Land Trust wanted to help.
Please join all of us for a public display of affection for our public lands on Saturday, September 9 from 8-11 AM. I’ll be sharing some stories about Giant Rock from my ongoing research and I hope we’ll learn others while we make quick work of cleaning up multiple sites around Giant Rock while appreciating those we can’t touch!
Organized by the BLM BFO, Landers Community Association, the Mojave Desert Land Trust and reporting/creative reuse map project Blightsites.org. Hope to see you there!
ON ALL Eve – Figuring the Volume of a Utopian Cylinder, invites you to walk under the waxing sturgeon moon, reflecting on the end of the Llano del Rio utopian socialist experiment in the Antelope Valley with Karyl Newman, arriving at the silo ruin for a tranquil soundbath to contemplate our next steps with local artists Jean Monte, Moriah Cain Gross and Kristen Cramer, known as Anahata Mousai.
This ticketed event, co-produced by Positional Projects and LAUNCHLA, was conceived by participants at the ON ALL Day event on May 6th, 2017. Each guest receives a limited edition guide/map. Please view the accompanying online exhibit made possible by California Humanities and Arts Connection at http://bit.ly/4AllonLlano. ON ALL Eve is part of Maiden.LA, is an inclusive and expansive county-wide survey of art happenings that in encouraging the use of alternative spaces, considers the city as a platform for generative discourse and exchange.
Space is super limited – the soundbath is inside the silo! Only ticketed guests may participate. Reserve your place at 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00PM on Eventbrite.
Special Event – Desert Visionaries: Llano del Rio, Antelope Valley Indian Museum & Aldous Huxley’s Pearblossom Ranch – Saturday, June 17th
In this special event bus adventure, part of Esotouric’s tenth anniversary celebrations, we’ll explore the Southern California dream as it has manifested through creative residents of the Antelope Valley, and mark the centennial of the shuttering of the Llano del Rio socialist colony.
Joining us as we explore the ruins of Llano del Rio are two expert guides: historian Paul Greenstein (co-author of Bread & Hyacinths: The Rise and Fall of Utopian Los Angeles) and artist-archivist Karyl Newman (2016-2017 Research Fellow at the Beinecke Library and founder of positionalprojects.org). They will tell stories of the colonists’ colorful adventures set against a backdrop of the conservative Los Angeles power structure, personified by Job Harriman’s arch-nemesis, Los Angeles Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis. And Karyl will share new research on Alice Constance Austin, a feminist city planner engaged by Harriman to implement her ideas at Llano–structures created to eradicate domestic housework, situated to offer privacy and tranquility, yet connected to facilitate tasks communally–decades ahead her time.
Listen to the Esotouric Podcast with interviews with Paul & Karyl here.
San Bernardino, CALIF. — California Humanities has recently announced the first round of 2017 Humanities For All Quick Grant awards. Arts Connection, the arts council of San Bernardino County, has been awarded $5000 for its fiscally sponsored project entitled ON ALL Day —A Desert Reflection at Llano del Rio conceived by San Bernardino based project director Karyl Newman of PositionalProjects.org.
Humanities For All Quick Grant is a highly competitive grant program of California Humanities, and is awarded to projects that give expression to the extraordinary variety of histories and experiences of California’s places and people to ensure that the stories can be shared widely. These narratives help us find our commonalities, appreciate our differences, and learn something new about how to live well together. ON ALL Day was awarded one of 15 grants and the sole project to receive support in San Bernardino County.
The ON ALL Day project marks the 100 year anniversary of the final May Day celebration at the Utopian socialist experiment founded by Job Harriman, which operated in the Antelope Valley from 1914-1917, at four exhibit locations around the nearly 10,000 acre colony. Organized by Karyl Newman and PositionalProjects.org, collaborators Dydia DeLyser and Paul Greenstein, Jean Monte, Kristen Cramer, Moriah Cain Gross, Leora Wien, Michelle Andrade created exhibits documented by Adriana Campos-Ojeda and Verlon Allen III. Our fiscal sponsor, Arts Connection, the arts council of San Bernardino County, hosts our ESRI story map.
Explore the interactive, map-based exhibit at http://bit.ly/4AllonLlano.
View the full press release – ArtsConnectionSB_6717NR
Please join Positional Projects on Saturday May 6th from 10-4 for ON ALL Day – A Desert Reflection at Llano del Rio, a self-guided tour featuring multiple locations around the 2,000 acres of the experimental utopian community honoring their final May Day celebration in 1917. Host Karyl Newman will share insights into the colony’s history from her Beinecke Fellowship while presentations by special guests will offer new perspectives on California Historic Landmark #933. Please RSVP to reserve your spot, souvenir guide, directions and details.
Guests provide their own transportation between locations. Sites are not wheelchair accessible, guests under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian. There is no fee to participate, however check-in is required. Tickets are limited.
We look forward to reflecting on Llano’s important history and building a new public memory, together.
Join Karyl Newman this Sunday to talk trash over a cup of tea. Newman documents waste abandoned in our landscape on Instagram as @dehsart and large dumpsites @blightsites. She will share her projects mapping illegal waste deposits across our desert, identifying spots for cleanup and providing free reuse resources for artists using the app at blightsites.org. Recently she used debris data to collect over 300 pounds of broken furniture, re-purposed for her stage design at the Wallis Center for the Performing Arts. Take a tour of what was taken HERE.
We will discuss easily accessible online cartography tools to share location based information and how we can re-think waste as a resource.
Please bring a mug, cup, or container to enjoy tea together.