The Los Angeles Visionaries Association (LAVA) held its 14th free monthly Sunday Salon at Clifton's Cafeteria on April 24, attracting an eclectic crowd of salon regulars as well as first-timers. An informal gathering of artists, performers, and other members of LA's creative and intellectual community, LAVA was formed in February, 2010 by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, the husband-and-wife team behind the offbeat bus-tour company, Esotouric. Since then, LAVA has hosted walking tours, community-based activities, and a variety of guest lectures by writers, critics, outsider artists, filmmakers, and more.

The special Easter edition of LAVA kicked off with a presentation by British musician, author, and erstwhile teen idol, Ian Whitcomb, followed by Easter crafting and a performance courtesy of the Ukulady and her band, the Evil Sandwiches.

A proud SoCal transplant from Surrey, England, Ian Whitcomb has recorded dozens of albums, written more than 20 books, and once toured with the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. At LAVA, he performed his 1966 version of the 1916 popular song, “Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go with Friday on Saturday Night?” and read from his new book Letters from Lotusland: An Englishman in Exile.

These days, Whitcomb hosts The Ian Whitcomb Show on SiriusXM satellite radio and performs regularly at Cantalini's Salerno Beach Restaurant in Playa del Rey.

The Ukulady and the Evil Sandwiches; Credit: Tanja M. Laden

The Ukulady and the Evil Sandwiches; Credit: Tanja M. Laden

Alter-ego of performer Thessaly Lerner, the Ukulady describes herself as “the World's Greatest Kids' entertainer for peeps age 0 -110.” Her backup band the Evil Sandwiches features Adam Brown as the Ukulad on banjo and Jessica Grant as Strawberry on organ.

Before picking up her custom-made ukulele fashioned from an old cigar box, the Ukulady passed around googly-eyes, multicolored pipe cleaners, and Sharpies for decorating magnets and keepsake Polaroids featuring her stuffed-animal mascots, the Unicorndog and Dr. Steve Chicken. Members of the LAVA gathering engaged in grown-up crafting while the Ukulady and the Evil Sandwiches performed an Easter-inspired “bunny, bird, and candy set,” featuring a cover version of “Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits” by the Magnetic Fields and originals like “Candy Outfits in the Rain.”

Given that it was on an Easter Sunday, the most recent installment of the Los Angeles Visionaries Association's Sunday Salon featured a lively and engaged audience, even if the crowd wasn't as large as usual. LAVA co-founder Richard Schave told LA Weekly, “A lot of the major holidays in the past have fallen on Sundays, and I'm always impressed with the turnout. I think this is something people want.”

The Los Angeles Visionaries Association hosts the Sunday Salon on the last Sunday of each month. Visit LAVA's website for details on upcoming events.

LA Weekly