Los Angeles History Comes Alive All Day, All In One Place: Next Week’s LA As Subject Annual Archives Bazaar Will Be Largest Ever

History comes alive once again on Saturday, October 22, as more than 80 of Southern California’s rare and archival collections come together at the 6th Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar.

The daylong event is hosted by the USC Libraries and presented by L.A. as Subject, a research alliance of libraries, museums, archives, and other cultural institutions dedicated to preserving the region’s rich history.

Admission to this event is free and open to the public. 

Serious researchers, history buffs, and Californiana enthusiasts will be able to experience a number of Southern California exhibits, documentary film screenings, educational sessions, and other public programming.

A distinguishing feature of the bazaar is that unique, private collections are represented alongside materials from large institutions, helping to tell a more complete story of Los Angeles history that includes less-visible archives.

More than 80 exhibitors will be part of this year’s event, including USC Warner Bros. Archives, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Film Archive, the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archive, the Wally G. Shidler Historical Collection of Southern California Ephemera, the Autry National Center Museum of the American West, the LA84 Foundation Sports Library, the Japanese American National Museum, the Gazin Image Archive, the Boyle Heights Historical Society, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, the Filipino American Library, the Los Angeles City Archives, the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan Presidential libraries, as well as our own Metro Transportation Library & Archive.

A poster containing the complete program and full list of 81 exhibitors can be found here.

The participating archives are just a sampling of the more than 200 institutions and individuals that take part in L.A. as Subject.

The association is dedicated to preserving and improving access to archives and collections that document the history of Los Angeles’ diverse peoples, languages, cultures, and geography.

This year’s featured speaker is Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, an authoritative observer of Southern California’s urban environment. He was previously the architecture critic for Slate, a contributing editor for Metropolis magazine, and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, where his work appeared in the Arts and Leisure, House & Home, and Op-Ed sections.

Hawthorne will discuss classic books about Los Angeles architecture and urbanism that were written between 1927 and 2007 by authors such as Reyner Banham, Mike Davis, and D.J. Waldie. He will also share his perspective as to whether these authors’ ideas hold relevance in such a quick-changing city.

The bazaar also includes a rich suite of programming, which includes panel discussions, workshops, and documentary film screenings.

The documentary 41st and Central: The Untold Stories of the L.A. Black Panthers will be screened at this year’s bazaar. The film explores the complicated legacy of the Southern California chapter of the Black Power organization.

Additionally, a 20-minute trailer for the currently-in-production film Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle will be shown. Director Phillip Rodriguez will be on hand to discuss his film on Salazar, the 20th-century Mexican-American journalist who chronicled the radical Chicano movement.

Moreover, three educational sessions — “Researching L.A. 101,” “On the Record: Getting Started with Oral History,” and “Historypin: Pulling Photography into the Fourth Dimension” — are designed to share new techniques for uncovering and presenting many stories and histories of the Southland.

Three panel discussions with authors and other experts in regional history will highlight themes from Southern California’s past.

“Ready for Its Close-Up: L.A. in the Movies” will focus on Los Angeles as a filming location in cinema and television. Film historian John Bengston and documentarian Jon Wilkman will discuss how such filming has shaped perceptions of L.A. globally.

The music of Lalo Guerrero takes center stage in “Lalo Guerrero: The Music of Chicano Music.” Guerrero’s son, Dan, will share stories about his father and the legacy of his Mexican-American heroes.

In “West Coast/West Wing: The Nixon and Reagan Presidential Libraries,” two Presidential archivists — Gregory Cumming (Richard Nixon) and Mike Duggan (Ronald Reagan) — will discuss some of the unique materials in their respective libraries and how they are tied to Southern California.

Several of the participating archives have contributed to a new online collaboration between L.A. as Subject and public television KCET.

Each Thursday on KCET’s SoCal Focus blog, L.A. as Subject explores through unique archived images a topic from L.A.’s history.

This new collaboration, which debuted in January, highlights the important role that archives play in preserving and interpreting our region’s past.

The 6th Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar will take place in the historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library on the University of Southern California campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.