Machine this Weekend : February 1st

heads off

MYSTERY THEATER : Music for Evidence – Brian Getnick, Bryatt Bryant and Ahrum Hong
Saturday, February 1st at 8pm and 10pm
Seating is extremely limited and by advance purchase only. No late seating.
Tickets are $9 for members // $15 for non-members

Music For Evidence is a rough house play between three performers who rotate in and out of the bodies of a policeman, a tall woman, a dog, and a director.

Performed and co-directed by Brian Getnick, Bryatt Bryant and Ahrum Hong.

To buy tickets, click here.

New Year, New Membership Patch


2014 brings us many new things — a storefront instead of a cave, most notably — but what we’re probably most excited about is our new membership patches, which you get for becoming a Machine Project member. Designed by friend of Machine Paul Morgan, our new patches are slightly less legible than the old ones, but have at least 4 more colors and are at least 40 times more likely to send you into an acid flashback. Besides the patch, membership gets you discounts on tickets and classes, as well as eternal affection being channelled your way from the corner of Alvarado and Sunset. To become a member or renew your membership, click here. Or, if you live on the Westside, are a Mr. Peanut fan, or are a horse, visit our niche memberships page for additional options.

Machine This Week : January 15th-16th


EVENT : Privately Published: A Descent Into Early 20th Century Mail Order Erotica : Colin Dickey
Wednesday, January 15th at 8pm // Free
Colin Dickey invites you into the world of early 20th century mail-order erotica. In order to evade post office censors, smut peddlers like Panurge Press and Falstaff Press were obligated to dress up their offerings with a veneer of scientific dross, resulting in works that were too smutty to be of any real scientific or sociological value, and yet too riddled with academic nonsense to be properly erotic. A curiously forgotten and nearly nonsensical sub-genre, these books exist in between the finely-drawn lines of obscenity and free speech, pornography and literature, and titillation and scientific inquiry. Colin will share the history of these odd publishers and choice examples from his library, including works like White Meat, Praeputii Incisio, Black Opium, The Sword and Womankind, and An Anthropological Cabinet of Curiosities.

EVENT : Dear Comrade : Screening and Q&A with director Mady Schutzman
Thursday, January 16th at 8pm // Free
Join us for a screening of Dear Comrade, an experimental essay film inspired by a significant moment in California’s ‘utopian’ history — the creation of Llano del Rio, one of California’s most successful secular cooperative colonies. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Mady Schutzman, author and queer theorist Jack Halberstam, artist Robby Herbst, and actors B.J. Dodge and Hugo Armstrong.

UPCOMING WORKSHOP : DIY Bitters Making & Tasting Workshop
Monday, January 27th from 7-10pm

Calling all cocktail enthusiasts! Learn how to make your own aromatic bitters, in the pre-prohibition style, in our pre-prohibition style mystery theater. Class begins with a brief history of bitters and a tasting of the effects bitters have on different alcohols (so class is only for those of legal drinking age!), and ends with you taking home your own batch of handmade bitters.

Registration is $55 for Machine members and $65 for non-members. For more information and to register, click here:

Machine this Week: Happy New Year & Forensic Topology


HAPPY NEW YEAR : Theater, yes. Cave, no. Pugs & pizza, always!
It’s 2014, which means we no longer have a cave. Sigh. But we do still have a theater, and some honest-to-goodness plays coming down the pike. We also have our storefront back, which means we’ll be hosting a wide range of workshops for y’all in the coming months. We’ll start announcing our classes in the very near future, but let’s just say that if your New Year’s resolution involves learning to program your own iphone apps or make your own bitters, well, we can probably help you out with that. If you have any other ideas for classes you’d like to see at Machine in 2014, please email and let us know!

EVENT : Forensic Topology : Geoff Manaugh
Friday, January 10th at 8pm
Author Geoff Manaugh will speak about the relationship between burglary, architecture, and urban planning. He will discuss how the built environment of Los Angeles helped it become the “bank robbery capital of the world” in the 1990s, and share a few particularly inventive ways that burglars—and the police who track them—breach architectural boundaries. This event is part of Quarterly, an occasional series of Machine Project events organized in conjunction with Cabinet, the arts and culture magazine based in Brooklyn, New York.

Machine this Week: End of year edition


MYSTERY THEATER : Star and the Red Lady : Shayna Keller & Brigitte Nicole Grice
Friday, December 20th at 8pm and 10pm
Seating is extremely limited and by advance purchase only. No late seating.
Tickets are $7 for members // $10 for non-members

Shayna Keller & Brigitte Nicole Grice present a dance performance in the Mystery Theater that may include papier mache, spiked cider, a play of artifice and realness and the possibility of ballet. This is also your very last chance to see Alvarado Caverns!

JOIN US : It’s our end-of-year membership drive!
It’s the time of the year when we ask you to help support whatever wonders or giant holes in the floor that 2014 may bring us. A Machine Project membership gets you discounts to our workshops and ticketed events, helps us keep most of our events free and our doors open, and ensures that a lot of warm, happy thoughts will be sent your way from the corner of Sunset and Alvarado. To donate or join Machine Project as a member go to:

VOLUNTEER : The Destruction of Alvarado Caverns
Tired of singing yet another Christmas carol around a crackling fire? Want to work off some of that ham dinner? Those holiday cookies? Then volunteer to destroy Alvarado Caverns! We’ll be deinstalling our 99 cent store, dingy bathroom, and magical cave the week between Christmas and New Year. If you want to use a sledgehammer to take out some of that holiday cheer on some drywall, then send a note to with the subject line [stalagmites be gone!].

THE END OF THE ROAD : Happy New Year!
We will be heading to various deserts and tropics for the next two weeks, so you won’t be hearing from us for a bit. But we’re excited for what 2014 has in store. See you then!

Another Year, Another (Even Larger) Hole in the Floor

Dear Internet,

Mark Allen here, Machine Project founder. As you probably saw, we just did this absurd project where we turned the gallery into a 99 cent store, which led to a disgusting bathroom, which led to a cave, which led to a secret door in the wall, which led to stairs in the middle of the floor, which led to a secret underground theatre. I raised the money to cut the giant hole in our floor and that was great, but I kind of forgot I also needed to fundraise to pay our rent. That wasn’t so great!

So, I’m taking this moment to hypnotize you into becoming a member, or renewing your membership, or making a donation of any amount of money, gold, yachts, or airplanes. Stare deeply into the eyes of the below image…1…2…3….


Excellent. You are completely under the power of this email. Now, without hesitation go directly here and join us for whatever wonders 2014 shall hold.


Mark and the rest of the elves at Machine Project

Machine this Week : December 12th – 14th


EVENT : Josh Beckman – Bass Cave
Thursday, December 12th from 7-8:30pm

Probe the dark depths on this low frequency audio exploration of Alvarado Caverns as Josh Beckman drops beneath the surface with a cathartic mix of bass tracks & spelunking soundscapes. Underground or underwater, droning through the slow sludge of the tangible ether, surrender to the enveloping wave of confluence. Drop in from 7-8:30, and take advantage of one of the last chances to experience Alvarado Caverns, and do some holiday shopping in our Machine Project store!

MYSTERY THEATER : Double bill! Torreya Cummings and Park Detail’s Band
Thursday, December 12th at 9pm
Seating is extremely limited and by advance purchase only. No late seating.
Tickets are $9 for members // $15 for non-members

Torreya Cummings of San Francisco presents THE END, a dramatic reading of a partially crowdsourced text about hauntings and the “hinge state”: the moment when you know something has ended, but before it is firmly laid to rest in the past. Also, a performance by Park Detail’s Band, which is Chris Cohen (Deerhoof, Cryptacize, Curtains) on drums and Yasi Perera on many other non-percussive instruments.

MYSTERY THEATER : Dead Horses – Douglas Kearney & Paul Buckley
Friday, December 13th at 8pm
Seating is extremely limited and by advance purchase only. No late seating.
Tickets are $9 for members // $15 for non-members

Dusk is just a gutshot sky. Ought not chase the dead’s dollars. An aria by 20 head of murdered mustangs. A fool would slap iron with a duelist who can’t be killed. This is Dead Horses, a multimedia Western/Opera-in-progress, composed by Paul Buckley and written by Douglas Kearney. Join us for some pieces from the work.

EVENT : Acting On Impulse + Public Conversation with Eric Laska hosted by Bennett Williamson
Saturday, December 14th from 8-9pm

New York sound artist Eric Laska presents Acting on Impulse, in which white noise is generated from the computer and switched on and off for differing lengths of time by a human performer. Simultaneously, Bennett Williamson hosts a chat with Eric Laska on the occasion of the Los Angeles premier of his composition Acting on Impulse in the Machine Project Mystery Theater. This is also Alvarado Caverns’ very last open hours! The performance is ongoing from 8-9pm, so drop in and out as you please.

Machine This Week : December 3rd – 8th


WORKSHOP : Introduction to Processing: Programming Fundamentals
Tuesday, December 3rd and Wednesday, December 4th from 7-10pm

There are still a couple spots left in this workshop, in which Raphael Arar will teach the fundamentals of programming in a visual context using the Processing programming language/development environment. The workshop will teach programming basics to attendees while branching on concepts in visual art, design and interactivity. Basic computing skills and a laptop with a free download of Processing are all that’s required.

Registration is $85 for Machine members and $95 for non-members. Combine this class with next week’s Advanced Processing: Programming Generative Art workshop and take each class for $80. For more information and to register, click here:

EVENT : Los Angeles: City of Butterflies Native Plant Sale
Sunday, December 8th from 12-5pm

Join us as Ann Hadlock and the Theodore Payne Foundation transform our 99-cent store into a native plant store and butterfly education center! Each butterfly species requires a unique host plant which their caterpillars consume before they chrysalize and metamorphose into their flying form. We will be selling fifty of these ‘behind-the-scenes’ plants at cost to visitors, as well as giving away wildflower seed packets, flash cards, and field guides for butterflies.

Machine this Week : We Made a Lot of Videos


PARTNERSHIP: Machine Project and KCET’s Artbound

We are pleased to announce a new partnership with KCET’s Artbound to share essays, interviews, and videos that chronicle The Machine Project Field Guide to L.A. Architecture, our summer-long initiative that invited artists to respond to 20 notable architectural sites as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.

Read the first two installments below, and keep an eye on our partnership page for new content weekly!
*Welcome to the Field Guide to L.A. Architecture by Mark Allen
*Jmy James Kidd and the Sunland Dancers on Flat Top Hill by Bennett Williamson

*It’s Not Right, But It’s OK, by Cliff Hengst
Join Cliff Hengst on a Starline Bus Tour as he has his body taken over by the soul of Whitney Houston. Starting at the Beverly Hilton, Whitney reminisces down memory lane on a double decker tour bus and takes one last look at the legendary boulevard of luxury, industry, and Subway sandwiches. The tour concludes at MacArthur Park, which is currently melting in the dark. Then the bus returns the audience back to the starting point at the Beverly Hilton.

*The Dawning of the Age of Aquariums, by David Eng
David Eng leads us on a tide pool visit accompanied by a live string ensemble featuring Melinda Rice, Mona Tian, Andrew McIntosh and Chris Votek. The event concludes in the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s auditorium with a brief lecture on the origin story of 19th-century aquaria.

*Furniture Music: A Concert for Household Objects
An evening of noisy new music exploring the sonic potential of household objects. The event takes place in a 1914 Venice Craftsman redesigned and remodeled in 1998 by architect Roger F. White to emphasize the historical conditions including site, culture, environment and economics in relationship to the context of the time. Alterations to the house are always in progress as part of the evolution of a Contemporary Bungalow for the 21st Century.

These videos are part of Machine Project’s Field Guide to L.A. Architecture.

THE REVIEWS ARE IN : Machine Project’s Greatest Hits DVD
Looking for that perfect gift for your secret santa recipient that includes dog operas, trapdoors and plants on vacation? Then consider the purchase of our Machine Project Greatest Hits 2010-2012 DVD. Recent reviewers say “It’s too LOUD!” and “I learned that from the Indians!” (Gigi, 8 years old), and call it a “highly entertaining in its own right, and a more-than-adequate précis of a curatorial vision that doesn’t lend itself to reductive translation.” (Doug Harvey, Artillery Magazine).

PS : Registration open for December Processing classes
We’re offering an Intro to Processing class next week, and a Generative Art in Processing class the following week. Register for both and get a discount! More information is on our classes page.

Machine this Week : November 21st – 24th


OPEN CAVERN HOURS : Alvarado Caverns and Mystery Theater
Thursdays through Saturdays, 8-10pm

It’s our last week of cavern open hours so, if you haven’t yet dropped by, please do! On offer for you we have three ambient musical performances this week…

*Thursday, November 21st: Raphael Arar will perform an ambient & evolving improvised set using pre-processed guitar, live & processed modular synthesizer, piano and vocals that will thematically encompass cavern/theater music.

*Friday, November 22nd: In the theater from 8-9pm, Casey Anderson will perform an in-progress works for radios, found resonators, piezo drivers, tuning forks, and laptops. Then, from 9-10pm Paul Fraser‘s floating head can be seen inside the Pepper’s Ghost performing a cave-themed ambient set (sampling recordings about stalagmites/stalactites, The Goonies, The Dark Crystal, etc.).

*Saturday, November 23rd: Isaac Schankler will emit soothing/agitating drones with an accordion and some electronics, inspired by a recent pilgrimage to La Monte Young’s Dream House.

THEATER PERFORMANCES : Machine Project’s Mystery Theater

Seating for all shows in the Mystery Theater is extremely limited and by advance purchase only. No late seating. All tickets are $9 for members // $15 for non-members unless otherwise noted. For a list of upcoming shows, click here.

*Friday, November 22nd at 11:59pm: insideoutside (a.part) – Odeya Nini and Archie Carey
In insideoutside (a.part), Odeya Nini and Archie Carey sing, play, dance, and walk the line that borders the inside and outside of themselves, each other, and this thing we call the theatre. The result of placing two experimental composer/performance artist/mystical sorcerer/newlyweds on the stage of a mysterious victorian theatre at midnight. Click here to buy tickets

*Saturday, November 23rd at 2:00pm: Double bill: Dominique Gillot & Laura Perini
Dominique Gillot presents ESCAPISM, CINNAMON, ALTERNATE CURRENT AND OTHER FACTS RELATED TO THE ART OF MAGIC, 25 minutes of performative talking involving Harry Houdini, cinnamon, AC/DC and other relevant subjects. Maybe a song. Maybe a poem. Maybe an overhead projector. Definitely an overhead projector. Followed by a brief philosophical talk by Laura Perini on something related to caves, theaters, or caves and theaters. Click here to buy tickets.

*Saturday, November 23rd at 5:00pm and 11:59pm: The Green Room – Justin Streichman with Chip Godwin, Gustine Fudickar, and Davie-Blue
In a crack between space and time exists a shadowed world in need of constant energetic maintenance. Its inhabitants and caretakers, the Smudges, take on their newest transformation. But first, a little R and R.The Green Room is an excerpt of a larger work in progress, The Red Curtain Series. Additional excerpts of the series have been shown at Redcat and HomeLA (Palisades). Click here to buy tickets.

*Sunday, November 24th at 2:00pm: In the Drawing Room: Ambiance by Daedelus with Tea Solo by Jaymie Lao
Plain song, plaintive wails, and symphonic electronics — with a high tea service. **Tickets available to the public on Wednesday afternoon***


*Saturday, November 23rd from 11am-7pm: LA Department of Cultural Affairs Arts Development Fee Temporary Intervention!
On the sidewalks outside 11750 W. Olympic Blvd
Machine Project has curated a series of hour-long performances to take place throughout the day on the sidewalks surrounding 11750 W. Olympic Blvd in West Los Angeles. Performances range from participatory to interpretive, and include synchronized group walking, improvised music, turkey blessings, professional sign twirlers, dance, experimental burden carrying, and non-traditional use of projectors.