Machine This Week : February 20th – 23rd


WORKSHOP : Improv for People Who Would Never Take an Improv Class
Thursday, February 20th & Thursday February 27th from 7-10pm

Let’s say you’re intrigued by improv but always felt weird about signing up for a class. Well, Machine has you covered! In this two-day class, which takes place on the Mystery Theater stage, you and your classmates will create new realities to play in while learning the key principles of improvisation. Ben Benjamin, artist/designer/occasional improvisor, will be your guide.

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

EVENT : Optical Illusion Ping Pong
Saturday, February 22nd from 2-5pm // Free

Adrienne Adar invites you to experience Optical Illusion Ping Pong, an amped up version of the beloved rec room game. Experience the psychedelic effects of playing ping pong while immersed in a room covered floor to ceiling with a black and white checkerboard pattern. We’ll have Drop-in play and free beer tp celebrate the opening of this installation, up through March 7th.

WORKSHOP : Digital Cameras + Circuit Bending = Glitch Art
Sunday, February 23rd from 12-6pm

Learn the basics of circuit bending and hardware-based glitch art techniques in this afternoon workshop. We will dismantle and disarm a digital camera, short circuit the electronics, and capture wild hallucinations from the altered mind of the rewired camera brain. You’ll leave with a camera and a memory card that will allow you to continue making glitch art at home, as well as any files you generate in class.

Registration is $110 for Machine members and $125 for non-members. For more information and to register, click here:

Machine this Week : February 13th – 14th


MYSTERY THEATER : DOUBLE BILL! Emily Lacy & Theater for One and Absolutely One Wretchedly Singular Person
Thursday, February 13th at 8pm & 10pm
Seating is extremely limited and by advance purchase only. No late seating.
Tickets are $9 for members // $15 for non-members
More tickets added! Experience The Bitter Tears of Machine Project, Emily Lacy’s Pre-Valentine’s Day Songs of Heartbreak, her 4-year tradition of singing extremely depressing songs to commemorate one of America’s saddest holidays. With Theater for One and Absolutely One Wretchedly Singular Person, which will make you and only you feel like someone in this world cares about you.

MYSTERY THEATER : A One Woman Nutcracker
Friday, February 14th at 8pm
Seating is extremely limited and by advance purchase only. No late seating.
Tickets are $9 for members // $15 for non-members
A One Woman Nutcracker comes to life in this moving, non-ballet meditation on relationships past. Seema Kapur sets out on a love story in three parts through moves, pacing and holds. Brought to realization at the Mystery Theater by Haruko Tanaka, Sara Roberts, Seema Kapur, and Kate Brown. Suitable for both lovers and loathers of Valentine’s Day.

Machine this Week : February 6th – 8th


MYSTERY THEATER : The Ship’s Recorder — a three act play by Tom McKenzie
Thursday through Saturday, February 6th – 8th // 8pm & 10:30pm shows
Seating is extremely limited and by advance purchase only. No late seating.
Tickets are $12 for members // $20 for non-members

In this play about European expansion and cultural clashes at the dawn of the 16th century, a fictional world of magical realism materializes. The plot loosely borrows from the narrative structure of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and is rooted in language and events from the discovery journals of Bartolome de Las Casas, Christopher Columbus and Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. These chroniclers traverse a shipwreck story that probes the psychological depths of their brazen entitlement and utter disorientation. As the characters navigate dreamscapes informed by Taino and Mayan cosmologies and contemporary archeological and historical findings, poignant reflections on early struggles for human rights on the “American” continent emerge.

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.