The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society held the grand opening of its new clubhouse in Van Nuys on September 1.
I went early to scout out the parking, and reached the clubhouse around 6 p.m., in time to greet Karl Lembke and Christian McGuire on my way. I paid my dues to treasurer Elayne Pelz and followed registrar Michelle Pincus on a guided tour of the new place.
The clubhouse occupies a block-long commercial building formerly divided between several businesses. In the new configuration there is a large meeting area with an enclosed office to one side, a spacious socializing area, and a big section for the club library. There are other substantial nooks and crannies that will be used for storage or to place things like the soda machine where they won’t be in the way. And there’s a full kitchen.
LASFS held a potluck dinner, and Eylat Poliner did heroic labor on the set-up. Fans brought cuisine from four continents and Brooklyn (George Mulligan explained at length that corned beef and cabbage is not a native Irish dish).
Marc Schirmeister’s donation got the biggest reaction – an ice chest full of rare and exotic soft drinks from Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in Highland Park, CA. There was Moxie, Old Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer, A.J. Stephens Raspberry-Lime Rickey, Leninade, Fukola Cola, Spruce Beer and Kickapoo Joy Juice. “You should see what I didn’t buy,” laughed Marc.
Long-time members present included June Moffatt, Barbara Harmon, Don Fitch, Bill and Jane Ellern, Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle.
Other members nearer my own vintage included Marty Cantor, Lee and Barry Gold, John Hertz, Sandy Cohen, Selina Phanara, Matthew Tepper, Mike Stern, Lucy Stern, Charles Lee Jackson II, Regina and Greg Reynante, Gavin Claypool, Genny Dazzo, Craig Miller, Jim Daniels, Tom Safer, Doug Crepeau, Greg Barrett, John DeChancie, Mike Thorsen and Chris Marble.
I also saw Tom Khamis, Sundance Bekinnie, Ed Hooper, Wendy Wiseman, Arlene Satin, Janice Olson, Nick Young, Maryann Canfield, Darnell Coleman, and about 25 more whose names I don’t know.
At 8 p.m. there was a surge toward the meeting room. Marcia Zeff called things to order. Karl Lembke took his post as secretary. I had made a strategic choice to stay in the socializing area during the potluck rather than stake out a seat at the front of the meeting (without which I couldn’t hear what was going on), so I didn’t stay through the formal part of the meeting.
The main drawback of the new place is the minimal parking available in the immediate neighborhood – Arlene Satin told me there are 17 spaces. Curbside parking on Aetna to the west is problematic because city signs forbid it between 9 p.m. and morning – no problem if you’re willing to leave the meeting early. Halfway up the same block is an entrance to a vast Metro park-’n-ride lot – where signs threaten those who aren’t transit customers that their cars will be towed. I expect, in the era of ubiquitous surveillance cameras, it wouldn’t take long for somebody to notice a bunch of people leaving their cars at the far end of the lot then walking away from the bus depot. However, these may not be insurmountable problems and the club will try to work with the city for change.
Inside it’s certainly a nice space for the club’s needs and I’m looking forward to seeing it again once they’re fully moved in.
[Thanks to Marty Cantor for the photos.]