Last and First Meetings

The first meeting in the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society’s new clubhouse is tonight, September 1, at 8 p.m. I plan to be there.

The new place is at 6012 Tyrone Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401, one block north of Oxnard and one block east of Van Nuys Blvd. That’s not very far from where I formerly lived on Woodman Ave., a return address familiar to some of you long-time File 770 subscribers.

The LASFS ended a 34-year run at the old clubhouse last Thursday night. Taral Wayne happened to be in town and Marc Schirmeister took him to the meeting. Taral documented the evening with a few photos.

Before the club bought the property in 1977 it was owned by a leatherworking business. There also was a radio mast beside the back building serving a nurses’ beeper alert service. It was an attractive nuisance — Frank Gasperik once climbed it – so the club eventually took it down.

The front building was used for socializing and to house the library.

The back building was the meeting room, shown in the photos below. Looking at them brings back memories. You can see the paneling Jerry Pournelle helped install, and the free carpet that Gary Louie salvaged from his employer. The column supporting the roof beam used to be covered with plaques honoring two members who qualified as Pillars of the LASFS, Bruce Pelz and Michael Mason.

When LASFS bought its first clubhouse in 1973, over 100 people came to the first meeting. The club grew so quickly that members were able to buy a larger place in 1977. For many years weekly attendance averaged around 150, though it has since dwindled.

Meeting room at old LASFS clubhouse on Burbank Blvd. Photo by Taral.

Marc Schirmeister (center) sits in front row at LASFS' last meeting in its old clubhouse, August 25, 2011. Photo by Taral.

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6 thoughts on “Last and First Meetings

  1. The empty chair was where I sat, but naturally I couldn’t be there to take the photo.

    I attended a LASFS meeting once before, in 1984. The circumstances were the same — Schirm drove me over. Little had changed between 1984 and 2011 except that everyone was older, greyer… more adipose. As before, I didn’t know many people. I only recognized Marty Cantor and Milt Stevens, I think. The only thing different is that I seem to recall that the chairs were facing to the right of the entrance door, not opposite.

    Schirm was going to introduce me to the meeting as a visitor, but was ruled out of order… rather officiously, I thought. Nor was he invited to speak up later. But it gave me a chance to whisper to Schirm that I’d as soon not be introduced to a room full of strangers with other things on their minds. Later, an unknown member came by and asked me a few questions that I innocently answered. I should have guessed what followed. Yes… this was the Club Offficial Visitor Announcer, who then mispronounced my name at the front of the room. You can’t win.

    There were a lot of official pronouncements from the podium, some debate over parking in the new place that Schirm thought slightly acrimonious, and then we left. I spend some time with the guy outside who had set up tables of DVDs. The meeting may not have been very appealing but the prices on those movies were! I bought a copy of Bubba Ho-Tep and the complete Top Cat for quite reasonable prices.

    Maybe LASFS should reconstitute itself as a flea-market?

  2. Congratulations to LASFS on its new clubhouse!

    (And nice photos, Taral.)

    –Robert Lichtman, Former Director (January to June 1962)

  3. It’s hard to imagine the club in a new location. It’s been the LASFS clubhouse for over 30 years. I spent a little time at the park clubhouse, a little time at the Ventura Blvd place and a lot of time in the Burbank Blvd clubhouse. I shot video there with Charles Jackson and had an intimate knowledge of those old buildings. It always felt a bit like coming home whenever we could visit, it was all so familiar. Now, it will feel like visiting a new friend’s home, just a little bit, certainly not so familiar anymore. But, that’s not to be read as a complaint. Change can be a good thing and the LASFS can use all the ‘good things’ it can get at this point. I won’t feel at all like and “insider”, but I haven’t actually been an ‘insider’ for a couple of decades. This will just make it official, so to speak. And in a way, that is what is exciting. It was always ‘good ol’ LASFS’… now it may just feel very fresh and new, again. Congratulations to the Club on it’s new House. We hope to see you all there soon!

  4. Re: Colin. Yes… Schirm left his peerless chapeau somewhere at the Reno Whirled Con, probably the Fan Lounge. But we’ve talked this through already.

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