A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a world without film. (I know!) Whatever did people do for fun on a Saturday night, aside from bathing? They would go see amazing spectacles called “Panoramas.” Starting in 1792, 360 degree paintings were installed in circular venues and you viewed them from the inside. Don’t tell James Cameron this, but they were even in 3d! Faux terrain elements were placed in front of the images to enhance the paintings themselves. Even Disney took a cue from this style and created CircleVision 360.
Another version of the Panorama experience was the Moving Panorama. Images were painted on huge panels and scrolled through in a theater accompanied by live narration, music and sound effects. The original Moving Picture Show!
What does this have to do with Los Angeles? LA is home to the Velaslavasay Panorama “an exhibition hall, theatre and garden dedicated to the production and presentation of unusual visual experiences, including those of the 360-degree variety.” They research and preserve fragile works of mass entertainment from centuries gone by. You can visit the gardens and exhibits during the day and for the next four weekends, you can see a Moving Picture Show.
Every Friday and Saturday night until August 21, The Velaslavasay Panorama will be showing “The Grand Moving Mirror Of California” a modern panel based on an 1853 script about the journey to get to California during the Gold Rush. Adventures around Cape Horn, views of historic California cities and “famous natural treasures” are part of the story.
This Saturday, July 31, is a fundraiser for the museum. You get a gourmet dinner before the showing of the Moving Picture and help raise funds for this fascinating non-profit. Click here for more details on that event.
The Velaslavasay Panorama
In the Historic Union Theater in the West Adams District
1122 West 24th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Open to the public on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays from 12-6pm
Street parking only.
I’m buying tickets for Friday’s show…join in!
Ack!! I totally forgot to add a Hat Tip to Los Angeles Magazine (August issue), which is where I first read about the Panorama!