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First Fridays April 6, 2018





“L.A. Backstory” with NHMLA History Department

5:00 pm

5:30 pm

6 pm

Los Angeles has influenced the growth and development of American culture and technology for over 160 years. Tour guests will go behind the scenes to view seldom-seen History Department artifacts from the evolution of the automotive, aviation, and aerospace industries to sports, early oil exploration, SoCal architecture, and local design studios that have affected global lives.


Tour tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis in the Museum’s Grand Foyer.

Behind-the-Scenes After Hours: The Seaver Center will keep its doors open after the tours for guests to stop by: 6:30–8 pm.




OIL: From Basket Sealant to Black Gold


To say that oil was “discovered” in Los Angeles in 1892, or even by the Spaniards in 1769, is absolutely absurd. That ignores the fact that the Gabrieleno/Tongva knew about the stuff for centuries. It was smelly, and if you wandered into the gleaming tarry depths at night, you could be a goner. But it did a dandy job of waterproofing reed baskets. Only in the 20th century did Yankees go drilling for it, and they found it in such quantities that backyard oil pumps were about as common as backyard orange groves. Oil paid the bills for so much of what L.A. became—including the car capital of the world. What geology put it here, what history did it make, and how do we now live with its consequences?






Brian Frehner, Associate Professor of History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City

Brian Frehner writes and teaches about the history of oil, energy, environment, and the American West. He explored these topics in his book, Finding Oil: The Nature of Petroleum Geology. He is currently at work on a monograph that recounts the history of the oil during the first half of the 20th century. He is also co-editing a volume that examines the role of technology in facilitating humans’ adaptations to their environments. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation and is tentatively titled, “Great Plains: An Environmental History.”


Amy E. Gusick, Associate Curator of Anthropology, Natural History Museum of LA County

Amy E. Gusick holds a PhD in Anthropology from University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests focus on human-environmental dynamics, the development of maritime societies in the Americas, and hunter-gatherer subsistence and settlement. Her current research projects focus on early human coastal migration and settlement and the effect of environmental stress on Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene human groups along the Pacific Rim. Dr. Gusick uses both terrestrial and underwater archaeological methods in her research.


Arthur G. Sylvester, Professor Emeritus of Earth Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Arthur Sylvester earned his B.A. at Pomona College and M.A. and PhD at UCLA. He was a research geologist at Shell Development Company before joining the faculty at UC Santa Barbara. He has done research in southern California, Norway, and Italy. Sylvester was a Fulbright Scholar in Norway during graduate studies and a Senior Fulbright Fellow there in 1995. He retired from active teaching in 2003. He is the author of “Roadside Geology of Southern California” published in 2016, and a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Seismological Society of America, and a fellow of the Geological Society of America.


Moderator: Patt Morrison

Patt Morrison is a Los Angeles writer and newspaper columnist who has a share of two Pulitzer Prizes. She has won six Emmys and eleven Golden Mike awards for her work hosting public television and radio programs. She also hosted the nationally syndicated television program “The Book Show with Patt Morrison,” and her seminal nonfiction book “Rio LA, Tales from the Los Angeles River” was a best-seller. Her writing appears in both fiction and nonfiction anthologies. And Pink’s, the legendary Hollywood hot dog stand, named its vegetarian hot dog “The Patt Morrison Baja Veggie Dog” in her honor.

DJ Lounge




KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez

5:00pm-6:00pm / 8:30pm-10:00pm

Anthony Valadez has been on the FM dial for over 20 years dating back to his college mix show days on KCSN to currently hosting his weekly show on KCRW and online on Tune In. His shows have been hailed by Ty Dolla Sign, Childish Gambino, and Julian Casablanca (the Strokes) for his keen ear for new and emerging artists. He is also a contributor to Boston’s WBUR’s Here and Now segments chiming in what’s new on the musical landscape. He hosted three seasons of Crate Diggers on, which sent him across the country digging in record bins from city to city with celebrated and legendary DJs. As a club DJ, Valadez has rocked crowds in Tokyo, Shanghai, London, and Latin America in addition to holding residencies at The Natural History Museum’s First Fridays, the SLS in Las Vegas and has opened for the likes of Bruno Mars, Sly Stone, Ben Harper, Little Dragon, Capital Cities, and Prince. In 2014, he was handpicked by Jennifer Lopez and her team for her homecoming concert in the Bronx and performed for over 16,000 people. He was voted Best DJ in the LA Weekly Readers Pool for 2016. 


Novena Carmel


If you find yourself in a room with Novena Carmel, it’s most likely illuminated by Novena’s smile and filled with some of Los Angeles’s most interesting creatives. Her energy attracts the city’s bohemian best; when her name is on an event – whether she’s DJing, singing, hosting, or curating – the people show up. But how did she get here? Music. It’s the thread that weaves her story together. Her father is the iconic singer Sly Stone and her late uncle is bossa nova pioneer Oscar Castro-Neves, so it’s not surprising to learn that the legendary Gilberto Gil showed up to her first birthday party. At the age of seven, Novena’s grandfather bought her a piano and commissioned lessons—and so it began. Carmel’s mother, raised in Brazil, soundtracked family dance parties with a diverse record collection: Guns N Roses, INXS, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and, of course, the music of Brazil. These influences, combined with a newfound musical literacy, gave her the tools she needed to begin creating. But the public wouldn’t hear an original Novena Carmel composition until she was 21 and studying abroad in Tokyo, Japan; that’s when Novena says she caught the bug. After returning from Japan, she soon found herself singing and playing keys in her own band, the aptly named BabyStone. During the BabyStone era, Papa Stone gave Novena a huge push both on wax and at their live shows. Novena then moved on to singing solo; on “Canto Nantoka”, she sings (in English and Portuguese) with the energy of springtime over bossa nova drums, Brazilian guitar, and a vibrant horn section. Her voice excels in the space where Gina Figueroa and Kevin Michael meet. These days, you can catch Novena hosting an event or radio show (Dublab, TuneIn) or DJing a diverse selection of music at clubs, museums and rooftop pool parties from Los Angeles to New York City and beyond. Wherever you find her, just know you’re in the right place.


8 pm - 10 pm


Chelsea Jade


Chelsea Jade is a two-time art school dropout from Auckland, New Zealand.



Jamila Woods


Jamila Woods’s cultural lineage, from her love of Lucille Clifton’s poetry to cherished letters from her grandmother to the infectious late 80s post-punk of The Cure, structure the progressive, delicate and minimalist soul of HEAVN, her debut solo album. “It’s like a collage process,” she says. “It’s very enjoyable to me to take something I love and mold it into something new.” A frequent guest vocalist in the hip-hop, jazz and soul world, Jamila has emerged as a once-in-a-generation voice on her soul-stirring debut.

Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Woods grew up in a family of music lovers. It took a surprise poetry class with a high school arts program for Jamila to finally find her metaphorical and literal voice. “Through poetry, I realized you are the expert of your own experience,” she says. Her poetry studies continued in college and in her professional career with Young Chicago Authors.

Music–like poetry– is personal. “It became a way to stop hiding, to actually be the most honest with myself through writing,” she says. “It helps me check in with myself.” And that honesty translated to HEAVN, an album she describes as a collection of, “nontraditional love songs pushing the idea of what makes a love song.” You’ll find the bits and pieces of her past and present that make Jamila: family, the city of Chicago, self-care, and the black women she calls friends.

Jamila is an artist of substance creating music crafted with a sturdy foundation of her passions and influences. True and pure in its construction and execution, her music is the best representation of Jamila herself: strong in her roots, confident in her ideas, and attuned to the people, places, and things shaping her world.

Hear all of the First Fridays discussions on iTunes or  SoundCloud