From Nowtopia To Rebel City – Interview With Chris Carlsson

30 01 2018

The world famous Hollywood sign on Mount Lee overlooks the city of Los Angeles, CA.

The Llano Del Rio Collective’s  Map For An Other L.A. was published in 2010; it was the collective’s first project. It proposed to map the creative and ecological practices that together may have constituted a mysterious city; one defined by creative potential rather then economic relationships. The map described a variety of Los Angeles enthusiasts, they may have had professional lives elsewhere, but came together to; keep-bees, make art, bake bread, glean, communalize food, cycle, present films, hack machines, share, and do-together. The big ideas behind the Other L.A. map was an appreciation for Gibson-Graham feminist economics, and a reading of the Italian Operaismo movement of the early 1970s. The biggest influence on the formation of the Llano Del Rio Collective’s Map was the book Nowtopia; How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists and Vacant-Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today!, written by West Coast Zelig, Chris Carlsson.


Chris Carlsson is for full enjoyment.

Carlsson was a founder of the instrumental magazine Processed World, it published 35 issues between the years 1981 and 2005. Processed World chronicled the rise of, what came to be known as, the neo-liberal economy with a publication, which appeared purposefully to be produced on borrowed time and stolen office materials; this was in part the topics it covered. Carlsson is credited as the progenitor of the Critical Mass bicycle ride in San Francisco in 1992; then called the Commute Clot. Carlsson’s book Nowtopia ties together anarchistic currents into a cohesive politics of work refusal, creativity, hacking, environmentalism, and pleasure-seeking. In 2010, the idea of non-capitalist creative production being a politics was intoxicating, given that Los Angeles was experiencing the twin effects of the economic collapse of 2008 and the rise of the social practice art, discourse, and action. These phenomena had Angelinos experimenting with alternatives to competitive capitalism, and put a premium on collective action and utopian idealism within creative communities. A Map For Another L.A. is a snapshot of that Los Angeles.


How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today!

Now in 2018, a decade on from the 2008 crisis, the Llano Del Rio Collective is preparing to release its guide Rebel City Los Angeles. Like A Map For Another L.A., this new guide seeks to plot practices that together can constitute an arrangement, pointing at an alternative meaning for the topography of the city. The inspiration of Rebel City is the urban Marxism of David Harvey’s book Rebel Cities, and the “city from below” made visible through the lives of the trans sex workers of Hollywood in the 2015 Sean Baker film Tangerine. There’s a distance between the politics of “the city from below“ represented within the Rebel City Los Angeles guide, and the creative post-capitalism of the Map For An Other L.A.. Yet both guides share the idea that reframing how we imagine the city, holds power.


In the spirit of learning about the distance Llano Del Rio has traveled between these two guides we reached out, via email, to interview Chris Carlsson. We wanted to know where he has gone in the ten years since he penned Nowtopia.


The official seal for the City of Los Angeles.

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Minneapolis Municipalist Research Group

19 01 2018

Editors Note: The Llano Del Rio Collective has been working symmetrically with artist Sam Gould (while producing our Rebel City L.A. Project) regarding his activities addressing the theorization of, and agitation for, people oriented approaches to urban politics. Along with Macalester College professor John Kim, Gould is organizing a symposium in March of 2018 called “What Can A City Be? A Municipalist Gathering“. We asked Kim and Gould to share with Llano Del Rio the scope of there activities.

what can a city be?.jpg
Since the 2016 presidential elections, the Twin Cities based City as Commons, or Municipalist Research Group, has been meeting to discuss, learn and find out more about municipalism. The group, open to everyone, has been developing collaborations among Twin Cities-based academics, activists, and artists interested in urban governance and social reproduction and putting them in conversation with colleagues across North America, Europe, and South America who are studying, and/or experimenting with, municipalist forms of governance.

Since we started meeting, we’ve hosted a wide range of meetings. Some of these have included: a conversation with Alan W. Moore and Fernando Canteli De Castro to update us on municipalist activities internationally; reading group meetings of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Assembly; discussions and critique of a draft version of a USA statement of municipalist principles, entitled “Municipalism: Winning Back the USA Street by Street”; and more.

We are now preparing for What Can a City Be? A Municipalist Gathering (March 22-23 2018), two days of talks, panel discussions and workshops by local artists, academics, activists, and thinkers, along with three international and rural activists and scholars whose work has explored municipalist movements and bottom-up organizing.

To find out more about our activities, visit Beyond Repair

Power Points, Available Free Now

20 01 2016

Free guide #5 Available Now – Power Points



The Power Points guide offers its users a group of exercise helping them visualize their evolving relationships within partisan, issues based, strategic campaigns. For this guide Artist Rosten Woo transcribed the Power Analysis tool developed by the South Los Angeles based community organization SCOPE (Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education) as a commission for the Llano Del Rio Collective. The guide asks its user to name and frame a cause they are committed to, and then provides them with activities to help map strategic relationships, allies and antagonists. Additionally in Power Points, Woo discusses the historic development of power analysis mapping from Saul Alinsky to SCOPE founder Anthony Thigpenn. The Power Points guide is best experienced as an active process, by working through the exercises Woo provides inside. Power Points will be helpful to anyone considering embarking on a political campaign or immersed in one. Los Angeles County residents may find free copies of the guide at the locations listed below, and may also obtain a free guide by contacting the Llano Del Rio Collective (at with their postal address.

You will also find this free guide at these locations (Hitting the streets next week, cool yer heals ya hot head.).

UCLA Downtown Labor Center
Southern California Library For Social Studies
Libros Shmibros
The Public School
Womens Center For Creative Work


Rosten Woo makes educational displays. He works in long-term collaboration with grassroots and non-profit organizations to illuminate the politics of places and the mechanics of large systems.  He has produced public artworks for the city of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, clockshop, and the California State Parks System. His work has been exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial, the Venice Architecture Biennale, Netherlands Architectural Institute, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and various piers, public housing developments, tugboats, shopping malls, and parks. He is co-founder and former executive director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a non-profit organization dedicated to using art and design to foster civic participation. His first book, Street Value, about race and redevelopment on Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall, was published by Princeton Architectural Press; most recently he was a contributor to LAtitudes: an Angeleno’s Atlas published by Heyday Press in 2015.


Mapping Power: A Workshop Exploring Intersubjective Power Relationships With Rosten Woo

11 06 2015

Sunday June 14th  12- 2
Armory in Pasadena


In 2014, the Llano Del Rio Collective commissioned from Rosten Wooa printed guide to understanding power relationships in the City of Los Angeles. Woo choose to do a study of the “power analysis tool” used by the LA based community organization SCOPE LA to map social dynamics in strategic social change campaigns. This popular organizing workshop uses a visual methods to organize and develop knowledge within a group that seeks change.

In this workshop, Woo will guide participants through creating their own modified power analysis, which they can use to approach their own political and social constellations. The workshop will include a short introduction by the Llano Del Rio Collective.

Utopias of SoCal, Available Free Now

14 05 2014

Free Guide #4 Available Now- Utopias of So.Cal.
Also Related events at Santa Monica Museum through July

2 sided guide to Utopias of Southern California. It's free. Find it around town.

Side 1 of Utopias of So.Cal.. It’s free, find it around town, or email us your mailing address (LA County Res).

As the present moment appears  fixed in the destructive-ideology of hyper-capitalism this guide locates places in Southern California where other ideologies have reigned. Utopias of So.Cal. is a free (to LA County residents) two-sided printed map/guide to current and historic utopian communes, colonies, and intentional communities in Southern California. Sited in the guide are collectives founded on ecology, socialism, spirituality, free expression, queer liberation, and feminism. 23 current and historic lebenskunst sites (a San Diego group committed to facilitating interplanetary dialogue, a LA based community founded on Chicana/o art and consciousness, a Santa Barbara colony credited with inventing the hot tub and the Renaissance fair). In coordination with the release of this guide, Llano Del RIo is presenting a series of public events (May 28, June 25, July 23rd) in a tree house located by the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Pick a guide up at the sites listed below or email your address to Llano Del Rio and we’ll post one to you.

Utopias of So.Cal. contains reflections on the persistence of these colonies in our own utopian consciousness’  written by contemporary artists, filmmakers, and writers; Sandra De La Loza, David Frantz, Janet Sarbanes, Mady Schutzman, Jodie Willie and the Women’s Center For Creative Work (WCCW). This guide, like all Llano Del Rio guides, is free and available to residents of LA county through the mail (send your postal address) or around town (listed below). Non-residents of LA may purchase a copy of the guide online with our friends at Half Letter Press or through & Pens Press. Utopias of So.Cal. was organized and written by the Llano Del Rio Collective with Erin Schneider, print design by Content Object.

Utopias Of So.Cal. Available Here (as soon as we get ’em there)!
1642 Bar
Ave. 50 Studios
Central Branch, LA Public Library
Echo Park Film Center
Golden Bridge Yoga
Highways Performance Space
Human Resources
Libros Shmibros
Los Angeles Eco-Village
Machine Project
Mandrake Bar
Antelope Valley College Art Gallery
Mystic Journey Bookstore
One Life Natural Food Store
Santa Monica Museum Of Art
Self Help Graphics
Southern California Library For Social Justice
Thank You For Coming
The Public School
The Yoga Collective
Tribal Café
Urth Yoga
Santa Monica City Public Library
Venice Beach Branch, La Public Library

Related Events at the Santa Monica Museum Park Treehouse
Where is Utopia Of Southern California? A conversation with members of the Llano Del Rio Collective Members
Wednesday, May 28

Sounds For Another Tomorrow- a night of Utopian Music
Date Wednesday, June 25

Utopia, A Double Feature: Dear Comrade and The Source Family
Wednesday, July 23
Dear Comrade at 7:30
Potluck dinner
The Source Family at 9p



Schedule for Upcoming Events at SMMOA Llano Del Rio Residency

9 05 2014

All events at Santa Monica Museum Treehouse

Where is Utopia?A

Where is Utopia Of Southern California? A conversation with members of the Llano Del Rio Collective Members
Wednesday, May 28


To celebrate the Llano Del Rio Collective’s release of its newest free guide Utopias of SoCal members of the Llano Del Rio Collective will discuss their working concepts, and critical reflections upon, the practice of manufacturing ideal states. The conversation will take the form of a “Pecha Kucha, very brief presentations accompanied by images. Llano Del Rio Collective members planning to attend include: Lara Bank, John Burtle, Sandra de la Loza, Ken Ehrlich, Hector Gallegos,  Robby Herbst, Kelly Marie Martin, Tom McKenzie,  Janet Sarbanes, Erin Schneider, and Kimberly Varella.

Sounds Of Another TomorrowA

Sounds For Another Tomorrow- a night of Utopian Music
Date Wednesday, June 25



Join us for a night of music performed by, for, and towards utopia. The evening will consist of three short programs put together by members of the Llano Del Rio Collective, Kelly Marie Martin, Erin Schneider.

Kelly Martin will share the Southern California Legacy of Woody Guthrie, leading a sing-a-long of music Guthrie composed while broadcasting from LA radio station KFVD.

John and Erin Schneider (father and daughter) will improvise on a retuned 19th century pump organ and adapted viola, to a slideshow of Robert Forrester’s chemical microphotography. These unique instruments and images allow for experimentation outside of standard musical tunings and perception.

Utopia Double Featur

Utopia, A Double Feature: Dear Comrade and The Source Family
Wednesday, July 23
Dinner 7-8:00
Dear Comrade at 8:00
The Source Family at 9- 10:30
Join us for a double feature. Food will be had!

Dear Comrade (2012) 55 minutes, Mady Schutzman
Dear Comrade is a feature length, 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 community was founded by renowned socialist Job Harriman in 1914. The primary focus of the film resides not so much in the past as in the musings, questions, courage, frustrations, fantasies, and labors of many before and after Llano who have assumed comparable struggles –- to forego economic and political security to craft an alternative society. The filmmaker stages surreal re-enactments of life at Llano performed by reunited members of a 1970s collective to which she belonged, and casts her elderly aunt, a 1950s borscht belt communitarian as a former Llano colonist..

The Source Family (2012) 98 minutes, Maria Demopoulos, Jodi Wille
A feature documentary film set in Hollywood, examining a radical experiment in ’70s utopian living. The Source Family was a radical experiment in ’70s utopian living. Their outlandish style, popular health food restaurant, rock band, and beautiful women made them the darlings of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; but their outsider ideals and the unconventional behavior of their spiritual leader, Father Yod, caused controversy with local authorities. They fled to Hawaii, leading to their dramatic demise.

Santa Monica Biome Re-imagining Workshop 5/3/14

9 05 2014


Members of the Llano Del Rio Collective, Fritz Haeg and Robby Herbst, led a workshop re-imagining Santa Monica in an ecological and communitarian way. The workshop began with a conversation about the natural and human ecology of the area, as well as historic and contemporary alternatives for these architectural and natural systems. Participants will develop a “Plan For An Other Santa Monica,”