The sign outside the Watts Towers Art Center | Still from "The Watts Towers Arts Center" ab s11 episode image

Saving Songs of Old California

If you had chanced upon El Alisal, the stone craftsman home of Charles Fletcher Lummis, circa the early 1900s, you might have come upon the sight of someone singing into what would have looked like an inverted traffic cone. That horn tapered down to a stylus which, in turn, carved its way into a spinning cylinder of brown metallic soap, leaving behind tiny scraps of wax. Once complete, the cylinder could be played back on the same rig, with voices and instruments preserved via what was once the dominant recording system of early 20th century. 

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The Watts Towers Arts Center

The Watts Towers Arts Center was founded by artists and educators in the 1960s and has been a beacon of art and culture in the community for decades. This episode features the work of artists including Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, Betye Saar, Charles White and Mark Steven Greenfield.