‘Stepford Wives’ and Fembots Explored

Not so hidden in the West Adams district within the southern regions of Los Angeles, lies the building which houses the Velaslavasay Panorama (VP). A former movie house, the previously named Union Theatre’s history—documented HERE by arts and social critic Ernest Kearney—is as vast as the building is wide.

The VP, home to a 360-degree visual arts panorama, was originally located in Hollywood’s Tswuun-Tswuun Rotunda, from its inception in 2000 until it was forced to move due to a commercial expansion in 2005. Housed in the Union ever since, the nonprofit organization is…

“devoted to the production of things reminiscent of this landmark era in media’s history, The Velaslavasay Panorama is indeed proud to exist and participate in the cultural artistic identity of the great city of Los Angeles, known the world.” (Velaslavasay Panorama)

Union Theatre Banner
Their platform, once dedicated to creating an immersive 360 degree, 3-D-esque picture-scape/auditory experience, has expanded to include “outside the norm” performance platforms: unconventional art, song and dance pieces, special exhibitions and live indie concerts.

This Thursday, April 20, is an excellent opportunity to avail oneself of one such program.

As part of the Replacement Parts film and discussion series, which focuses on “face replacements, fembots, and those who build artificial companions…”, the Velaslavasay Panorama will be host to a screening of the eerily dark, classic The Stepford Wives (1975).

Preceding the film, is a participatory question and answer session with Paula Prentiss (The Parallax View) who starred as Bobbie and author/director, Dr. Allison de Fren (The Mechanical Bride, 2012).

Here’s how Michael Atkinson described her performance for TCM:

“Prentiss’s Bobbie is the godsend, extroverted, snarky, crowing over Joanna’s housekeeping non-skills (“A messy kitchen! A home away from home!”), settling down for a covert snack of Ring Dings and Scotch …  “


…Paula remains one of the most entrancing women to appear in postwar American movies.

An award-winning filmmaker, Dr. Fren brings an interesting point of view to the discussion. The media professor’s fascination for puppetry, robots and doll-making informed her work as a “digital interaction designer, while working among predominantly male roboticists at a future technology “think tank” in Silicon Valley.”

Dr. Fren went on to produce A.S.F.R. (alt.sex.fetish.robots). From there she produced, directed and edited, the documentary which took inspiration, in part, from the Marshall McLuhan 1951 treatise: The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man.

From Dr. Fren’s website:

“Narrated by screen icon and former television android *Julie Newmar, The Mechanical Bride is a smart, funny, and deeply human look at the “cluster image of sex, technology, and death” on which media scholar Marshall McLuhan commented over a half century ago in his book of the same name.”

(*Newmar appeared as Rhoda the Robot (1964-1965) in the television sitcom My Living Doll starring Bob Cummings.)

A garden intermission will follow the discussion session and precede the screening.

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Doors open at 7pm. Program begins at 7:30

Tickets are $15 ($12 for VPES members)

Advance Purchase is Recommended: Click HERE.


1122 W 24th St
Los Angeles, California

For Additional Information

Call (213) 746-2166

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Written by

TVolution Founder and Managing Editor DARWYN CARSON completed a six-year stint as Managing Editor of Leonard Maltin’s Annual Movie Guide in 2015. She has been covering film since her early association with entertainment journalist Michael Symanski at Zap2It.com. She also covered film and restaurant news in her column Carson’s Corner for a variety of social publications. Her articles have appeared on Zap2It, Indiewire, leonardmaltin.com and, of course, The TVolution. Follow Darwyn @bnoirlikeme. Follow The TVolution @thetvolution. Please Like The TVolution on Facebook.

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