Bunker, end of aisle 1: There's a ceiling-high stack of newspapers that's tilting precariously.
Bunker, south wall aisle: The aisle is blocked by fallen stacks of the Christian Science Monitor.
Bunker, aisle 5: This is completely blocked with stacks of newspapers, including vintage issues of Rolling Stone, which flew off the west wall shelves during the Northridge earthquake.
Bunker, second floor: In aisle three downstairs there is a staircase to the second floor. It's climbable, but there are pantry supplies on the steps (canned food, etc.) which are very unsafe. Upstairs there are more ceiling-high stacks of newspapers. Somewhere in all this there is a complete index of Carlos' KPFK aircheck collection, handwritten into original copies of the KPFK Folio program guide. When he last saw it, Carlos remembers that part of the index was missing.
Bunker, every aisle: There are unlabeled boxes of LPs everywhere.
LP shed: Carlos has about 10,000 LPs in boxes, which need to be unpacked and shelved.
Garage: This is impenetrable. In addition to stacked newspapers, records, and magazines (from the U.S. and pre-revolutionary Chile), there is an Edsel Station Wagon on blocks. More newspapers and records can be seen inside the Edsel.
From an email, 3/28/2001 I've been chatting with Carlos for over a year on the phone but we had never met. I got his name from a tape I found at KPFK, a recording of a radio show from 1967 with Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre, labeled "From the collection of Carlos Hagen". Carlos, a native of Chile, moved to L.A. in 1962. He began recording KPFK programming the same year, and continued making tapes at home until 1974, accumulating somewhere near 30,000 hours of shows. Also a documentarian, Carlos produced several hundred hours of documentaries for KPFK. He was eventually kicked off the station's staff when KPFK went Marxist in the 1970s, but he retains the shows. (Amazing man... he's also a geographer, anthropologist and sound engineer.)
His tapes and LPs are kept in five storage bunkers on his 1-acre property in Malibu. There are 5000 seven-inch open reels, several thousand CDs, VHS tapes, and - whoa nelly - a quarter million records. Everything's well-kept, dry and professionally shelved, except for the garage. It's packed with ten years worth of papers that Carlos accumulated when he was staff at UCLA, which he then had to load up and dump in a rush when he quit. He's agreed to let me sort it. This is going to be a hoot.
I'm going to be digging again. Just like at Book Castle. It's like the boomerang from "Road Warrior", isn't it? Terrible habits coming back and cutting my fingers off. The fun begins this Sunday. I'm bringing a dust mask and a can of Raid.
April 1, 2001
Cleaned garage (first work session). Removed boxes from first third of garage. While clearing the way, I discovered a second car, a 1972 Capri. Opened tailgate of Edsel; removed two boxes of papers from Edsel (rest of Edsel full of LPs and 78s). Restacked boxes to make room for an aisle between the Capri and the Edsel, and between the Capri and the east wall. Pushed a fallen metal shelving unit back up against the east wall. Restacked fallen books of bound newspapers. Moved stack of posters to a storage shed.
From an email to Mom and Dad, 4/3/2001
I went out to Malibu to start unpacking [Carlos'] garage on Sunday... I uncovered a dozen bills for the Fillmore West from the years 1966-68 advertising bands like Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane... dozens of vintage travel posters (including two from the 1930s advertising Sun Valley). Also found four boxes containing several hundred vinyl 45s. Didn't find the tape indices yet though.
I've got about a third of the way through the garage (Imagine your garage plus your carport; that's roughly the space I'm working with.) It's quite hilarious actually. I knew going in that he had an Edsel station wagon in the garage. That was easy to spot with the old newspapers on top and boxes piled up inside. What I didn't know was that there was a second car. We found it after the first two hours of unpacking.
"Uh, Carlos, there's another car." "Where?...Ah, yes, the Capri! Forgot about that one." Last seen in 1985.
April 8, 2001
Cleaned garage (second work session). Removed boxes from west wall, with Carlos inspecting contents and labeling as we went. Packed four boxes of 45s to take home and sort.
April 15, 2001
Cleaned garage (third session). Cleared aisle between the two cars. Made room to open a door on the Capri. Found six bundles of French underground newspapers from the late 1960s. Restacked fallen newspapers and removed all remaining boxes for Carlos to label. Removed issues of Rolling Stone to take home and sort.
April 29, 2001
Returned six sorted boxes of 45s (1611 titles, sorted alphabetically by artist), and box of sorted Rolling Stone back issues (40 issues, 1968-1973). Started work in bunker - removed fallen boxes of LPs from aisle one. Restacked LPs in LP shed so I could move boxes of records out of bunker and into shed.
May 13, 2001
Cleaned up a pile of KPFK folios in bunker attic. Carlos has a complete, unmarked set starting with the first issue in July 1959 and continuing through January 1967. However the index copies (the ones he took notes in) are still incomplete. Next week I need to make some building diagrams, find more temporary storage space, and see if I can set up a reel-to-reel listening station.
May 20, 2001
Unblocked aisle three; cleaned up all fallen stacks of newspapers in bunker aisle three under the stairs. Found twelve of thirteen missing KPFK index folios among the fallen newspapers; they'd fallen through the steps in the open-riser staircase. Now the only missing index is #132, from circa March 1966. Restacked fallen copies of Christian Science Monitor in the bunker's south wall aisle.
May 27, 2001
Unpacked first half of unopened boxes in LP shed.
June 3, 2001
Unpacked other half of unopened boxes in LP shed. There are appx. 14,000 LPs and 1400 CDs. Moved 78s out of blue shed into the LP shed.
June 10, 2001
Removed remaining 78s and LPs from blue shed and shelved them in LP shed. Packed all water-damaged and moldy LPs into two boxes and moved to blue shed. Removed half of LP boxes blocking aisle two of bunker, unpacking and shelving them in the LP shed. Next week I need get here at one o'clock and grab a burger on the way at the McDonalds just off the 101 at Las Virgenes. The blue shed leaks; I need to put a tarp over the newspapers and LPs. The Humid shed needs cleaning; I need to sweep out the cobwebs and spray for ants (and replace a lightbulb). The pantry shit and gardening implements blocking the aisles in the bunker have gotta go.
June 17, 2001
Put a tarp in the blue shed. Swept up the humid shed. Cleaned up sorting shelves for LPs in the humid shed, and added LP dividers. Moved about 80% of the pantry items out of the bunker and into the humid shed. Next week I need to look for some Frank Zappa items Carlos is looking for, as well as a copy of the "900th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings" program that Richard Schulenberg produced for KPFK in 1966.
June 24, 2001
Cleared three shelves in the humid shed. Finished moving pantry items out of the bunker. Unpacked a box of 15-inch transcription discs in the bunker. Cleared bunker aisle two: more newspapers, plus a rubber bullet target, which I took outside. Moved five boxes of LPs and two boxes of 78s out of the bunker and into the LP shed. Restacked newspapers and LPs and finally cleared bunker aisle four. Moved boxes of opera LPs off of the top of a tilting shelf, then leveled the shelf. Found the last missing KPFK index folio, #132; all his numbered Folios are now accounted for. Used Carlos' index to successfully find Richard Schulenberg's "Battle of Hastings" program on the shelf; Carlos will dub me a copy. Next week I hope to clear aisle five and find those Zappa reels.
From an email, 6/26/2001
On Sundays I'm going out to Malibu to clean up Carlos Hagen-Lautrup's sound archive, and that's a kick in the head. Every time I dig in there, I find new treasure. He's got an original unopened pressing of the Beatles' White Album, for God's sake. The week before last I uncovered a Noel Coward 78 from about 1949: a picture disc on both sides, gorgeous to look at. On a shelf somewhere he's got a recording he made on open reel in 1963 of a contemporary music festival held at Mount St. Mary's College above Santa Monica, where a young avant-garde composer named Frank Zappa had hired a pickup ensemble to perform some of his classical compositions for the very first time. The list goes on. There are shelves and shelves of this stuff.
[He has] dozens of vintage reel-to-reel players, and stacks of newspapers that he rescued from UCLA. They're piled in sheds and bunkers in his yard. The collection was in good shape for many years; it was well-sorted and easy to access. Then in the 1980s and '90s the digital revolution arrived, and two things happened: people started buying CDs and stopped buying LPs, and libraries started to throw out all their records and newspapers. As a life-long collector, Carlos decided that rather than let a thousand vintage 78s from the Austro-Hungarian empire or stacks of the San Francisco Examiner with a complete comics section be destroyed, he would rescue them.
So what were bunkers full of shelves with well-sorted LPs and clear aisles became bunkers whose aisles were blocked with boxes of LPs and stacks of old newspapers. Since the 1990s the torrent of rescue missions has subsided, and he's been spending more time in Iceland (where the weather and the culture more closely resemble his native Chile). He hasn't seen much of his collection in years; with all the aisles blocked, he just can't reach it. But recently he had a shed built with room for 20,000 LPs, and I've almost filled it using LPs from the boxes that are blocking the aisles of his other sheds. Soon we'll be able to navigate the whole estate.
July 1, 2001
Restacked all the fallen newspapers in aisle five; now it's finally navigable. Shifted stacks of recent L.A. Times, LA Weekly, New Times and local Malibu papers out of Carlos' house into the blue shed. Discovered programs for Frank Zappa concerts at Mount St. Mary's college in 1963: Zappa performed one piece on May 4 as part of an afternoon concert, and then did a full concert of his own works on May 19. The May 4 concert was on the shelf right where it was supposed to be. The May 19 concert is still missing.
Moved the rest of the boxed LPs in bunker aisle two out of bunker and shelved them in the LP shed. Shifted stacks of newspapers in the bunker so that they were no longer blocking the tapes.
Short work day (Carlos has guests). Starting clearing stacked newspapers out of bunker aisle ten. Unpacked all the 15-inch discs and restacked them vertically in aisle two.
Moved the last of the boxes of LPs out of bunker aisle four and into the LP shed. Consolidated LP shed to make more room. Moved boxes of videotapes from LP shed into L-shaped shed. While clearing aisle seven, found eight reels of nothing but Radio Free Oz from January-April 1967 (including the infamous "Night of the Provos"). Cleaned the computer desk area upstairs in the bunker and cleared a place to sit on the sofa.
July 29, 2001
Cleared a shelf in the humid shed. Moved the rest of the pantry items out of bunker aisles seven and eight and into the humid shed. Bunker aisles seven, eight, and nine now free. Started cleaning up the listening station in the southwest corner upstairs in the bunker; lots of reels not in their boxes, or reels half wound on a takeup reel that need to be rewound. Took a close look at Carlos' KPFK indices for the years 1970-1972, and made a list of every Dear Friends and Let's Eat aircheck in the archive. Next week I'll try to find them, and keep cleaning the LP shed.
August 5, 2001
Did a shelf-read looking for all Firesign Theatre airchecks from last week's list; almost everything is there. Removed the last remaining boxes of LPs from bunker aisle one. More work cleaning the shelves in the LP shed. Continued rewinding tapes in the listening station.
August 12, 2001
More tape rewinding in the listening station. Took an inventory of reels downstairs in the bunker and started to group the KPFK tapes together.
August 19, 2001
Over the years Carlos' friends have donated lots of tapes to him; today I started moving them all into an empty area on the east wall. Continued grouping together KPFK reels. Sorted stacks of KPFK reels upstairs by the desk. Continued rewinding reels.
August 26, 2001
Emptied packed boxes of VHS tapes and shelved them in the L-shaped shed.
September 2, 2001
Carlos preparing to leave for Iceland. I spent the day moving moisture-sensitive items out of the yard and into the sheds. Gathered all the UCLA library books Carlos had on extended loan and sorted them by LOC call number. Tried to help Carlos do a computer backup. Talked about selling the Capri, selling the Edsel, building shelves for newspapers and CDs in the garage.
(September 2001 - April 2002: Carlos in Iceland)
From an email, 6/30/2002
A couple of weekends ago I went over to Carlos Hagen's place in Malibu and did some more lifting for him. He bought 20 boxes of LPs from Record Surplus on Pico in West L.A., and I moved them all into his LP shed. The shed is full to overflowing; there's no shelf space left so I had to leave them in the aisles. He fixed me the usual baked salmon lunch with potatoes and lots of sour cream, which he never fails to point out is "very Icelandic". His wife and daughter will be coming to visit soon, and he'll take them to see the Grand Canyon before they all go back to Iceland together for nine months. (Malibu is one of the most ridiculously expensive places to live in California, and Iceland's cheap and has a burgeoning music scene and great health services; so it was practically a no-brainer for Carlos, a Chilean who likes cold weather.)
From an email to "The Vaultmeister" at Barking Pumpkin Records, 2/10/2003
Glad the Mount St. Mary's package made it into your hands. Here's how I happened on the tapes: I work with the Firesign Theatre, and in 1999 I was at KPFK digging through their archive for old airchecks. I found a Radio Free Oz aircheck labeled "From the collection of Carlos Hagen." I figured he could be a resource for more Firesign, so I tracked him down. Carlos is a multidisciplined academic chap - a recording engineer, geographer, anthropologist, and documentarian. He was born in Chile in the late 1930s and he came to the U.S. to study geography in the Pacific Northwest. In the early 1960s he came to L.A. to work in the UCLA map library. He's always been a scholar of music and when he arrived he decided to preserve the local avant-garde music scene with the only means available to him: his own Ampex open reel deck, which he used to make audience recordings of many concerts including Zappa's concerts at Mount St. Mary's in May 1963.
Hagen joined the staff of KPFK around the same time. In the following decade he produced hundreds of hours of music documentary programs...
At the moment Hagen is in Iceland, where he now spends most of his time. Being a Chilean who grew up at high altitudes he missed the cold and the Scandinavian-Socialist economy of his youth, and he found a substitute for both in Iceland.
Hagen spent most of his career fighting corporate abuse of the Fair Use doctrine. As a documentarian he has always been beholden to libraries for the raw materials he uses in his programs, and for years he has fought libraries, public and private, that have refused - under threat from American record companies - to make him copies of their materials for educational use. Therefore he's amassed this library of his own, and in the years to come he intends to convert it into a trust so that anyone can use it as a free educational resource.
From an email to Carlos, 10/10/2003
Hi there...Hope everything's fine in the land of snow and vulcanism. I have a question for you: I have a few spotty "Dear Friends" airchecks in my collection, but the integrity of the source material is doubtful. I know from my research re-ordering the tapes in your bunker that you may have as many as 16 airchecks of "Dear Friends" programs. Would it be possible for me to get inside the bunker, retrieve the "Dear Friends" tapes, take them home to transfer, and then return them to the bunker? It would be a great favor to the guys, who haven't heard any of this material since it was broadcast...
From an email to Peter Bergman, 1/19/2004
I visited Carlos Hagen-Lautrup's bunker today. You'll be glad to know that he had a show that previously was thought lost: the complete February 3, 1971 aircheck, all but six minutes of which were trashed when the Syndicated series was compiled. (Those six minutes formed the opening of Program 12.) I'll be transferring it tomorrow. My job doesn't get any better than this.
NOTE: To date, Carlos' tape of the 2/3/1971 episode of Dear Friends remains the only known complete recording of this broadcast.