"This [Esotouric] bus tour... has established itself as an L.A. classic." -The Los Angeles Times
The Black Dahlia murder in 1947 is the most compelling unsolved crime Los Angeles has ever known. What Jack the Ripper is to London, the Torso Killer to Cleveland, the Black Dahlia is to L.A. And yet unlike those other cases, the name Black Dahlia refers not to the killer, but to the victim. What was it about Elizabeth Short that keeps her the object of obsessive fascination by writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, cops and readers, more than sixty years after she was slain?
The Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus Tour seeks to answer this question by intimately exploring the last weeks of Elizabeth Short's life, asking not "who killed her?" but "who was she?"
The tour takes us from the human hustle of Main Street to the serene lobby of the Biltmore (the second-to-last place she was seen alive), to the newspaper offices and the Greyhound station where she checked her bags, and concludes at the site where her bisected body was found in Leimert Park and with a little known suspect who lived nearby.
From the few personal possessions she left behind to the friends who scarcely knew her, from the mass hysteria of the investigation with its fruitless leads, wacko suspects and false confessions, the tour reveals all that's known about this enigmatic black-haired girl who reinvented herself at whim, and shows how she came to be the unfortunate symbol of her time and place.
Join Esotouric on its final crime bus tour of 2013. The Crown City masquerades as a calm and refined retreat, where well-bred ladies glide around their perfect bungalows and everyone knows what fork to use first. But don't be fooled by appearances. Dip into the confidential files of old Pasadena and meet assassins and oddballs, kidnappers and slashers, Satanists and all manner of maniac in a delightful little tour you WON'T find recommended by the better class of people! From celebrated cases like the RFK assassination (with a visit to Sirhan Sirhan's folks' house), "Eraserhead" star Jack Nance's strange end, black magician/rocket scientist Jack Parsons' death-by-misadventure and the 1926 Rose Parade grand stand collapse, to fascinating obscurities, the tour's dozens of murders, arsons, kidnappings, robberies, suicides, auto wrecks and oddball happening sites provide a alternate history of Pasadena that's as fascinating as it is creepy. Passengers will tour the old Millionaire's Row on Orange Grove, thrill to the shocking Sphinx Murder on the steps of the downtown Masonic Hall and discover why people named Judd should think twice before moving to Pasadena.
From the founding of the city through the 1940s, downtown was the true center of Los Angeles, a lively, densely populated, exciting and sometimes dangerous place. After many quiet decades, downtown is making an incredible return. But while many of the historic buildings remain, their human context has been lost.
This downtown double feature tour, hosted by Kim Cooper, Joan Renner and Richard Schave, is meant to bring alive the old ghosts and memories that cling to the streets and structures of the historic core, and is especially recommended for downtown residents curious about their neighborhood's neglected history.
The Hotel Horrors portion is a true crime and oddities tour featuring some of the wildest, weirdest, goriest and most memorable happenings in historic hotels like the Alexandria, St. George, Barclay and Cecil. Get on the bus to see inside some of these legendary locales and find out where Night Stalker Richard Ramirez liked to stay and the hotel that saw a visit from the Skid Row Slasher, and where two traveling chocolate salesmen laughed so hard they fell backwards out a window to their deaths. You'll also explore the fiery curse that repeatedly leveled the St. George Hotel. Included are some light hearted stories to help the blood and gore go down.
The Main Street Vice portion is a social history tour celebrating the ribald, racy, raunchy old promenade where the better people simply did not travel, but kicks were had by all who did. Burlesque babes and dirty picture parlors, mummified western outlaws and old time tattoo parlors, wax museums and pawn brokers, "professors" offering sex lectures and magazine peddlers with nudie Marilyn Monroe calendars under the counter, sophisticated steak houses and nickel donut dives -- these were the pleasures and the people to be found along Main during the first half of the 20th century, a street that every Angeleno knew offered more (yet less) of what could be seen anywhere else. On this tour, we'll visit the scenes of some more unforgettable debaucheries and share stories of crime, smut, passion and commerce.
Climb aboard for a time travel journey back to the downtown that's not there anymore, and the surprising amount of gems that survive.
LAVA Visionary and president of the LA chapter of the Dorothy Parker Society, Adrienne Crew will host a short walking tour of F. Scott Fitzgerald's (West) Hollywood and the places that were significant to him at the end of the writer's life. The tour will begin at the corner of Sunset Blvd & Crescent Heights (exact details furnished upon registration) and conclude at Greenblatt's Deli, where Sheilah Graham purchased the Hershey bar which was the last thing Fitzgerald ate.
A partial list of both extant and demolished locations along the route are: The Garden of Allah apartments, Schwab's Drug store and the apartment of Sheilah Graham.
Encore walking tour to augment Dorothy Parker Society activities in December, starting December 12, 2013 with a cocktail party celebrating the publication of Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Reserve your spot now.
$15 per person. Pre-payment and reservation required. Tour location shall be sent after confirmed reservation. Contact Adrienne Crew atat firstname.lastname@example.org for information about reservations and payments. Paypal and credit cards accepted. Comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen are advised. Plan on arriving 15 minutes prior to tour start time for check-in.
Join LAVA Visionary, Adrienne Crew, and Kevin Fitzpatrick, author and founder of the Dorothy Parker Society, for a bus tour of Los Angeles locations connected to Dorothy Parker.
The tour includes stops at several of Dorothy Parker’s residences in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. The tour navigates Parker’s peripatetic journey through the area as she commuted between Hollywood and her homes on the East Coast over a thirty year period. Some walking is required on this tour. The tour is open to the public; it begins and ends at Book Soup, 8818 W. Sunset Blvd (note bus pickup is across the street at old Tower Records, 8801 W. Sunset Blvd).
Click here for reservations and details.
Join LAVA for our revived free monthly Sunday Salon series. We return to South Broadway, to the mezzanine of Les Noces du Figaro, which was recently opened by the family behind Figaro Bistro in Los Feliz. This handsome space was formerly Schaber’s Cafeteria (Charles F. Plummer, 1928), and the mezzanine features wonderful views of the Los Angeles Theatre.
On the last Sunday of each month, LAVA welcomes interested individuals to gather in downtown Los Angeles (noon-2pm), for a structured Salon featuring formal presentations and opportunities to meet and connect with one another. If you’re interested in joining LAVA as a creative contributor or an attendee, we recommend Salon attendance as an introduction to this growing community. We also recommend the eclairs.
Read about the original Sunday Salon at Clifton's Cafeteria here.
You are encouraged to arrive early if you wish to order food and beverages from the counter downstairs, and bring your meal upstairs. There will only be one presentation at this Salon. There will be a short break of 10-15 minutes about 40 minutes into the program.
Salon Presentation - Ordo Templi Orientis
Presenters' Statement: Ordo Templi Orientis is an international initiatory order dedicated to promulgating the Law of Thelema. We can summarize The Law of Thelema in the deceptively simple sentence “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” While the roots of O.T.O. lie in Freemasonry, it separated from that tradition a century ago under the leadership of noted magician Aleister Crowley. O.T.O. has a rich history in Los Angeles stretching back to the 1930s, when Wilfred Smith and Jack Parsons led Agape Lodge in Pasadena, the only fully operational O.T.O. body in the world at the time of Crowley’s death in 1947.
The central ritual of Ordo Templi Orientis is the Gnostic Mass, also called Liber XV; a eucharistic ceremony written by Aleister Crowley in 1913. The most important purpose of the Mass is to lead all participants to an awareness of their divinity, an idea expressed in the declaration made by each member of the congregation after consuming the eucharist: “There is no part of me that is not of the gods.” To this end, the Gnostic Mass incorporates dramatic ritual elements taken from Thelemic symbolism, as well as that of sources as disparate as alchemy, the Chaldean Oracles, and Qabalah. It is a beautiful and inspiring celebration of the energies of Life and Joy, of ecstatic union on all planes, and of the great Mystery of generation.
Star Sapphire Lodge, the O.T.O. body serving Los Angeles, invites you to join us in a celebration of the Gnostic Mass. We will also offer a brief talk on the nature of O.T.O. and the Gnostic Mass. Experience the deity within you; “Every man and every woman is a star!”
Shades of LA is the compelling archive of 10,000 photos of diverse Southern California families, copied by Photo Friends from family albums, under the direction of Carolyn Kozo Cole in the 1990s, for the Photo Collection of the LA Public Library. Archive images include daily life, social organizations, work, personal and holiday celebrations, and migration and immigration activities, and are available to view online at photos.lapl.org.
This program will be presented by Kathy Kobayashi, co-author of the book, Shades of LA: Pictures from Ethnic Family Albums.
Everyone is warmly welcome. Former Shades donors and volunteers are especially encouraged to attend and to let us know to expect you (email email@example.com), but no reservations are required.
Part of the series, LA in Focus, a free lecture series presented by Photo Friends of the LAPL
ABOUT PHOTO FRIENDS: Formed in 1990, Photo Friends is a nonprofit organization that supports the Los Angeles Public Library’s Photo Collection/History & Genealogy Department. Our goal is to improve access to the collections and promote them through programs, events, and online exhibits.
You are cordially invited to join us on a once-in-a-lifetime Esotouric bus adventure: Richard’s 45th birthday road trip. As with past birthday bus excursions, this will be an extended and extraordinary day of Southern California historic exploration and celebration, interspersed with running commentary from Richard’s mother, home movies and cake.
This year our compass points to the Antelope Valley, where we’ll be visiting two very different State Parks for guided tours from expert native guides, and a unique museum run by the City of Lancaster.
First stop on the tour is the Western Hotel Museum, in the city of Lancaster. The Western Hotel Museum is one of the most visible links Lancaster has to its heritage. At the turn of the century, the two-story hotel was a vital part of local culture, accommodating everyone from muleskinners to British lords. After years of different owners and purposes, the hotel fell into a state of disrepair during the 1970s and was condemned. Lancaster residents, rallied to save the once-grand hotel. This resulted in the formation of the Western Hotel Historical Society. Restoration was completed in 1988, and the hotel/museum now houses photographs and artifacts that depict the history of the people who built, worked and lived in the Western Hotel.
Next, we’ll visit the Antelope Valley Indian Museum for a tour of the collection and historic buildings by Peggy Ronning, the Museum’s current curator and Edra Moore, the founding curator.
The Antelope Valley Indian Museum is rich in history and character. Los Angeles cinema scenic artist Howard Arden Edwards and his family homesteaded the land in the 1920s and constructed the fanciful, Germanic buildings as a repository for his amateur collection of American Indian artifacts. While Edwards’ collecting methods and interpretive choices are today controversial, he amassed a remarkable collection, which attracted the site’s next caretaker, Grace Wilcox Oliver. In the 1950s the property briefly was a dude ranch. In the 1960s, Oliver reclaimed the museum and sought a longterm steward for the collection and buildings. In 1979, it became part of the State Park system, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990) brought major funding and a renewed focus on stabilizing and cataloging the collection under the supervision of founding curator, Edra Moore. In the early 2000s, curator Peggy Ronning took over management, and began a nearly ten year campaign to restore and stabilize the structure, including creating a geothermal temperature control system.
The museum is 80 years old this year and has never looked better. Join us for an in depth look at how a 1920s roadside attraction and curio stand has been transformed into a viable scholarly resource and cultural attraction.
The last stop on the tour will be The Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park, where Ranger Jean Rhyne will lead us on a guided walk of this preserve, thick with mature stands of Joshua trees and California juniper trees in their native western Mojave Desert habitat. Join us for a glimpse into the Antelope Valley as it was in centuries past.
Instructions for guests: Bring a picnic lunch. We’ll have lunch at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum’s extensive vintage picnic facilities upon our arrival. After the museum tour, we’ll have birthday cake and coffee, then depart on the bus for the Woodland walk. The entire trip from Los Angeles and back will take about 8 hours. We recommend bringing good walking shoes, a camera, a warm coat, plenty of water, your lunch and anything you’d like to snack on during the day.
The tour leaves from the Daily Dose in the Arts District, where there is ample free parking in the neighborhood. Please pay attention to posted street signs. The Daily Dose is a great place for breakfast, but we recommend that you arrive about a half an hour before check in, so that neither you nor the cafe is rushed.
This is a special event. No passes or special discounts apply. Tickets are $47.
100 years ago on this day, 30,000 people clamored around the Cascasdes. The Chamber of Commerce distributed bottled Owens River water. The Southern Pacific charged $1 for a round trip ticket from Los Angeles. William Mulholland officiated the ceremonies. He thanked his assistants and the City of Los Angeles for their loyal support. His address to the crowd was brief: “This rude platform is an altar, and on it we are here consecrating this water supply and dedicating the Aqueduct to you and your children and your children’s children--for all time.” He paused for a moment, then quipped "That's all." It was a little later in the proceedings that he uttered the immortal, oft-misquoted line "There it is Mr. Mayor. Take it.”
Get a carpool together and join us for this watershed event!
On this guided tour through the Beverly Hills of the early 20th Century, Crime Bus passengers thrill as Jazz Age bootleggers run amok, marvel at the Krazy Kafitz family's litany of murder-suicides, attempted husband slayings, Byzantine estate battles and mad bombings, visit the shortest street in Los Angeles (15' long Powers Place, with its magnificent views of the mansions of Alvarado Terrace), discover which fabulous mansion was once transformed into a functioning whiskey factory using every room in the house, and stroll the haunted paths of Rosedale Cemetery, site of notable burials (May K. Rindge, the mother of Malibu) and odd graveside crimes. Featured players include the most famous dwarf in Hollywood, mass suicide ringleader Reverend Jim Jones, wacky millionaires who can't control their automobiles, human mole bank robbers, comically inept fumigators, kids trapped in tar pits, and dozens of other unusual and fascinating denizens of early Los Angeles.
There are even some celebrity sites along the route, including the death scenes of Motown soul sensation Marvin Gaye and 1920s star Angels baseball catcher Gus Sandberg. And the architecture too is to die for, as the Crime Bus rolls down the elegant streets of old West Adams, lined with gay mansions, adorable bungalows and signs of a century's decay which only enhance the neighborhood's charm.
Passengers on this eye-opening, funny and informative tour will forever see the West Adams district in a new light. It is highly recommended for natives and newcomers alike, crime and history buffs and anyone who likes to seek out the unexpected.