History

Bruckman Rare Book Friends Talk: Kim Cooper and Richard Schave on "The Kept Girl"

Bruckman Rare Book Friends present Kim Cooper discussing and signing copies of her latest book, The Kept Girl, a 1920s mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler, his devoted secretary and the real-life Philip Marlowe all on the trail of a murderous cult of angel worshippers.

Accompanying Kim is her husband Richard Schave, her partner in Esotouric bus adventures and LAVA - the Los Angeles Visionaries Association, and the designer of this 1940s-inspired paperback, the debut publication of their L.A.-focused press, Esotouric Ink.

Kim's illustrated talk will draw on her years of research into the lost lore of Los Angeles, with a focus on the bizarre Great Eleven cult, which began just above the library on Bunker Hill and ensnared dozens of credulous Angelenos in their mystical rites before one disgruntled ex-believer brought the whole enterprise tumbling down. You'll hear about Raymond Chandler's pre-literary life as a downtown oil company executive, the idealistic L.A. policeman who is a likely model for Philip Marlowe, the real woman who inspired the character of Chandler's secretary Muriel, and the terrible secrets revealed by the fraud investigation in the Great Eleven's activities.

Richard will share insights into how he used cutting edge computing tools to evoke the look and feel of a mid-century book, and Kim will talk abut the deluxe Art Deco wraps created for the Subscribers, whose pre-publication support covered a big chunk of the print cost.  Copies of the paperback and deluxe Art Deco Subscribers' edition will be available for purchase after the talk.  

Read LAPL Librarian Robert Anderson's review of The Kept Girl here. Read Kim Cooper's love letter to Central Library here

Validated parking is just $1.00 with library card at Westlawn Garage, 524 South Flower Street. For ADA accommodations, call (213) 228-7430 at least 72 hours prior to the event.

Bouchercon edition of Esotouric's Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles bus tour

Looking for pre-Bouchercon activities for hard-core noir, pulp and mystery fans? You've come to the right place. This is a special edition of Esotouric's acclaimed Raymond Chandler bus tour of historic locations in Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, coinciding with the 2014 Bouchercon World Mystery Convention.

Advance reservations are suggested, as space is limited for this special event. Check-in is 8:30am at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach for a 9am sharp departure, and we will return to the hotel by 5pm.

Join us for a guided tour of Raymond Chandler's noir Los Angeles, including The Oviatt Building (The Gillerlain Company in The Lady in The Lake), The Bank of Italy (where Chandler was employed by The Dabney Oil Company), The Barclay Hotel (site of an icepick murder in The Little Sister), The Mayfair Hotel (where a suicidal Chandler kept his mistress), Paramount Studios, Raymond Chandler Square and other iconic locations from the life and work of the master of Los Angeles noir.

The excursion includes a no-host lunch stop, and a shopping visit to Hollywood's Larry Edmunds Bookshop, the famous cinema collectors store which directly descends from The Stanley Rose Book Shop, whose proprietor was the model for Geiger in The Big Sleep. (Please note that due to time constraints, there is no stop at Scoops on this special edition tour.)

Passengers desiring a souvenir will have the opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of co-host Kim Cooper's mystery novel The Kept Girl, inspired by this tour and starring the young Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe on the trail of a cult of murderous angel worshippers, as well as a copy of the rare, out-of-print Raymond Chandler Mystery Map created by Aaron Blake in the 1980s. 

Weird West Adams crime bus tour

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.

The tour also offers an overview of the neighborhood's many early subdivisions, and a groundbreaking court case that helped end housing discrimination nationwide.

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.

Haunts of A Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski's Los Angeles

"[This tour is] a poetic journey full of rare insight into the life of a man who's come to represent the ghettoized contingency of the City of Angels.” - Tanja M. Laden, Flavorpill

"Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski's LA" focuses on Bukowski’s great passions: writing, screwing and Los Angeles. We’ll take in the canonical locations of his life and myth: the Postal Annex Terminal where he gathered the material for “Post Office,” the De Longpre apartment where he briefly experimented with marriage and fatherhood, one of his favorite bars and liquor stores, and many other spots. Along the way, we’ll explore the people and ideas that made up the warp and weft of Buk’s rich inner life. This Esotouric bus adventure is hosted by Richard Schave.

The tour spans Bukowski's personal city, from Skid Row to once-genteel Crown Hill, to Bukowski's favorite East Hollywood liquor store, the Pink Elephant.

Esotouric has made its name with true crime bus tours (Black Dahlia, Pasadena Confidential) and explorations of literary LA (Raymond Chandler, John Fante, James M. Cain). Now they turn their creative attentions to Bukowski, the prolific poet, novelist and screenwriter whose rough-hewn tales of boozing, wild women and rotten jobs never obscure the deep vein of sweetness and hope that runs through all his work. 

Wild Wild West Side crime bus tour

For the first time, the true crime archeologists of Esotouric have set their sights on points west of Robertson, and the results are truly mind-boggling.

Originally offered in Esotouric’s 2008-2009 seasons, this newly revived crime bus tour spotlights some of the weirdest, most horrific and downright unbelievable crimes of historic West Los Angeles, Venice and Santa Monica. You’ll thrill and shudder to tales of teenaged terrors, tortured tots, wicked wives, evil spirits, cults, creeps and assorted maniacs.

Get on the bus to meet Weird Ward, the boy husband of the nefarious cult leader who compelled her followers to carry her departed victims all across 1920s L.A. (as featured in co-host Kim Cooper's acclaimed mystery novel, "The Kept Girl"), and the peculiar Helen Love, who nearly escaped justice when she willed herself into a coma during her very odd murder trial. Along the Venice shore, you’ll see where a pair of real life witches tortured their own Hansels and Gretels as neighbors pretended not to hear the tots’ cries, and marvel at the grand hotel that was formally a flop house for ex-junkies in the Synanon Cult. Come discover the real and terrible history of L.A.‘s westside, on a tour so wild, we had to say it twice.

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Lecture: Bones, death, and other fun stuff with Paul Koudounaris at the Brand Library

For the past decade, Dr. Paul Koudounaris has been documenting famous macabre sites and researching our cultural relationship with death, producing two books, Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies, which have found great acclaim and a cult following. Those books were mostly confined to Europe, however. His forthcoming book, Memento Mori, will be his most ambitious, expanding his subject matter to a global level and presenting little known macabre sanctuaries in Asia, Africa, and South America. He will give a peek at the new material tonight in a special lecture for the Brand Library, taking the audience on a world tour, from burial caves in Indonesia to gilded corpses in Taiwan to skull festivals in Bolivia to decorated skeletons in Germany . . . the world's most spectacular macabre sites will be opened up to the audience with a spectacular slideshow of his own photos.

Pershing SquaReNew Announcement and John Parkinson walking tour

The Pershing Square Restoration Society invites you to attend an announcement from Councilman Jose Huizar and the Department of Recreation and Parks about a proposed new direction for Pershing Square and the former Pershing Square Task Force.

In 2013, the Pershing Square Task Force was formed with the intent of "Re-Envisioning" the historic park. Public response has overwhelmingly supported a different model: the restoration of the 1910 John Parkinson landscape design that was demolished in 1951 to put in underground parking. More than 1500 people have signed the petition asking for restoration and the campaign has been prominently covered by The Los Angeles Times, Which Way LA? and Curbed. 

Apparently in response to the popular support for restoration, the Pershing Square Task Force has changed its name to Pershing SquaReNew, and announced a new mission statement. It is now identified as "a non-profit dedicated to supporting and facilitating the park's revitalization--along with a number of efforts that will not only restore Pershing Square, but place Los Angeles on the map of inspiring, world-class public spaces." 

Please join social historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave (LAVA, Esotouric) at Pershing Square to hear what sort of restoration Pershing SquaReNew is proposing. (Sorry, author Stephen Gee will not be able to attend.) After the announcement, these principals of the Pershing Square Restoration Society will lead a free walking tour of nearby John Parkinson buildings, including those around his namesake Square. All are welcome--please spread the word!

(Postponed) LAVA's 41st Sunday Salon

An important message from LAVA - September 9, 2014

Dear friends,

It is with no small amount of regret that we are putting the monthly LAVA Sunday Salon and Broadway on My Mind walking tour series on hiatus, effective immediately. Both events take place at Les Noces du Figaro restaurant, which is closing down for several months of renovations.

We will be working closely with Jonathan Mgaieth of Figaro to determine a relaunch date as soon as the restaurant reopens, hopefully in early 2015. So stay tuned, and we hope to see you at other LAVA events in the meantime.

Please know that your continued thoughts and good will are the rock upon which LAVA builds its house.

With thanks for your understanding, we remain,
Richard Schave and Kim Cooper
LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association

 

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.

Presentation One: Jean Harlow Part 2

The name resonates. Blonde Bombshell. Platinum Blonde. The labels applied by press agents during Jean Harlow's seven-year career still carry a charge seventy years later. Harlow created the mold: the first blonde sex symbol who captured the attention of a nation, then touched their hearts with her genuine warmth and candor. At a time when Harlow's star shone its brightest, Los Angeles and the movies gave birth to a district that exists as much in the mind as on the map. Hollywood historian Darrell Rooney is co-author of Harlow In Hollywood. He returns to the LAVA Sunday Salon to pick up where he left off at his January 2014 presentation, with Jean Harlow's story following the mysterious death of her husband Paul Bern.

Presentation Two: Preserving the Legacy of Wurdman & Beckett's Animal Hospital in West Hollywood

West Hollywood residents and area historians Kate Eggert and Krisy Gosney of Dead History Project fell into historic preservation activism when two 110-year-old bungalows on their street were threatened with demolition. Everyone said they wouldn’t win... until they did. Recently, they went to a West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission meeting on a whim. The Commission discussed a 1938 Wurdeman & Becket streamline moderne animal hospital and a 1959 Barry Berkus mid-century modern office building, both slated for demolition and the site for redevelopment. They were told these buildings were a lost cause. But as a little research revealed the significance of the site, they knew they would fight. Their grassroots preservation campaign has garnered significant media attention and the support of the Los Angeles Conservancy, Art Deco Society, the family of architect Welton Becket and hundreds of passionate citizens. Responding to the rising community outcry, the developer has begun suggesting ways in which the Wurdeman & Beckett structure can be integrated into a modern building. This LAVA presentation is about the process through which Kate and Krisy are tackling the biggest preservation fight of their careers, the highs and lows, and the delicate dance of politics, ego, money and information that impacts any community when developers seek to build on an historic site.

Lowriting: the Photography of Arturo Meza

Art Meza was born and raised in Los Angeles. His photography infuses elements of his daily surroundings—his love for classic car and Lowrider culture, and pride of his Chicano upbringing—to produce images with “Chicano Soul.” Art will share images from his book, Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories from the Chicano Soul. The book also includes essays and poetry by contributors including Luis J. Rodriguez, Luis Alberto Urrea, Lalo Alcaraz, Gustavo Arellano, and Alvaro Rodriguez.

This free program is presented by Photo Friends LAPL and generously sponsored by Christy & Stephen McAvoy. Feel free to bring your lunch.

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

Bungalows. Crime. Hollywood. Blondes. Vets. Smog. Death.

This was Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles, which resonated under deft and melancholy fits from his writer’s bow.

Join us as we go down the mean streets that shaped his fiction, and that in turn shaped his hard-boiled times, in a four hour tour of downtown, Hollywood and surrounding environs: The Los Angeles Athletic Club, the Larry Edmunds Bookshop, the Hotel Van Nuys, Paramount Studio’s gates, and much, much more, including a Chandler-themed gelato stop at East Hollywood cult favorite Scoops.

Through published work, private correspondence, screenplays and film adaptations, we trace Chandler’s search for meaning and his anti-hero Philip Marlowe’s struggle to not be pigeonholed or give anything less than all he has, which lead them both down the rabbit hole of isolation, depression, and drink.

Tour passengers will have the opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of co-host Kim Cooper's mystery novel The Kept Girl, inspired by this tour and starring the young Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe on the trail of a cult of murderous angel worshippers.