The THEATER at Ace Hotel- First Public Tour (formerly the United Artists Theatre)

Our second All About in 2014 will be the long-awaited FIRST public tour of the Theatre at Ace Hotel, formally known as the Uniter Artists Theatre!

The historic United Artists Theatre was designed as a "cathedral to the movies" and we are thrilled to see it once again in the hands of people who plan to operate it as a theatre for live and cinematic arts. Join us on February 1st to see the original theater as well as some of the spaces restored by Ace Hotel.   

Warnings: While the main auditorium level is easily accessible, most of the walking tours around the theatre involve a lot of stairs and tight spaces. Some areas are elevator-accessible, and we will accommodate patrons needing assistance as much as we can.

Globe Theatre "Work in Progress" Tour

The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation's first All About in 2014 will be a special tour showing the work in progress at the Globe Theatre. Don't miss this rare chance to see a classic theater and movie palace being brought back to life! The new proprietors of the Globe have uncovered architectural details long hidden from view and are going through much time and effort to restore them. You can be among the first to see these uncovered gems, as well as having a chance to explore spaces long closed to the public, as only an LAHTF All About can do! 

Warnings: While the main auditorium level is easily accessible, the walking tours around the theatre involve a lot of stairs, tight spaces and dusty rooms. Also, there are no bathroom facilities on site, so enjoy breakfast before —or lunch after— at a local restaurant and use their facilities

Deconstructed Los Angeles - works by Teale Hatheway

Art Meets Architecture presents:
Deconstructed Los Angeles – Works by Teale Hatheway
Gallery 1927 at the Fine Arts Building
Downtown Los Angeles

Extended through February 8!

Re-opening: Thursday, January 9, 6-8 pm
December 12, 2013 – February 8, 2014

“Teale Hatheway visually decomposes structures and reorganizes some of their most compelling qualities into beautiful and puzzling paintings of familiar places.” Please join us for this exhibition of representations of historic Broadway buildings.

In conjunction with this exhibition, Eric Minh Swenson and Cartwheel Art published an interview with the artist.

Interview: Teale Hatheway, “Deconstructing Los Angeles”


The Lowdown on Downtown

This is NOT a tour about beautiful buildings--although beautiful buildings will be all around you. This is NOT a tour about brilliant architects--although we will gaze upon their works and marvel.

Esotouric's The Lowdown on Downtown IS a tour about urban redevelopment, public policy, protest, power and the police. It is a revealing history of how the New Downtown became an "overnight sensation" after decades of quiet work behind the scenes by public agencies and private developers. This tour is about what really happened in the heart of Los Angeles, a complicated story that will fascinate and infuriate, break your heart and thrill your spirit.

So join your host Richard Schave, the founding director of the Downtown LA Art Walk non-profit, on a tour that reveals the secret history, and the fascinating future, of this most beguiling LA neighborhood.

This is a tour about the populated, vibrant mid-20th Century Downtown Los Angeles you've only heard about, and about the 21st Century Downtown that can rise again with a richness of heritage and quality of life leaving natives and visitors gaping in disbelief. This is a tour about Downtown's invisible neighborhoods and great public spaces which managed to escape the wrecking ball. This is a tour about how gentrification sprung up on the city's meanest streets, with all the conflicts that go along with a major socio-economic shift in a small community, and about how the free speech concerns of Occupy LA protesters came into synch with those of homeless rights activists in a challenging moment for LAPD and the arts community. This is a tour about the real and evolving Los Angeles, the city even natives don't know. Get on the bus for the real Lowdown on Downtown, as no one but Esotouric's Richard Schave can reveal it.

Our tour begins in the corporate public spaces of Bunker Hill and Pershing Square, each the result of deliberate social engineering (the razing of old Bunker Hill which displaced 9,000 residents; the elimination of positive public space in Pershing Square to thwart public address and gatherings). We segue to the underappreciated yet extremely successful public spaces of the Historic Core and then to the emerging live/work community of The Old Bank District, where developer Tom Gilmore’s gentrification and the popular monthly Art Walk are bringing life to spaces which have been dead for decades. The tour concludes with a visit to an underground arts space.

Having studied under architecture critic Reyner Banham in the mid-1980s, tour host Richard Schave has taken it upon himself to correct his teacher’s gross oversight of downtown Los Angeles, relegated to a dismissive coda in his seminal Los Angeles guidebook Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. Richard and his wife Kim Cooper work extensively with the history and lost cultures of downtown in their bus tours, in their work placing Art Walk into a non-profit, on blogs including On Bunker HillIn SRO Land and1947project, and through public lectures on the subject.

This tour has a significant walking component, down the stairs along Angels Flight, around Pershing Square, through several other pedestrian locations. It is broken up, but please be advised to be ready to stretch your legs.

Locations on the tour include:
Angels Flight
Grand Central Market
Mercantile Arcade Building
Bloom's General Store
An underground arts space

This tour is just one of our California Culture tour series (formerly known as the Reyner Banham Loves L.A. series).

South L.A. Road Trip: Hot Rods, Adobes, Googie & Early Modernism

This provocative Esotouric bus adventure begins downtown and works its way south through Vernon, Bell Gardens, Santa Fe Springs and Downey, and through the past two centuries, exploring off-the-beaten path Los Angeles landmarks that have had enormous influence on the cultural life of the city and the world beyond.

Turning the West Side-centric notion of an L.A. architecture tour on its head, the bus goes into areas not traditionally associated with the important, beautiful or significant, raising issues of preservation, adaptive reuse and the evolution of the city. The locations all speak to the power, mutability and reach of Southern California as a creative engine. Some of the tour stops are:

Rancho San Antonio (1840). One of the oldest adobe structure in Los Angeles County, it was built by the Lugo family, whose rancho spread all the way to South Gate--the south gate of the property. This fascinating home sits smack dab in the middle of a 65-year-old trailer park on the banks of the Rio Hondo River in Bell Gardens. Between the layers of context at this site is the history of migration and growth in the Southland, from Spanish land grants to the dust bowl to the vast waves of stucco suburbs.

Canning Hardware and the Ed "Big Daddy" Roth studio (1950s). This modest stretch of Slauson Avenue was ground zero for Southern California high performance and hot rod culture. Come discover how aerospace, social mobility and teenage ingenuity transformed the automotive industry and created new modes of self-expression that spread worldwide.

The Clarke Estate (1920). A lost masterpiece by tilt-slab concrete architect Irving Gill, this Mission Revival (with a smattering of Mayan)-inspired dwelling feels like a time capsule from a simpler era, and offers insights into how the California style of architecture was born and popularized through Gill's modernist fans Schindler and Neutra.

Harvey's Broiler (1958/2008). One of the most prominent stops on the South Los Angeles cruising circuit, the teen culture promenade of the 1950s and '60s that had enormous influence on fashion, automotive design, popular music and leisure, Harvey's is also a cautionary tale about historic preservation. The beloved Downey diner with its landmark neon sign was illegally partially demolished by a renter who wanted more space to park used cars. The site was saved due to public outcry, and has been restored as a Bob's Big Boy built to the original specifications.

This tour is just one of our California Culture tour series (formerly known as the Reyner Banham Loves L.A. series).

LAVA's 32nd Sunday Salon

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.

The Salon will be broken into two distinct presentations each lasting about 45 minutes. You are encouraged to arrive early if you wish to order food and beverages from the counter downstairs, and bring your meal upstairs. 

Presentation One

Darrell Rooney on Harlow In Hollywood

Harlow. 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. Harlow historian Darrell Rooney, co-author of Harlow In Hollywood (Angel City Press), discusses and presents images on the behind the scenes life of Jean Harlow and the city that helped mold her.

Presentation Two

Marc Chevalier on James Oviatt and the Making of Modern Los Angeles History

Join Marc Chevalier, LAVA's Visionary of the Year for 2014, as he traces the life of the iconic Angeleno, James Oviatt, the man behind the eponymous building and clothing store. The unfolding of this narrative doubles as Marc's personal narrative of research, through false leads, dead ends, misinterpretations and out of the blue miracles, until by uncovering the untold story of James Oviatt, Marc Chevalier discovers his own voice, that of a major historian of lost Los Angeles.

Why look to James Oviatt, seller of upscale fashion, early proponent of the Art Deco, Machiavellian schemer and dreamer? Oviatt’s arc is a microcosm of the upwardly mobile in Jazz Age Los Angeles, and his story touches almost every major aspect of culture and commerce in pre-war Los Angeles. His influence is still felt on the city he left behind, and in the worlds of fashion, design, marketing and architecture. 


Kim Cooper's "The Kept Girl" book release party

LAVA co-founders Kim Cooper and Richard Schave invite you to join them at Skylight Books for the release party for The Kept Girl (Esotouric Ink), Kim's debut novel of 1929 Los Angeles. Kim will read a selection from the book, answer questions and write something sweet inside your copy. Vintage attire is encouraged, but not required.   

The Kept Girl is inspired by a sensational real-life Los Angeles cult murder spree which exploded into the public consciousness when fraud charges were filed against the cult's leaders in 1929. The victim was the nephew of oil company president Joseph Dabney, Raymond Chandler's boss. In the novel, Chandler, still several years away from publishing his first short story, is one of three amateur detectives who uncover the ghastly truth about the Great Eleven cult over one frenetic week. Informed by the author's extensive research into the literary, spiritual, criminal and architectural history of Southern California, The Kept Girl is a terrifying noir love story, set against the backdrop of a glittering pre-crash metropolis.

Event sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company.


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. In one of his finest poems, he described this as a bluebird he kept caged, and that bluebird is been represented in the Bukbird, a pale blue version of his beloved alcoholic crow character, represented by a logo created by cartoonist Tony Millionaire exclusively for this tour. The Bukbird is available on T-shirtsbeer coasters and fine art prints by plasticmuse.

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.

The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour

"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.