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!
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 Hill, In 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:
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).
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).
"[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-shirts, beer coasters and fine art prints by plasticmuse.
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.
"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 email@example.com 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.