Tours

The Flâneur & The City: Broadway On My Mind walking tour #4

To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup tab will appear just to the left, above this paragraph. Click "signup" and reserve your spot. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually.

Join us the latest installment of The Flaneur & The City: Broadway On My Mind walking tour #4. (This tour series was originally titled Broadway Streetscape Master Plan Awareness walking tour.) The tour will focus entirely on the history of the development of Bullocks department store starting at 7th & Broadway, up west along 7th to Hill and then half a block north on Hill.  The expansion takes place over the course of about 20 years, consumes eight buildings, and is a fascinating window into downtown's retail history. This tour will be hosted by Richard Schave.

Press clippings: the walking tour series is featured in Mike Sonksen's KCET Departures report, "Punk Rock, Poetry, and Public Policy." 

Video of the first Broadway On My Mind walking tour.

In July 2013, LAVA launched a series of six monthly walking tours along Broadway meant to raise consciousness about the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the pending implementation of Strategy One, Phase One of the City of Los Angeles’ Broadway Streetscape Master Plan (PDF). Each walking tour will follow and depart from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.

Stretching from 2nd Street to Olympic, the District contains the most intact collection of Beaux-Arts buildings in Los Angeles, and the largest collection of historic theaters anywhere in the United States.

As Broadway’s vast scope and scale can be overwhelming, on each walking tour we will look closely at several different historic buildings, in order to acclimatize the observer to better understand and appreciate the whole. We will also be looking at the historic streetscape, with attention paid to street lights, sidewalks (terrazzo in particular), basement hatches, sidewalk vents, glass blocks, manhole covers, granite curbs and signage.

Motivation for this tour series:

With City Council’s June 2013 approval of funding for Strategy One, Phase One of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan, we believe that it is it is imperative to develop a greater public awareness and understanding of Broadway’s architectural and scenic qualities, and to bring the informed voices of the community into discussion of the proposed changes and alterations. We believe that no element of Broadway’s streetscape can be altered without causing a transformation of the whole, requiring careful consideration before any permanent or semi-permanent changes are made. Broadway’s architectural character is defined not by any single feature (uniform height limits, predominance of theaters) or single landmark building (Eastern Columbia, Bradbury Building, Los Angeles Theater), but upon the concord of all of it, and the strength of the impression which all together they provide. No feature or building is of dominant importance, but each contributes, and all are vitally fused together into our National Register landmark district. Many of the salient architectural and streetscape features which will be the focus of this tour series are proposed to be impacted by the yet-unfunded Strategy One, Phase Two of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. The evolving situation demands public input and public awareness. We hope that you will join us on the tour series to better understand Broadway and become an advocate for its continued preservation, stewardship and vibrancy.

The Flâneur & The City: Broadway On My Mind walking tour #3

To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup tab will appear just to the left, above this paragraph. Click "signup" and reserve your spot. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually.

Join us the latest installment of The Flaneur & The City: Broadway On My Mind walking tour #3. (This tour series was originally titled Broadway Streetscape Master Plan Awareness walking tour.)

Press clippings: the walking tour series is featured in Mike Sonksen's KCET Departures report, "Punk Rock, Poetry, and Public Policy." 

Video of first Broadway On My Mind walking tour.

In July 2013, LAVA launched a series of six monthly walking tours along Broadway meant to raise consciousness about the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the pending implementation of Strategy One, Phase One of the City of Los Angeles’ Broadway Streetscape Master Plan (PDF). Each walking tour will follow and depart from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.

Stretching from 2nd Street to Olympic, the District contains the most intact collection of Beaux-Arts buildings in Los Angeles, and the largest collection of historic theaters anywhere in the United States.

As Broadway’s vast scope and scale can be overwhelming, on each walking tour we will look closely at several different historic buildings, in order to acclimatize the observer to better understand and appreciate the whole. We will also be looking at the historic streetscape, with attention paid to street lights, sidewalks (terrazzo in particular), basement hatches, sidewalk vents, glass blocks, manhole covers, granite curbs and signage.

Motivation for this tour series:

With City Council’s June 2013 approval of funding for Strategy One, Phase One of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan, we believe that it is it is imperative to develop a greater public awareness and understanding of Broadway’s architectural and scenic qualities, and to bring the informed voices of the community into discussion of the proposed changes and alterations. We believe that no element of Broadway’s streetscape can be altered without causing a transformation of the whole, requiring careful consideration before any permanent or semi-permanent changes are made. Broadway’s architectural character is defined not by any single feature (uniform height limits, predominance of theaters) or single landmark building (Eastern Columbia, Bradbury Building, Los Angeles Theater), but upon the concord of all of it, and the strength of the impression which all together they provide. No feature or building is of dominant importance, but each contributes, and all are vitally fused together into our National Register landmark district. Many of the salient architectural and streetscape features which will be the focus of this tour series are proposed to be impacted by the yet-unfunded Strategy One, Phase Two of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. The evolving situation demands public input and public awareness. We hope that you will join us on the tour series to better understand Broadway and become an advocate for its continued preservation, stewardship and vibrancy.

About This Month's Tour:

Tour guide is Richard Schave (Esotouric/LAVA). We will be walking along South Broadway, between 9th and 8th Streets, focusing on the theaters as well as the original retail stores along the block.  This month we will be joined by Poet/Real Estate Broker, Ed Rosenthal, for both insights and some verse on Broadway and the changing landscape in the Historic Core.

Union Rescue Mission Walking Tour: 122 years on Skid Row

To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup tab will appear just to the left, above this paragraph. Click "signup" and reserve your spot. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually.

ABOUT THIS EVENT:

Please join Nathan Marsak & Richard Schave of 1947project and Rev. Andy Bales of the Union Rescue Mission (URM) for a 90-minute walking tour along the historic paths that have delineated Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. This tour derives from the ongoing 1947project In SRO Land blog series that uses the archives of the URM (founded 1891) as a tool for exploring the social and architectural history of the forgotten people and places of Downtown Los Angeles.

The tour begins with a survey of the early history of the outreach by the URM through its gospel wagon and at two now-lost buildings: the original home at 145 N. Main (now City Hall Lawn) and the long-time location at 226 S. Main (now a parking lot next to the former St. Vibiana’s Cathedral).

The main themes will be the evolution of public policy on Skid Row, the transformative work of the URM, and the architectural history of the neighborhood.

The route will include Main Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets (for a then/now comparison of the surviving and demolished locations featured in the 1949 URM-financed short film Of Scrap & Steel, which will be screened later in the evening in a free event that requires a separate reservation). At 3rd and San Pedro Streets we will discuss the Azusa Street Revival, a transformative event in the spiritual history of Los Angeles and the West. During the walk back to the current home of the URM, Rev. Andy Bales will talk about issues and challenges facing the neighborhood and the URM today.

The rendezvous point for the tour is the URM’s headquarters at at 6th and San Pedro Streets. A free shuttle bus will take tour attendees to 2nd and Main Streets, where the walking tour begins. Registration is required, and each attendee must register separately, to ensure sufficient seating on the shuttle bus.

Parking is available at the URM’s underground parking lot. Just tell the attendent you are there for the walking tour. If everyone attending arrives with one other person in their car, there should be enough parking for all. Those arriving latter will have to leave their keys with the parking attendent.  Should the URM lot fill up, there will be an off-site, paid parking available at a nearby lot.  This location will be posted soon. A free shuttle will run between the overflow parking lot and the Union Rescue Mission before and after the event. 

Nearest Metro station is Little Tokyo.

Weird West Adams

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 drunken ice cream men, 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.

Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice tour

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.

Ernest Batchelder & The Roebling Building

To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup tab will appear just to the left, above this paragraph. Click "signup" and reserve your spot. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually.

ABOUT THIS EVENT:

Join LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association in The Roebling Building in Downtown LA’s Arts District for an historical discussion of the custom Ernest Batchelder decorative tile — a gift from Mr. Roebling’s employees — in the building’s original corner lobby.

The figural tiles portray the history of the company and its signature product, spun metal rope cable, and its use to solve a wide variety of engineering challenges. Also on view in the lobby is the remarkable curving staircase, partially constructed of the metal rope also used in the suspension of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The talk will be conducted by LAVA Visionary and Southern California tile expert Brian Kaiser, who with LAVA has previously presented on Batchelder’s Dutch Chocolate Shop. Brian will discuss the tile commission in the larger context the development of Batchelder’s work in Los Angeles, and the possible later integration of these custom designs into his commercial catalog.

The Roebling Building is the home of the Angel City Brewery, and we invite you to allow yourself time before or after the presentation to sample their fine brewed beers and ales.

The Flâneur & The City: Broadway On My Mind walking tour #2

To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup tab will appear just to the left, above this paragraph. Click "signup" and reserve your spot. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually.

Join us the latest installment of The Flaneur & The City: Broadway On My Mind, walking tour #2. (This tour series was originally titled Broadway Streetscape Master Plan Awareness walking tour.)

Press clippings: the walking tour series is featured in Mike Sonksen's KCET Departures report, "Punk Rock, Poetry, and Public Policy." 

In July 2013, LAVA launched a series of six monthly walking tours along Broadway meant to raise consciousness about the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the pending implementation of Strategy One, Phase One of the City of Los Angeles’ Broadway Streetscape Master Plan (PDF). Each walking tour will follow and depart from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.

Stretching from 2nd Street to Olympic, the District contains the most intact collection of Beaux-Arts buildings in Los Angeles, and the largest collection of historic theaters anywhere in the United States.

As Broadway’s vast scope and scale can be overwhelming, on each walking tour we will look closely at several different historic buildings, in order to acclimatize the observer to better understand and appreciate the whole. We will also be looking at the historic streetscape, with attention paid to street lights, sidewalks (terrazzo in particular), basement hatches, sidewalk vents, glass blocks, manhole covers, granite curbs and signage.

Motivation for this tour series:

With City Council’s June 2013 approval of funding for Strategy One, Phase One of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan, we believe that it is it is imperative to develop a greater public awareness and understanding of Broadway’s architectural and scenic qualities, and to bring the informed voices of the community into discussion of the proposed changes and alterations. We believe that no element of Broadway’s streetscape can be altered without causing a transformation of the whole, requiring careful consideration before any permanent or semi-permanent changes are made. Broadway’s architectural character is defined not by any single feature (uniform height limits, predominance of theaters) or single landmark building (Eastern Columbia, Bradbury Building, Los Angeles Theater), but upon the concord of all of it, and the strength of the impression which all together they provide. No feature or building is of dominant importance, but each contributes, and all are vitally fused together into our National Register landmark district. Many of the salient architectural and streetscape features which will be the focus of this tour series are proposed to be impacted by the yet-unfunded Strategy One, Phase Two of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. The evolving situation demands public input and public awareness. We hope that you will join us on the tour series to better understand Broadway and become an advocate for its continued preservation, stewardship and vibrancy.

About This Month's Tour:

Tour guides are Nick Matonak (Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation), Mike the PoeT and Richard Schave (Esotouric/LAVA). We will be walking along South Broadway, between 5th and 6th Streets, focusing on the theaters as well as the original retail stores along the block.

The Flâneur & The City: Broadway Streetscape Master Plan Awareness walking tour #1

To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup tab will appear just to the left, above this paragraph. Click "signup" and reserve your spot. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually.

Join us the latest installment of The Flaneur & The City: Broadway Streetscape Master Plan Awareness walking tour #1.

Video of this past walking tour.

In July 2013, LAVA is launching a series of six monthly walking tours along Broadway meant to raise consciousness about the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the pending implementation of Strategy One, Phase One of the City of Los Angeles’ Broadway Streetscape Master Plan (PDF). Each walking tour will follow and depart from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.

Stretching from 2nd Street to Olympic, the District contains the most intact collection of Beaux-Arts buildings in Los Angeles, and the largest collection of historic theaters anywhere in the United States.

As Broadway’s vast scope and scale can be overwhelming, on each walking tour we will look closely at several different historic buildings, in order to acclimatize the observer to better understand and appreciate the whole. We will also be looking at the historic streetscape, with attention paid to street lights, sidewalks (terrazzo in particular), basement hatches, sidewalk vents, glass blocks, manhole covers, granite curbs and signage.

Motivation for this tour series:

With City Council’s June 2013 approval of funding for Strategy One, Phase One of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan, we believe that it is it is imperative to develop a greater public awareness and understanding of Broadway’s architectural and scenic qualities, and to bring the informed voices of the community into discussion of the proposed changes and alterations. We believe that no element of Broadway’s streetscape can be altered without causing a transformation of the whole, requiring careful consideration before any permanent or semi-permanent changes are made. Broadway’s architectural character is defined not by any single feature (uniform height limits, predominance of theaters) or single landmark building (Eastern Columbia, Bradbury Building, Los Angeles Theater), but upon the concord of all of it, and the strength of the impression which all together they provide. No feature or building is of dominant importance, but each contributes, and all are vitally fused together into our National Register landmark district. Many of the salient architectural and streetscape features which will be the focus of this tour series are proposed to be impacted by the yet-unfunded Strategy One, Phase Two of the Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. The evolving situation demands public input and public awareness. We hope that you will join us on the tour series to better understand Broadway and become an advocate for its continued preservation, stewardship and vibrancy.

About This Month's Tour:

Tour guides are Nick Matonak (Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation), Mike the PoeT and Richard Schave (Esotouric/LAVA). We will be walking along South Broadway, between 6th and 8th Streets, with a focus on the following locations: 

  • Yorkshire Apartments

Public + Art: Three Ducks in a Row

Combining civic art, musical performance, and dance, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre's Public + Art: Three Ducks in a Row will animate the East Los Angeles Civic Center with three arts events in one free, family-friendly evening.

The evening will kick off with a one-of-a-kind public art tour featuring artists whose work is currently displayed at the Civic Center, allowing participants to develop a more engaged and nuanced understanding of the civic art across the site's lush park landscape. Immediately following the tour, award-winning rock, jazz, and experimental musicians Don Preston and Andrea Centazzo will enliven the Center’s amphitheater stage with live music, as a performance by Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre dancers complement the musicians’ unique, layered sounds.  

Public + Art: Three Ducks in a Row will conclude with a Curbside Conversation panel, providing a space for dialogue between artists and community members and cultivating enhanced consciousness of, and appreciation, for art in the public realm. 

The public art tour departs from the East Los Angeles Library lobby at 7pm, and the following performances and Curbside Conversation will take place at 8pm at the Civic Center's amphitheater stage. For more information and to RSVP for the event, visit www.heididuckler.org. 

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.

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).