When you climb abroad an Esotouric bus, you’ll find it’s a family affair, with your fearless tour guides Kim and Richard somewhere in between reviewing route sheets, double-checking the AV and stashing the coffee cambro. It’s been a long, strange road to the bus door. This introduction will get you up to speed.

When Esotouric co-founders Kim Cooper and Richard Schave first met, as undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz in the 1980s, they hated each other on sight. He thought she was an uncouth barbarian, and she thought he was a pretentious sot. Their academic advisor Jasper Rose disagreed: to his eye, they were clearly soul mates. But Kim and Richard were unconvinced, and refused to even have a conversation.

logoEighteen years went by before they met again, back home in Los Angeles. And this time around, mutual loathing had turned to love. Soon the pair started collaborating on projects that fused Kim’s passion for forgotten L.A. lore and Richard’s interest in new forms of digital publishing. The result was the 1947project blog, a local sensation for its revelations of the fascinating lost crimes that bookended the still-famous Black Dahlia and Bugsy Siegel slayings.

Wanting to share their discoveries with the blog’s readers, Kim and Richard rented a bus and, with fellow blogger Nathan Marsak, took fifty gore hounds out on a day’s crime scene adventuring into South Central L.A. The audience was hooked, and so were the hosts.

After a few 1947project-branded tours, Richard announced that he wanted to expand into literary and architecture themes, and Kim was dreaming of a rock and roll history tour. To make it clear that there was now more happening on the bus than historic true crime, they needed a new name. Over beer and guacamole in Boyle Heights, they came up with Esotouric.

Esotouric bus adventures debuted in May 2007 and soon was offering more than a dozen provocative tours into the secret heart of Los Angeles and the incredible personalities that made the city great, from the mad scientists of Pasadena Confidential to literary lions like Raymond Chandler and Charles Bukowski. Packed with original research, startling connections, snappy asides, vintage slideshows and visits to off-the-beaten-track landmarks, each Esotouric bus adventure offers something fresh for natives or newcomers, and celebrates the true culture of a city too often dismissed as superficial and soulless. Esotouric’s first Christmas present for regular riders was a special tour hosted by novelist James Ellroy.

Today Esotouric is still the vision of Kim and Richard, with invaluable assistance from Joan “Red” Renner (expert on graft, corruption and vintage cosmetics) and occasional guest hosts like Gene Sculatti (Where the Action Is rock history tour), David Smay (Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits’ LA), John Buntin (John Buntin’s L.A. Noir), Brad Schreiber (Mansonland, Two Days in South L.A.: The 1974 SLA Shootout) an Detective Mike Digby (The 1910 Los Angeles Times Bombing Tour, Curse of the She-Devil).

So get on the bus and share the experience of Esotouric’s Los Angeles, a city packed with dense connections, startling memories and miraculous coincidences. We’re saving a window seat just for you.