Episode #120: Boyle Heights Blossoming: Everything’s Different at Ray & Roy’s Market

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Join us this month for an episode dedicated to the vibrant, historic and soulful neighborhood of Boyle Heights, centered on the southeast corner of 4th Street and Camulos. We’ll talk with Yolanda Diaz, who recently purchased Ray & Roy’s Market, which was founded by a Japanese father and son after internment. Yolanda has a fresh new vision for this community hub, which includes inviting 15-year-old Isabel Peinado to create an ambitious, hand-painted mural about female empowerment on the market’s long west wall. What won’t change? The vintage walk-in freezer, which famously serves the coldest beer in Boyle Heights!

We’ll also discuss: the pending revival of Angels Flight Railway, East L.A. roadside attraction The Tamale back on the market, Downey’s neglected band-owned Rives Mansion to be sold, the rededication of Victory Memorial Grove in Elysian Park, concerns about Onni Group’s out-of-scale Afton & Vine project, another suspicious fire on the historic southern campus of Rancho Los Amigos, the awful new Bringing Back Broadway-funded LED lighting scheme on the Bradbury Building and Los Angeles Magazine only tells part of the story about the troubled Gage Mansion in Bell Gardens.

Introducing The Cranky Preservationist, who loves Los Angeles and HATES what you’re doing to it. Catch all the rants on Facebook or YouTube and RSVP to attend his LAVA Sunday Salon in search of lost Art Deco.

Angels Flight is coming back, and soon will have a tall, shiny neighbor. But how will the new tower treat the past?

Back on the market: the world’s biggest tamale, delighting travelers along East L.A.’s Whittier Boulevard for nearly a century.

Victory Memorial Grove: after a lot of elbow grease, a neglected corner of Elysian Park is once more a place of honor and reflection.

Afton & Vine: Hollywood development aims to move historic bungalows around like pawns on a chessboard, demolish 1930 Deco market.

Downey finally does something to protect its National Register Rives Mansion, which badly needs an owner who cares. It will be listed for sale shortly.

More suspicious fires at Rancho Los Amigos. We’re as sad to lose historic buildings as we are that our homeless neighbors aren’t housed in them.

Los Angeles Magazine takes a look at the Gage Mansion preservation problem, but fails to cover all the drama of our ongoing public access battle. We have been visiting, and more recently being denied access to visit, the Gage Mansion for the past decade on our twice-yearly South Los Angeles Road Trip tour. The preservation and public access problems are even more dramatic than this piece suggests, and it’s important to note that, while surrounded by private property, the historic house is held in the public trust. To get the scoop, join us on the bus in February

The awful new Bringing Back Broadway-funded LED lighting scheme on the Bradbury Building facade. (Corner view. Third Street view.)

Episode #119: Secrets of Llano del Rio and Utopian Los Angeles

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Join us this month for an episode dedicated to Llano del Rio, the socialist cooperative experiment that hosted its final May Day celebrations in the Antelope Valley one hundred years ago this month. Our guests are historian Paul Greenstein & artist-archivist Karyl Newman, who co-host a special Esotouric bus adventure, Desert Visionaries, on Saturday, June 17.

We’ll also talk about the judge’s decision that may save Kurt Meyer’s ladmark Lytton Savings from being demolished, a status report on attempts to reactivate the city’s neglected Lummis House and the latest from the Sinatra Bungalow preservation efforts.


Karyl Newman’s website.


Subject: Los Angeles Lovers at Bob Baker Marionette Theater (5/12)

LAVA Sunday Salon: S.A. Griffin on Charles Bukowski (5/28)

Siege at Fort Anthony at Central Library (6/8)

Esotouric’s Tenth Anniversary calendar

Episode #118: Adventures in the Hollywood Preservation Trenches: Lytton Savings & Frank Sinatra’s Bungalow

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Join us this month as we talk with preservationist Steve Luftman about his efforts to save Kurt Meyer’s Lytton Savings, a mid-century landmark threatened with demolition because it sits on the land where Frank Gehry hopes to build a huge mixed use development. We’ll also visit with filmmaker Douglas Quill to learn about his last-ditch campaign to preserve Frank Sinatra’s motion picture bungalow on the old Goldwyn Studios lot in Hollywood.

We’ll also discuss the City of Los Angeles’ plans to demolish Welton Becket’s Parker Center and how Peter Zumthor’s updated proposal for LACMA continues to threaten William Pereira’s 1965 museum campus.

Our guests:
Friends of Lytton Savings campaign (Facebook, Twitter)

Frank Sinatra bungalow petition

Closely watched trains:

Parker Center: Los Angeles Conservancy action alert webpage, LAVA Sunday Salon walking tour video, vintage photos from LAPL’s collection

LACMA: newest redesign renderings, Pereira in Peril webpage featuring video from our LACMA walking tour

Upcoming events:

LAVA Sunday Salon – April 2017 (Fort Moore Hill Pioneer Memorial)

LAVA Sunday Salon – May 2017 (S.A. Griffin on Charles Bukowski)

Esotouric’s Tenth Anniversary special event calendar

Episode #117: SeaView, a Mid-Century Time Modern Capsule on the Palos Verdes Penninsula

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Join us as we go deep inside master architect Paul R. Williams’ SeaView tract home development in Rancho Palos Verdes, as architect and historian Alan Hess and resident-historians Price Morgan & Larry Paul share insights into the tract’s development and style, topographical quirks and how preservationists are taking a stand to maintain this mid-century modern time capsule.

We’ll also discuss the restoration and rededication of the historic Hotel Californian neon roof sign and the big news about the future of Angels Flight railway.

Upcoming events

Upcoming events

Closely Watched Trains


Episode #116: Miracle Mile and a Mid-Century Master

Aaron Green's Anderson Residence in Palos Verdes

Aaron Green’s Anderson Residence in Palos Verdes

Listen to Episode #116!

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And we’re back from hiatus! Join us this month as Alan Hess, architect and architectural historian, walks us through his Palos Verdes Art Center exhibition on Aaron G. Green’s mid-century modern organic architecture.  We’ll also visit with land use consultant Bill Christopher, Principal at Urban Concepts, for a deep pe into Wilshire Boulevard development history.

We’ll also discuss Onni Group’s plan to demolish William L. Pereira’s  1973 addition to Times Mirror Square, the disappearance of the Calvin Hamilton plaque from the Bunker Hill pedway, Los Angeles Magazine’s list of essential Twitter accounts and our ongoing Tenth Anniversary celebrations.

Closely Watched Trains & Our Guests

Onni Group’s plans to demolish a Pereira in Peril. See also, our Pereira preservation campaign.

Calvin Hamilton plaque shenanigans.

Los Angeles Magazine: 50 Twitter Accounts Everyone in L.A. Should Follow.

Esotouric’s Tenth Anniversary Schedule

Our guests

Alan Hess’ website & his Aaron G. Green exhibition

Bill Christopher’s website

Upcoming events

Poem Noir LAVA Sunday Salon (2/26)

Making Sense of Parker Center LAVA Sunday Salon (3/26)

Special Event: Esotouric at Los Angeles Breakfast Club (3/29)

Special Event: Palos Verdes Ancient & Modern (4/8)

Forensic Science Seminar: From The Crime Lab To The Coroner’s Office (4/23)

Special Event: Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits’ L.A. (6/3)

Episode #115: Hollywood Book Culture & Downtown’s Chimney Swifts

Alex In Wonderland  (1970) - Hollywood Blvd w/ Jeanne Moreau

Alex In Wonderland (1970) – Hollywood Blvd w/ Jeanne Moreau

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Join us this month as we talk with acclaimed Hollywood historian and preservationist, the recently deceased Bob Birchard, about his golden youth spent treasure hunting in Hollywood Boulevard’s legendary bookshops. (Bob was honored this past weekend when the Cinecon film festival was dedicated to his memory.) We’ll also talk with Kimball Garrett, the ornithology collection manager and Jeff Chapman, manager of interpretation and training, both at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, about Vaux’s Swifts and their peculiar roosting habits during their twice-yearly migration, which have become a downtown phenomenon.

We’ll also discuss the possible demolition of Thomas Mann’s house, the old yellow car #1435 leaves downtown as its sheltering Pacific Electric Railway Company’s historic trolley shed is demolished, the coffee pot-shaped Hot Cha Café in Long Beach is restored, the pending return of the vintage hot dog-shaped Tail O’ The Pup building and some spinoffs, Bunker Hill dweller Betty Markoff turns 100, the Downtown Community Plan draft nears completion, a California Condor perches alongside Angels Flight (stalled for three years today) and photos of the newly discovered quack medical clinic time capsule above the Dutch Chocolate Shop.

Upcoming events

The Ukulady hosts the September LAVA Sunday Salon

Cultural Heritage Commission landmarking hearing for William L. Pereira’s Metropolitan Water District

Broadway on My Mind walking tour on historic downtown jails


Closely Watched Trains & Our Guests

The uncertain future of Thomas Mann’s house.

Los Angeles Transit Lines yellow car #1435 is scattered to the winds.

Demolition comes to the Pacific Electric Railway Company’s historic trolley shed.

Hot Cha Café before and after photos.

Tail O’ The Pup plans revealed.

Betty Markoff turns 100. Our podcast interview with the Markoffs about life on Bunker Hill.

Downtown Community Plan Draft nears completion.

Angels Flight gets an ugly new friend.

Above the Dutch Chocolate Shop, a mysterious Los Angeles time capsule.

Vaux’s Swifts return to downtown, 2010.

Ornithology Department of the Natural History Museum.

Jerry Beck’s obituary for his friend Bob Birchard.

Books by Bob Birchard: Cecil B. DeMille’s Hollywood, Early Universal City, Silent-Era Filmmaking in Santa Barbara, Lone Pine in the Movies: The Early Years: Celebrating Lone Pine and the Silents and King Cowboy: Tom Mix and the Movies.


Episode #114: Lures and Snares of Old Main Street

Vintage Tatto Flash

Listen to Episode #114!

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Join us this month as we talk with Jonathan Shaw, influential tattoo artist and novelist, as he shares his current projects, including the new exhibition and book documenting a century of tattoo flash art rescued from old school American ink parlors. We’ll also visit with BIOLA professor Paul Rood to learn about Orson Thomas “O.T.” Johnson, a 19th century citrus pioneer, temperance advocate, entrepreneur, founding Occidental College trustee and owner of the late, lamented Westminster Hotel at 4th & Main in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

We’ll also discuss developer CGI abandoning unpopular plans to turn the historic Villa Carlotta into an hotel, a destructive redevelopment proposal floated for Route 66 landmark Barney’s Beanery, groundbreaking scheduled for the tower at 4th and Broadway and the city’s circulation of a request for proposals for reactivating the Lincoln Heights Jail. All this and more as Kim and Richard usher in the month of August 2016.

Closely Watched Trains, Upcoming Events & URLs for Podcast

Villa Carlotta hotel plans nixed

Barney’s Beanery redevelopment concept floated.

4th and Broadway tower groundbreaking scheduled.

New ideas for the old Lincoln Heights Jail.

LAVA’s Lit Fest at the King Eddy featuring Jonathan Shaw (video link).

Jonathan Shaw’s novel Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes is available from the author (email jsfuncity(AT)gmail(DOT)com); Vintage Tattoo Flash: 100 Years of Traditional Tattoos from the Collection of Jonathan Shaw is on Esotouric’s curated Amazon shelf.

Upcoming Events:

LAVA‘s Sunday Salon for August 2016

LAVA‘s Broadway on My Mind Walking Tour: Lost Tunnels of Hill St & Broadway

Public Site Visit to William Pereira’s endangered Metropolitan Water District Headquarters and Discussion: Pereira in Peril