Esotouric Road Trip, May 2010 – La Purisima Mission

Just before Memorial Day, your intrepid urban adventurers stepped outside of their asphalt-coated comfort zone for a lightning 40-hour road trip to explore some notable, rural Central Californian attractions. This is the first of several blog posts sharing scenes from the road.

After filling the cat bowls with high-end dry nibbles and promising the beasts we'd be back soon, we hit the highway around 6:00 AM with the aim of a hearty mid-morning breakfast at Ellen's Danish Pancake House in Buellton, just across the road from the more famous Pea Soup Andersen's.

Seated under the Zen gaze of an elaborately coiffed Ron and Nancy Reagan, Richard enjoyed the Danish Pancakes with Danish Sausage (after enduring a grilling from the friendly waitress who wanted to be sure he understood there would be sausage slices between his crispy pancakes and not on the side), Chinta had a fluffy omelet and the buttermilkiest biscuit imaginable, while Kim tucked into a big plate of those crisp pancakes with a side of poached eggs.

 

After a brief stroll to Pea Soup Andersen's for the ritual Ha' Pea and Swea' Pea photo op, we climbed back into the Exploration Wagon for the short trip out to La Purisima Mission, the most complete of all the restored California Missions, and a California State Historic Park.

While the Mission has a newish glass-and-steel information center and trumpets its interpretive history programs, we were fortunate to arrive on a day when the expansive grounds were nearly empty of human inhabitants, giving the impression that a sudden disaster had whisked away all the padres, noviates and Indians, leaving their livestock, workshops, chapels, gardens and fountains behind.

 

 

 

We split off to explore the vast grounds separately, coming unexpectedly upon lovely scenes that evoked the romance of old Mission days familiar to readers of Ramona and Charles Lummis.

 

 

 

Of course, La Purisima is a simulachra, an imaginary Mission replicated from a briefly-inhabited 19th Century ruin by a young crew of federal workers in the 1930s. The real La Purisima, closer to Lompoc, was destroyed by the Santa Barbara earthquake in 1812, and this unusually long quake-resistant compound failed to find favor among the local Indian tribes. Following a violent rebellion in the 1820s, most of the villagers fled, and within a decade the Mission was abandoned as Spanish rule faded. Once the roof tiles were taken, it only took a few years until the the adobe buildings melted into their foundations. The restoration was completed in 1941.

 

And yet on a quiet morning, with the ground squirrels gamboling and swallows zipping from beneath the red roof tiles, cool water flowing over the fountain tiles and stark shadows delineating the long, cool white walls symbolizing European faith and order, this might be the most powerful early California experience available anywhere. If you live in Southern California and have looked in vain for a place where the Spanish era feels real and alive, take a drive up to Santa Barbara County and let La Purisima get under your skin.

 

 

For more photos from the first part of our trip, click this link.

 

Up next: Nitt Witt Ridge, a recycled folk art environment facing some unique preservation problems in coastal Cambria.

Take a self-guided tour of John Fante’s Downtown Los Angeles

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In honor of the dedication of John Fante Square and the author's 101st birthday, Esotouric and On Bunker Hill have created a digital map to a selection of Downtown locations that played a significant role in Fante's life and work, and can be easily visited on foot. To explore the annotated map of Fante-related locations, including locations from "Ask The Dust" and the little known last remaining stone retaining wall from old Bunker Hill, visit the link below http://johnfantesdowntown.notlong.com

(Photo: John Fante's children Dan Fante and Vickie Fante Cohen at the top of Angels Flight, July 2009 John Fante's Dreams from Bunker Hill tour)

Snapshots from the Reyner Banham Loves LA: South Los Angeles tour

On Sunday, February 7, 2010, Esotouric rolled south from Philippe’s The Original on an urban exploration tour bookended by the sites of three old Lugo adobe homesteads (The Plaza/Olvera Street, Boyle Heights, Bell Gardens). Here are a few of the scenes seen along the way.

A highlight of the day came when Lauren Baumann opened her home, the historic Rives Mansion in Downey, for a fascinating tour through this beautiful early 20th century mansion. We also met Miss Downey Princess Natalia Amador, and learned about the evangelical youth work done at the house, including after-prom events and plenty of music.

At the Gage Mansion in Bell Gardens, that strange and fascinating adobe-wrapped-in-a-Victorian-wrapped-in-a-trailer-park, an eagle-eyed passenger spotted a wee hummingbird mama sitting on her eggs in nest built around an antique hanging lamp. She was gracious enough to pose for photos before zipping off to fill up on nectar.

In Downey, land of surprises, we listened to some vintage Carpenters’ tracks before slipping down a side street to spy a striking modernist home by Edward Durell Stone, architect of the Museum of Modern Art.

The lovingly restored Harvey’s Broiler provided a rare glimpse of new mascot Big Boy, rendered entirely in balloons, and an introduction to teenage cruising culture from restaurant manager and hometown boy Joe. Cruise nights are Wednesdays and Saturdays, if you’re planning a visit.

We paused to pay our respects to a deceased and possibly cursed tavern with an amazing doubled neon and bulb sign.

And were blown away by the precision and grace of the long lost Irving Gill-designed Clarke Estate in Santa Fe Springs, seen in this shot of the interior courtyard, where tour host Richard Schave discussed Gill’s influence on California modernism.

See all the photos from our tour here.

Free Screening: Tinseltown Tarnish presents Spider Baby (2/18)

Vintage L.A.-centered cult film series Tinseltown Tarnish debuts with "Spider Baby"

WHAT: Esotouric pals Jeremy Kasten and Elijah Drenner present Tinseltown Tarnish: director Jack Hill introducing "Spider Baby: Director's Cut" WHEN: Thursday, February 18, 7pm WHERE: Los Angeles Athletic Club, 431 W 7th St., Los Angeles, CA 90014 COST: Free, reservations required from http://www.spiderbabyonline.com

Introducing Tinseltown Tarnish, a provocative new film series curated by filmmakers Jeremy Kasten ("The Wizard of Gore") and Elijah Drenner ("American Grindhouse"). Tinseltown Tarnish features favorite cult films that capture vintage Los Angeles locations.

The series debuts on February 18 with a free 7pm screening at the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club in downtown Los Angeles of "Spider Baby: Director’s Cut." This highly influential cult classic from writer-director Jack Hill ("Switchblade Sisters," "Foxy Brown") tells the demented and darkly comic tale of the Merrye children — all of whom suffer from a rare genetic malady that causes its victims to mentally regress to a condition of "pre-human savagery and cannibalism." Starring Lon Chaney Jr., Sid Haig and Carol Ohmart and shot in 1964, this black and white horror/comedy was partially filmed on location in Highland Park and utilized the large Victorian Smith Estate, which still stands to this day, that was built in 1887.

The public is invited to join Jeremy Kasten, Elijah Drenner and special guest "Spider Baby" writer/director Jack Hill for this rare screening, followed by a Q&A about the film and its locations.

This event is free and open to the public. You must RSVP for this event by visiting Spider Baby Online. Make sure to put "Spider Baby screening RSVP" in the subject header. Space is limited to 200 people, so please put your RSVPs in as early as possible. Each guest name must be included in the email. Please note that audiences who come to the event without RSVP-ing cannot be allowed in. RSVP Deadline is Wednesday, February 17th at 10 pm.

Parking: 3 Hour Parking validation is available with a purchase of food or drink at the Olive Street parking lot, just north of 7th St.

Visit scenic Savannah Memorial Park

savannahCemeteryJust off Rosemead Boulevard in a quiet, semi-industrial section of the San Gabriel Valley is the unexpected sight of the oldest Protestant cemetery in Southern California, Savannah Memorial Park. Operated on a volunteer basis by descendants of the pioneer residents and considered a source of bad luck by superstitious Asian neighbors, the graveyard desperately needs your support and attention if it's to remain open for public visits, and well maintained. Next Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 10am, Savannah hosts its Annual Meeting at the El Monte Historical Museum, 3150 Tyler Avenue, El Monte, California. We'll be rolling with our Weird West Adams tour that day, but encourage interested folks to attend and get involved with this extraordinary southland gem. For more info, visit the cemetery website. More photos from our recent visit are here.

Art Walk Collaborators remember working with Richard Schave and Kim Cooper

In memory of the five fascinating months when Richard was the Executive Director and Kim was the Curator of the newly formed Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk non-profit, we are honored to share these words of thanks from volunteers and participants.

Despite the smears you may have read elsewhere suggesting that we were disconnected from the management, safety or community aspects of the event, the fact is that we lived, breathed and brainstormed to solve these issues, and formed dozens of valued partnerships to make Art Walk safer, more successful and more meaningful to every participant.
 
This was what was really going on at our manifestation of the Art Walk: incredible people were coming together and working very hard to make something wonderful happen in the city, and to fix the aspects of the Art Walk that were broken or neglected. It's sad that some in the community didn't want to be part of it, sadder still that they didn't want anyone else to be able to enjoy it either.

But here's the thing about magic: you can't stop it once it's out of the magician's hat. All this good work was not for naught, and the relationships formed at Art Walk are going to survive and transform us into the new decade. We thank all our wonderful collaborators, and can't wait to see where the magic takes us next. Stay tuned to the Esotouric.com weekly email list if you'd like to join us.
 

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MAJA D'AOUST (Philosophical Research Society): I had a tremendous experience working with Kim and Richard on Art Walk.  I found them to be very accommodating, present and interested in ensuring everything went smoothly and safely, and extremely involved in all the proceedings. There were many personal issues and questions I had to ask them during the process, which they dealt with immediately and effectively every time. I found them to be courteous and concerned with everyone involved and constantly asked people if they needed help, volunteering their aid. I had a wonderful experience providing Salons for the Art Walk events and it was a direct result of Kim and Richard's participation in them.

STEPHEN COOPER (Professor of Creative Writing,  CSU Long Beach): Working with Kim Cooper and Richard Schave on the November 2009 Los Angeles Art Walk John Fante Salon was a delight.  From the time they originally proposed the idea, through several helpful phone and email planning discussions, and culminating at the SRO event itself on the third floor of historic Clifton's Cafeteria, the experience was smooth and rewarding.  All I had to do was show up and talk with an engaged and appreciative audience.  Kim and Richard did everything else, with efficiency, smarts and class.

MIKE THE POET (tour guide, author): Over the last four years I have had a ball leading tours through the monthly Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk. I have led tours though the Art Walk just about every month since March 2006, with the exception of the month I went on my honeymoon and two other months when I had important poetry gigs at universities. The tours have evolved from beginning on DASH buses to 55-passenger buses and most recently walking tours. Over the last year and a half I have had the pleasure to work with Richard Schave and Kim Cooper of Esotouric Tours. They are two of the only people I have ever encountered that love Los Angeles as much as I do. Collaborating with them on the Art Walk Tour has been an unforgettable experience. Their devotion to sharing the real Los Angeles is unmatched. Anyone that takes a tour with Esotouric (Richard and Kim) will receive a historically accurate tour as well as a damn good time. They are professional and still manage to be whimsical. A tour with Esotouric supersedes the typical boring tour and sheds new and fascinating light on the City of Angels. 

THESSALY LERNER – THE UKULADY (musician/ Hippodrome host): I worked for over 9 months on the Downtown Art Walk’s free shuttles and it was always a privilege and a pleasure to work with Kim and Richard.  They worked their fingers to the bone for Art Walk, always unpaid and underappreciated.  To blame them for any shortcomings of Art Walk is outrageous, shameful and misdirected. I was privileged to work with them for over a year and I admire the countless hours of energy and time they poured into the broken machine of Art Walk. I am particularly appalled that they have been misrepresented to have been contemptuous of seeking corporate funding to support programming. No one is more an advocate for artists to get paid than Kim and Richard and they were constantly brainstorming how to harness corporate funding.  Art Walk is a huge event, and blaming Kim and Richard for public safety issues at largest public event within Skid Row is ridiculous. It’s like declaring Obama responsible for George Bush’s Iraq.  Iraq was a mess long before Obama came around, as was Art Walk before Kim and Richard. Kim and Richard had many great ideas to make Art Walk more accessible and give it higher visibility amongst Angelinos, and it's Art Walk's and L.A.'s loss that the dysfunction of the Art Walk and Downtown community and Art Walk board seem to have caused their resignation. I hope that Art Walk’s board grovels at Kim and Richard’s feet, begging them to return, because their collective energy, creativity and dedication to art and artists, is unrivaled.

JAVIER CABRAL (tour guide/food blogger): Working in conjunction with Kim Cooper and Richard Schave made my walking tour "The Rise of LA Food Trucks" become an overnight success.

LUCAS GONZE (guitarist, Hippodrome performer): I had a great experience playing music on the Hippodrome during Art Walk.  There was a remarkable sense of community; people met and mingled in a way you'd never expect.  I especially liked the safety that the bus created for people who would otherwise have walked from one corner of the Art Walk to the other.

MICHELLE MILLS (journalist, San Gabriel Valley Tribune): When I first learned that Richard Schave and Kim Cooper were taking on the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk I was intrigued, as it was a big task to wrangle. Since then, I have watched it grow and become a unique event revitalizing a too-often overlooked area of L.A. Schave and Cooper offered walking tours, a bus and other ways of making the event more interesting and informative for both those new and familiar with the area. It is Art Walk's loss that the couple have resigned. I wish both parties the best. 

RUTHANN FRIEDMAN (singer-songwriter, Hippodrome performer): The Art Walk is linked forever in my mind to Kim Cooper and Richard Schave. It was their energy and enthusiasm that swept many of us along. They will be missed.

SARAH TROOP (attendee): Schave and Cooper are Los Angeles treasures. The concepts and experiences they brought and implemented to the Art Walk were unique and unforgettable to anyone who has attended. Their mutual love and passion for Los Angeles, it's history, it's culture and certainly the people make me LOVE this city. 

JOHN TOOMEY (attendee): I have known Kim Cooper and Richard Schave for years and have been continually amazed at their organizational and managerial skills. They excel at the talents traditionally associated with non-profit arts organizations, and ALSO (which is rare) know how to manage a business. Their love for, and desire to share their delight in our city is unparalelled. Art Walk will be very, very lucky if it can find someone else of their caliber.

ED ROSENTHAL (tour guide/poet-broker): Esotouric's involvement in the Art Walk was refreshing and inventive. I loved doing tours from Clifton's. I haven't caught up on the politics, but to me the Art Walk is about downtown and its history, not about the galleries or the property owners… I enjoyed their involvement very much and my tours which they created were a great success.

Charles Bukowski Postage Stamp Petition

Bukowski Post Office CoverOn Monday, December 7, 2009 we launched a petition addressed to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, asking that they consider honoring the American writer Charles Bukowski with a commemorative postage stamp on the 20th anniversary of his death (3/9/2014).

The petition was submitted with more than 1100 signatures received on 3/1/2010. While the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee did write back to inform us that Bukowski is illegible to appear on a postage stamp and would be considered, no such stamp has yet appeared.

The original petition is closed, but if you would like to see Bukowski on a stamp, you can still send your personal letter of support to:

Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501

Press coverage for the Bukowski stamp campaign included Fast Company, Adweek and NBC-LA.

Original petition text:

Dear members of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee,

I am writing to propose that the American novelist, poet and screenwriter Charles Bukowski be honored with a commemorative U.S. postal stamp to be issued on March 9, 2014, the twentieth anniversary of his death.

Charles Bukowski is uniquely suited for this honor. For in addition to being an acclaimed author with a growing international following, he is also perhaps the most famous American postal worker after Benjamin Franklin, and his landmark first novel “Post Office” is a wry portrait of the inner workings of the service where he was employed through age 49.

Bukowski’s popularity among readers is unquestioned, but he has recently received a pair of honors which speak to his abiding reputation in American letters.  In February 2008, the small cottage where Bukowski lived for many years was named a Cultural-Historic Monument of the City of Los Angeles, and in 2006 his literary archives were acquired by the Huntington Library.

A Charles Bukowski postage stamp would be a worthy tribute to a gifted soul who transformed himself from a middle aged civil servant into an international literary lion, and who never lost his sensitivity towards the ordinary lives of the people of his hometown of Los Angeles. I hope that you will seriously consider this proposal at your next meeting.

Yours sincerely,

The Undersigned

Toronto Star covers Esotouric’s Lowdown on Downtown tour

Toronto Star: Irreverent tour turns L.A. unconfidential – Guide provides candid commentary about city’s shortfalls, history.

LOS ANGELES–Even the passengers on this zany “secret history of Los Angeles” bus tour get in on the city-bashing act. One of our stops is Pershing Square in L.A.’s historic heart, a prime example of what guide Richard Schave calls “bad public space.” When we walk through the near-empty concrete “park,” Joie Magidow, one of several locals on the tour, shouts out: “It used to have palm trees and green spaces. People would take their lunch there. Then it turned into concrete sh–.”

Imagine an enthusiastic guide who slams his city, left, right and especially centre? Welcome to Esotouric’s “bus adventures,” where co-owner Schave entertains by lambasting the revitalization efforts in L.A.’s downtown.

Schave takes us far off the tourist track to show us architectural masterpieces, neighbourhoods in transition and even some urban successes. This 4 1/2-hour adventure is clearly not your standard promotional tour.

Esotouric began in 2007 with a menu of offbeat itineraries. They highlighted L.A.’s noir, seamy side. Two sensational and still unsolved 1947 city murders featured prominently: the brutal knifing of Elizabeth Short, later known as the Black Dahlia, and the shooting of mobster Bugsy Siegel. Esotouric still offers these popular tours along with another based on Raymond Chandler mysteries.
Chandler’s private eye, Philip Marlowe, prowled the same downtown streets Schave now wants to rejuvenate. “This is the site of the largest public eviction in U.S. history,” he says as we walk atop Bunker Hill, where some 5,000 people lost their homes in the late 1950s to make way for a massive redevelopment that is still ongoing.

On the bus, Schave displays old photos on TV screens of the Victorian houses that once stood on the hill. Today, there are high-rise towers, high-rise office buildings, Frank Gehry’s acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall and very, very, very little public space. Schave blames award-winning architect I.M. Pei (the Louvre pyramid, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and Commerce Court West in Toronto) for cutting off the buildings from the people. “He designed these crazy streets,” says Schave. “It’s all his fault.”

Bunker Hill residents were linked to the commercial district below by a five-cent funicular that deposited them steps from work, banking and grocery shopping at the Grand Central Market. City planners shut down the funicular, known as Angels Flight, in 1962, but brought it back under public pressure in 1996. However, it closed five years later after a fatality – and has yet to reopen. “They keep promising to start it again soon,” says Schave, “but don’t hold your breath.”
Grand Central Market does remain open, defying predictions of its demise when Bunker Hill was depopulated. According to Schave, “You can fill two bags of groceries here for under $10.”

He shows us Grand Central because it is a “good public place.” Another positive example is the Mercantile Arcade, modelled on London’s Burlington Mall. It connects Spring St., the former “Wall St. of the West” that today is home to lofts and art galleries, with Broadway, where vaudeville theatres once flourished and now is mostly a Latino shopping street. Enthuses Schave: “The Arcade was the Rodeo Dr. of its time, and it’s still perfect. It’s my favourite part of the historic downtown.”

Another bad example of downtown public place is L.A. Live, a $3 billion redevelopment project anchored by the new GRAMMY Museum and the Staples Centre, home to the world champion L.A. Lakers. Schave dismisses the massive undertaking as the worst of 1980’s-style urban planning. “It’s a freeway exit,” he says.
Despite his rhetoric, Schave sees a hopeful future for his beloved downtown, a future he intends to influence.

And not just through his eye-opening bus tours. Schave, who has a degree in fine arts, is director of Art Walk,* a not-for-profit organization that is drawing attention to the city’s core as a desirable place to live. On the second Thursday night of every month, people converge on the old city centre for walking tours, to visit galleries and enjoy street entertainment. The event began in 2004 with a handful of visitors but now draws more than 10,000 people to the historic district’s streets.

“After 15 years of failure, Los Angeles has finally got it right,” Schave says of the city’s support of Art Walk and shift to promoting mixed-used, instead of high-rise, development. His goal is to proselytize for the positive power of public spaces through Art Walk and his private tours.

“Los Angeles is complicated and needs lots of explaining,” says Schave, who this year lectured on downtown L.A. at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.

Schave is a master of stand-up and local trivia. He stops the bus to point out Ross Cutlery on Broadway, where O.J. Simpson allegedly bought a stiletto similar to the one used in the murder of his ex-wife. Murder scenes or hotels where notorious killers once stayed are duly noted.

The tour ends on a high note. A former industrial area hidden among cold storage warehouses is these days home to artists taking advantage of city incentives for low-cost residential use. Long-time denizen Terry Ellsworth takes the reins from Schave and shows us around his Arts District.

“Al’s bar, where lots of alternative rock groups got their start, was here,” says Ellsworth.

“It was quite a wild place in the 1980s – if you say that you remember an incident, you really weren’t there.”

But today it’s a stable community drawing people from outlying regions.

Says Ellsworth: “Watch us bring the city back to life.”

Dorothy Parker once described Los Angeles as 72 suburbs in search of a city. Thanks to Schave and his friends that may finally be changing.

Michael Benedict is a Toronto-based freelance writer.

*Editrix’ note: With great regret, Richard resigned as the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk’s Director on November 9, 2009 due to philosophical conflicts with the Board, which informed him of its desire to give the HDBID, a private organization of the neighborhood’s largest property owners, a voice in the management of this arts non-profit.

Richard Schave’s The Lowdown on Downtown tour next rolls on Saturday, February 27.

You Are Invited To An Old Fashioned Los Angeles Thanksgiving Gathering

cliftons9THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26 – Esotouric (Richard and Kim) invite you to join them and fellow lovers of historic Los Angeles locations and lore for THANKSGIVING DINNER AT CLIFTON’S CAFETERIA. We’ll be arriving around 3pm (and staying until around 5pm) for self-serve roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy (or veggie alternatives like the famous mac ‘n’ cheese), pumpkin pie, white jello with confetti specks, bread pudding, and so much more, all enjoyed in a vintage 1930s fantasy redwood forest interior at the corner of 7th & Broadway downtown. RSVP is not required, just come and look for the group’s table on the second or third floor. Make this your one Thanksgiving stop, or come visit for a spell between less amusing obligations.

More Clifton’s info at http://www.cliftonscafeteria.com

John Buntin’s L.A. Noir Crime Tour preview

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1922 Los Angeles–the biggest boomtown in the history of the United States, a city growing so quickly that residents can't even agree on how to pronounce its name. (To the old guard, it is "Loce Ahng-hail-ais," to others "Loss An-jy-lese," "Lows An-y-klyese," or "Loss An-jy-lus.) Fifteen-story skyscrapers line Spring Street, the so-called "Wall Street of the West." Dazzling electric signs proclaim L.A.'s next goal–"2,000,000 Population by 1930!" On a typical workday, some 260,000 cars jam the intersection of Adams and Figueroa, making it the busiest in the world. Every day the intraurban Yellow and inter-urban Red lines move another half a million people through downtown. "All of the talk was `boom,' `dollars,' `greatest in the world,' `sure to double in price,"' marveled the author Hamlin Garland, who visited L.A. in 1923. "I have never seen so many buildings going up all at one time. . . There are thousands in process in every direction I looked." And no wonder. jack webb-2The city (to say nothing of its underworld) was a carnival. In downtown Los Angeles, the theaters and movie palaces that lined Broadway attracted thronging crowds to motley performances that mixed vaudeville performers, singers, dancers, chorus girls, acrobats, even elephants, with silent films by stars like Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford. Then as now, starstruck tourists could sign up for "star tours" that took them past the homes of their favorite celebrities. Streetcars packed with bands and draped with advertisements crisscrossed the city, announcing new towns every month. "If every conceivable trick in advertising was not resorted to, it was probably due to an oversight," wrote one early philanthropist. In 1922, two extraordinary figures arrived in downtown Los Angeles. The first was a 17-year-old from Deadwood, South Dakota, named Bill Parker. The second was young hoodlum named Mickey Cohen. Parker was working as a movie usher; just around the corner, Cohen was commencing on a career of violent crime. Five years later, Parker would join the LAPD while Mickey moved into the world of professional boxing and the rackets. In the 1930s, the two men would serve as top lieutenants to the Chief James "Two Gun" Davis and mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. Siegel and Cohen were determined to organize Los Angeles "on Eastern lines." Parker was determined to break the hold of corrupt politicians and the underworld on the LAPD. In the 1950s, Parker and Cohen clashed directly, in a struggle for control of the city. Now Esotouric and John Buntin, the author of L.A. Noir: The Struggle for Control of America's Most Seductive City, have teamed up to explore the haunts, hits and harems of the L.A. underworld where Parker, Davis, Cohen and Siegel waged their deadly struggle. Fasten your seatbelts and prepare to duck-and-cover. It's an explosive ride.

 

John Buntin's L.A. Noir tour debuts on Saturday, September 19. Seats are going quick, so reserve your spot today. Or meet John for a cocktail party and celebration of Jack Webb, Dragnet lore and historic L.A. crime at Morton's the Steakhouse in Downtown L.A. (Friday September 18, 6-8pm, free admission/happy hour pricing). Click for more info.