Happy Repeal Day edition

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ESOTOURIC NEWSLETTER

December 5th, 2013

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Betty Rowland holds court at the Barclay Hotel

Gentle Reader. . .

As our longtime passengers know, Esotouric’s tours are fluid and evolving.

Although hundreds of hours of research go into creating each of our excursions, there’s always room for a change. This can be as simple as jogging a block out of our way to take in a particularly pleasing vista, or as complex as interweaving a fresh narrative line from start to finish, necessitated by finding some blockbuster fact that transforms our understanding of the tour’s underlying themes.

The truth is, we’re always learning, and not afraid to admit we don’t know everything about this city that so beguiles us. How dull it would be to know everything!

But urban research is a tricky thing. The history of Los Angeles isn’t just written in books, but in newspapers and on film, in personal scrapbooks and transcribed recordings. Much of the history is locked up in archives, and not all of these are easy to consult, or even open to the public.

Crime history can be especially difficult to research, with the facts of a case widely scattered among sources public, private and frequently contradictory.

What a thrill, then, to recently purchase a collection of vintage true crime magazines and find in them such extraordinary lost tales as the one we’ll be debuting on Saturday’s Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice tour, a 1940s Skid Row love story that went terribly, terribly wrong. Kim cannot wait to share this grim little morsel with you.

We’d like to thank all the folks who have ordered a Subscription to the deluxe special edition of Kim’s mystery novel about the young Raymond Chandler, The Kept Girl. By popular demand, we now have shared Subscriptions good for two. Subscriptions remain available through Christmas, with the book out early next year. More info is here.

Just added to the Esotouric Emporium of (mainly) L.A. lore: holiday book selections. If you’re struggling to pick something special for the curious souls in your life, we might just have the answer.

We’re on the bus this Saturday with our Downtown double feature crime and social history tour, Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice. Get on the bus to hear the first telling of that newly-discovered Skid Row tragedy. Join us, do!

Upcoming Tours & Happenings

  • HOTEL HORRORS & MAIN STREET VICE – SAT. 12/7
  • We’ve taken our favorite downtown “double feature” crime and oddities tour and made it even wilder, with more hotel visits and stunning vintage film clips that bring the lost world of downtown to life. Don’t miss this celebration of the ribald old neighborhood that’s not there anymore, the exquisite historic hotels that are, and rediscovered scandals to make you laugh and shiver.

  • PASADENA CONFIDENTIAL – SAT. 12/14
  • Crimebo the Clown is the special guest on our final crime bus tour of 2014, a very proper excursion into all the horrid tales the white-gloved ladies of the town would rather we not tell. They say each community gets the crimes it deserves, and Pasadena’s have always been extraordinary. Climb aboard for rough trade, rocket science, monkeys run amok, suicide leaps, devil worship, madmen and assorted evils that will forever change the way you look at Pasadena.

  • LAVA SUNDAY SALON – SUN. 12/29
  • You are invited to be part of a transformative downtown experience. The Sunday Salon is the free monthly gathering of our creative consortium LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. From noon to 2pm, at Les Noces du Figaro on Broadway, we hope you’ll join L.A.’s most innovative artists, writers and performers to enjoy good company, hearty comfort food, and presentations from fascinating LAVA Visionaries. This Salon is dedicated to a single topic: the fascinating international initiatory order called the Ordo Templi Orientis, or O.T.O. While the roots of O.T.O. lie in Freemasonry, it separated from that tradition a century ago under the leadership of noted magician Aleister Crowley. O.T.O. has a rich history in Los Angeles stretching back to the 1930s, when Wilfred Smith and Jack Parsons led Agape Lodge in Pasadena, the only fully operational O.T.O. body in the world at the time of Crowley’s death in 1947. At the Salon, following a brief presentation on the nature of the O.T.O., Star Sapphire Lodge, the O.T.O. body serving Los Angeles, invites you to join in a celebration of the Gnostic Mass, the central ritual of the O.T.O. We are pulling out the stops to make the final Sunday Salon of 2014 a gathering to remember. Don’t miss it!

  • THE REAL BLACK DAHLIA – SAT. 1/4
  • We kick off the 2014 tour season with our most popular crime bus tour, which we always schedule around the anniversary of this iconic, unsolved Los Angeles murder mystery. Our excursion begins in the historic Olive Street lobby of the Biltmore Hotel and ends in time for you to take tea and crumpets where Beth Short waited out the last hours of her freedom before walking south into hell. After multiple revisions, this is less a murder tour than a social history of 1940s Hollywood female culture, mass media and madness, and we welcome you to join us for the ride. This tour always sells out, so reserve your spot today.

  • RAYMOND CHANDLER’S LOS ANGELES – SAT. 1/11
  • Join us for a journey from the downtown of Chandler’s pre-literary youth (but which always lingered at the fore of his imagination) to the Hollywood of his greatest success, with a stop along the way at Tai Kim’s Scoops for unexpected gelato creations inspired by the author. We’ll start the tour following in the young Chandler’s footsteps, as he roamed the blocks near the downtown oil company office where he worked. See sites from Lady in the Lake and The Little Sister, discover the real Philip Marlowe (Esotouric’s exclusive scoop, and the inspiration for Kim’s novel The Kept Girl), and be steeped in noir LA.

  • CHARLES BUKOWSKI’S LOS ANGELES – SAT. 1/18
  • Come explore Charles Bukowski’s lost Los Angeles and the fascinating contradictions that make this great local writer such a hoot to explore. Haunts of a Dirty Old Man is a raucous day out celebrating liquor, ladies, pimps and poets. The tour includes a visit to Buk’s DeLongpre bungalow, where you’ll see the Cultural-Historic Monument sign that we helped to get approved, and a mid-tour provisions stop at Pink Elephant Liquor.

  • HOTEL HORRORS & MAIN STREET VICE – Saturday 3/1
  • 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.

  • PASADENA CONFIDENTIAL (WITH CRIMEBO THE CLOWN) – Saturday 3/15
  • 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.

  • WEIRD WEST ADAMS – Saturday 3/22
  • 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 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.

  • CHARLES BUKOWSKI’S LOS ANGELES – SAT. 3/29
  • Come explore Charles Bukowski’s lost Los Angeles and the fascinating contradictions that make this great local writer such a hoot to explore. Haunts of a Dirty Old Man is a raucous day out celebrating liquor, ladies, pimps and poets. The tour includes a visit to Buk’s DeLongpre bungalow, where you’ll see the Cultural-Historic Monument sign that we helped to get approved, and a mid-tour provisions stop at Pink Elephant Liquor.

  • THE REAL BLACK DAHLIA – SAT. 4/5
  • Join us on this iconic, unsolved Los Angeles murder mystery tour. Our excursion begins in the historic Olive Street lobby of the Biltmore Hotel and ends in time for you to take tea and crumpets where Beth Short waited out the last hours of her freedom before walking south into hell. After multiple revisions, this is less a murder tour than a social history of 1940s Hollywood female culture, mass media and madness, and we welcome you to join us for the ride. This tour always sells out, so reserve your spot today.

AND FINALLY, LINKS!

  • And the Rialto is relit.
  • Stephen Gee talks John Parkinson (and the Pershing Square park restoration campaign) on 870-AM.
  • Shame on West Hollywood, and its villainous City Council.
  • The dingus gets the big bucks.
  • Old newsstands captivate.
  • You want ghosts? We’ll give you ghosts!
  • The Beeb does Cain.
  • Evergreen’s troubles go beyond a brown lawn.
  • Wash that ugly thought out of your mind with a spin in this Forest Lawn time machine.
  • What do you give the Victorian gentleman who’s seen it all?
  • Yes, Virginia, Krampus is coming to town.
  • You heard it first at our LAVA Sunday Salon, now read it in the LA Times: LA’s neon primacy debunked.

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yrs,

Kim & Richard

Esotouric

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