There is one Los Angeles neighborhood that seems to vibrate on a special frequency, where the layers of offbeat spiritual, cultural, music industry, motion picture, architectural and true crime history knit together to tell an only-in-Hollywood story: Franklin Village.
Join Esotouric for an immersive walk back through time to get to know the colorful characters, faith, folly, fantasies and heartbreak that left their eternal mark on this beautiful and historic corner of the city.
Starting from the hillside Hindu ashram Vedanta, where the English writers Christopher Isherwood and Aldous Huxley expanded their minds as the Hollywood freeway cut the neighborhood in two, we’ll descend down into the flats then up again on a tour that spans the highest consciousness and the depths of depravity, lovely architecture and landscapes, real life and fictional noir narratives that will have even locals exclaiming “I never knew that!”
Stops include the Parva Sed Apartments from Nathanael West’s dark Hollywood fantasy The Day of the Locust, the Chateau Alto Nido from Sunset Boulevard, the site of the high profile police raid that inspired Jack Webb to create Dragnet, a nightmarish tale of a Capitol Record co-worker run amok, City Hall gadflies, torched landmarks, lost restaurants, a serial killer who hunted in his own backyard, and a visit to Monastery of the Angels, the nearly century old community of Dominican nuns that is beginning a new chapter with its recent suppression by the Vatican.
On our return to Vedanta as the tour concludes, you will have an opportunity to shop in the temple bookstore, and (volunteer staff permitting) have a chance to purchase pumpkin bread when we stop at Monastery of the Angels.
This walking tour is illustrated with rare photos you can view on your smartphone. It was featured in the VERA Virgin Atlantic in-flight magazine feature, Lost Angeles.
Tour begins at 10:30am sharp, with check-in time 10am under the Bo Tree to the right of the domed temple at the Vedanta Society of Southern California, 1946 Vedanta Place, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Please arrive on time to get signed in and logged in to the smartphone slideshow. Scroll down for tour rules and recommendations.
You may park in the open air lot at the Vedanta Society of Southern California, 1946 Vedanta Place, Los Angeles, CA 90068. The nearest Metro station is Hollywood and Vine on the B line, which is a bit of a hike. If using public transit, this link can help you plan your trip.
BE PREPARED: This is a walking hour lasting 2½ to 3 hours, over a mix of level ground and occasional hills and stairs moving at a casual pace. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Bring your smartphone so you can view the tour slide show. We will have a cooler with cold water, and you’re encouraged to bring a full water bottle. A restroom will be available at the start and end of the tour. If you need more information about what to expect, please email us.
COVID SAFETY: At this time, we no longer require that masks be worn on walking tours. Please bring a mask to wear if you wish to go inside the Vedanta temple or bookshop. If you forget your mask, we can provide one on check in.
CAMERA POLICY: No video- or audio-taping unless it has been pre-cleared with us, please. Still cameras and sketchbooks are fine.
Emailing is the best way to communicate with us, but after 8am on tour day you can call or text Richard on his mobile phone, 213-915-8687.
If you feel like you’re getting sick, if you test positive for Covid-19, or if you have knowingly been in contact with a positive case of Covid-19 in the last 7 days, please do not attend the tour. Let us know not to expect you. If notified at least 72 hours before tour departure, we can refund or reschedule your booking. If notified at least 24 hours before departure, we can honor the booking on a future date. You may also gift your ticket to someone else—we will need their name, email address and phone number to make this switch.