Esotouric invites you to attend a special all-day tour that celebrates the life, work and passions of acclaimed author and illustrator Leo Politi (1908-1996) through visits to time capsule locations that figure in his remarkable Los Angeles story. This tour is also a rolling birthday celebration for Esotouric’s Richard Schave, which means we’re pulling out all the stops to make it an experience that will blow your mind.
Leo Politi was born in Fresno and raised in Italy and London. Demonstrating exceptional artistic talent as a small child, he received the benefit of a traditional Italian art apprenticeship. Politi returned to California in 1931, and soon established himself as Olvera Street’s public artist, drawing and painting the historic buildings, colorful characters, and festive events that honored his adopted city’s multi-cultural history and selling portraits to tourists and locals.
Documenting the people, the past, the faiths, the landscape and the built environment of Southern California, and advocating for the preservation of landmarks, would be his life’s work, manifested through more than a dozen illustrated books for children and adults, hundreds of paintings and drawings, and select murals and sculptures installed in public spaces.
The tour will begin at Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles, across the street from Politi’s beloved Angels Flight Railway funicular and the redeveloped Bunker Hill that replaced his lost Victorian neighborhood. We’ll visit Olvera Street and the Plaza, to see the place where he found inspiration and gained fame, returning years later to paint a mural of the Blessing of the Animals. We’ll visit the colorful plazas of New Chinatown, see the Victorian mansions that survive atop Angeleno Heights—including Politi’s own residence—and swing out to South Pasadena’s library, where an original Politi mural and a very personal sculpture welcome children to lose themselves in books. Back Downtown, Central Library’s special collections department is graciously bringing out some of the paintings that Politi donated to the people of Los Angeles after completing his book “Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days.” Join us as we get to know his beloved city through vintage photos and the drawings, paintings and writings of our guiding star, Leo Politi.
Our guests include Gordon Pattison, native son of old Bunker Hill, Bunker Hill historian Nathan Marsak, and Leo Politi’s daughter Suzanne Bischof, and attendees will have the opportunity to buy copies of Politi’s books. Coffee, cookies and lunch (choice of turkey, tuna or vegetarian sandwich from Arto’s Broadway Deli is included in the ticket price, plus Richard’s birthday cake.
This tour is a special event, and gift certificates for regularly scheduled tours are not accepted.
Tour begins at 10:30am sharp, with check-in time 10am at the patio outside Grand Central Market at 324 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Please arrive on time and proceed to the check in table to get signed in and logged in to the smartphone slideshow. Scroll down for tour rules and recommendations.
BE PREPARED: This is a bus tour lasting approximately 5½ hours, which will be split fairly evenly between time on and off a 56-seat coach class bus. The bus has A/C, video monitors (the tour has a slideshow), and a restroom. There will be a scheduled lunch break (sandwich included in the ticket price), complimentary coffee and cookies. You’re welcome to bring other snacks to to enjoy at this time or during our off-the-bus stops, as well as any non-alcoholic beverages. We will have an ample supply of cold water available. Plus there will be birthday cake!
COVID SAFETY: Guests are required to wear a mask while boarding and traveling on the bus. Please bring your own mask, or ask for one on check in. The charter company that we work with cleans the bus cabin before each trip, and also requires passengers to wear a mask when on board. Thank you for working with us to help keep each other healthy so we can enjoy exploring today and in the future.
If you need more information about what to expect, please email us.
There are numerous paid public parking lots around Grand Central Market, including GCM’s multi-level lot at 308 South Hill Street Los Angeles, California 90013. The nearest Metro stations are Civic Center/Grand Park and Pershing Square. If using public transit, this link can help you plan your trip:
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.