Gentle Reader. . .
It's over! The debut title from our new imprint, Esotouric Ink, Kim's historic 1920s Los Angeles mystery, The Kept Girl, has just come off the presses. As we type these words, it is still huge sheets of unfolded paper, stacked high on pallets in a darkened warehouse. But early next week, the covers will be glued, the books will be boxed and a space cleared in the basement to welcome our baby home.
We're not overprotective parents, and the wee one will soon be winging its way to the Amazon warehouse in Indiana, the mailboxes of the 65 wonderful Subscribers who sponsored the publication and you nice folks who have pre-ordered, to local bookshops and of course onto the bus. We're so eager to share all we've learned in the past months, and hope you'll tune in to The Kept Girl channel in the weeks to come.
Just added to our calendar, tours through the month of May, including the once-a-year musical Tom Waits bus adventure. We'd love to see you on this or another tour–please don't be strangers.
This weekend, we'll be on Broadway for a free LAVA Sunday Salon on a 1920s theme, where Jean Harlow and James Oviatt (and their respective biographers) are the stars. Then we're back on the bus next weekend, with one of our rare Sunday tours, going deep into the social and architectural history of South Los Angeles. Join us, do!
Upcoming Tours & Happenings
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 honors LAVA's Visionary of the Year, Marc Chevalier, with a presentation on 1920s menswear king James Oviatt and Marc's researcher's journey. Plus, author Darrell Rooney talks about luminous film star Jean Harlow, the subject of his recent book Harlow in Hollywood.
This rare Sunday tour in our California Culture series rolls through Vernon, Bell Gardens, Santa Fe Springs and Downey, and the past two centuries, exploring some of L.A.'s most seldom-seen and compelling structures. Turning the West Side-centric notion of an L.A. architecture tour on its head, the bus goes into areas not traditionally associated with the important, beautiful or significant, raising issues of preservation, adaptive reuse, hot rod kar culture and the evolution of the city.
Please join us this evening at Skylight Books in Los Feliz to celebrate the publication of Kim's new 1920s mystery novel The Kept Girl, the fact-based tale of the Great Eleven cult that escaped from the bus tours where it was originally featured to become something new. Kim will read from and sign copies of her book, and toast you with complementary beer courtesy of our sponsor, Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Come discover the secret history, and the fascinating future, of a most beguiling neighborhood. This is not a tour about beautiful buildings–although beautiful buildings will be all around you. This is not a tour about brilliant architects–although we will gaze upon their works and marvel. The Lowdown on Downtown is a tour about urban redevelopment, public policy, protest, power and the police. It is a revealing history of how the New Downtown became an "overnight sensation" after decades of quiet work behind the scenes by public agencies and private developers. This tour is about what really happened in the heart of Los Angeles, a complicated story that will fascinate and infuriate, break your heart and thrill your spirit. Come discover the real Los Angeles, the city even natives don't know.
Come on a century's social history tour through the transformation of neighborhoods, punctuated with immersive stops to sample the varied cultures that make our changing city so beguiling. Voter registration, citizenship classes, Chicano Moratorium, walkouts, blow-outs, anti-Semitism, adult education, racial covenants, boycotts, The City Beautiful, Exclusion Acts and Immigration Acts, property values, xenophobia, and delicious dumplings–all are themes which will be addressed on this lively excursion. This whirlwind social history tour will include: The Vladeck Center, Hollenbeck Park, Evergreen Cemetery, The Venice Room, El Encanto & Cascades Park, Divine's Furniture and Wing Hop Fung.
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 month, LAVA Visionary Joe Oesterly, author of Weird Hollywood shares offbeat tales from his weird road travels, and introduces Count Smokula, a 496-year-old accordion-playing vampire from the vaguely Eastern-European nation of Smokesylvania. Plus, poet and sculptor Linda King discusses her new book, Loving and Hating Charles Bukowski, a rebuttal to Bukowski's representation of her as Lydia Vance in his novel Women. A free architectural walking tour (registration required) follows the Salon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In our very occasional guest tour series, a delightful excursion that only comes around once a year, the Tom Waits bus adventure hosted by acclaimed rock critic David Smay (Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Swordfishtrombones). This voyage through the city that shaped one of our most eclectic musical visionaries starts in Skid Row and rolls through Hollywood and Echo Park, spotlighting the sites where Waits was transformed through the redemptive powers of love and other lures: the Tropicana Motel, Francis Coppola's Zoetrope Studios, the raunchy Ivar Theatre and so much more. Join us for a great day out in 1970s Los Angeles celebrating the music, the culture and the passions of Tom Waits.
Ride along on a very pulpy path on a wide-ranging tour that digs deep into the literature, film and real life vices that inform that most murderous genre, film noir — from Double Indemnity (where Raymond Chandler's Hollywood career intersects with Cain's) to The Postman Always Rings Twice to Mildred Pierce and beyond. The tour rolls through Hollywood, Glendale and old Skid Row, lost lion farms, murderous sopranos, fascist film censors, offbeat cemeteries — all in a quest to reveal the delicious, and deeply influential, nightmares that are Cain's gift to the world.
Forget Hollywood, babe, 'cause the quintessential LA town in definitely El Monte, its history packed with noirish murders, brilliant thespians, loony Nazis, James Ellroy's naked lunch and the lion farm that MGM's celebrated kitty called home. See all this and so much more, including the Man from Mars Bandit's Waterloo, when you climb aboard the daffiest crime tour in our arsenal, and the only one that includes a dumpling picnic at a landmark playground populated with fantastical giant sea creatures!
- LAVA SUNDAY SALON – Sunday, 1/26
- SOUTH LOS ANGELES ROAD TRIP: HOT RODS, ADOBES, GOOGIE & EARLY MODERNISM – Sunday, 2/2
- THE KEPT GIRL BOOK RELEASE PARTY – Thursday, 2/13
- THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN – Saturday, 2/15
- BOYLE HEIGHTS & THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY: THE HIDDEN HISTORIES OF L.A.'S MELTING POTS – Saturday, 2/22
- LAVA SUNDAY SALON – Sunday, 2/23
- HOTEL HORRORS & MAIN STREET VICE – Saturday, 3/1
- PASADENA CONFIDENTIAL (WITH CRIMEBO THE CLOWN) – Saturday, 3/15
- WEIRD WEST ADAMS – Saturday, 3/22
- CHARLES BUKOWSKI'S LOS ANGELES – Saturday, 3/29
- THE REAL BLACK DAHLIA – Saturday, 4/5
- CRAWLING DOWN CAHUENGA: TOM WAITS' L.A. – Saturday, 4/19
- THE BIRTH OF NOIR: JAMES M. CAIN'S SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NIGHTMARE – Saturday, 4/26
- BLOOD & DUMPLINGS CRIME BUS TOUR – Saturday, 5/3
AND FINALLY, LINKS!
Telling tales from the big house.
Out of the ice.
The ties that bind her.
A tour of The Panorama (where Kim and Richard were wed).
Typing Chandler in sacred places.
Union Station opens up.
A Tunisian city on the Long Beach waterfront? Why not?
Menus most marvelous Including some local gems).
A modest proposal.
One less lovely bookshop.
Pop goes The Aztec.
An L.A. Drive-In is reborn.
Wellcome? We'll say it is! (Recommended search strings: "skull," "poison" and "mermaid."
KEEP THE TAGS AS THEY ARE FOR EMPHASIS SO THE SIGN OFF IS NOT LOST
Kim & Richard