New Ghoul in Town edition





July 16th, 2014


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Floor of City Hall (3rd Floor–Main) #LosAngeles #dtla by @esotouric

Gentle Reader. . .


It started about a year ago. Longtime passengers, regular attendees at the LAVA Salons and crime lab seminars, started sidling up and confiding, "Y'know, I've been on all your tours…"

They didn't want to come right out and demand we write a new bus adventure. But it was clear what they wanted and that they'd rather not take no for an answer. And, really, why should they?

It took some work, but after some careful massaging of our end-of-year calendar, many hours deep in the archives of Los Angeles crime lore, and a number of passionate test drives up hills that we're pretty sure our tour bus can manage, we are beyond delighted to announce the debut of Kim's first new crime bus tour since 2009's East Side Babylon: the utterly twisted ECHO PARK BOOK OF THE DEAD!

It's a tour packed with weirdos and fiends, lovers and losers, dreamers and the damned, and the gorgeous hillside neighborhoods where they lived, loved, schemed and sometimes perished. We would love to see you aboard for this debut excursion, along with many of our crime buddies who have been missing their bus adventuring.

Come out and play Thursday night at Vroman's, where Kim's reading from The Kept Girl, is the L.A. Weekly's cultural pick of the night. And on Saturday, it's our once-a-year Tom Waits-themed musical bus adventure, a story of true love, creative transformations and all-night South L.A. wedding chapel romance. Join us do!

Upcoming Tours & Happenings

Please join us this evening at Vroman's Bookshop in Pasadena where Kim will presenting her 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 talk about her research into noir Los Angeles cult murders, civic vice and the young Raymond Chandler, all of which are folded into the fluffy noir omelette of the book.

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.

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.

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, we celebrate the culture and horticulture of old Los Angeles, as David Boule shares wild tales of the citrus industry and Brent E. Walker delves into the secret history of our town as revealed in early Charlie Chaplin comedies. Plus! instruction in digital mapping for would-be time travelers. After the Salon, Richard Schave leads one of his free Broadway on My Mind walking tours (free, reservations required).

At this free event at the Pasadena Public Library, a panel of experts discuss 20th century crime fiction in California. Denise Hamilton (editor, L.A. NOIR) leads a conversation between Julie M. Rivett (Dashiell Hammett scholar & granddaughter, editor of THE HUNTER & OTHER STORIES), our own Kim Cooper (author of THE KEPT GIRL) and Tom Nolan (author of ROSS MACDONALD: A BIOGRAPHY). Reception at 6:00pm, discussion 7:00pm-8:30pm. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 disgrace of the Lummis House hijacking.
  • A tipsy town and a missing mother. Where is Helen?
  • The genius has passed, but the work remains.
  • Miss Parker regrets, and you can read all about it.
  • Preservation alert: wither Parisian Florists, the sweetest bit of vintage neon on that stretch of Sunset?
  • A fresh set of tools for Skid Row.
  • Historic landmark defaced by Sony Music publicity campaign and asleep-on-the-job civil servants.
  • {C}{C}{C}<!–


    Kim & Richard



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