Brian Kaiser shares tile lore at #elencanto by @esotouric
Gentle Reader. . .
One hundred years ago this October, one of favorite visionary Angelenos was born.
John Whiteside Parsons was raised to wealth in Pasadena, matured in genteel poverty, and was blessed (or perhaps cursed) with a uniquely questing intelligence.
In his scant 37 years on the planet, Parsons personally transformed the studies of rocket science and esoteric faith, laying down a golden thread that would lead Americans to the stars, and international seekers to places even more beguiling.
Parsons fascinates us, this oddball L.A. Zelig. There he is on Pasadena's Millionaire's Row in its last days of architectural and social decay (as featured on our Pasadena Confidential tour)… out in the Arroyo piecing together the hidden secrets of ordnance for the nascent JPL… perhaps up in the Mojave working strange magick among the ancient ones… testifying at the police corruption trial that forever transformed Los Angeles.
Parsons, it seems, was everywhere that mattered.
If you share his need to be "where the action is," then join us this Sunday at the free LAVA Sunday Salon for the first in a series of Centennial events honoring Jack Parsons.
Salon attendees will learn many fascinating things about this oft-misunderstood character, and be among the first to hear what's in the works for Parsons' birthday month of October. It's one of the wildest productions we've ever attempted, and we'd love nothing more than to share it with YOU.
So come out and be part of the magick–the black kind or the white, you can take your pick. And after the Salon, reserve your spot on a free walking tour in Richard's Broadway on My Mind series, celebrating the work of R.B. Young and featuring the architectural insights of Nathan Marsak. 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 month, we celebrate the spirit of otherworldly creativity in Los Angeles. Speakers include Craig Berry, an initiate of Ordo Templi Orientis, who will take us on a journey through the magical world of Jack Parsons, rocket scientist and mystic. And Milt Stevens of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, which for many years met at Clifton's Cafeteria and counted Jack Parsons among its members, will take us on a guided tour of 20th Century science fiction. After the Salon, Richard Schave leads one of his free Broadway on My Mind walking tours (free, reservations required).
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.
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).
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.
AND FINALLY, LINKS!
Digging in in the landmark trenches.
Newly scanned City Directories, yours for the browsing.
The Chelsea Hotel is dead.
And the old Lincoln Heights jail ain't looking so hot either.
Kind words for Kim's novel The Kept Girl: "premise-envy" he's got.
Community outrage saves a landmark Portland Victorian from demolition by Silicon Valley gazillionaires.
And your chance to help save something very special in our own backyard.
Photos from last Sunday's LAVA tile and history tour of El Encanto.
KEEP THE TAGS AS THEY ARE FOR EMPHASIS SO THE SIGN OFF IS NOT LOST
Kim & Richard