This week, our thoughts are with the people of the eastern seaboard, as they struggle to get their lives back in order in the aftermath of the deceptively mildly-named SANDY. The focus now is on the human cost, as it ought to be, and while the situation sounds grim, we’re heartened to hear of citizens banding together to help each other when local and Federal agencies fall short.
But there is ANOTHER VICTIM of the storm, one whose loss will go largely unnoticed in the rush to clean up the mess. It will be weeks or years or never before we know how much of the historic built environment has been drowned or sandblasted, collapsed or simply blown away. Reports are filtering out of grand trees felled, amusement piers ruined, old neighborhoods inundated, signs knocked down. Among them were little undocumented FRAGMENTS OF THE PAST that signaled the continuity of centuries of urban life. In an era of overdevelopment and corporate uniformity, we treasure the hints of an earlier America that manage to survive, and always lament their loss. So spare a thought for the small things that can’t be saved, and don’t fail to notice the ones in your orbit–for we never know how long we’ll have them there.
Seats have been selling briskly, but we still have some room available on RICHARD’S BIRTHDAY BUS ADVENTURE bound for some notable historic sites in the Inland Empire. For details or to reserve your spot on this special event excursion, see #3 below.
On Saturday we roll with CHARLES BUKOWSKI’S LOS ANGELES, a journey through the gritty urban spaces that shaped and inspired this distinctly local voice. Join us, do!
Now read on, for all the news you can use.
1) SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3 – 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. More details are at http://esotouric.com/buk
2) WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14 – If you’ve visited our time travel blog ON BUNKER HILL, you’re familiar with the astonishing mid-century color photography of George Mann, the retired vaudeville dance sensation who captured a forgotten southland that sends chills and thrills through even the most jaded bodies. Now, for the first time in five decades, GEORGE MANN’S LOST LOS ANGELES will be seen as it was meant to be: in stunning Kodachrome 3-D, for free. Join us at LAPL Central Library for a captivating evening exploring a virtual Bunker Hill, Pershing Square and Watts Towers. For more info, visit http://lavatransforms.org/mann3d
3) SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17 – Psst! Yeah, you! It’s Richard’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate than taking 50 nice folks on a day’s adventuring through Southern California history? The cost for the SEMI-SECRET BUS ADVENTURE, which includes birthday cake and tours of SPADRA CEMETERY, the Haunted Mansion-esque PHILLIPS MANSION, SAN BERNARDINO DEPOT AND RAILWAY MUSEUM and a twilight NEON DRIVE are just $30. We expect this special event to fill up quick, so nab your seat at the link below: http://esotouric.com/node/618
4) SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1 – Crimebo the Clown is our special guest on the popular PASADENA CONFIDENTIAL crime bus tour, a very proper excursion into all the horrid tales the white-gloved ladies of the town would rather we not tell. They say each community gets the crimes it deserves, and Pasadena’s have always been extraordinary. Climb aboard for rough trade, rocket science, monkeys run amok, suicide leaps, devil worship, madmen and assorted evils that will forever change the way you look at Pasadena. Turn it into a weekend pass of true crime exploration when you ride the EASTSIDE BABYLON crime bus tour as well. More info is at http://esotouric.com/pasadena
5) SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2 – Go East, young ghoul, with our newest crime bus adventure EAST SIDE BABYLON. Come visit Boyle Heights, where the Night Stalker was captured and a mad dad ran amok. Roam the hallowed lawns of Evergreen, L.A.’s oldest cemetery and home of some memorable haunts and strange burials. Visit East L.A., where a deranged radio shop employee made mince meat of his boss and bride–and you can get your hair done in a building shaped like a giant tamale. Explore the ghastly streets of Commerce, where one small neighborhood’s myriad crimes will shock and surprise. Visit Montebello, for scrumptious milk and cookies at Broguiere’s Farm Fresh Dairy washed down with a horrifying case of child murder. Turn it into a weekend pass of true crime exploration when you ride the PASADENA CONFIDENTIAL crime bus tour as well. For more, see http://esotouric.com/eastsidebabylon
6) SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8 – Here’s a most beguiling bus adventure to add to your butterfly collection. Come take the WEIRD WEST ADAMS crime bus tour, through the Beverly Hills of the early 20th Century, a mysterious neighborhood of decaying manors, dark secrets and souls that rest unpeacefully in their pretty graves. From the Krazy Kafitz family who simply could not behave, to the woe-begotten Marvin Gayes Junior and Senior, jazz age bootleggers, poison-gobbling kiddies, fiends and freaks, it’s a tour packed with oddities and the unexpected. And the architecture too is to die for, from courtly Alvarado Terrace to the lovely lawns of Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, where some of the most fascinating characters are buried. You won’t want to miss this grim day out, so join us, do. Info http://esotouric.com/westadams
7) SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15 – Last tour of 2012! We’ve taken our favorite downtown double feature crime and oddities tour, HOTEL HORRORS & MAIN STREET VICE, and made it even wilder, with more hotel visits and stunning vintage film clips that bring the lost world of downtown to life. Don’t miss this celebration of the ribald old neighborhood that’s not there anymore, the exquisite historic hotels that are, and rediscovered scandals to make you laugh and shiver. For more info, visit http://esotouric.com/mainhotel
8) Don’t forget, there are DISCOUNTS to be had on the Esotouric bus. Take 15% off if you are a KCRW subscriber (for gift certificates, too). Spring for a SOLO 6-PACK or a SHAREABLE 12-PACK and save big on every seat, visit http://www.esotouric.com/6pack for the skinny. Call us if you have a group of 8 or more people wanting to ride a tour for a special quote. Or rent the whole bus and make a private party of it… you can even bring Crimebo the Clown along, if you must. There really are no limits except your imagination, our driver’s patience and gravity.
9) Come BUY OUR WARES – they make great gifts! We’re the exclusive LA distributor of Bob Waldmire’s amazing ROUTE 66 maps and postcards and RAYMOND CHANDLER MYSTERY MAPS. You can hang GEORGE MANN’S rare color images of BUNKER HILL on your wall. And our 9-photo set of vintage HISTORIC CORE IMAGES is an instant Downtown L.A. history lesson. See links below for more info.
10) Come BROWSE OUR SHOP – FREE! Have you seen the ESOTOURIC EMPORIUM OF LOS ANGELES LORE? It’s a virtual Amazon book and dvd store containing all our favorite cultural touchstones, updated frequently, organized by subject (true crime, L.A. films, the weird old America that doesn’t exist anymore). Also featured, some of the cool tools we use on the bus. Should you happen to buy something, we’ll get a share of the sale price to help support our esoteric explorations, but the cheap dates among you can just use the links below to augment your library wish list. http://astore.amazon.com/bubble1-20
11) And finally, links!
Scenes from the third LAVA literary Salon
Wither Pershing Square?
Kind words for our Raymond Chandler tour
Bob Baker’s marionettes would love it if you came to visit
A lost, if trashy, art
Two souls on Skid Row
The save Felix the Cat neon sign campaign now has a blog
Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule
Sat November 3 – Charles Bukowski’s LA
Sun November 4 – Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour (tour cancelled, sorry)
Wed November 14 – George Mann’s Lost Los Angeles (info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat November 17 – Richard’s 44th Birthday Bus Adventure
Sat December 1 – Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour (weekend pass available)
Sun December 2 – Eastside Babylon crime bus tour (weekend pass available)
Sat December 8 – Weird West Adams crime bus tour
Sat December 15 – Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice
Sat January 5 – The Real Black Dahlia
Sat January 12 – Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles
Sat January 19 – Charles Bukowski’s LA
Sat January 26 – The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain’s Southern California Nightmare
Sat Feb 2 – Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Route 66 (weekend pass available)
Sun Feb 3 – Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: South LA (weekend pass available)
Sat Feb 16 – Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: The Lowdown on Downtown
Sat Feb 23 – Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Boyle Heights & the San Gabriel Valley
Sat March 2 – Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice