If Not For You edition





November 26th, 2014


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Lupe’s Hot Dog Stand ( 3rd & Arizona) #ELA by @esotouric

Gentle Reader. . .

These are interesting, challenging, complicated times. Sometimes it can all seem overwhelming. People are cruel to one another. Old prejudices live on in young bodies. Nature shows no pity. Venerable businesses are shuttered, beloved spaces destroyed. So many among us are hungry and alone.

These short days, with their strange and beautiful light making the city appear precise and dreamlike, are a fine time to stand still in the center of the flurry and reflect upon the things that matter most.

We're thankful for the chance to share our passion for Los Angeles, its landmarks and troubles and secrets, with you. And thankful for the opportunity to chronicle the city through a profoundly transitional period, as hard as some of the changes are to swallow. Thankful, too, for the passionate and soulful fellow travelers whose discoveries help expand our own understanding of the place, and whose good works we can help shine a light upon, in podcast interviews and at Sunday Salon talks (may they soon resume).

We're thankful for all we've learned during this first year running an imprint and promoting Kim's novel. And for the chance to collaborate with the great Paul Rogers on a Raymond Chandler map so beautiful, it seems more like a dream than something a person can can buy.

And always, we are so thankful for the support of gentle readers like you, who get on the bus and attend forensic science seminars and Kim's book events, tune in to our podcast, stock up on gift certificates and tell their friends about the work we do. We wouldn't be half so busy, or so dedicated, or so thankful, without you!

So we hope this little message finds you warm and well, and surrounded by the people you love, on this Thanksgiving eve.

We're back on the bus this Saturday, with Richard's once-a-year birthday bus adventure, this one featuring the astonishing architectural spaces of several lovely southland cemeteries, good company and a scrumptious Indian buffet feast. There are still some seats on the birthday bus, and we would love it if you were to join us, do!

For Richard's once-a-year birthday bus adventure, we invite you to climb aboard for a 7-hour excursion exploring some of the greatest buildings in the Southland that you've never seen–unless you go to a lot of funerals. The tour is hosted by Nathan Marsak, America's wittiest historian of mortuary architecture. Come discover the beauty, secrets and unexpected modernism of Sunnyside Long Beach (1922), Community Mausoleum Anaheim (1914), Fairhaven Santa Ana (1916) and Calvary East Los Angeles (1936). Lunch is included and much merriment will be had. Visit the tour page for more information on this one-time-only event and reserve your spot today.

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.

LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association and The Larry Edmunds Bookshop invite you to join Barry Day for a celebration of his new book, "The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words" (Random House). There will be a short talk and questions, followed by a book signing and free walking tour of Chandler's Downtown haunts, hosted by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper. The event is free, but reservations are required.

Go East, young ghoul, with our most unhinged crime bus adventure. 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.

Join us on this iconic, unsolved Los Angeles murder mystery tour, from the throbbing boulevards of a postwar Downtown to the quiet suburban avenue where horror came calling. After multiple revisions, this is less a true crime 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.

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.

We're delighted to have been invited to speak at the DRW Auditorium of the Pasadena Central Library, a National Register building and a great place for literary conversations. At this free presentation, Kim will discuss and read from her 1920s mystery, The Kept Girl. Kim's illustrated talk will draw on her years of research into the lost lore of Los Angeles, with a focus on the bizarre Great Eleven cult, which ensnared dozens of credulous Angelenos in their mystical rites before one disgruntled ex-believer brought the whole enterprise tumbling down. You'll hear about Raymond Chandler's pre-literary life as an oil company executive, the idealistic L.A. policeman who is a likely model for Philip Marlowe, the real woman who inspired the character of Chandler's secretary Muriel, and the terrible secrets revealed by the fraud investigation in the Great Eleven's activities. Richard will share insights into how he used cutting edge computing tools to evoke the look and feel of a mid-century book, and Kim will talk abut the deluxe Art Deco wraps created for the Subscribers, whose pre-publication support covered a big chunk of the print cost. Copies of the book and the new Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles will be available for purchase and signing after the talk. We'd love to see you there!

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Valentine's Day treat for lovers, or those who are in love with urban exploration, and back by popular demand, it's our Route 66 bus adventure. Join us on a time travel trip due east along California's Mother Road to explore the building of its dream, from citrus ranches to oddball roadside attractions, sinister sisters, an ancient hidden graveyard (perhaps the most remote and haunted site we visit on any of our tours) and the many mysteries of the northern San Gabriel Valley.

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.



  • Our pal Jim Tully, still making headlines.
  • If only L.A.'s planning department had such strong opinions about aesthetics.
  • The L.A. Conservancy advocates for preserving Bob Baker's Marionette Theater.
  • The fascinating true crime roots of "Lolita."
  • The Academy wants to cut the landmark May Company building in half for its new museum, but doesn't actually know how to install an exhibition.
  • California prison system sued for the willful neglect of one of California's loveliest 1920s resorts. (As featured on our podcast.)
  • Huntington Park has a gem of a Warner Brothers theater, and you can sign a petition to help keep it that way.
  • Remember Spanish Kitchen as a magnificent, ghost story ruin? Loretta Ayeroff does.
  • Now imagine that you've flown all the way here from Istanbul to see the Hollywood Sign. And you end up at a mall.
  • Hear us on this BBC World Service radio feature about Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, one of L.A.'s most fascinating and polarizing figures.
  • Bombshell! Cultural Heritage Commission reconsidering (PDF link) landmark status for previously rejected Barlett Residence.
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    Kim and Richard


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