Golden Hours edition




November 27th, 2013


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El Encanto

Gentle Reader. . .

These are interesting, challenging, complicated times. Sometimes it can all seem overwhelming. People are cruel to one another. Nature shows no pity. Beloved spaces are 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. And thankful 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, through LAVA Salons and podcast interviews.

Although it’s harder than easy, and our work is never done, we’re so thankful for the opportunity to be right here, doing what we do. And we thank you, for being one part of the whole that is a fine community of caring citizens, one we are proud to have helped organize.

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

We’d like to thank all the folks who have ordered a Subscription to the deluxe special edition of Kim’s mystery novel about the young Raymond Chandler, The Kept Girl. By popular demand, we now have shared Subscriptions good for two. Subscriptions remain available through Christmas, with the book out early next year. More info is here.

We’re on the bus this Saturday with our annual, never-to-be-repeated Richard’s birthday bus adventure. This year’s model has us bound for the Antelope Valley, to visit some whimsical and gorgeous museums and desert panoramas. There will be cake, revelry and good company. Join us, do!

Upcoming Tours & Happenings

  • RICHARD’S 45th BIRTHDAY BUS – SAT. 11/30
  • Come spend a very special day exploring the nooks, crannies, highways and byways of the Antelope Valley, and celebrating Richard’s birthday. Once a year we arrange for a completely unique bus adventure, and this promises to be a lively one, with stops at a couple of provocative museums, a stroll through an ancient Joshua tree forest, and visits with some of our favorite high desert curators. Plus birthday cake, rare film footage and a special appearance by Richard’s mother. This excursion will never be repeated, and we’d love to share it with you.

  • We’ve taken our favorite downtown “double feature” crime and oddities tour 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.

  • Crimebo the Clown is the special guest on our final crime bus tour of 2014, 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.

  • 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 is dedicated to a single topic: the fascinating international initiatory order called the Ordo Templi Orientis, or O.T.O. While the roots of O.T.O. lie in Freemasonry, it separated from that tradition a century ago under the leadership of noted magician Aleister Crowley. O.T.O. has a rich history in Los Angeles stretching back to the 1930s, when Wilfred Smith and Jack Parsons led Agape Lodge in Pasadena, the only fully operational O.T.O. body in the world at the time of Crowley’s death in 1947. At the Salon, following a brief presentation on the nature of the O.T.O., Star Sapphire Lodge, the O.T.O. body serving Los Angeles, invites you to join in a celebration of the Gnostic Mass, the central ritual of the O.T.O. We are pulling out the stops to make the final Sunday Salon of 2014 a gathering to remember. Don’t miss it!

  • We kick off the 2014 tour season with our most popular crime bus tour, which we always schedule around the anniversary of this iconic, unsolved Los Angeles murder mystery. 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.


  • L.A., you say?
  • A flabbergastingly sweet discovery in Greta Garbo’s vinyl stash.
  • Olvera Street noir, and threatened O.C. lore
  • London “gets it” and protects historic interiors. (Los Angeles still has no interior preservation ordinance, because real estate interests have kept LA City Council from voting on it.)
  • Chandler gripes.
  • Mr. Gritsipis knows of which he speaks.
  • The last Tiffany standing.
  • A chance for West Hollywood to do right by Plummer Park’s National Register Great Hall.
  • Make her’s tiki.
  • Viva old school Modcom, whose nomination of Johnie’s Coffee Shop has resulted in L.A.’s newest landmark.




Kim & Richard


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