Lorena & Whittier, Boyle Heights. #artdeco #losangeles #neon #signage #boyleheights #signporn #signgeeks by @esotouric
Gentle Reader. . .
Regular readers of this newsletter will have noted our brief absence from the scene.
We could spin some elaborate and spine-tingling explanatory yarn, a narrative rife with squealing tires, hidden microfilm, trained chimps and identical briefcases, but the dry truth is that we’ve been scrambling to upgrade our website before some changes to internet protocols rendered the old one obsolete.
Well, we did it! You’ll find the revamped site is more adaptable when viewed on a mobile device, and that we’ve highlighted some deep veins of historic storytelling that you might have missed first time around.
So drop by the brand new Esotouric and poke around, through featured posts from the 1947project time travel blogs and the Esotouric blog, 80-some episodes of the You Can’t Eat The Sunshine podcast, videos of walking tours and LAVA talks, historic preservation campaigns, newsletter back issues and of course an ever-changing roster of Esotouric bus adventures, talks and walking tours.
Spot anything unusually peculiar? Please let us know! And stay tuned as we return to our previously scheduled programming. We’ve missed you, too.
But a preservationist’s work doesn’t stop for website redesigns, and while Richard was coding, Kim has been in urgent consultations with a Los Angeles legend facing personal and structural challenges. There’s redevelopment-flavored trouble brewing at the magical, landmark Bob Baker Marionette Theater, while meanwhile, Bob Baker himself is in hospice care and seeking contributions to allow him to stay in his home. Please throw a little something in the kitty if you’re able, and go see a show by his wonderful marionettes while you still can!
We’re back on the bus this Saturday, exploring Raymond Chandler’s noir Los Angeles. Souvenir seekers can avail themselves of a copy of Kim’s hot-off-the-presses map. Join us, do!
- RAYMOND CHANDLER’S LOS ANGELES – SAT. 10/18
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.
- The return of WILD WILD WEST SIDE – SAT. 10/25
For the first time, we’ve set our true crime sights on points west of Robertson, and the results are truly mind-boggling. Originally offered in our 2008-2009 seasons, this newly revived crime bus tour spotlights some of the weirdest, most horrific and downright unbelievable crimes of historic West Los Angeles, Venice and Santa Monica. You’ll thrill and shudder to tales of teenaged terrors, tortured tots, wicked wives, evil spirits, cults, creeps and assorted maniacs. Get on the bus to meet Weird Ward, the boy husband of the nefarious cult leader who compelled her followers to carry her departed victims all across 1920s L.A. (as featured in Kim’s mystery novel, The Kept Girl), and the peculiar Helen Love, who nearly escaped justice when she willed herself into a coma during her very odd murder trial. Along the Venice shore, you’ll see where a pair of real life witches tortured their own Hansels and Gretels as neighbors pretended not to hear the tots’ cries, and marvel at the grand hotel that was formally a flop house for ex-junkies in the Synanon Cult. Come discover the real and terrible history of L.A.’s westside, on a tour so wild, we had to say it twice.
- CHARLES BUKOWSKI’S LOS ANGELES – SAT. 11/1
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.
- BRUCKMAN RARE BOOK FRIENDS TALK: KIM COOPER AND RICHARD SCHAVE ON “THE KEPT GIRL” – SUN. 11/2
We’re delighted to have been invited to speak at the Mark Taper Auditorium of the Los Angeles Public Library in support of the Rare Books department. At this free multi-media presentation, Kim will discuss and sign copies of 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 began just above the library on Bunker Hill and 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 a downtown 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 paperback and deluxe Art Deco Subscribers’ edition will be available for purchase after the talk. It’s a big room–please bring a friend!
- WEIRD WEST ADAMS – SAT. 11/8
On this guided tour through the Beverly Hills of the early 20th Century, Crime Bus passengers thrill as Jazz Age bootleggers run amok, marvel at the Krazy Kafitz family’s litany of murder-suicides, attempted husband slayings, Byzantine estate battles and mad bombings, visit the shortest street in Los Angeles (15′ long Powers Place, with its magnificent views of the mansions of Alvarado Terrace), discover which fabulous mansion was once transformed into a functioning whiskey factory using every room in the house, and stroll the haunted paths of Rosedale Cemetery, site of notable burials (May K. Rindge, the mother of Malibu) and odd graveside crimes. Featured players include the most famous dwarf in Hollywood, mass suicide ringleader Reverend Jim Jones, wacky millionaires who can’t control their automobiles, human mole bank robbers, comically inept fumigators, kids trapped in tar pits, and dozens of other unusual and fascinating denizens of early Los Angeles.
- SPECIAL EVENT: BOUCHERCON EDITION OF RAYMOND CHANDLER’S LOS ANGELES – WEDS. 11/12
This is a special day-long edition of our Raymond Chandler bus tour of historic locations in Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, coinciding with the 2014 Bouchercon World Mystery Convention and departing from the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach. In addition to visits to The Oviatt Building (The Gillerlain Company in The Lady in The Lake), The Bank of Italy (where Chandler was employed by The Dabney Oil Company), The Barclay Hotel (site of an icepick murder in The Little Sister), The Mayfair Hotel (where a suicidal Chandler kept his mistress), Paramount Studios, Raymond Chandler Square and other iconic locations from the life and work of the master of Los Angeles noir. The excursion includes a no-host lunch stop and a shopping visit to Hollywood’s Larry Edmunds Bookshop, the famous cinema collectors store which directly descends from The Stanley Rose Book Shop, whose proprietor was the model for Geiger in The Big Sleep.
- HOTEL HORRORS AND MAIN STREET VICE – SAT. 11/22
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.
- SPECIAL EVENT: RICHARD’S BIRTHDAY BUS TOUR OF PUBLIC MAUSOLEA OF LOS ANGELES AND ORANGE COUNTIES – SAT. 11/29
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.
AND FINALLY, LINKS!
Make your own MOOOOOON MONSTER!
A strange ruling from the Cultural Heritage Commission comes amid intimations of political pressure to demolish.
Our pal Crimebo wins an award (meet him on our Pasadena Confidential bus in December).
Fun with historic Los Angeles bus tourism, real and imagined
Meet Tom James, a likely model for Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe.
Trouble in the bug house.
Chandler in blue and white.
Cameron, too long in shadow, steps steps into the light.
The May Company is a stunning building. Enjoy it while you can.
The Aztec Hotel might be coming back, but not without drama.
Remembering the 1971 Sylmar tunnel blast.
The Inland Empire’s warehouse zone would make a great backdrop for noir fiction.
TAGS AS THEY ARE FOR EMPHASIS SO THE SIGN OFF IS NOT LOST
Kim and Richard