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A visit to Bukowski Court in East Hollywood.
This is a longer newsletter that some email providers will have trouble displaying. Click "View this email" at upper right for a complete reading experience.
Gentle reader...

All this talk about demolishing the homes of dead writers got one preservation-minded Angeleno, the writer and educator Mike The Poet, thinking about how very few literary shrines there are in Southern California.

It's not that we lack addresses where great writers lived, worked, loved and drank. There are hundreds. But set out to explore the city without a specialized map, and you're likely to zoom right past these places of memory. There are no London-style blue plaques to note the spots where inspiration struck, no official civic policy to identify, mark and promote the physical remnants of literary Los Angeles. This is, after all, the city that erases itself.  

Which all too often leaves memorial matters up to book lovers like S.A. Griffin, Jess Bravin and ourselves, the players behind physical monuments to bookstore owner Red Stodolsky, Raymond Chandler, John Fante and Charles Bukowski, respectively. (We had a lot of help with Bukowski Court.)

Within the L.A. city limits, a citizen can adopt a literary landmark, research its history and cultural significance, and write a formal Historic-Cultural Monument nomination which, if accepted, will ensure recognition in the way of signage and some restrictions on how the property can be changed or, heaven forbid, destroyed. It's a lot of work, but quite satisfying, and we recommend it to anyone who dearly loves a writer and a place they used to haunt. 

And starting next week, if all goes as expected, it will be possible to nominate a landmark within unincorporated Los Angeles County, too!  

And while it's got nothing to do with books, we've already got our eye on one very special structure on Whittier Boulevard that is a landmark in all but name.  

Do you have a place you'd like to play a role in preserving? We're always happy to encourage and advise in such cases, so don't hesitate to reach out.

We're back on the bus this Saturday with a nearly-sold-out trip through Raymond Chandler's noir Downtown and Hollywood, and next week it's the sister tour, The Birth of Noir in the footsteps of James M. Cain. Join us, do!
COMING SOON

RAYMOND CHANDLER'S LOS ANGELES - SAT. 1/24... 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 The Lady in the Lake and The Little Sister, discover the real Philip Marlowe (the inspiration for Kim's novel The Kept Girl) and get the skinny on Chandler's secret comic operetta that we discovered in the Library of Congress nearly a century after it was written. (Buy tickets here.)

THE BIRTH OF NOIR: JAMES M. CAIN'S SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NIGHTMARE - SAT. 1/31... 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. (Buy tickets here.)

SOUTH LOS ANGELES ROAD TRIP: HOT RODS, ADOBES, GOOGIE & EARLY MODERNISM - SUN. 2/1... Due to the red-tagging of the storm-damaged Irving Gill Clarke Estate, we are unable to give this tour as planned. It will repeat in August, so stay tuned.

BOYLE HEIGHTS & THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY: THE HIDDEN HISTORIES OF L.A.'S MELTING POTS - SAT. 2/7... 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. (Buy tickets here.)

ROUTE 66 ROAD TRIP: ROADSIDE ARCHITECTURE, CITRUS, DRIVE-INS & CEMETERIES - SAT. 2/14... 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. (Buy tickets here.)

THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN - SAT. 2/21... 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. (Buy tickets here.)

WILD WILD WESTSIDE - SAT. 2/28... 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 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 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. (Buy tickets here.)

WEIRD WEST ADAMS - SAT. 3/7... 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. (Buy tickets here.)

PASADENA CONFIDENTIAL WITH CRIMEBO THE CLOWN - SAT. 3/21... 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. (Buy tickets here.)

HOLLYWOOD! - SAT. 3/28... A brand new bus adventure! Climb aboard the Esotouric crime bus and discover the unwritten history of the sleepy suburb that birthed the American dream factory. From literary lions to criminal masterminds, terror plots to teenage thrill seekers, music mavens to abiding mysteries, the neighborhood is packed to the rim with with fascinating lore and architectural marvels. You won’t see the stars’ homes or hear about their latest real estate deals, but we’ll show you where some colorful characters breathed their last, got into trouble that defined the rest of their lives and came up with ideas that the world is still talking about. So for unforgettable stories you won’t hear on anyone else’s Hollywood tour, climb aboard and discover the secret heart of the city we love. Tour stops include Crossroads of the World (Robert V. Derrah, 1936), the Château Élysée (Arthur E. Harvey, 1927) and the sites of the legendary Garden of Allah hotel and Schwab’s Drugstore. (Buy tickets here.)

SPECIAL EVENT: CRAWLING DOWN CAHUENGA: TOM WAITS' L.A. - SAT. 5/16... 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. (Buy tickets here.)
 
AND FINALLY, LINKS
 
The slow death of the Villa Carlotta.  

Once we were vikings, now mere pod people.

A time travel video trip to L.A.'s ruined Nazi ranch compound with one of our favorite defunct Angelenos, historian and bon vivant Bruce Elliot.

In L.A. politics, there is a time to play nice and a time to go gonzo.

From "Ask Chris" Nichols, 12 L.A. gems on the edge.
 
Burbank says yes to historic signage!

In the contest for best crime fiction cover art of 2014, the new Philip Marlowe faced the real Raymond Chandler. 

#BlackLivesMatter didn't #JustHappen. L.A. Kauffman interviews organizer Alicia Garza.

We're wondering how Ray Bradbury's pad went unmarked on SurveyLA's map. (He was Cheviot Hills' most famous pedestrian.)

A light shines at last on the Southwest Museum.
yrs,
Kim and Richard
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RECOMMENDED READING
New from filmmaker and curator Arthur Dong, a visual celebration and oral history of the racy post-Prohibition Chinese-American nightclub culture centered around San Francisco's Chinatown.
The Kept Girl by Kim Cooper is a fact-based mystery set in 1929 Los Angeles, and starring the young Raymond Chandler, his devoted secretary and the real-life Philip Marlowe in pursuit of a murderous cult of angel worshippers. Available on all Esotouric tours, autographed on request. You can order the paperback (with or without the deluxe foiled art deco wraps) direct from Esotouric Ink here. Also available from Amazon and for the Kindle, free with Kindle Unlimited!
The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles is a collaboration between illustrator Paul Rogers and our own Kim Cooper. Featuring 50 iconic noir locations, the map is packed with surprising lore and gorgeous artwork inspired by the vintage Dell Mapback mysteries of the 1940s. It is available online from Kim's website and Amazon, and on our tours. (Looking for Aaron Blake's out-of-print 1985 Raymond Chandler map? Click here.)
FORENSIC SCIENCE SEMINARS
Four times a year, we gather in the teaching crime labs of Cal State Los Angeles under the direction of Professor Donald Johnson to explore the history and future of American forensic science. Your $36.50 ticket to the Hot Lead and Hot Leads presentation benefits graduate level Criminalistics research. Join us on Sunday, March 15. For more info, or to reserve, click here.
FROM THE VIDEO VAULT
Now on the Esotouric blog, a virtual visit to Clifton's Cafeteria, circa 2010. Click here to see.
In the latest edition of You Can't Eat the Sunshine, we get our kicks along old Route 66, celebrating the much loved, now lost Trails restaurant in Duarte and exploring the birth of La Mirada, a swell little subdivision. Click here to tune in.
Help bring an L.A. icon back from the dead. Join the campaign to restore John Parkinson's 1910 design for our greatest lost park.
The LAVA Sunday Salon is our monthly cultural clearing house of new ideas presented by LAVA Visionaries, the most fascinating folks in town. After a brief hiatus, the Sunday Salon resumes on February 22 with Dr. Paul Koudounaris speaking about Demonically-Possessed Cats. Free, reservations required.
We discovered Raymond Chandler's most delightful literary secret. Now we need your help to stage his comic operetta in Los Angeles!
Need an L.A.-centric gift in a hurry? If shopping on Amazon, visit The Esotouric Emporium of L.A. Lore, our curated guide to the best in regional books, films and artifacts. How about a gift certificate for a bus adventure into the secret heart of Los Angeles, a solo 6-Pack or shareable 12-Pack? We also carry vintage photos of lost Bunker Hill as well as earlier scenes, Charles Bukowski-inspired fine art prints, Raymond Chandler maps (vintage) or (contemporary) and 76 ball antenna toppers.
SUPPORT OUR WORK
If you enjoy all we do to celebrate and preserve Los Angeles history and would like to say thank you, please consider putting a little something into our digital tip jar. Your contributions are never obligatory, but always appreciated.
 
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