“[This tour is] a poetic journey full of rare insight into the life of a man who’s come to represent the ghettoized contingency of the City of Angels.” – Tanja M. Laden, Flavorpill
“Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski’s LA” focuses on Bukowski’s great passions: writing, screwing and Los Angeles. We’ll take in the canonical locations of his life and myth: the Postal Annex Terminal where he gathered the material for “Post Office,” the De Longpre apartment where he briefly experimented with marriage and fatherhood, one of his favorite bars and liquor stores, and many other spots. Along the way, we’ll explore the people and ideas that made up the warp and weft of Buk’s rich inner life. This Esotouric bus adventure is hosted by Richard Schave.
The tour spans Bukowski’s personal city, from Skid Row to once-genteel Crown Hill, to Bukowski’s favorite East Hollywood liquor store, the Pink Elephant.
“This bus tour… has established itself as an L.A. classic.” -The Los Angeles Times
The Black Dahlia murder in 1947 is the most compelling unsolved crime Los Angeles has ever known. What Jack the Ripper is to London, the Torso Killer to Cleveland, the Black Dahlia is to L.A. And yet unlike those other cases, the name Black Dahlia refers not to the killer, but to the victim. What was it about Elizabeth Short that keeps her the object of obsessive fascination by writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, cops and readers, more than sixty years after she was slain?
The Real Black Dahlia Crime Bus Tour seeks to answer this question by intimately exploring the last weeks of Elizabeth Short’s life, asking not “who killed her?” but “who was she?”
The tour takes us from the human hustle of Main Street to the serene lobby of the Biltmore (the second-to-last place she was seen alive), to the newspaper offices and the Greyhound station where she checked her bags, and concludes at the site where her bisected body was found in Leimert Park and with a little known suspect who lived nearby.
From the few personal possessions she left behind to the friends who scarcely knew her, from the mass hysteria of the investigation with its fruitless leads, wacko suspects and false confessions, the tour reveals all that’s known about this enigmatic black-haired girl who reinvented herself at whim, and shows how she came to be the unfortunate symbol of her time and place.
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.
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.
There are even some celebrity sites along the route, including the death scenes of Motown soul sensation Marvin Gaye and 1920s star Angels baseball catcher Gus Sandberg. And the architecture too is to die for, as the Crime Bus rolls down the elegant streets of old West Adams, lined with gay mansions, adorable bungalows and signs of a century’s decay which only enhance the neighborhood’s charm.
The tour also offers an overview of the neighborhood’s many early subdivisions, and a groundbreaking court case that helped end housing discrimination nationwide.
Passengers on this eye-opening, funny and informative tour will forever see the West Adams district in a new light. It is highly recommended for natives and newcomers alike, crime and history buffs and anyone who likes to seek out the unexpected.
This tour has been honored as an “Editor Pick – City Gem” by Flavorpill L.A.
A criminal and gastronomical excursion into the San Gabriel Valley, Blood & Dumplings rolls through Alhambra, Temple City, Monterey Park, Rosemead and El Monte, revealing dozens of weird, forgotten crimes and oddities from the valley’s past. Highlights include the mysterious Man from Mars Bandit, the lesbian couple whose bickering over spending cash resulted in one pumping the other full of downers until she died, the young bride who spent her wedding day buried under her parents’ house, the battling neo-Nazis of El Monte, Phil Spector’s spooky castle and the little bar where James Ellroy’s murdered mother Jean had her last drink. The tour includes a selection of dumplings from one of the San Gabriel Valley’s best Chinese restaurants.(Vegetarian passengers, please let us know your food preference several days before we depart.) If using a gift certificate, please note that this tour has an additional $5 dumpling fee, payable in cash or check at the bus door.
Passenger Feedback “I’ve taken the famous ‘Ghostly New Orleans’ and ‘Mysteries of Venice, Italy’ tours and also enthusiastically enjoyed London’s ‘Jack the Ripper of Whitehall’ tour, and I assure you none surpasses Richard Schave and Kim Cooper’s Esotouric “Blood & Dumplings” bus excursion into the bizarrely memorable but rarely-visited regions of East Los Angeles. As humorous and constantly entertaining as it is thoroughly researched, this lovingly crafted 4-hour tour is essential for any tourist or long-term denizen who wishes to comprehend the many fascinating characters and their dark, odd-ball deeds which have contributed to Los Angeles’ nutty history. Very comfortable, carefully prepared, weirdly funny, and unforgettable.” (F.A.)
Please note that, due to limited room capacity, attendees must register to attend the LAVA Sunday Salon. To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, or login to your existing account and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup field will appear just to the left of this text. Enter your email address. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually. If you find you are unable to attend, please return to this page and cancel your reservation. Also, note that the Sunday Salon has a new time slot: 2-4:30pm.
The Photography of Kristin Bedford: Race, History & the Divine
Los Angeles-based photographer Kristin Bedford will be presenting her series of photographs about the legacy of the African-American religious leader Father Divine. The body of work delves into issues of race, American religious history, and the mystery of enduring faith.
Father Divine, known to his followers as God, once had tens of thousands of devotees in 1930s Harlem. To the outside world Father Divine died in 1965, but for his followers he “lay his body down” and is still with them as he always has been. Now in their seventies, eighties, and nineties, eighteen of the remaining celibate followers live with Mother Divine at Father’s estate outside of Philadelphia. In 2013, Kristin Bedford spent five weeks living with and photographing this community.
The followers, who call themselves “The International Peace Mission Movement,” are living a way of life and performing rituals created over eighty years ago by their God. With the lack of new followers, their movement is likely in its final chapter. Bedford had the chance to experience and photograph their traditions before they fade away.
The Father Divine presentation will be followed by an exclusive sneak peek of Bedford’s current photography project.
Kristin Bedford is a Los Angeles-based photographer who focuses on long-term visual studies of where we live – the streets we walk down, the places we worship in, the homes we create, and the spaces between them all. Her subjects have included religious movements, street culture in numerous urban centers, and the modern day legacy of historic African-American communities.
Go East, Young Crime Fiend! For years, the devoted and demented crime historians of Esotouric have been stockpiling hideous 20th century crime tales from the east side of the Los Angeles River, and waiting for the perfect moment to spring them upon an unsuspecting world. That moment has arrived. On the Eastside Babylon tour you’ll discover fascinating, little-known neighborhoods and the grim memories they hold. 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 Los Angeles, 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. All this, and so much more on Eastside Babylon, Esotouric’s exploration of L.A.’s most horrifying forgotten crimes.