In July 2013, LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association launched a series of free walking tours along Broadway meant to raise consciousness about the Broadway Theater and Commercial District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the pending implementation of Strategy One, Phase One of the City of Los Angeles’ Broadway Streetscape Master Plan. Each walking tour follows and departs from the free LAVA Sunday Salon.
This month’s special Poem Noir tour, hosted by Richard Schave (Esotouric/LAVA), made its base at Third Street and Broadway. The tour migrated between Grand Central Market, Angels Flight and the Bradbury Building, with topics including the market’s opening in 1917, a remarkable WWI-era festival in the Boston Dry Goods Store, how the Bradbury Building was saved from burning, the history of Angels Flight, the murders of Stephen Nash, the rise and fall of Bunker Hill and the neighborhood’s starring role in the film noir genre, to developer Ira Yellin’s pioneering work of the 1980s.
Historical contributions from Kim Cooper and Gordon Pattison were interspersed with Poem Noir performances by Carl Weintraub, Brendan Constantine and Suzanne Lummis. Special treats: a sneak preview of Gordon’s fictional memoir of his father’s boyhood encounter with John Fante on old Bunker Hill and a poem written on the spot to honor Minnie Epp, the woman who saved the Bradbury Building from a fiery death.