WHAT: Esotouric presents two back-to back Downtown Los Angeles bus tours
WHEN: April 26 (The Many Downtowns 11am-3:15pm; Main Street Vice 4pm-6pm)
COST: $55 for The Many Downtowns, $30 for Main Street Vice, or ride both for$70
WHERE: Both tours depart from Philippe the Original, opposite Union Station
These days it seems like the whole world is interested in Downtown L.A.‹the Germans have commissioned a neighborhood travel guide, overseas visitors fill the hotels, and a few Westsiders have even been spotted making the trek out to ArtWalk. But few people really understand how Downtown LA works. That's why Esotouric, the eclectic bus adventure company whose tours reveal the secret history of L.A. through crime, culture, literature and architecture, is offering a day of Downtown tours meant to bring alive the old ghosts and memories that cling to the streets and structures of the historic core. Esotouric is uniquely suited to explain Downtown, since they were recently named purveyors of the Best Downtown Tours by the Downtown News.
Tour #1 THE MANY DOWNTOWNS, part of the "Reyner Banham Loves LA"architecture and urbanism series, is a guided social history of the mysterious, complex and rapidly evolving center of L.A., a thriving neighborhood that was intentionally depopulated in the 1950s and is currently experiencing an extraordinary rebirth. Everyone complains L.A. lacks a center‹this tour explains why.
The tour features visits inside exquisite architectural gems, including some seldom seen by the general public. But it also offers a sophisticated analysis of the economic and social tools used to rebuild downtown. Featured locations include Grand Central Market, Title Guarantee Building (including its landmark Hugo Ballin murals), Angels Flight Railway, Pershing Square (with its tribute to novelist John Fante) and Grand Central Market.
Tour #2, MAIN STREET VICE is a celebration of the ribald, racy, raunchy old promenade where the better people simply did not travel, but kicks were had by all who did. Burlesque babes and dirty picture parlors, mummified old west outlaws and old time tattoo parlors, wax museums and pawn brokers, "professors" offering sex lectures and magazine peddlers with nudie Marilyn Monroe calendars under the counter, sophisticated steak houses and nickel donut dives -- these were the pleasures and the people to be found along Main during the first half of the 20th century, a street that every Angeleno knew offered more (yet less) of what could be seen anywhere else.
On this tour, we'll visit the scenes of some more unforgettable debaucheries and share stories of crime, smut, passion and commerce.
Tickets for these tours are offered individually ($55 for Many Downtowns; $30 for Main Street Vice), or in a $70 combo ticket. Taken together or singly, they are a great way to explore one of America's most fascinating neighborhoods with the tour company Lonely Planet calls "hip, offbeat, insightful and entertaining."
Upcoming Esotouric bus tour schedule (new tours starred):
Sat April 26 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: The Many Downtowns (4 hours,$55)
Sat April 26 - Main Street Vice (90 minutes, $30)
Sat May 3 - Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place
Sat May 10 - Blood & Dumplings San Gabriel Valley crime bus tour
Sat May 17- Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Route 66
Sat May 31 BookExpo Edition - Haunts of A Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowki's LA
*Sat June 7- Visionary Hollywood
Sat June 14- Vroman's - The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's SoCal Nightmare
Sat June 28 Amoeba Music - Where the Action Was rock history tour
*Sun July 20 Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Boyle Heights
Sat Aug 9- Vroman's Bookstore Haunts of A Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowki's LA
Sat Oct 11- Vroman's Bookstore - Raymond Chandler's LA
For more info on Esotouric, please visit http://www.esotouric.com
For more on Reyner Banham, seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reyner_Banham
And the BBC documentary "Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles"http://reyner.notlong.com