Wednesday, March 24, 2010

John Fante event April 8 in L.A.

Family, scholars and fans of Downtown L.A. novelist John Fante gather for 101st birthday and Fante Square unveiling

WHAT: Councilwoman Jan Perry unveils the commemorative JOHN FANTE SQUARE sign on the 101st anniversary of the author's birth

WHERE: Corner of 5th & Grand, downtown LA (next to the Central Library)

WHEN: Thursday, April 8, 12 noon ­ John Fante's 101st birthday

RELATED NEWS: Esotouric & On Bunker Hill have launched a self-guided tour map of John Fante's Downtown ­


And on Saturday, April 17, 12 noon Esotouric offers its occasional bus tour "John Fante's Dreams from Bunker Hill" ­


John Fante (1909-1983) was Charles Bukowski's favorite writer, his "Ask the Dust" was the book Robert Towne wanted to film after "Chinatown" (it finally was made in 2006 starring Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek, and Donald Sutherland) and he is honored with an annual festival in Italy but in 21st Century Los Angeles, his name often gets a shrug. That's too bad, because Fante might be the funniest, most heartwarming, honest and appealing writer to ever take this city as his subject.

But on April 8 John Fante's local fame will get a big jolt. That's when Councilwoman Jan Perry unveils an official City of Los Angeles sign designating the highly-trafficked intersection of 5th Street and Grand Avenue (at the foot of Fante's beloved Bunker Hill and next to the Central Library where Bukowski discovered "Ask the Dust") as JOHN FANTE SQUARE.

April 8 is also the 101st anniversary of John Fante's birth, and the perfect date to recognize his literary legacy and continued influence on the culture of downtown Los Angeles. Come celebrate Fante's birthday and this wonderful honor with members of the Fante family, city officials, scholars and fans of the author's unforgettable downtown anti-hero Arturo Bandini.

On JOHN FANTE'S DREAMS OF BUNKER HILL (April 17), passengers walk and ride in the footsteps of Fante and his anti-hero Arturo Bandini, from the lost Bunker Hill Victorian rooming houses where Fante starved and dreamed of fame, the main library where he roamed the stacks(and later, where Bukowski discovered "Ask the Dust"), the Skid Row bars where b-girls pocketed his royalty payments, the Grand Central Market where kindly Japanese farmers gave the poor writer free oranges, to the retirement home Angelus Plaza to see Kay Martin's stunning paintings of Bunker Hill's mansions just before the city condemned them, to the newly restored Angels Flight Railway. This is a tour celebrating the weird old L.A. that's not there anymore, where a poor Italian-American Colorado kid could sell a novel, become a screenwriter, and inspire a new generation of writers just by telling the raw and funny truth. And eventually, even get a street corner outside the main city library named in his honor! To learn more about Esotouric's forthcoming tour of John Fante's Bunker Hill, visit

Esotouric's Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are proud members of LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association

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