Esotouric celebrates the Ides of March with two East L.A. true crime excursions
WHAT: Esotouric, L.A.'s most eclectic tour company, looks across the L.A. River with the EAST SIDE BABYLON / BLOOD & DUMPLINGS crime bus tour weekend
WHEN: East Side Babylon tour Saturday, March 12, 12pm-4pm; Blood & Dumplings tour Sunday, March 13, 12pm-4pm
WHERE: East Side Babylon tour departs from Cafe Metropol, 923 E. 3rd.Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013; Blood & Dumplings tour departs from Philippe The Original, 1001 Alameda, Los Angeles, CA 90012
COST: East Side Babylon tickets $58/person; Blood & Dumplings tickets$62/person. Weekend pass for both tours $95/person
INFO: http://www.esotouric.com, 323-223-2767
Ask most people to name a true crime location in Los Angeles and you'll hear about Nicole Brown's Brentwood condo, the Manson Murders scene in the Hollywood Hills, the Black Dahlia's disappearance from the Biltmore Hotel or Bugsy Siegel's Beverly Hills death house. But when the crack researchers of Esotouric, L.A.'s most eclectic bus tour company, go crime hunting, they throw out the map to the stars homes and cast their eye to less glamorous L.A. neighborhoods that prove to be packed with bizarre crime histories.
True crime buffs have already heard the famous stories a dozen times before on cable TV, but the forgotten crimes Esotouric digs up are fresh, fascinating and truly chilling. And in mid-March, Esotouric offers a weekend double feature packed with the weirdest crimes ever committed on the East Side of town.
On Saturday, March 12, a select crew of urban explorers will climb aboard for EAST SIDE BABYLON, the latest addition to Esotouric's popular crime bus tour series. Passengers on this unusual bus adventure will discover fascinating, little-known historic neighborhoods and the grim memories they hold. With crimes spanning the 20th Century, some hideously gruesome, others weird and frankly unbelievable, the tour provides a new way of discovering the city, via crime scenes and oddities that make ordinary houses a intersections seem to vibrate with a mysterious energy. Come visit Boyle Heights, where Night Stalker Richard Ramirez 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, eggnog and cookies at Broguiere's Farm Fresh Dairy washed down with a horrifying case of child murder. All this, and so much more on EAST SIDE BABYLON, Esotouric's exploration of L.A.'s most horrifying forgotten crimes.
And on Sunday, March 13, it's a most demented crime bus tour, BLOOD AND DUMPLINGS. Starting from the premise that the secret heart of Southern California's weirdo pop culture beats strongest in the Eastern San Gabriel Valley, the tour introduces passengers to such fascinating local characters as the costumed Man from Mars Bandit, eccentric record producer and ladykiller Phil Spector, lion farmers Charles and Muriel Gay, and DIY filmmaking icon Timothy Carey, whose notorious "The World's Greatest Sinner" was shot on location in 1960s El Monte.
Heading due East out of downtown, the tour explores several historic communities that reflect the growth and eccentricity that are hallmarks of 20th century Los Angeles. Crime Bus passengers will discover notorious, strange, fascinating and forgotten tales from the past hundred years, each told at the scene of the crime. They'll thrill to the freakish case of the Man from Mars Bandit who stalked area supermarkets for months in 1951 before meeting his match in a police sharpshooter, shock to discover the deadly infighting among El Monte's hippie-era American Nazi Party members, mourn the Case of the Buried Bride dragged beneath her home on her wedding day by her secret lover, gnash teeth at the famous lion farm (home to every MGM lion) that served lion meat BBQ on special occasions, and view scenes of notorious cases including Phil Spector's spooky hilltop castle and James Ellroy's slain mother Geneva (the true-life inspiration for his Black Dahlia novel).
And since no visit to theSan Gabriel Valley is complete without a delicious Chinese meal, the Crime Bus will stop at 101 Noodle Express (one of L.A. Weekly critic Jonathan Gold's picks for 99 L.A. restaurants not to be missed) to pick up a dumpling feast, which will be enjoyed picnic-style at Monster Park, a remarkable folk art playground environment recently saved from demolition and named a State monument. All this, plus wild shootouts, dope-dealing druggists, missing Salvador Dali paintings and the original "little girl down a well" 1940s television sensation. Don't miss the Crime Bus tour that guide Kim Cooper calls "My personal favorite of all our tours, packed with more offbeat history, horror, roadside architecture and fabulous Route 66 vistas than any other."
Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule
Sat Feb 19 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Route 66 (weekend package available)
Sat Feb 20 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Boyle Heights (debut, weekend package available)
Sat Feb 26 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: The Lowdown on Downtown-The Secret History of Los Angeles
Sun Jan 27 - LAVA's Sunday Salon at Clifton's Cafeteria (free, info at lavatransforms.org)
Sun Jan 27 - Charles Bukowski's Downtown L.A. walking tour (free, info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat March 5 - Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour
Sat March 12 - Eastside Babylon crime bus tour (weekend package available)
Sun March 13 - Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour (weekend package available)
Sat March 19 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour
Sat April 9 John Fante's Dreams from Bunker Hill (weekend package available)
Sun April 10 - Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski's L.A (weekend package available)
Sat April 16 - The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour
Sun April 17 - Trace: inside the world of Lynne Herold, Criminalist (info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat April 23 - In A Lonely Place: Raymond Chandler's L.A.
Sat April 30 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Route 66 (weekend package available)
Sun May 1 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: South L.A. (weekend packag eavailable)
Sat May 14 - Weird West Adams crime bus tour
Sat May 28 - Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits' L.A.
Esotouric's Richard Schave, Kim Cooper and Joan Renner are proud members of LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association.
For more info on Esotouric, visit
For East Side Babylon info, visit