Offbeat bus tour reveals the sexy, strange and sometimes bloody history of Downtown L.A.
WHAT: Esotouric presents Hotel Horrors and Main Street Vice, a Downtown double-feature bus and walking tour
WHEN: Saturday, June 4, 12pm-4pm
COST: $58/person (15% off for KCRW members)
WHERE: Departs from Cafe Metropol at 923 East 3rd Street, LA 90013, tour covers downtown LA's historic core
INFO: http://www.esotouric.com or call 323-223-2767
TOUR PHOTOS: http://flickr.com/photos/richardschave/sets/72157623986634614
RELATED TOURS: Esotouric's June crime bus tours also include Pasadena Confidential (June 18) and East Side Babylon (June 19)
From the founding of the city through the 1940s, Downtown was the true center of Los Angeles, a lively, densely populated, exciting and sometimes dangerous place. After many quiet decades, Downtown is making an incredible return. But while many of the historic buildings remain, newly inhabited by history-conscious loft dwellers, downtown's stories have been lost. 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 HOTEL HORRORS AND MAIN STREET VICE, a tour meant to bring alive the old ghosts and memories that cling to the streets and structures of the historic core.
The HOTEL HORRORS section of the tour is steeped in true crime and oddities, featuring some of the wildest, weirdest, goriest and most memorable happenings in historic hotels like the Alexandria, Hayward, Barclay, King Edward and Cecil. Join the tour and you'll step inside several of these legendary locales, and find out where Night Stalker Richard Ramirez slept, which hotel saw a visit from the Skid Row Slasher, where two traveling chocolate salesmen laughed so hard they fell backwards out a window to their deaths. You'll also explore the fiery curse that repeatedly leveled the St. George Hotel, and hear some lighthearted stories to help the blood and gore go down.
The MAIN STREET VICE section is a social history lesson celebrating 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 western 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. We'll visit the scenes of some more unforgettable debaucheries and share stories of crime, smut, passion and commerce.
Climb aboard for a time travel journey back to the downtown that's not there anymore, and the surprising number of gems that survive.
And if you're looking for offbeat L.A. history but can't wait to ride the Esotouric bus, there's plenty of good stuff online. In addition to this and other historic Los Angeles bus tours, Esotouric's team created the 1947project "time travel blog" series of alternate history Web sites, including In SRO Land ("lost lore of the historic core" at www.insroland.org ), On Bunker Hill (www.onbunkerhill.org ) and theoriginal 1947project ("a crime a day" from 1947, 1927 and 1907 at www.1947project.com and www.1947project.blogspot.com).
Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule
Sat May 14 - Weird West Adams crime bus tour
Sat May 28 - Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits' L.A.
Sun May 29 - LAVA's free Sunday Salon (info at www.lavatransforms.org)
Sat June 4 - Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour
Sat June 18 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour (weekend pass available)
Sun June 19 - Eastside Babylon crime bus tour (weekend pass available)
Sun June 26 - LAVA's free Sunday Salon (info at www.lavatransforms.org)
Sat July 9 - The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour
Sat July 16 - Raymond Chandler's L.A.
Sat July 30 - Maja's Mysteries: Rapture & Release
Sun July 31 - LAVA's free Sunday Salon (info at www.lavatransforms.org)
For more info on Esotouric, visit http://www.esotouric.com
Esotouric's Richard Schave and Kim Cooper are proud members of LAVA -The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. http://www.lavatransforms.org