Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Esotouric to offer Reyner Banham LA bus tour Sept. 15

Provocative Downtown LA bus tour strips away gentrification hype to reveal
secret urban histories

WHAT: Esotouric presents "The Lowdown on Downtown: The Secret History of Los
Angeles" urban history bus and walking tour, part of the Reyner Banham Loves
LA architecture and urbanism series
WHEN: Saturday, September 15, 11am-3:00pm
COST: $58
WHERE: Departs from The Daily Dose, 1820 Industrial St., Los Angeles, CA
INFO: or call 213-373-1947

"Dorothy Parker once described Los Angeles as 72 suburbs in search of a
city. Thanks to [Esotouric's Richard] Schave and his friends that may
finally be changing." ­ Michael Benedict, Toronto Star

It seems like everyone is talking about Downtown L.A. ­ from
the Grand Park to Occupy LA, thriving indie businesses to the arrival of
Starbucks, riot police at Art Walk to an artistic enterprise zone on
Broadway, streetcars to bike lanes, the King Eddy Saloon to Bottega Louie.
But even Los Angeles natives still have trouble understanding how Downtown
works and how it got that way.

That's why Esotouric, the eclectic bus adventure company whose tours reveal
the secret history of L.A. through crime, culture and literature, is
offering Richard Schave's THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN: THE SECRET HISTORY OF LOS ANGELES, a provocative tour in the "Reyner Banham Loves L.A." architecture
and urbanism series. The tour exists to put the old ghosts and memories that
cling to the historic core into context, and provide natives and visitors
with the tools to understand how this most fascinating neighborhood was
built, used, abandoned, rediscovered, redeveloped and rebranded -- and
what's next for Downtown in a post-CRA Los Angeles.

Esotouric is uniquely suited to explain Downtown. The husband-and-wife team
of Kim Cooper and Richard Schave were named purveyors of the Best Downtown
Tours by the Downtown News, are the creators of three "time travel blogs"
exploring lost L.A. lore (On Bunker Hill, In SRO Land and 1947project), and
volunteered to place the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk into a non-profit in
2009. Schave's most memorable TV appearance was as the Downtown expert on
the History Channel's "Cities of the Underworld," guiding host Don Wildman
through the prohibition-era tunnels beneath the old King Edward Hotel, he
was invited to lecture on urban L.A. at the Canadian Centre for Architecture
in Montreal, and he has been heard on KPCC and KCRW lamenting the pending
closure of the King Eddy Saloon, the last Skid Row bar. Kim and Richard's
ongoing passion for uncovering the variety of Downtown's hidden history
means that every tour is different, and that you'll learn things that the
other tour companies can't or won't tell you.

THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN is a guided social history of the mysterious,
complex and rapidly evolving center of L.A., a thriving commercial and
residential 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. Passengers will visit exquisite
architectural gems, including some seldom seen by the general public, but
they'll also enjoy a sophisticated analysis of the economic and social tools
used to rebuild downtown (including a discussion of what's next for
redevelopment in the aftermath of the dissolution of the controversial
Community Redevelopment Agency), learn how the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk
sprung up on the city's meanest streets and played a significant roll in
transforming them, meet creative residents and explore unique destinations.
A central theme on the tour is the privatization of public space, and how
Business Improvement Districts are seeking to transform the urban core, and
running up against resistance from civil libertarians, loft owners and
homeless and park advocates.

Featured locations include the intentionally depopulated Bunker Hill and its
Angels Flight funicular railway, Grand Central Market, Pershing Square (with
its tribute to novelist John Fante and some of the most draconian rules of
any public space in the city -- site of a recent standoff between LAPD and
Occupy LA chalk art protesters), the European-style dining alley St.
Vincent's Court, the Mercantile Arcade Building (an exact replica of a
London landmark), and a surprising excursion into the neighborhood's
underground arts scene.

So climb aboard THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN tour and explore one of America's
most fascinating neighborhoods with the tour company Lonely Planet calls
"hip, offbeat, insightful and entertaining."

Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule (free events starred)
*Sun September 2 - The Flâneur & The City: Broadway walking tour (info at
Sat September 8 - Weird West Adams
Sat September 15 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: The Lowdown on Downtown
Sat September 22 - Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice
Sat September 29 - The Real Black Dahlia
Sat October 6 - Pasadena Confidential (weekend pass available)
Sun October 7 - Eastside Babylon (weekend pass available)
Sat October 13 - The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern California
Mon October 15- The LAVA Salon at Musso & Frank: Jim Tully: A Hobo in
Hollywood (info at
Sat October 27 - Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles
Sun October 28 - Crime lab seminar: The Wisdom of Teeth (info at
Sat November 3 - Charles Bukowski's Los Angeles
Sun November 4 ­ Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour
Sat December 1 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour (weekend pass
Sun December 2 - Eastside Babylon crime bus tour (weekend pass available)
Sat December 8 - Weird West Adams crime bus tour
Sat December 15 ­ Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour

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 more info on Esotouric, please visit
For more on Reyner Banham, see
And the BBC documentary "Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles"

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