Monday, January 28, 2013

Esotouric to offer Reyner Banham Loves LA tours

 Esotouric's architecture and urbanism tour series, REYNER BANHAM LOVES
L.A. includes four tours in February -- plus a FREE downtown walking tour
WHERE/WHEN: ROUTE 66 tour departs Saturday, February 2, 11:30 am; SOUTH LOS
ANGELES tour departs Sunday, February 3, 11:30am; THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN
tour departs Saturday, February 16, 12pm; * NEW TOUR * BOYLE HEIGHTS & THE
SAN GABRIEL VALLEY tour departs Saturday, February 23, 12pm. All four bus
tours leave from The Daily Dose, 1820 Industrial St., Los Angeles, CA 90021.
FREE TOUR: Tour host Richard Schave also offers a free downtown architecture
walking tour after the free (back from hiatus) LAVA Sunday Salon on Sunday,
February 24 (info at ). THE FLANEUR & THE CITY: BROADWAY
TOUR #2 is free but reservations are required. Tour departs from Les Noces
du Figaro, 618 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, 90014.
COST: $58/person for individual bus tours or $90 for a ROUTE 66/SOUTH LOS
ANGELES weekend pass, walking tour is free.
INFO: Architecture tour series webpage ­
LAVA walking tour info
PODCAST: Esotouric's weekly L.A. history podcast is at
CONTACT: Email or call 213-373-1947

Los Angeles is a place that defies easy understanding or
description. Love it or hate it, everyone has a strong opinion about the
place. But what is Los Angeles, really? Even natives are sometimes baffled.

Join the Los Angeles natives of Esotouric, the offbeat bus adventure company
whose tours reveal the secret heart of the southland, as they host a series
of informative, educational and provocative excursions going deep into the
region's most fascinating crannies. Take one REYNER BANHAM LOVES L.A. tour,
or the whole series, for a richer understanding of a fascinating place.

Tours in the series roll along ROUTE 66 in the San Gabriel Valley, down
along the 710 freeway to view the gems and oddities of SOUTH L.A, due east
to explore the cultural histories of BOYLE HEIGHTS & THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY
and into the heart of the urban core for THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN. Also
offered is a very special event, Esotouric's Richard Schave's and
architectural historian Nathan Marsak's free downtown walking tour, THE
FLANEUR & THE CITY: BROADWAY TOUR #2, under the umbrella of LAVA - The Los
Angeles Visionaries Association, immediately following the free (back from
hiatus) LAVA Sunday Salon where Schave and Marsak will be presenting on
1940s-era downtown film footage. All tours begin downtown.

ABOUT THE ROUTE 66 TOUR (February 2):
It's a common misconception that ROUTE 66 only gets interesting in Arizona.
But when Esotouric's Route 66 bus tour departs from downtown Los Angeles,
passengers are in for a four-hour tour packed with stunning retro jewels
plucked from L.A.'s own backyard. ROUTE 66 only exists today in small
fragments, but many of the unique attractions that dotted its length survive
and flourish today. Get on the bus to explore the real Southland, as no one
but Esotouric's Richard Schave can reveal it. Richard's unique expertise on
unknown Los Angeles has seen him as a featured guide on television's "Globe
Trekker" (Grand Central Market) and "Cities of the Underworld" (downtown's
prohibition-era tunnels) and speaking at the Canadian Centre for
Architecture and Hammer Museum. The ROUTE 66 tour explores California's
original mass transit corridor and the building of its dream, from climate
to citrus industry, Kalifornia Krazy architectural novelties to bucolic
bungalows. Highlights in this edition of ROUTE 66 include a tour of E. WALDO
WARD FARM (the oldest surviving commercial citrus facility in LA, where
passengers can buy scrumptious preserves and almond-filled olives to take
home), a stop at Robert Stacy Judd's 1924 masterpiece THE AZTEC HOTEL
(currently being renovated), a swing around the homes of the feuding SLAUSON
SISTERS tucked among vast cleared fields awaiting new development (hidden
gems of Azusa lore and family dynamics, and a reminder of how fragile
ecologies fall to the incessant crush of progress). Passengers will also
tour the seldom-seen Civil War-era FAIRMOUNT CEMETERY and view the evocative
BUNGALOWS of old Monrovia accompanied by host Richard Schave's lively
rendition of a vintage bungalow booster tune.

The tour begins downtown and works its way south through Vernon, Bell
Gardens, Santa Fe Springs and Downey, and through the past two centuries,
exploring some of L.A.'s seldom-seen gems. Turning the West Side-centric
notion of an L.A. architecture tour on its head‹just like Banham's book did
for the historical monograph ­ the bus goes into areas not traditionally
associated with the important, beautiful or significant, raising issues of
preservation, adaptive reuse and the evolution of the city. The locations
all speak to the power, mutability and reach of the Southern California
Dream. Tour stops include: Rancho San Antonio (circa 1840, one of the oldest
adobe structure in Los Angeles County, this fascinating home sits smack dab
in the middle of a 65-year-old trailer park on the banks of the Rio Hondo
River in Bell Gardens);  The Clarke Estate (1920, a lost masterpiece by
tilt-slab concrete architect Irving Gill, this Mission Revival-inspired
dwelling features symbolic leaves pressed into the walls and feels like a
time capsule from a simpler California); Johnie's Broiler (1958/2008, a
cautionary tale about historic preservation, this beloved Downey diner with
its landmark neon sign was illegally demolished by a tenant who wanted to
park used cars in its place. The site was barred from further commercial use
due to public outcry, and has been restored as a Bob's Big Boy).

This is NOT a tour about beautiful buildings--although beautiful buildings
will be all around you. This is NOT a tour about brilliant
architects--although we will gaze upon their works and marvel.
The Lowdown on Downtown IS a tour about urban redevelopment, public policy,
protest, power and the police. It is a revealing history of how the New
Downtown became an "overnight sensation" after decades of quiet work behind
the scenes by public agencies and private developers. This tour is about
what really happened in the heart of Los Angeles, a complicated story that
will fascinate and infuriate, break your heart and thrill your spirit. So
join Richard Schave, the founding director of the Downtown LA Art Walk
non-profit, on a tour that reveals the secret history, and the fascinating
future, of this most beguiling LA neighborhood. THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN 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. 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, learn how gentrification
sprung up on the city's meanest streets with all the conflicts that go along
with a community's socio-economic shift, meet creative residents and explore
unique destinations. Featured locations include the intentionally
depopulated Bunker Hill and its Angels Flight funicular railway, Grand
Central Market, the concrete design disaster Pershing Square (with its
tribute to novelist John Fante), European-style dining alley St. Vincent's
Court, the lyrical glass-topped Mercantile Arcade Building (an exact replica
of a London landmark) and a visit to an underground art space. Get on the
bus for the real Lowdown on Downtown, the story the boosters don't want you
to hear.

On the east side the Los Angeles River, some of the most fascinating
Southern California stories are waiting to be told. Come take a century¹s
social history tour through the transformation of neighborhoods, punctuated
with immersive stops to sample the sites, smells and cultures that make our
changing city so beguiling. Voter registration, citizenship classes,
walkouts, blow-outs, anti-Semitism, adult education, racial covenants,
boycotts, The City Beautiful, Exclusion Acts and Immigration Acts, property
values, xenophobia, and delicious dumplings‹all are themes which will be
addressed on this lively bus and walking tour. Tour stops include The
Vladeck Center, Libros Schmibros, Hollenbeck Park, Evergreen Cemetery, The
Venice Room, El Encanto & Cascades Park, Divine¹s Furniture, the endangered
Wyvernwood Garden Apartments and Wing Hop Fung for a complementary tea
tasting. 1) THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY SECTION: In the mid-1920s, Monterey Park
was poised on the brink of becoming the Beverly Hills of the east. The Wall
Street crash put an end to opulent residential development, but left some
beautiful remnants of what might have been. In the 1950s, a thriving
Italian-American community settled in the hills, and established some of the
area¹s most beloved landmark businesses. Since the 1980s, the communities of
Alhambra, San Gabriel and Monterey Park have transformed themselves from
sleepy suburban bedroom communities (bursting at the seams from a 1950s
housing explosion) to the nexus of a pan-Asian megalopolis. Fueled by
immigration and investment from Taiwan, Hong Kong and South-East Asia, these
communities have found their 21st Century identity, and their economic
base‹but at the expense of aging long-time residents, who have seen familiar
neighborhoods and retail zones become unrecognizable. 2) THE BOYLE HEIGHTS
SECTION: In the 1890s, Rev. Dana Bartlett ministered to and taught the
Russian Molokons in the cramped riverside neighborhood known then and now as
"The Flats." Today, the area contains public housing projects--a belated
mid-century solution to the social problems that worried Bartlett, and an
ongoing challenge for residents and city planners. In the 1960s, the Chicano
Moratorium emerged from the same streets where in the 1920s and 1930s Jewish
activists helped change the face of labor in California and the nation.
Using the organizing tools first honed by their Jewish neighbors, young
Chicanos stood up and rejected the military machine that sent so many of
their peers to die in Vietnam, and developed an empowered social identity
that lead all the way to the Mayor¹s office.

For the latest installment of urban historian Richard Schave¹s site-specific
discussion series "The Flâneur & The City," Richard (Esotouric bus
adventures, In SRO Land) is joined by architectural historian Nathan Marsak
(1947project, On Bunker Hill). The series is an ongoing attempt to explore
some of the more important issues revealed by the constantly changing heart
of the metropolis. The core notion of the series is of culture and history
as commodities that are packaged and sold to a target demographic;
meanwhile, it¹s the ignored and seemingly worthless scraps of meaning found
on the sidewalks and marketplaces where the true remnants of positive public
space can be found. All interpretations and nuisances of the word flâneur
are examined‹from the modern-day aesthete dreaming of Baudelaire while
carried along in the human tide past the stalls and shops of Broadway, to
its more recent and perhaps relevant use, someone who is loitering. At its
heart this series is a celebration of the simple act of getting out of your
car, walking through a neighborhood and learning to see it with your own
eyes. On this excursion we¹ll be casting our eyes northward along Broadway,
from 6th Street up to 4th Street, an area that is part of the National
Register designation footprint. Broadway has been a vibrant commercial
artery and transit hub of Los Angeles since the 1890s, and we'll explore
that rich history with a focus on the buildings, their architects, and their
varied uses. This tour will be slightly different from others in this
series, as nearly all of the buildings under discussion still survive.  Tour
guests will gather upstairs at Les Noces du Figaro as the LAVA Sunday Salon
concludes. Please note that the final presentation of the free LAVA Sunday
Salon immediately preceding this tour is important back story to the tour
and attendance at the Salon is encouraged. Reservations are not required at
the free Salon, but they are for the walking tour.

Inspired by the British architectural critic Reyner Banham, who tour host
Richard Schave studied under at UC Santa Cruz, the REYNER BANHAM LOVES LOS
ANGELES series offers a fresh way of looking at the urban web of history,
mass transit, migration and mystery that somehow holds L.A. together.  The
Reyner Banham Loves LA series of Esotouric bus adventures provides fresh
ways of seeing the Southland and mingling with fascinating fellow travelers,
and are a must for urban explorers, architecture buffs, curious locals,
daring tourists, and anyone who enjoys turning over rocks to reveal the
secrets beneath. Come ride and see for yourself.

Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule (free events starred)
Sat January 26 - The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern California
Sat Feb 2 -  Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Route 66 (weekend pass
Sun Feb 3 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: South LA (weekend pass
Sat Feb 16 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: The Lowdown on Downtown
Sat Feb 23 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Boyle Heights & the San
Gabriel Valley
*Sun Feb 24  - Back after a 15 month hiatus - LAVA's free Sunday Salon (info
*Sun Feb - The Flâneur & The City: Broadway Tour #2 (info at
Sat March 2 - Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice
*Sat March 9 ­ Behind the Scenes tour of the Southwest Museum (info at
Sat March 16 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour (weekend pass available)
Sun March 17 - Eastside Babylon crime bus tour (weekend pass available)
Sat March 23 - Weird West Adams  crime bus tour
Sat April 6 - John Fante's Dreams from Bunker Hill (weekend pass available)
Sun April 7 - Charles Bukowski's LA (weekend pass available)
Sat April 13 - The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern California
Sat April 20 - SPECIAL EVENT: Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits' LA
Sun April 21 - Crime lab seminar: Insights in Criminal Investigation and the
Secret World of Street Gangs with Nick Guskos (info
Sat April 27 - The Real Black Dahlia
Sat May 4 - Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour
Sat May 18 -  Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

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

For more on Reyner Banham, see

And the BBC documentary "Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles"

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