Tuesday, March 12, 2013

John Fante bus & walking tour with Esotouric April 6

 Esotouric's once-a-year "John Fante's Dreams from Bunker Hill" bus and
walking tour explores the lost Downtown L.A. of his 1939 novel "Ask the
WHEN: Saturday April 6, 12pm-4pm, departs from The Daily Dose, 1820
Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021.
COST: $58/person, or $90 for a two-literary-tour discounted weekend pass
WEEKEND PASS OFFER: "Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski's L.A."
rolls on Sunday, April 7. For a weekend pass or more Bukowski info, visit
OTHER LITERARY EVENTS IN APRIL: "The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern
California Nightmare" tour (4/13), "Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits' LA"
tour based on David Smay's 33 1/3 book (4/20), "LAVA Literary Salon: A
Dashiell Hammett Evening" (4/27)
MORE INFO: visit http://www.esotouric.com/fante or call 213-373-1947

LOS ANGELES- On April 8, 2010, the 101st birthday of L.A. author John Fante,
the City of Los Angeles officially designated the intersection of 5th &
Grand, beside the Central Library, as John Fante Square--a nomination
spearheaded by Richard Schave, host of Esotouric's John Fante tour. After
many decades as the obscure favorite of literary insiders, John Fante made a
quantum leap into public awareness, with tens of thousands of Angelenos
passing through his Square each day. IN 2011, UCLA Special Collections
hosted an exhibition of their newly accessioned collection of John Fante's
personal and creative archives. And the author's son Dan Fante has recently
published his well-received memoir "Fante: A Family's Legacy of Writing,
Drinking and Surviving" (Harper Perennial), which he read from to a packed
capacity room at the debut LAVA Literary Salon at Musso & Frank in January

The great John Fante is obscure no more.

Each April, lovers of John Fante's books and those curious about the lure
and the lore of downtown's lost neighborhood Bunker Hill are invited to come
celebrate Fante's new-found fame with L.A.'s most interesting bus tour
company, Esotouric, and their once-a-year JOHN FANTE'S DREAMS FROM BUNKER
HILL bus and walking tour.

Special guests for the 2013 edition: Bunker Hill native GORDON PATTISON,
whose family owned the last two Victorian mansions left standing on the
hill, and living history re-enactor MARCIA HARRIS, who will portray the
social reformer Fanny Bixby Spencer and talk about Fanny's work among the
poor and downtrodden of early 20th century downtown L.A..

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 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. And while his fame in his adopted city has been slow to arrive, Fante
might be the funniest, most heartwarming, honest and appealing writer to
ever take this city as his subject.

ABOUT THE TOUR: Each April, Esotouric rolls out its annual literary bus and
walking tour, JOHN FANTE'S DREAMS FROM BUNKER HILL, a chance to discover a
great writer and the lost downtown he celebrated, through the narration of
Esotouric's Richard Schave, the L.A. historian who proposed the Fante Square
designation. Downtown Los Angeles is a neighborhood to watch, but the New
Downtown exists on the footprint of a fascinating old neighborhood whose
stories are in danger of being lost.  Many of Esotouric's tours are devoted
to revealing this lost downtown, from the burlesque and freak show delights
of Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice to the secret post war woman's history
of The Real Black Dahlia to the architectural anthropology of The Lowdown on

On JOHN FANTE'S DREAMS OF BUNKER HILL, 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, on the recently restored Angels Flight Railway, 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.

RIDE WITH A REAL BUNKER HILL RESIDENT: Our special guest on the tour is
GORDON PATTISON, whose family was the last hold out against eminent domain
of historic Bunker Hill and owned the last two houses on the hill, the
Saltbox and the Castle. Gordon will share poignant personal memories of
growing up in the Bunker Hill community, a lively, multi-racial neighborhood
inhabited by artists, writers, the working poor, elderly pensioners and his
own very interesting family, who maintained historic mansions as multi-unit
apartments. Gordon recently testified at Los Angeles City Council, on the
day that the Community Redevelopment Agency which seized his family's
property was dissolved, to honor his old friends who had been displaced and
falsely smeared as slum dwellers. Hear Gordon Pattison on Episode #3 of
Esotouric's podcast, You Can't Eat The Sunshine:

MEET A TIME TRAVELER FROM OLD LOS ANGELES: Also appearing on the tour is
living history re-enactor MARCIA HARRIS, in her signature role of Long Beach
heiress and social reformer Fanny Bixby Spencer, the subject of her new
book, "Fanny Bixby Spencer: Long Beach's Inspirational Firebrand." In
character as Fanny, Marcia will share stories of her many visits to the old
red light district and slum neighborhoods which appear in Fante's novel "Ask
the Dust." Hear Marcia Harris on Episode #8 of Esotouric's podcast, You
Can't Eat The Sunshine: http://esotouric.com/canteatsunshine8

Get on the bus to bask in the spirit of 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

bus tours, Esotouric's Richard Schave and Kim Cooper are the creators of ON
BUNKER HILL, a comprehensive historical, architectural and cultural survey
that is part of the 1947project time travel blog series. ON BUNKER HILL is
online at http://www.onbunkerhill.org

For Esotouric's free self-guided walking tour of John Fante's lost Downtown,

Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule (free events starred)
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
*Sun March 31 - LAVA's Sunday Salon (info at lavatransforms.org)
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
*Sun April 14 - Neff Estate Tour in La Mirada (info at lavatransforms.org)
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 at lavatransforms.org)
Sat April 27 - The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour
Sat April 27 - LAVA Literary Salon: A Dashiell Hammett Evening (info at
*Sun April 28 - LAVA's Sunday Salon (info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat May 4 - Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour
Sat May 18 -  Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles
*Sun May 26 - LAVA's Sunday Salon (info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat June 1 - Eastside Babylon crime bus tour
Sat June 8 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour
Sat Jun 15 ­ Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour
Sat June 22 - Weird West Adams crime bus tour
*Sun June 30 - LAVA's Sunday Salon (info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat July 13 - Charles Bukowski's LA
Sat July 20 - The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern California
Sat July 27 - The Real Black Dahlia crime bus tour
*Sun July 28 - LAVA's Sunday Salon (info at lavatransforms.org)

Esotouric's Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are proud members of LAVA - The
Los Angeles Visionaries Association. http://www.lavatransforms.org

Photographs from the John Fante Square designation ceremony are available on
request. See the set at

See video of the John Fante Square designation ceremony, featuring
Esotouric's Richard Schave, Councilwoman Jan Perry, the author's children
Vickie Fante Cohen, Dan Fante and Jim Fante, Bunker Hill resident Gordon
Pattison, Fante biographer Stephen Cooper, UCLA Special Collections Director
Tom Hyry and Louise Steinman, Cultural Programs Director at Library
Foundation of Los Angeles at the link below:

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