WHAT: Debut excursion of Esotouric's "L.A. Noir" bus and walking tour
WHEN: Saturday September 19, 12pm-4pm, departing from Clifton's Cafeteria, 648 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014
COST: $62/person including hard-cover copy of "L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City," signed by author John Buntin.
MORE INFO: visit http://www.esotouric.com/lanoir or call 323-223-2767
RELATED TOURS: Esotouric's Noir September series also includes "The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern California Nightmare" on 9/12.
Other cities have histories. Los Angeles has legends. For more than sixty years, writers and directors from Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder to Roman Polanski and James Ellroy have explored L.A.'s origins, its underbelly, and (yes) its blondes in fiction and films like "The Big Sleep," "Double Indemnity," "Chinatown," and "L.A. Confidential." Yet this preoccupation with a mythic past has obscured something important -- the true history of noir Los Angeles.
Now John Buntin, the author of the forthcoming "L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City" (Crown/Harmony), and Esotouric, L.A.'s most eclectic bus adventure company, have teamed up to explore the forgotten haunts, hits, and harems of underworld L.A. and the rivalry between the two men who shaped it -- one L.A.'s most notorious gangster, the other its most controversial police chief.
Featherweight boxer Mickey Cohen left the ring for the rackets, first as mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's enforcer, then as his protégé and successor. Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, and Sammy Davis, Jr. palled around with him; TV journalist Mike Wallace wanted his stories; evangelist Billy Graham sought his soul.
William H. Parker was the proud son of a pioneering law enforcement family from the fabled frontier town of Deadwood. As a rookie patrolman in the Roaring Twenties, he discovered that L.A. was ruled by a shadowy "Combination" of tycoons, politicians, and underworld bosses. His life mission became to topple it -- and to create a police force that would never answer to elected officials again. In the process, he created the modern LAPD and unwittingly paved the way for the city's greatest tragedy, the Watts riots, saddling Los Angeles with a legacy of racial mistrust that endures to this day.
Novelist Michael Connelly calls "L.A. Noir" "fascinating, flat out entertaining." Kirkus Reviews raves, "A roller coaster ride.... gripping social history and a feast for aficionados of cops-and-robbers stories, both real and imagined," and USC historian Kevin Starr says the book is "a tour de force of non-fiction narrative." Together, Buntin and Esotouric take you on a journey to the sites where Hollywood madam Brenda Allen played and where Mickey's enforcers killed to enforce his will.
From Clifton's redwood-themed Brookdale Cafeteria downtown, L.A. Noir passengers will proceed on foot to the movie palace where 17-year-old Bill Parker worked as an usher -- and fell into a disastrous love affair -- as well as the site of 9-year-old Mickey Cohen's first holdup. Boarding a luxurious coach class bus, the tour will visit Mickey Cohen's childhood haunts in the old Jewish neighborhood Boyle Heights, as well as the site of one of L.A.'s most notorious attempted assassinations, en route to significant spots in LAPD and mob history. We'll stop by "the glass house," visit one of fashion plate madam Brenda Allen former haunts, revisit Billy Graham's "canvass cathedral" and discuss the evangelist's decade long effort to "save" Mickey Cohen, stop by Cohen's old commission office, hear a first-hand account of how Mickey operated, and visit the old Lincoln Heights jail, site of the brutal Christmas 1951 events that inspired the opening of James Ellroy's "L.A. Confidential."
With Kim Cooper, the creator of Esotouric's true crime tours and creator of the new L.A. time travel blog In SRO Land (http://www.insroland.org) riding shotgun, there will also be plenty of surprises. So get on the bus as the whole filthy truth is spread out before you, on the first new Esotouric bus adventure of 2009.
Author John Buntin's additional L.A. events include:
September 15, 7pm - Vroman's,
695 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101, (626) 449-5320, http://www.vromansbookstore.com
September 16th, 7pm - EsoWon Books,
4331 Degnan Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008,
September 17th, 7pm - Barnes & Noble,
Third Street Promenade and Arizona,
Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 260-9110
September 21, 7:30pm - Writers Bloc at Temple Emanuel, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, http://www.tebh.org
Esotouric's Fall schedule: The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern California Nightmare (Sat Sept 12), John Buntin's L.A. Noir (Sat Sept 19), Wild Wild West Side (Sat Oct 10), Raymond Chandler's Bay City (Sat Oct 17), Maja's Mysteries Halloween Tour (Sat Oct 31), East Side Babylon crime bus tour (Sun Nov 1), Charles Bukowski's L.A. (Sat Nov 7), The Real Black Dahlia (Sat Nov 14), Pasadena Confidential (Sat Dec 5), Blood & Dumplings (Sat Dec 12)
ABOUT ESOTOURIC: Founded in 2007 by newlyweds Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, the company quickly cornered the market on offbeat true crime history tours and highbrow literary and architectural explorations. From their "Real Black Dahlia" tour ("an L.A. classic" -- Los Angeles Times) to "Raymond Chandler's L.A.," sold-out personal history tours guest hosted by James Ellroy to alternative neighborhood guides like "Pasadena Confidential," Esotouric's weekly bus adventure has become a must for locals seeking to know their city better, and a lucky find for savvy travelers.