RARA-AVIS: Celebrate Great LA Noir Fiction With Esotouric's December Literary Bus Tours

From: Kim Cooper ( amscray@gmail.com)
Date: 03 Dec 2007

In December Esotouric, the eclectic bus adventure company whose tours reveal L.A.'s secret history, rolls out a quartet of tours in honor of the city's great noir authors living and dead: James Ellroy, Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain. The days are getting shorter, and the nights colder, and it's the perfect time to curl up with a classic LA book-or to get on the toasty Crime Bus.
  On 12/8, it's "Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place." The tour spans Chandler's L.A. from downtown landmarks that appear in thinly disguised form in his fiction to his favorite Hollywood haunts, and includes some off-the-bus-adventures, including a stop in the Barclay Hotel lobby to talk about the ice pick murder from "The Little Sister" and a visit to Scoops for complementary Chandler-themed gelato. From his pre-literary career as a failed, fired oil executive in boomtown 1910s downtown to his glory years penning pristine magazine pulp to the creative conflicts that dogged his highly paid, miserable years as a screenwriter and the boozy whirlwind that pulled him into the grave, the tour is a complex portrait of a compelling, brilliant and haunted soul.

On 12/15, it's "The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's Southern California Nightmare." (Seats are available 2-for-1 for anyone who's ridden the Esotouric bus this year, or who also buys a Chandler ticket.) In his best known novels (each one also made into a classic film) "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "Mildred Pierce" and "Double Indemnity," Cain painted a jaundiced portrait of a Southern California that was in stark contrast to the orange groves and mission bells sold by the city's boosters. Cain's LA was full of loose women with murder on their minds, lust-drenched cads who'd destroy their lives for a dame, rotten kids, suckers and saps. The tour explores Cain's life and work and how both were transformed when he reached the Southland, as well as the artisans who transformed Cain's tales into movies, including Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler, Joan Crawford and Lana Turner.

And on 12/22 and 12/29, James Ellroy hosts "James Ellroy Digs LA," a new tour through the city that haunts his dreams and inspires his art. Passengers will accompany the author in a luxurious coach class bus on an uncensored time travel journey to tony Hancock Park, where he stalked his teenage classmates and later broke into houses. . . to the Hollywood flats to explore some of the heinous 1950s murder cases that fascinated him as a youth and continue to feed his obsessions. . . and out to El Monte, where his mother Geneva was murdered, the unsolved crime that runs through all his work, from "The Black Dahlia" to "My Dark Places." (These tours are sold out, but we hope they will be offered again.)

It's a noir December in Los Angeles, and Esotouric is there to provide the backdrop. Get on the bus this month to see the unexpected and explore the city that we love.

yrs, Kim Esotouric http://www.esotouric.com

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