Esotouric’s East Side Babylon Bus Tour – Exploring Some of L.A.’s Most Horrifying Forgotten Crimes

I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to spend time with other people who love LA as much as I do. One of the best ways to find these kindred spirits is to take a tour with them, and that’s exactly what I did several weeks ago. On Saturday afternoon, December 11th, I participated in a bus tour called East Side Babylon, run by Esotouric, a local tour company. The excursion introduced me to a facet of local history that I was largely unfamiliar with; namely, local crime tales from communities east of the Los Angeles river, including East LA and the cities of Montebello and Commerce.

Los Angeles Magazine Cover Archive Now Online

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Los Angeles Magazine has reached into its archive and put its covers online. When I browsed the collection, I was surprised how many of them I remembered from either reading particular issues or seeing them on the newsstand. Seeing the magazine’s covers presented chronologically by year highlights the […]

Los Angeles History and Holiday Gifts All Under One Roof

This Saturday, The Studio for Southern California History is hosting a holiday book boutique and bake sale “featuring recent and memorable work related to Los Angeles history—from children’s books to advanced scholarship.” A number of local poets, historians, and children’s literature authors plan to attend this event and sign their books, such as Martin Cox and Gordon Ghareeb (Hollywood to Honolulu, The Story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company), William David Estrada (The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space) and Olga Garcia Echeverria (Falling Angeles: Cuentos y Poemas), among others. For a complete list of participants, please check out this event flyer.

One Weekend – Three Great Events

If you’re looking for things to do this weekend, I have three suggestions.

1. Attend the California State Parks 2nd Annual Film Series

2. Participate in Strolling on 7th Street

3. Experience Let Them Eat LACMA

Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood

Monday, November 1st marks the premier of a new documentary on Turner Classic Movies called Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood. While I have not seen this seven part series myself, writer and producer Jon Wilkman is a highly regarded LA based documentary filmmaker who along with his wife, Nancy Wilkman, have produced a number of award winning films and written two excellent pictorial histories of Los Angeles, Picturing Los Angeles and Los Angeles: A Pictorial Celebration. You can find both books in the photography section of my online store – ShopLA.

A History Lover’s Paradise

I spent this past Saturday at the 5th Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, which was sponsored by LA as SUBJECT and held in the Doheny Library on the USC campus. While the event was free and open to the public, by my estimation the majority of attendees were local archivists, as well as students and faculty from a cross section of southern California colleges and universities.


I have always admired the ease with which the people of Los Angeles embrace change and look to the future. And yet, I know this attribute has led to much destruction of what came before, the obliteration of our past and at times, the elimination of existing communities that were seemingly invisible to those with the power to impose change for their own benefit.

During the last century, we lost once vibrant neighborhoods such as Bunker Hill, Chavez Ravine, and the old Chinatown. We also lost numerous architecturally and/or historically significant buildings, such as the Brown Derby restaurant, the Columbia Savings Building, the Ambassador Hotel, Welton Becket and Associates office building and the Hollywood Star Lanes bowling alley, just to name a few.