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Before Kerouac, before Bukowski, there was John Fante, author of "Ask the Dust," "Dreams of Bunker Hill," "Full of Life," "The Road to Los Angeles" and "Wait Until Spring, Bandini." This five-novel cycle, written over sixty years, introduced the world to Arturo Bandini, an outspoken, down-and-out Mr. Hyde to Fante's Dr. Jekyll.
As Bunker Hill's prodigal son, Fante-as-Bandini chronicles a forgotten Los Angeles neighborhood teeming with immigrants, criminals and dreamers like himself. With genuine compassion and wonderful craft, he sketches the hopes and dreams which fly round their heads, and in the process finds his own voice, a revelation which carries him all the way to Hollywood. Once there, he is distracted by fame and fortune, and settles for easy answers to the questions of faith in oneself, the nature of inspiration, and the duality of failure and redemption. "Dreams of Bunker Hill" was dictated by a blind Fante two years before his death, and "Road to Los Angeles" was published posthumously. Bunker Hill is gone now, flattened, its mansions torn down, long since redeveloped by corporate and civic interests. But in today's downtown communities the same stories play out, in thriving micro-climates where artists and writers find their voices, where some are making it big and others breaking up on the reef, some moving away and others coming back in search of what they have lost. Arturo Bandini is alive and well, and his lament is as relevant today as it was 75 years ago. So please join us as we follow in his footsteps, to the Goodwill store, King Eddy's, Clifton's Cafeteria ("pay what you can"), the Los Angeles Library's Reading Room and the Post Office Terminal Annex (important landmarks for Bukowski and Fante), aboard the newly-restored Angels Flight Railway, and other evocative scenes of old L.A.
This tour is a meditation not only on John Fante, but the preservation of Public Space. The depopulation of Bunker Hill in the early 1960s became the benchmark for Community Redevelopment across the country-the term "Federal Bulldozer" came out of the many lawsuits filed against the city at the time. And now that corporate interests have decided it is time to repopulate western downtown Los Angeles with market-rate housing the ensuing catastrophe has spawned many new monikers (elegant density is one of the more polite ones) and problems. Public Space downtown can be saved and Arturo Bandini can lead the way.
Please Note: This tour will have several sections which involve walking through parts of Downtown for up to ten minutes at a time. Walking shoes and sunscreen are advised.
1300 N Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Parking / Breakfast suggestions
There is free parking available on Spring Street, in front of the fence of the Cornfield State park. This is across the street and opposite Nick's Cafe. There is also free parking on side streets in the area. Please read signs to ensure you are parking legally, and do not park in Nick's lot, as we will be gone for several hours.
Nick's Cafe is famous for their breakfasts, and we encourage you to arrive early if you'd like to eat before the tour. Because weekends are busy, you should plan to arrive at least one hour before check in time for sit-down breakfast service. If you'd like to purchase a boxed lunch to eat on the bus, call Nick's at (323) 222-1450 and place your order the afternoon before the tour, and you can pick lunches up
before you check in for the tour.
DEPARTURE TIME: Check in is at 11:30am for a 12:00pm sharp departure. There are no paper tickets: your name will be on a list at the bus door. You are advised to be at the meeting location and board no later than 11:30am. Call 213-915-8687 if you get lost. The tour lasts until 4pm.
For additional tour information (non-tour days) call 213-373-1947
MORE INFO: We regret that there are no refunds for passengers
who miss the bus. Food and drink are permitted and suggested; no audio or video-taping without permission.
Esotouric Bus Adventures