Join Esotouric, L.A.'s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for an immersive cultural history webinar about Boyle Heights’ rich legacy of civic activism, arts education, faith and progressive social service organizations, and the devoted community advocates who are fighting to preserve and reactivate historic landmarks to give the community places to honor their past and shape the future.
All the major challenges faced by Los Angeles in 2021 come into sharp focus in Boyle Heights, the early residential suburb on the east side of the L.A. River.
The longtime councilman Jose Huizar is facing trial on racketeering charges, gentrification is encroaching from the high-rent Arts District across the still unfinished “world class” redesigned Sixth Street Bridge, small businesses are struggling and locals with deep roots are facing displacement.
But the solutions to the community’s challenges are there in the past, in the stories of progressive political organizers building coalitions and taking back power, arts education transforming young lives, and charitable homes for orphaned children, immigrants and seniors protecting the most vulnerable. Today, locals are working to restore, repurpose and preserve landmarks associated with Boyle Heights’ progressive past, to serve as incubators for a new generation of community builders.
For more than a century, the citizens of Boyle Heights have taken on tough civic challenges with brains, grit and heart, and come out stronger. How can current residents look to their past to find a new model for engaged civic and cultural life, and inspire the rest of the city to follow? Let’s talk about it!
Our special guests for this program are:
David Kipen began his career as manager of the Nuart Theater in his native Los Angeles. He holds a degree in Literature from Yale University, and served as Book Editor/Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and Director of Literature for the National Endowment for the Arts before joining Writing Programs at UCLA. His areas of expertise include the literatures of California, Los Angeles and the West; Pynchon studies; urbanism; film; modern and contemporary American literature; Latin American literature; Western history; the Federal Writers Project of the WPA; and the practice of lexicography and quotation.
He is the author of The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History (Melville House, 2006); a translation from the Spanish of Cervantes’ novella The Dialogue of the Dogs (Melville House, 2009); and introductions or chapters of books including reissues of the WPA guides to California, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego (UC Press). His teaching includes the course “Defining California: From Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary to Wikipedia.” He most recent book is, Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018. He also helps to run Libros Schmibros, his neighborhood lending library on Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.
After his undergraduate studies in art history at UC Santa Cruz, Richard Schave set out to explore the American interior as an itinerant brick mason. His return to his native Los Angeles coincided with a renewed acquaintance with Kim Cooper, a once-detested academic colleague who would become his bride. Together, fusing scholarly research with new digital tools, they launched the 1947project time travel blog, along with In SRO Land, and On Bunker Hill, as well as the Esotouric tour company. With the success of Kim’s True Crime tours, Richard developed a series of Literary and California Culture excursions. Richard is a dedicated preservationist, and the host of the LAVA Sunday Salon and the LAVA Literary Salon series, named Best L.A. Literary Salon by Los Angeles Magazine. He also curates an ongoing series of forensic science programs at Cal State Los Angeles. Richard is also a reader at the Huntington Library.
Kim Cooper (“one of L.A.’s brightest torchbearers” – Electric Literature) is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including Pasadena Confidential, the Real Black Dahlia and Weird West Adams. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. Her collaborative L.A. history blogs include On Bunker Hill and In SRO Land. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons of LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.