1001 N Alameda St.
Los Angeles, California 90012

Esotouric's New Chinatowns tour reveals the mysteries of the San Gabriel Valley

WHAT: Esotouric's 5-tour architecture and urbanism series, REYNER BANHAM LOVES L.A., kicks off with THE NEW CHINATOWNS (2/5, 11am-3pm) and SOUTH LOS ANGELES (2/6, 11am-3pm), with ROUTE 66, BOYLE HEIGHTS and DOWNTOWN to follow
WHERE/WHEN: THE NEW CHINATOWNS departs 11am from Phillipe's in Chinatown; SOUTH LOS ANGELES departs 11am from Cafe Metropol in Downtown L.A.
WEEKEND TOUR PACKAGES: Enjoy two days of architectural Los Angeles bus tourism, and save $30 with a weekend pass, details at the links below - http://www.esotouric.com/february2011weekend
COST: $58/person, or just $45 with a weekend pass
INFO: http://www.esotouric.com, 323-223-2767
LOS ANGELES- Chinese New Year is February 3, out with the Year of the Tiger and in with the Year of the Rabbit. To celebrate, Esotouric, L.A.'s most eclectic bus adventure company, has scheduled a special February 5 edition of its very occasional architecture and urbanism tour THE NEW CHINATOWNS.

From the Old Chinatown in Downtown Los Angeles, an urban explorer can hop on the 10 Freeway eastbound, and within minutes find themselves in America's most vibrant and sprawling suburban New Chinatown, a place far different from the compact, urban bargain-shopping zone they've left behind. Understanding the suburban American Chinatowns, though, is quite a different thing.

In recent decades the San Gabriel Valley, long a sleepy suburban backwater, has been transformed by the injection of cash from Hong Kong and Taipei and an energetic pool of young business owners into something unrecognizable. The best Chinese food in the world is served in nondescript mini-malls, home values are solid and school test scores are strong. It's the Immigrant American Dream, laid on top of some of the Southland's most historic neighborhoods. These are the communities explored and explained on Esotouric's THE NEW CHINATOWNS bus adventure.

Esotouric's February architecture and urbanism tour series includes THE NEW CHINATOWNS (Saturday, February 5), SOUTH LA (Sunday, February 6), ROUTE 66 (Saturday, February 19), the debut of BOYLE HEIGHTS (Sunday, February 20) and THE LOWDOWN ON DOWNTOWN (Saturday, February 26), with $30 off discount tickets for weekend packages on February 5/6 and February 19/20. Get on the bus to explore the real Southland, as no one but Esotouric's Richard Schave can reveal it. Richard's unique expertise on unknown Los Angeles has seen him as a featured guide on television's "Globe Trekker" (Grand Central Market) and "Cities of the Underworld" (downtown's prohibition-era tunnels) and speaking at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Hammer Museum. And five times in February, he'll be exploring a different section of the city, following in the footsteps of his mentor Reyner Banham.

For many residents, Monterey Park, Alhambra, Rosemead and San Gabriel have always been Asian towns. They don't know about the early efforts to turn Monterey Park into the Beverly Hills of the East, how local gal Laura Scudder revolutionized the potato chip industry, about the failed 1920s oil boom or that great Wham-O brand toys like the Hula Hoop and Frisbee were invented here. And to many American-born San Gabriel Valley natives, the recent changes to their neighborhoods are baffling. This tour aims to put the San Gabriel Valley in context, from its suburban origins to its current boom time, celebrating the hardworking immigrant families (mainly Italian in the mid 20th century, mainly Chinese today) who have made the Valley their home and built its culture.

THE NEW CHINATOWNS is an entertaining and illuminating historical and cultural bus tour that rolls through Alhambra, San Gabriel, Rosemead and (mainly) Monterey Park exploring significant people, remarkable places and delicious delicacies, including:

The Venice Room (Monterey Park), a groovy grill-your-own-steak bar, still family-run after forty years.... Browning Realty (Monterey Park), site of the 1920s oil mania and still a family enterprise after eighty-plus years.... El Encanto and The Cascades Park (Monterey Park), exquisite showplace of the failed 1920s luxury housing development intended as the Beverly Hills of the East... Mission Superhardware (San Gabriel), still run by the Fabriano family after more than seven decades, and where Howard Roach built some of the Southland's first television sets.... Site of the Laura Scudder potato chip factory.... Wing Hop Fung, pioneering purveyors of high quality Asian herbs, teas and notions (Monterey Park), where passengers will enjoy a tea tasting and short shopping break.

Esotouric's REYNER BANHAM LOVES LOS ANGELES tour series is named in honor of host Richard Schave's college architecture professor, one of the greatest critics ever to analyze Los Angeles, and includes bus tours exploring the sad history of downtown's depopulation (THE MANY DOWNTOWNS), the offbeat wonders still to be found along the old Mother Road (ROUTE 66), the East Side's poorly understood melting pot (BOYLE HEIGHTS) and the underappreciated communities of Vernon, Downey and Santa Fe Springs (SOUTH LA).

These Esotouric bus adventures provide fresh ways of seeing the Southland and mingling with fascinating fellow travelers, and are a must for urban explorers, architecture buffs and anyone who enjoys turning over rocks to reveal the secrets beneath.

Upcoming Esotouric bus tour and special event schedule
Sat Jan 15 - Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski's L.A.
Sat Jan 22 - The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain's So. Cal. Nightmare
Sun Jan 30 - LAVA's Sunday Salon at Clifton's Cafeteria (free, info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat Jan 30 - The Science and Art of Forensic Investigations: Criminalistics from Test Tube to Testimony (info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat Feb 5 - Reyner Banham Loves LA: The New Chinatowns (weekend package available)
Sun Feb 6 - Reyner Banham Loves LA: South LA (weekend package available)
Sun Feb 13 - The Science and Art of Forensic Investigations: Criminalistics from Test Tube to Testimony (info at lavatransforms.org)
Sat Feb 19 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Route 66 (weekend package available)
Sat Feb 20 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: Boyle Heights (debut, weekend package available)
Sat Feb 26 - Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles: The Lowdown on Downtown-The Secret History of Los Angeles
Sat March 5 - Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice crime bus tour
Sat March 12 - Eastside Babylon crime bus tour (weekend package available)
Sun March 13 - Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour (weekend package available)
Sat March 19 - Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour

Esotouric's Richard Schave, Kim Cooper and Joan Renner are proud members of LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. http://www.lavatransforms.org

For more info on Esotouric, visit http://www.esotouric.com

Official Website: http://www.esotouric.com

Added by esotouric on January 11, 2011

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