Ten days ago, I rode the Crime Bus with our friends at the 1947project. For those of you who missed it, this was the bus tour of L.A. Crime Noir, everything from the almost comic, overly dramatic pulp-newspaper murders, right up to the S.L.A. shootout of 1974. And, of course, a grand finale of the sunny lawn where the Black Dahlia’s dismembered corpse was found fifty-nine years ago.
For me, although I do read true crime occasionally, it was really about fitting together L.A. history as the context in which the crimes were committed. And the bus took me through parts of the city I’d never been to before, through streets lined with the original buildings, in disrepair, deserted. I love looking at Los Angeles and seeing the layers of history that have happened, and each crime story told me more about the eras in which those horrors took place. By 1947, my grandparents had been in Los Angeles for two years, following their 1945 move to Boyle Heights from Brooklyn, so it also gives me a bit of insight into the Los Angeles that they were experiencing, the Los Angeles that my mother grew up into.
For those of you who missed riding the Bus, you can see the FOX 11 footage tonight at 10pm. And the L.A. Times will run their piece in the Calendar section tomorrow. (I talked to the Times reporter for a bit – but I don’t know if my quotes were run. ) And more info is on the 1947 project blog, for those of you wanting to ride the next bus.
And in other L.A. history news – who managed to get through to the RSVP line for the Ambassador event next week? The mailbox is actually full! I wonder if it was the promise of mourning the Ambassador with other Los Angeles history fanatics – or if it was the open bar?