Fante’s “Dreams of Bunker Hill” Tour: Get On the Bus!

web_version_Esotouric_group_shot_Adam_Hendershott_Photography.JPGI’m thrilled to be going on my first Esotouric tour of LA this Sunday. Titled “John Fante: Dreams of Bunker Hill,” it traces the seminal novelist’s life in and around Bunker Hill downtown–recalling the life of Fante’s fictional–and semi-autobiographical–main protagonist, Arturo Bandini. Bukowski himself hailed Fante’s work, saying “Fante was my god”–and a glance through Fante’s body of work reveals a Los Angeles full of scrappy hopefuls and catch-as-catch-can artists, a noir vision of the city before we even knew what noir was.

Esotouric’s blurb on the tour:

“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), and other evocative scenes of old L.A.”

I’m stoked. Incidentally, considerably cheaper tickets can be had here, via Goldstar Events. Full disclosure: I freelance for Goldstar Events, which is rad because I hear about everything cool going on in LA, from tours to stage to comedy stuff, opera, even the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s speaker series. I reserve the right to rave about them; I don’t plug everyone I’ve provided copy to, but I think they’re pretty freekin’ rad. And their website is the only way I could have afforded this tour. I’m sure the tour’s worth $55, but that’s $55 I can’t afford. Thirty bucks, way more doable. If you come on the tour, I’ll be the little redheaded girl attempting to buy four different flavors in one bowl at Scoops gelato (a stop on the tour, wee!). Say hi!

3 Replies to “Fante’s “Dreams of Bunker Hill” Tour: Get On the Bus!”

  1. By the way, the film “Los Angeles Plays Itself” features footage from a few films that shows what the Bunker Hill neighborhood looked like. Absolutely incredible. They never should have torn it down.

  2. Isn’t the current residential boom in downtown more like a big replay of the redevelopment that razed Bunker Hill in the 1960s? Low income communities are now, or soon will be, finding themselves priced out, evicted, or police-brutalized out of the area.

    The “redevelopment” of Bunker Hill is what moved downtown westward, leaving the old downtown neglected and underdeveloped, which then led to office buildings being converted into sweatshops, and old hotels becoming SROs, and the old buildings occupied by small-time immigrant businesses. The old downtown became the new “Bunker Hill” full of poor people.

    “Bunker Hill” became the name of a set of luxury high rises where the old Bunker Hill was.

    Stop thinking of yourselves as little Fantes; you’re more like little Richard Riordans (or little Antonio Villaraigosas). They know that the cheapest place to build something in LA is where the poor people can be shoved aside inexpensively.

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