Archive for January, 2014
Los Angeles Tour Guests Interested in Art and Design Get an Eyeful Here
Twenty of the Arts & Architecture Magazine Case Study Houses are in the immediate Los Angeles area. These homes were built between 1945 and 1966 and include some of the most notable stuctures in American architecture. One of them (above) is the Stahl House, Case Study House #22. Located in the Hollywood Hills this structure is quite recognizable to most Americans from its repeated appearance in advertisements, television shows and movies. The home was built in 1960 by architect Pierre Koenig and photographed for the magazine by Julius Shulman. Unlike other iconic buildings in the area the Stahl House is available for private tours and is an exciting stop along the way when our private Los Angeles tour guests have an architecture and design tour in mind when they are with us. Our guides have become very familiar with these destinations and cover many of the representative styles and periods that stand out in Los Angeles as they show our guests through the area.
Another Downtown Los Angeles Tour Gem
This Saturday morning the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation is hosting an open house and tour of the newly renovated Theatre at Ace Hotel. For lovers of movies, film history, historic buildings and urban cores this event signals another great success in the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles and the return of a great movie palace to appreciative audiences. The theater was originally the United Artists Theatre and one of the three movie theaters (also Detroit and Chicago) constructed in 1927 by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks in their new Hollywood enterprise. We do not get to see grand movie palaces like this very often and Los Angeles is becoming once again a hotbed of restored and modernized historic theaters (Grauman’s Chinese, El Capitan, Egyptian, and Million Dollar). We will be urging our private Los Angeles tour guests to let us take them Saturday morning to this event or just attend on their own to see the inner workings of the “new” theater in close-up detail with a knowledgeable docent leading the way.
Our Los Angeles Tour Guests Discover Another Side of L.A.
An adventurous family with us last month decided they wanted to see East Los Angeles on their private custom tour. We were more than happy to take them to the “other” side of town where we seldom have the opportunity to sightsee – and there is much to see. Boyle Heights and the Home of Peace Cemetery remind folks of the important Jewish history of Los Angeles while Mariachi Plaza and the Latino Walk of Fame look at more current developments in our great city’s story. The nearby Chinese Cemetery of Los Angeles cannot help but bring up memories of the racism in the early part of the last century when the Chinese were barred from buying cemetery plots and were forced to accept burial in a corner of the city’s potters field. But the music and art, food and life of these historic eastside neighborhoods also speak to the influence of the many cultures that contributed to what Los Angeles is today. Just ask Edward James Olmos.
Our Hollywood Tour Guest Offered to Clean the Dirtiest Prints at Grauman’s
Hers is the easiest cement square to find among all the famous hand and footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Just look for the discolored handprints where every woman, truly EVERY woman, places her hands on our private Los Angeles tour. This is where Marilyn Monroe knelt back in 1953 in what is an iconic image of her placing her hands in the wet cement in front of Sid Grauman’s historic movie palace with her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-star, Jane Russell. Perhaps as famous as the photograph of her standing atop the subway grate in the movie Seven Year Itch, a figure made large in the giant J. Seward Johnson sculpture now in Palm Springs. Every little bit of history we show our private tour guests in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills resonates throughout the region, the country and the world.
Travel Writers Love a Los Angeles Tour, Too
Brooke Saward, the marvelous travel writer of WorldofWanderlust.com, visited Los Angeles recently with her father and once again relied on us to show her the sights and adventures that a private Los Angeles tour has to offer. This time we flew her by helicopter to Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate, a private home and winery in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. We arrange for private visits to this magnificent structure on a mountain and if our guests are interested provide masseuses and a chef for a private massage and elegant dining experience in this distinct location. After all, romantic reality shows film here and celebrities take over the estate for their private parties and fundraisers. We and our guests prefer a little more privacy and quiet to enjoy the luxury afforded here at Malibu Rocky Oaks so we come alone. Here is a link to a short video we made with Brooke.
Pedal Power Tour of Los Angeles
Bicycles were not invented in Los Angeles but they have a long history in this city by the beach with its 300+ nice biking days a year. The first bicycle pathway, completely separated for other traffic along its own elevated route, was a 9-mile wooden bikeway connecting downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena. This illuminated toll-way (15¢ in 1897) soon became a part of history as the automobile ascended to transportation king in growing Los Angeles and the bikeway became the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Today there are more than 300 miles of dedicated bike paths along the coast and the aqueducts crisscrossing the city, through the parks and quickly appearing on major thoroughfares as Los Angeles truly begins embracing bicycle transportation. Our former mayor, Richard Riordan, was a great bicycle enthusiast and spearheaded a nascent movement to build additional safe passages for bikes through the city. We take our adventure loving private Los Angeles tour guests to Santa Monica or Venice to rent bikes to explore the 30 mile bikeway stretching along the coast between Torrance and Santa Monica. We can do the tour on tandem bikes or trikes as well as beach cruisers.
Like Our Los Angeles Tour Guests the Circus is in Town
Rising from the sand for a brief period are the whimsical blue and yellow tents of Cirque du Soleil. Once again in Santa Monica for a winter performance, their show this year, Totem, looks at the evolution of a species from amphibian to bird, a metaphysical journey from the water to the skies involving acrobatics, dance and humor. Entering its fourth year, Totem already has been seen by more than 2 million people and the next two months on the Santa Monica beach will add a significant number to the Totem total. With 19 different shows being performed around the world you can say that the sun never sets on Cirque du Soleil despite that being the subject of our private tour photograph today.
Great Ape Gets Our Los Angeles Tour Guests Thinking
Making creatures for the movies, now there’s a banana to reach for if we can judge from our private Hollywood tour guests (especially the youngsters) this day at the Chinese Theater. Here Stan Winston School students display one of their creature projects for visitors to ogle. That they have a sense of humor just makes it more fun. After all, there are numerous odd characters in this part of Hollywood including super heroes and villians, cartoon characters and just plain odd folks so how disturbing can a gorilla in their midst really be? By the way, Stan Winston, winner of four Academy Awards, did do a gorilla movie. Can you name it?
We Cater to Our Los Angeles Tour Guests
When our private tour guests indicate to us that they have specific destinations in mind and special interests they wish to pursue on their tour we happily accommodate them. Our guides all pride themselves in having extensive knowledge of all things Los Angeles but each of them, too, has specific knowledge and interests in the area. We always try to pair the guide with the guests when we know in advance what interests the guests possess. In this case our family was devoted to Marilyn Monroe so our Marilyn specialist took them around to the homes, restaurants, bars and studios most closely associated with her, even her grave. Above they are photographed in front of the Beverly Hills home where Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio lived and where the tearful press conference was held when Marilyn announced the end of the marriage. Marilyn Monroe is a subject of many of our blogs here because of her continued popularity and association with locations in and around Los Angeles.
Private Tour Walk on the Beach at Sunset
Sunsets in the winter here in Los Angeles are spectacular. Cooler temperatures mean clearer air near the ocean and the more southerly sunset illuminates the clouds in spectacular fashion. This photograph of the Santa Monica Pier came to us from a friend drawn to the shore as the light waned while we were nearby on a private Los Angeles tour of the beaches enjoying the same exquisite view. Another advantage of visiting Los Angeles in the winter (besides the great weather and southern sunsets) is that the beaches are quiet. We get them almost to ourselves as we explore Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu. It is a great time to visit Los Angeles.