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Reyner Banham does Route 66, with Esotouric's newest bus adventure
Event Date 01/03/2008
Location Los Angeles 
Country United States 
Description WHAT: "Reyner Banham Loves LA: Route 66" bus tour
WHEN: Saturday March 1, 11am-4pm, departing from Philippe The Original in downtown Los Angeles (1001 N. Alameda St. 90012)

COST: $55/person (15% off for KCRW members, also ask about our Season Pass deals) MORE INFO: visit or call 323-223-2767

Esotouric's "Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles" tours each explore themes of industry, infrastructure, architecture and the built environment.

In this third installment in our ongoing architecture series, we explore California's Mother Road and the building of its dream. The dream manifests at the turn of the 20th century as we explore how the climate was sold, the growth of the citrus industry and Tuberculosis hospitals. Then come the programmatic roadside architecture of the 1920s and 1930s and postwar V-8 visions fueled by gasoline and good climate (too bad you can't run an engine on it).

The Reyner Banham tour series is dedicated to revealing greater L.A.'s infrastructure, history, the built and natural environment, transportation corridors, drive-ins, attractions and oddities.

Highlights of the Route 66 tour include:
Rubel Castle. One man's vision and triumph over mediocrity. This completely unexpected and astonishing structure, built piecemeal over the course of thirty years and holding true to the notion of a Medieval Castle and its Keep while reflecting an abiding California citrus industry influence, is an early stop on the tour.

City of Hope. A early tuberculosis hospital and retreat, now a world class, no-cost cancer treatment and research facility, is also home to an inspired series of murals by the important abstract expressionist artist Philip Guston and muralist Rubin Kadish.

Santa Fe Dam recreation area. A testament to the industry and infrastructure which makes life in the San Gabriel Valley possible, this meditation on form, function and the built environment is a classic "Reyner" structure of the sort that compelled Banham to write "Los Angeles: A Study of Four Ecologies."

Aztec Hotel. Though really Mayan in decoration, this 1924 Robert Stacy Judd-designed gem in the San Gabriel Valley's crown is becoming the place again to get your kicks.

Covina Bowl. Destination, gathering point, icon, masterpiece of thin membrane construction. The Covina Bowl is all this and more. Built in 1955, it helped define and create the community of Covina and environs through the 1960s and 1970s. As a roadhouse, nightclub, 24-hour bowling alley and diner, the sprawling entertainment center continues to serve the community beneath its landmark neon sign. The venue's history, shared with passengers by long time staff members, offers an engaging glimpse into life along the Mother Road.

Guest Speaker J. Eric Lynxwiler. For nearly ten years, J. Eric Lynxwiler has worked with the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) as a guide on its famed Neon Cruise in an effort to educate the public to the beauty of neon signage. Not all neon is created equal however, and Lynxwiler acknowledges there are some signs that give the medium a bad name. Lynxwiler will introduce passengers to MONA's sign acquisition standards and answer the burning question, what makes a good neon sign?

Guest Speaker Scott R. Piotrowski. Ever since following Route 66 when moving to Los Angeles in 1996, Scott R. Piotrowski has been fascinated by the "Mother Road." That love for road less traveled led Piotrowski to write "Finding the End of the Mother Road: Route 66 in Los Angeles County" in an effort to show just how much of Route 66 is left in the Southland. Piotrowski will be available to answer any questions about 66 in particular and historic roads in general, and will be available to sell and sign copies of his book, the only guide book to detail Route 66 in Los Angeles County.

This five hour tour will include a snack break at Classic Coffee in Glendora (snacks are on your dime).

For more info on Esotouric, please visit For more on Reyner Banham, see And the BBC documentary "Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles" - 

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