“Blood & Dumplings” and “Absinthe, Opium & Magic: 1920’s Shanghai”: Chinese geishas and the San Gabriel Valley.

Set sail for sin with "Absinthe, Opium & Magic: 1920's Shanghai" at the Ivy Substation May 7 - 29.


Mother’s Day is imminent and whether you have a Mother Mary or a Mommy Dearest, isn’t it best to indulge your love of murder and mayhem before you see la mere ? The following tours, one literal, one theatrical, will  soothe all bloodthirsty inclinations so you can sit down to Sunday brunch with a clear conscience.     

Hollywood may get the most bad press, but the San Gabriel Valley has more than its share of weird wonders and shocking crime.   You can learn all about them this Saturday on Esotouric’s Blood & Dumplings crime bus tour, which digs beneath the deceptively staid surface of the east-of-Pasadena communities to expose a hundred years of secret and unsavory sites from Phil Spector’s Alhambra manse (where B-actress Lana Clarkson met her untimely end) to the El Monte lion farm whose proprietors hosted lion meat BBQ’s “on special occasions” (Ms. Go Go wonders what made guests eligible for THAT A-list?!)   Better yet, you can get a two-for-one deal on the death and depravity thanks to Esotouric’s  May Mania promotion.  (Hint: look for the secret phrase on their tour page.  Link is below.)  BONUS: every ticket is a raffle entry for a  “Pair Pass” so you can bring along a pal on your next Esotouric excursion.    

Since you’ll undoubtedly work up an appetite on the San Gabriel Valley trail of guts and gore, the bus will stop at 101 Noodle Express where you’ll sample deliciously meaty, Shangdong-style dumplings. (If the mention of the lion meat feast quelled your carnivorous cravings, vegie options are available if requested a few days in advance.)    Appropriately, given the morbid tone of the tour, the restaurant’s beef roll was recommended in Jonathan Gold’s L.A. Weekly article “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die”.   No one knows if any of the late lamented tour subjects were lucky enough to indulge.   

You’ll consume your Chinese fare at La Laguna de San Gabriel amongst the photo-op-friendly snails and sea serpents. (Yes, it’s two Go Go-recommended Saturdays in a row at the Monster Park; https://uwant2gogo.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/monster-mash-picnic-la-laguna-de-san-gabriel-beany-and-cecil-redux/)   

Guess what?  There’s a sea lion….   

If the Blood & Dumplings tour merely whets your appetite for the macabre, book a “berth” on the Grand Guignolers’ Absinthe, Opium and Magic: 1920’s ShanghaiYour  French, luxury liner “cruise” to Jazz Age Shanghai is an impressively immersive, theatrical spectacle from the pre-sail (pre-show) revelry (tango and Flashlight Follies), refreshments (absinthe and tea tasting), and souvenirs (shipboard photos), to the badly behaved Petit Guignolers (naughty puppets whose performances evoke the company’s Grand Guignol inspiration), to the dangerous dockside encounters with brawling gangsters, a brothel of Sing Song Girls, and the Madame of a deadly opium den.  

 Cocktail/vintage attire is suggested to further evoke the era.   Ms. Go Go recommends red so any blood stains won’t show.   

Your mother won’t suspect a thing….    

Ready?  U Know U Want 2 Go Go….    


Esotouric’s BLOOD & DUMPLINGS:   

Crime bus tour of the San Gabriel Valley    

Sat, May 8th; 12:00PM – 4:00PM   

Check-in is @ 11:30AM; the bus leaves @ 12:00PM SHARP from the   

Lincoln Heights/Cypress Gold Line Metro station    

370 West Avenue 26    

Los Angeles 90031    

$63, includes dumplings (vegetarian options available; request a few days in advance)    

1/2 off with May Mania promotion; find the secret phrase on the tour page: http://esotouric.com/bnd-5-8-10    

For further info or to order tix:    

http://www.esotouric.com or call 323-223-2767    



Grand Guignolers’ Absinthe, Opium & Magic: 1920’s Shanghai    

Thursday – Sunday, May 7 – 29    

“Onboard entertainment” begins @ 8:00PM    

The “ship sails” @ 8:30 – NO LATE SEATING!!!    

The Ivy Substation (Hosted by The Actors’ Gang)    

9070 Venice Boulevard    

Culver City 90232    

$25 – $30 (Pre-purchase highly recommended – click below)    


For more info:    




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