Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crime of the Century Walking Tour

We just received word of this event from our friends at the Backstory Cafe in Chicago. It's a free walking tour of sites related to the infamous 1924 murder of Bobby Franks. See more information below:
WHAT: "Crime of the Century: Leopold and Loeb and the Murder of Bobby Franks"
(A walking history tour of relevant sites!! and screening of Hitchcock's "Rope").
WHEN: Sunday, November 2 and Sunday, November 9 at 2:00 PM
WHERE: Starting at the corner of 49th and Ellis in Kenwood ending @ Backstory Cafe for screening.
WHO: "Pocket Guide to Hell" tours with tour guide Paul Durica
HOW LONG: Approximately ninety minutes for tour, and an eighty minute screening.
COST: Free!!! (Bring $ for cider, coffee, and pumpkin treats @ Backstory during screening)

On May 21, 1924, in the city of Chicago, a young boy went missing. He was walking in the late afternoon between the Harvard School, where he was a popular student, and his house, one of Kenwood's many mansions. Later that night his father, Jacob Franks, received a phone call informing him that his son, Bobby, had been kidnapped but could be ransomed for ten thousand dollars. The next morning, south of the city, near Wolf Lake, a pump man for the American Maize CO saw a human foot sticking out from the edge of a culvert. Bobby had been beaten to death with a blunt object. Suspicion fell on the boy's teachers but then the chance discovery of a pair of glasses with a unique tortoiseshell frame led police to question the nineteen year old son of a shipping magnate. The young man, an amateur ornithologist, claimed he'd been at the Lake the week prior, looking for cranes. He had an alibi for the night of the kidnapping, a friend, also a resident of Kenwood, the son of the vice president of Sears-Roebuck. But suddenly there were all these things - the glasses, an Underwood typewriter, a green touring car, a length of rope, a chisel with a taped handle, a bottle of hydrochloric acid, another of chloroform, a checkered stocking - that traced a series of encounters disproving the story told by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. Had these young men of wealth and education killed Franks, as they claimed, for the "thrill of it"? Could famed death penalty opponent Clarence Darrow save them from the gallows? What is the enduring legacy of what the press dubbed the Crime of the Century?

Pocket Guide to Hell invites you to return to the scene of the crime. Join us for a tour of the Kenwood neighborhood that will visit, among other places, the site of the kidnapping, the Harvard school, the Franks house, and, of course, the houses of Leopold and Loeb, in order to restore a sense of contingency and chance to a long ago event and to reflect upon its continued effect on a neighborhood and an issue of national importance. The tour concludes with a special
screening of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope" and refreshments for sale at Backstory Cafe (6100 S Blackstone).

There are fifteen slots for each date. Please email Paul Durica your preferred date and the number of people in your party. Slots will be filled on a first come, first served basis.
image above: "Two police officers dredging the water near the scene where Bobby Franks was murdered," 1924. From Jazz Age Chicago

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oct. 12 - Upcoming Parking Public Tour (Hollywood, again)

parking public tourists in Hollywood on a November 2007 tour.
We're not sure how we keep getting pulled back into the parking universe of Hollywood, but we're grateful that we have the opportunity to visit with some great folks there and revisit the ever changing (especially at the moment) Hollywood place-scape.
This time, we're offering our tour as part of a series of De/tours organized for the LA Freewaves "Hollywould" festival, and will have a special guest. Hollywood urban planner Sarah MacPherson will expand our itinerary to the equally interesting and overlooked spaces of alley ways.
The De/tours will take place on Sunday, October 12, and the look extremely promising. Below is an overview of the schedule.
4:00 — Ryan Griffis, artist – Parking Public: a Tour of Parking Lots and Utopias: Hollywood
4:15 — Elizabeth Lovins – Excavating the Lost Hollywood Art Colony, a walking pod tour; BYO mobile video player
4:30 — Greg Goldin, architecture critic – Stepping on the Cracks: Skeptical Promenade thru Hollywood Redevelopment
4:45 — Matthew Reynolds, visual culture scholar – The Glamour of Surveillance: A User's Guide to Looking in Hollywood
5:00 — Sara Wookey, choreographer and Deborah Murphy, urban designer – Actions of Time and Space on the Walk of Fame Workshop at LA Forum/Woodbury Hollywood Exhibitions
5:00 – James Rojas, urban planner – playful brainstorming workshop with props and 3D model about Hollywood's future
See the LA Freewaves site for more info on the tours and festival.