Dearly Departed tours
Los Angeles County covers a sprawling area of around 6500 square kilometres and is home to around 10 million people. It spreads in every direction and is not one of the easiest places to navigate, and there is so much to see, unless you rent a car, it's probably a good idea to take one of the many tours on offer in the City of Angels.
Viator.com has a handle on most of the things visitors to Los Angeles have on their to-do lists. They can take you to Warner Bros and Universal Studios, J Paul Getty Museum, Grauman's Chinese Theater, Ground Tours of LA and Movie Stars' Homes and a Walking Tour of Historic Downtown.
Getaway joined one of Viator.com's Dearly Departed tours and in three hours they cram in almost 100 sites.
Scott Michaels, "director of undertakings", narrates you through decades of death, murder and just plain fun.
Transport for your tales of Tinseltown tragedies is in a luxurious Dearly Departed Tomb Buggy.
You will see the sites of the Tate-LaBianca murders committed by Charles Manson and his "Family" in 1969. You will see the last places visited by Frank Sinatra, Rebecca Schaefer, River Phoenix, Dee Dee Ramone, Albert Dekker, Bela Lugosi and Mae West. There is also a visit to the home of the Menendez brothers, who murdered their parents in 1996.
There are several film locations on the tour. See where Sunset Boulevard, Halloween, The Graduate, The Thing You Do, Dead Again, Grease and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Along with the gruesome story of the girl who jumped off the famous Hollywood sign, you can stop at the restroom where George Michael had his most scandalous moment. A copy of his arrest report will be provided to all guests. You can also visit the spot where Hugh Grant was arrested for picking up prostitute Divine Brown.
Venice, in west Los Angeles, is known for its canals, beaches, Bohemian residential area and colourful boardwalk teeming with people with tanned and toned bodies. At Muscle Beach, first-timers are amazed at the sight of people who have obviously been seriously working-out some of them with Ric Draisin, aka the Equalizer. Draisin is a legend of pro-wrestling and runs a school for people who want to be superstars. He also lays claim to being an artist, actor, stuntman, writer and personal trainer.
Ric began bodybuilding in the 1960s, training with his friend, now Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He then moved to wrestling and in the 1980s started the American Wrestling Federation.
Methods at AWF range from old school to today's techniques. They teach holds, bumps, reversals, ring presence, character development, how to work an audience, punches and kicks. All of these can lead to stunt work, which is extremely lucrative, particularly in Hollywood.
AWF co-ordinates movies, commercials and music videos, so apart from having fun and learning self-defence, there are many spin-offs. There are classes for men, women and children.
The gym has a 4.8x4.8 metre wrestling ring. Basic requirements are knee and elbow pads, flat-soled runners and loose, comfortable clothing.
The AWF Training School provides a wide education in not only the mechanics of wrestling, but in professional conduct and etiquette. Along with the structured wrestling-based training, work on cardio and stamina and training in promo skills, trainees are also taught how to help with refereeing and ring announcing and how to set up the ring. New trainees are encouraged to make themselves available for shows to help backstage and to set up.
Los Angeles, California.
Viator.com has The Tragic History Tour of Los Angeles from around $44 per person. The three-hour tours visit more than 100 Hollywood locations and run between Wednesday and Sunday at 1pm from Farmers Market.
Ric Drasin's Pro Wrestling School costs $60 per class.
AWF training classes start at around $185 which includes registration and the first session. After that, it's around $70 a class.
V Australia has flights to Los Angeles.
- Sydney and Melbourne $1129
- Brisbane $1179
- Adelaide $1429
- Perth $1729
The fares are available for a limited time only.
Prices correct at April 8, 2010.
For further information
American Wrestling Federation
14157 Califa Street
Sherman Oaks CA 91401 818
Ph: +1 489 3323
360 Hampton Drive
Venice CA 90291
Ph: +1 310 392 6004
Visas: Most Australians do not need a visa, providing they have a machine-readable passport with at least six months' validity after the departure day, have a round-trip non-refundable ticket and do not intend to stay longer than 90 days. Australians need to complete a pre-travel authorisation at www.cbp.gov/esta.
Electricity: 110V to 115V at 60Hz. Outlets take two-parallel, flat prongs. Australian visitors will need a US adapter and converter.
Time Zone: GMT -8.
Currency: The American dollar.
International dialling code: +1.
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