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By: Melissa Stanwood
Delta Bravo defines urban exploration as visiting and documenting culturally relevant sites such as film, television, music and true crime locations, or any other iconic landmark locations they feel are worthy of exploration. The team hopes to save some of these locations by sharing them with the outside world.
Spearheaded by musician Danny Boy O’Connor, former LAPD Detective Knocko Nolan, and former NYPD detective Steve Mona, the team visits and documents the locations of culturally relevant sites found in popular culture. The team is headquartered in Los Angeles, but they also have chapters in Boston, Brooklyn, Paris, and Chicago. An interest in history combined with a love of pop culture brought the trio together. Nolan hopes that the team can inspire people to “Get off your computer, get off your phone, and go explore your city.”
O’Connor travels with his two bands, House of Pain and La Coka Nostra, and they have helped him in his explorations. While on tour in Tulsa, OK, he explored where one of his favorite movies, ‘The Outsiders,’ was shot. O’Connor also came across the gate from the original ‘Willy Wonka’ while in Germany for show.
Beyond using his tours as a way to get to specific sites, O’Connor’s industry connections have aligned the team with other significant locations. His friendship with the Beastie Boys got him involved in the RIP MCA Mural. Painted by artist David Flores, the RIP MCA Mural, a tribute to the late member of the band, is located outside of the old G-Son Studios, where the Beastie Boys recorded their album ‘Check Your Head.’
While O’Connor uses his career to supplement Delta Bravo’s explorations, both Nolan and Mona admitted that their police badges carry a lot of weight. When infiltrating a site, the former detectives mentioned that a quick flash of their badge can keep people at bay. The team also noted that many locals on specific sites are very willing to help them find particularly difficult locations.
Each location has its own story behind the original scene that it appeared in. For instance, O’Connor claims that the café where Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ music video was shot has, “the worst coffee ever,” while a Panda Express now stands in the location of the fictitious restaurant that Stacy and Linda work at in the film ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High.’
You can catch Delta Bravo’s podcast on tradiov.com.
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