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Dueling Insects, a Murder Mystery, and Other Intriguing Rivalry-Themed Events

For those of you with a slight competitive streak.

Belmont tunnel, LA.(Photo: Erin Johnson)

For Rivals Week at Atlas Obscura, we’ve compiled a list of upcoming competition-themed events taking place around the country. From insect farms and murder mysteries to city development and graffiti meccas, we’ve got all sorts of adventures in store. They’re listed here in chronological order, so stretch your limbs, rev your engines, and get exploring!

1. Obscura Society LA: Inside the Insectary

Los Angeles, California
August 26

Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology

(Photo: Straynger Ranger)

Humans have faced off in a long-lasting battle with bugs. Are they helpers, pests, or food? On this tour, we’ll talk to bug growers at the Associates Insectary, a pioneer in sustainable pest management, which was founded in 1928 to provide beneficial bugs to farms and vineyards hoping to combat nuisance bugs. And that’s not all! Afterwards, we’ll also check out the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, the world’s largest collection of bird eggs and nests dedicated to research, education, and conservation.

2. Obscura Society IL: Preservationists vs. Developers

Chicago, Illinois
August 27

(Photo: Chicago Tribune Historical Photos)

Celebrate Rivals Week with a non-partisan walking tour along Chicago’s iconic lakefront, the battlefield of the century-long war between the city’s developers and conservationists. We’ll cover nearly two miles while learning about court battles, crusades, and even a few compromises. 

3. Obscura Society LA & Cartwheel Art Tours: Graffiti Rivalries at Belmont Tunnel

Los Angeles, California
AUGUST 27

Graffiti in Echo Park. (Photo: Alonzo/CC BY 2.0)

There’s a graffiti mecca hiding in plain side in an abandoned subway tunnel in Echo Park—come with us and take a look! On this tour, we’ll have access to the now private park and duck inside the Belmont Tunnel & Toluca Substation. Along with Cartwheel Art Tours founder, Cindy Schwarzstein, and author of Graffiti LA, Steve Grody, we’ll wander back to the 1980s and explore rivalries within this competitive art form.

4. Obscura Society NY: Atlas Obscura Live! RIVALS!

Brooklyn, New York
AUGUST 31

(Photo: Atlas Obscura)

On the final night of August, Atlas Obscura is hosting its first ever variety show in front of a live audience. The event, held at Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn, will feature our own writers and editors bringing our editorial content to life around our month’s theme: Rivals! We’ll gather together musicians, scholars, comedians and our audience members to share amazing stories of bitter duels and contests. Did we mention there will be prizes?

5. Obscura Society NY: “Printed Rivals,” a 19th-Century Murder Mystery

New York, New York
SEPTEMBER 17

Bridge of Sighs, Tombs Prison, N.Y.

(Photo: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library/Public Domain)

The media world of the 1890s was dominated by rivals Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, visionaries who redefined journalism and created the 24-hour news cycle long before the dawn of television. On this immersive, participatory tour, we’ll split up into teams to solve the 1897 murder mystery that incited a competitive explosion of tabloid journalism. After charting clues and retracing historical footsteps, we’ll end at a secret location to share drinks and celebrate our detective work.