Sunday, April 12, 2009

My last 24 hours in LA.

Thursday night Joe and I went to Sony to watch "Every Little Step", a documentary on the revival of Broadway show "A Chorus Line".  Joe's writing it up for his column next week, a brief return to work that enthralled both of us, (and brought on quiet sobbing at several highly emotional points!)  Nice to know there are still films out there that can still bring battle-weary film critics to tears. The next day (friday) I spent packing, until I suggested Joe show me the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood.  Any one who reads gossip columns will be aware that this is an uber-celeb hangout in LA... but also a pretty hotel with an interesting star-studded history.  Besides the ongoing party antics of Lindsay Lohan, the hotel has: 

  • Featured on the cover of Gram Parsons' solo album, GP, released in 1973. Gram Parsons also lived there for a time in the early 1970s.
  • In 1982, John Belushi died of a drug overdose in one of its garden bungalows.
  • Jim Morrison of "The Doors" used up what he called "the eighth of my nine lives" after he hurt his back here while dangling from a drain pipe, trying to swing from the roof into the window of his hotel room.
  • James Dean hopped in through a window to audition with Natalie Wood for Rebel Without a Cause.
    • When Montgomery Clift was almost killed in a 1956 auto accident near her home, Elizabeth Taylor brought him to the Chateau Marmont, where she leased the penthouse as a place for him to recuperate.
    • Greta Garbo loved to stay in the Chateau Marmont for weeks during her infamous seclusion period and would not leave her room for days. She also attended many lavish and glamorous parties here in her movie star days.
    • Fashion photographer Helmut Newton died on January 23, 2004, after his car crashed into a wall on the driveway of the hotel.
    • Judy Garland sang by the lobby's grand piano with Kay Thompson during a party held by director George Cukor, where she exclaimed to Thompson, "Oh, Kay, let's just sing real loud!"
    • Vivien Leigh, estranged from her husband Laurence Olivier, had every surface space in her suite, 5D, covered with photographs of him. In the bedroom, however, there was only one: placed near her pillow was a photograph of Olivier and her together
      (courtesy of wikipedia)

Anyway, instead of just driving by and me hanging out the window to take a photo, Joe suggested we go in for a drink.  So we did.  The garden patio was semi-quiet, however I was amused by the way the people who were there rather hilariously (and not subtly) checked each other out, registered and processed relative importance and then resumed watching new arrivals. I'm afraid i looked blatantly like a tourist.  Most disappointing for the other drinkers, I'm sure. 

Bye bye Skeetix!  Look after Joe...

An afterthought: I'm really looking forward to this movie! Have you all seen the Maysles Brothers documentary its based on? A very special film indeed, if not a controversial one.  Drew Barrymore so desperately wanted the part in this version she taught herself to stop speaking out the corner of her mouth, losing the Drew lisp she's always rocked. 

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