Tag: Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker Book Events in West Hollywood This Week

Dorothy Parker (Photo by George Platt Lynes).

Dorothy Parker (Photo by George Platt Lynes)

WEHOville:

[Dorothy] Parker’s WeHo history will be celebrated this weekend with a series of events, beginning with a reception at Tags, the clothing store on 8570 W. Sunset Blvd. near Alta Loma, for Kevin Fitzpatrick, author of “Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide.” Fitzpatrick is president of the Dorothy Parker Society in New York. The LA chapter is headed by Adrienne Crew. The reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. and includes cocktails and discounts on shopping.

On Saturday there are two events: A bus tour of Parker’s West Hollywood and Beverly Hills residences, including the former location of Alla Nazimova’s Garden of Allah and mansions and cottages where Parker lived. The bus boards at 1 p.m. across from Book Soup at 8818 Sunset Blvd. west of Palm. Tickets, $49, are available online.

At 4 p.m. on Saturday, Book Soup will host a discussion of Parker’s Hollywood years, speakeasy drinks and Prohibition recipes. It will be the only place in Los Angeles where one can buy a signed copy of Fitzpatrick’s book.

“I like to have a martini,
“Two at the very most.
“After three I’m under the table,
“After four I’m under my host”
– Dorothy Parker

Cross-posted from the Alla Nazimova Society website.

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Book Events for ‘Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide’ Scheduled for West Hollywood, Parker’s West Coast Home

Dorothy Parker is so closely associated with New York that it is often forgotten that she lived at the Garden of Allah and elsewhere around town — in fact, for a brief while, she owned one of those tiny houses on Norma Place — off and on from the mid-1930s through the 1960s.

So it is fitting that there will be several events here next week celebrating the publication of a new book about one of Parker’s — and West Hollywood’s — favorite pass times: Drinking. The author, Kevin Fitzgerald, president of the of the New York branch of the Dorothy Parker Society will be in town to promote the new book, “Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide.” Local host will be Adrienned Crew, president of the Los Angeles DPS chapter.

Fitzgerald will be present at four events to discuss his book, Mrs. Parker and libations. Three of them are free, but the bus tour costs $49:

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Dorothy Parker in Hollywood

Dorothy Parker at work on a screenplay.

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The Garden of Allah, by Sheilah Graham

Sheilah Graham’s The Garden of Allah, a history of the famed hotel that anchored the eastern end of the Sunset Strip, is a must for any reading list on the history of Hollywood’s golden age in general and the Strip specifically. Graham unfolds the story of the hotel in roughly chronological order, but she was a gossip columnist, so the book reads like a series of columns, many of which focus on gossip and anecdotes (a number of which involve society people who are long forgotten) — rather than a comprehensive history of the hotel.

Kirkus Review:

More Hollywood gossip glorified by all the beautiful people that were, and since columnist Graham is usually just grateful to have known them all, she rarely indulges in tit for tattletale. The Garden of Allah, originally Alla Nazimova’s home, was converted into the main house (you were nobody if you stayed there) and twenty-five villas back in 1926. It seems to have offered opulence, poor maid service, late afternoon and all night festivities and an open “”liquor closet.”” It would be hard to say whether anyone has been left out of the hotel register–it would seem not–but Miss Graham concentrates on that benign presence, Robert Benchley (two chapters), one of course on “Scott” [Fitzgerald] who didn’t really belong there, a less kindly inset on Dorothy Parker, with later comers Bogart, Sinatra, Faulkner, etc. closing the book before the Garden of Allah became just a residence for hookers and a tatty specter of its former self. The book will be illustrated and it will be read even if much of it is a reprise from what’s around in the public domain.

The Garden of Allah was published in 1970 and is out of print, but used hardbacks are widely available, including from Alibris.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald Dies in Sheilah Graham’s Apartment on Hayworth

F. Scott Fitzgerald

On the surface of it, it seems strange that F. Scott Fitzgerald died in an apartment off the Sunset Strip. But on Dec. 21, 1940, the shortest day of the year, Scott suffered a fatal heart attack in the apartment of the British-born gossip columnist, Sheilah Graham, at 1443 N. Hayworth Ave. [map], just south of Sunset Blvd.

What makes it strange is that, in his prime years, Scott and his wife Zelda were such a part of the East Coast literary set and were so closely associated with the Lost Generation of American exiles living in Paris during the 1920s — along with Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas — that, had his life played out like the plot of his novels, by rights he should have died in Greenwich Village or a Parisian garret.

But he died in Hollywood, in Miss Graham’s apartment — a fact which proved to be awkward, given the tenor of the times, because Scott and Sheilah had been in love and sharing digs for three years, even though Zelda Fitzgerald was still very much alive, though institutionalized with mental illness — and Zelda and Scott were still very much married.

F. Scott Fitzgerald came to Hollywood for the same reason many of his East Coast literary colleagues did. He was strapped for cash. In fact, his arrival in 1931 was his second run at success in the Movie Colony. He’d brought Zelda with him in 1927 when had been invited out to work on script for Constance Talmadge. United Artists rejected the script, however, and the Fitzgeralds returned east.

It was then that Zelda was diagnosed with schizophrenia and hospitalized in a sanitarium outside Asheville, N.C. Scott returned to Hollywood. In 1937, he moved into Villa #1 at the Garden of Allah Hotel. It was there that he worked on the script for the Rita Hayworth vehicle, “Red-Headed Woman.”

“He is famous even in Hollywood, where his meteoric arrivals and departures are discussed in film circles as avidly as they discuss themselves,” wrote Dorothy Spear in a 1933 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.

In “A Taste of Hemlock,” published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 19, 1965, Joseph Scott III described the Garden of Allah’s role as the epicenter for the movie colony’s cultural elite:

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