Monday, March 8, 2010


Besides being the worst driver in American literary history, Nathanael West also etched an interestingly surreal portrait of Hollywood, the town where he spent his twilight years. The surrealism amounted to dead accuracy, of course. Scenes of cowboys and Indians seated at café counters and fairy tale cottages planted adjacent to miniature haciendas in the Hollywood Hills. When I finally arrived in L.A. I was disappointed to discover there wasn't actually an immense building spelling out "20th Century" like the one that preceded pictures by 20th Century Fox. There was the Hollywood sign, however. And this authentic chateau located on Sunset Boulevard. Where Jim Morrison used up the eighth of his nine lives and Helmut Newton and John Belushi died and F. Scott Fitzgerald nearly did, where Garbo and Montgomery Clift and James Dean and Hunter S. Thompson slept.

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