An Ode to Hollywood and How David Bowie Met John Lennon by THE UNSEASONAL and DELSEY PARIS
DELSEY PARIS and THE UNSEASONAL have teamed
up to take a fresh look at travel destinations that go beyond expectations.
Some call Los Angeles the “City of Angels”; others call it the “City of Dreams.” Founded
on September 4, 1781, under Spanish Gov. Felipe de Neve, in the village of Yaanga, Los Angeles soon expanded with settlers from Spain and Mexico, land speculators, oil barons, and gold prospectors who came during the California Gold Rush in 1848. In 1911, a site on Sunset Boulevard was turned into Hollywood’s first studio, and soon after, there were about 20 companies producing films in the area. When the Golden Age of Hollywood took off with the advent of sound film in the late 1920s, countless actors seeking fame started to flood the city.
Until 1954, a local streetcar line of the Pacific Electric Railway operated between downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood. It was the busiest route because it connected the studios with such historical landmarks as the Sunset Tower Hotel, previously known as The St. James’s Club. Established in 1931, the hotel is considered one of the finest examples of art deco in Los Angeles. Many celebrities — including John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, and even the notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel, who was the driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip — were residing there.
Today, the hotel’s striped silk-and-walnut bar hosts the likes of Sean Penn and Tom Cruise and the fashion elite. Los Angeles also encapsules rock history like no other city in the world. Music landmarks have witnessed revolutionary cultural moments and many facets of rock ’n’ roll. When you travel to Los Angeles, you can still feel this energy. If you think about a personality in arts, entertainment, music, or fashion, there is a good chance that the person has a home in Los Angeles. Traveling in and out of the city is as much a part of the identity of Los Angeles as being a source of inspiration for people around the world.
Established in 1912, the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard became world famous in the Eagles song “Hotel California,” which features the lyrics: “Such a lovely place, such a lovely face, plenty of room at the Hotel California.” Providing a discreetly glamorous hideaway for the Hollywood elite and hosting entertainers ranging from the Rat Pack to Humphrey Bogart and Marlene Dietrich, the pink palace revives the Golden Age of Hollywood.
In the 1970s, John Lennon and Yoko Ono hid out in one of the hotel’s bungalows, while new and upcoming musicians from far and wide flocked to nearby Laurel Canyon for its cheap rent and collaborative spirit. Jim Morrison lived on Love Street, right next to the Canyon Country Store on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Frank Zappa and George Harrison met for “canyon jams” and embraced the new sound of love and peace — although not everyone believed in the movement.
“The coming together of people I find obscene as a principle. It is not human. It is not a natural thing as some people would have us believe,” David Bowie told William Burroughs in a Rolling Stone interview in 1974. When Bowie chose his stage name, he thought of an 18-inch bowie knife cutting through the lies that he felt were surrounding him. He was seeking a clear picture but lost himself in the City of Dreams. Bowie became anxious due to the effects of drugs, the occult literature he was reading at the time, and the horrid scene of the Charles Manson murders at 10050 Cielo Drive — only a few doors down from where he lived in the Hollywood Hills. He even felt that his pool was haunted by the devil.
When Yoko Ono left John Lennon, he disappeared into an all-consuming cloud of alcohol and drugs. On his ode to excess, Lennon once got in trouble at the Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood for heckling the Smothers Brothers and punching a waitress; he was removed but was unstoppable at the time. Elizabeth Taylor introduced John Lennon and David Bowie at one of her cocktail parties. She was 42 and on the verge of announcing her separation from Richard Burton. What might the two legends — both haunted by demons — have talked about? Did they discuss music or Bowie’s plans to air Andy Warhol movies? New Hollywood was on the rise, changing Los Angeles forever. Dennis Hopper, Francis Ford Coppola, and Peter Bogdanovich were its promising stars, and they were looking for a way out of the dark.
The Rainbow Bar & Grill, next to the Roxy Theatre on Sunset Boulevard, was founded in 1972 as the Villa Nova. Film director Vincente Minnelli, at the time married to Judy Garland, was the owner. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe met at the restaurant on a blind date in 1952. In the ’80s, the Rainbow had more of a heavy metal scene, and it is where Guns n’ Roses filmed the music video for “November Rain.” Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers noted in his book Scar Tissue that he often sat with his father at the club, where they met musicians such as, Led Zeppelin and Kiss. At the time, Los Angeles bars and clubs closed early — the Rainbow closed at 2 p.m. — so parties continued at private pools in the hills or at hotels.
“If you must get into trouble, go to the Chateau Marmont,” Columbia Pictures president Harry Cohn once said about the iconic hotel, which was established in 1929. Bette Davis almost burned down the Marmont twice, Jim Morrison fell from a balcony, and Johnny Depp once claimed that he and his ex-girlfriend Kate Moss had sex in all 63 rooms, which are famous for their incredibly thick walls. Before buying a house in the area, Keanu Reeves lived in a suite at the Chateau Marmont for several years in the ’90s. In 2004, when Helmut Newton was driving his car out of the hotel’s garage, he suffered a heart attack and died from the resulting car crash. Lindsay Lohan lived in the Marmont while filming Liz & Dick. After she spent more than $46,000 she was asked to leave.
Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me if You Can, starring Leonard DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, was filmed at the Spanish Colonial–style Hollywood Roosevelt. The legendary hotel not only invites its guests to swim in its vintage ’60s-style Tropicana Pool — featuring a million-dollar underwater mural by British artist David Hockney — but also offers a historic bar with a two-lane bowling alley from the early 1900s.
The nostalgia-filled No Vacancy bar on Hudson Avenue resides in a building from 1902. In addition to the opulent interior design, excellent drinks, and artistic shows — such as walks on a tightrope — you can expect spontaneous DJ sets from the likes of Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead. In “California Love,” 2Pac voiced his declaration that California knows how to party: “Let me serenade the streets of LA, from Oakland to Sactown, the Bay Area and back down, Cali is where they put their mac down; give me love!” Everything seems to be possible in the City of Angels — not only when the moon shines bright, but also when the hot, blistering concrete inspires the next feverish dreams to flourish.
Images: Ger Ger Words: Tina Ger
The Unseasonal is a purpose-driven special projects magazine and alternative take on the world – a magazine about passion, travel, beauty, the change in seasons, the unusual, and the human condition. It features timeless pictorials, thoughtful stories, and unique collaborations. The Unseasonal embodies the feeling of a getaway, of slowing down, of exotic places, optimism, breathtaking dreams, unique architecture, and a lightness of being, traced with elements
from the past, the future, Romanticism, and impulses for making the world a better place.