Archives for category: Los Angeles Locations


Renowned diarist Anais Nin — the muse of Henry Miller and many others — lived in Silverlake (Los Angeles) from the early 1960s until her death in 1977 at age 73. Her beautiful home, located at 2335 Hidalgo, was designed by Eric Lloyd Wright (Frank’s grandson), the half-brother of Rupert Pole, Nin’s then-husband. Nin led a complicated personal life that included bicoastal husbands (Hugh Guiler in New York and Rupert Pole in California). She eventually had her marriage to Pole annulled, but continued to live with him in the gorgeous house he had built just for her.


From REFLECTIONS by Henry Miller (Capra Press, 1981): With Anais I felt safe, secure. She delighted in keeping things running smoothly so I could write. She was really a true guardian angel, supportive and enthusiastic about my writing at a time when I needed it most. She was generous too. Kept me going with little gifts — pocket money, cigarettes, food, and so on. She sang my praises to the world long before I’d become regarded as a writer. In fact, it was Anais who paid for the first printing of Tropic of Cancer. For these reasons I feel utterly grateful to her. It’s rare to find a friend, a confidante, a colleague, a helpmate, and a lover, all in the same person. 


“I think of my photographs as ‘found’ paintings because I don’t crop them, I don’t manipulate them or anything. So they’re like ‘found’ objects to me.”


Photo: “Double Standard” by Dennis Hopper (1961), Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York

Note: Dennis Hopper shot “Double Standard” from a convertible stopped at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue, and Doheny Drive. A Los Angeles Times article following Hopper’s death on May 29, 2010 celebrated his work as a photographer and called the above image, “…an icon of the era, an exemplar of car culture cool…a delectably dense urban moment.”

Silver Birch Press is pleased to announce that Skylight Books, Los Angeles, will host a launch party for the Silver Birch Press BUKOWSKI ANTHOLOGY. We are honored to report that the event will feature readings from the collection by S.A. Griffin, Joan Jobe Smith, and Fred Voss.  For mini bios of our esteemed performers, visit Skylight Books.

WHAT: Silver Birch Press BUKOWSKI ANTHOLOGY launch party and readings from the collection

WHO: S.A. Griffin, Joan Jobe Smith, and Fred Voss

WHERE: Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90027, 323-660-1175

WHEN: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 5 p.m.

If you live in the area, we hope to see you there!

Cover art by Mark Erickson and Katy Zartl



When I visited Glendale, California, a few weeks ago for a meeting, I parked in front of the Mystery & Imagination Bookshop at 238 N. Brand Blvd. I was intrigued by the poster in the window for a book called Searching for Ray Bradbury by Steven Paul Leiva — and finally took the time today to check out the bookstore and Leiva’s Book. 

The first thing I ran across was an article in the Huffington Post (5/16/2013), where Steven Paul Leiva writes about the Mystery & Imagination Bookshop — and explains that Ray Bradbury called it, “one of the best bookstores ever.” (Read the article at

The Mystery & Imagination Bookshop also operates an online bookstore that offers rare and used books in the detective, science fiction, and fantasy genres. For more information, visit


Searching for Ray Bradbury includes eight essays written by Steven Paul Leiva about his friend and inspiration, Ray Bradbury. In the book, Leiva also writes about his work to honor Bradbury on his 90th birthday with RAY BRADBURY WEEK in Los Angeles, a weeklong series of events in 2010 that were the great author’s last public appearances. Searching for Ray Bradbury also details Leiva’s successful effort to name the major Los Angeles downtown intersection of Fifth & Flower, adjacent to the Los Angeles Central Library, RAY BRADBURY SQUARE. Find Searching for Ray Bradbury at . Visit Steven Paul Leiva at his blog for more information about the author and his work.

Book Cover illustration: Lou Romano, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


(Chapter 18, Opening Paragraph)
by Raymond Chandler

The Athletic Club was on a corner across the street and half a block down from the Treloar Building. I crossed and walked north to the entrance. They had finished laying rose-colored concrete where the rubber sidewalk had been. It was fenced around, leaving a narrow gangway in and out of the building. The space was clotted with office help going in from lunch.


At Raymond Chandler’s 125th birthday celebration in downtown Los Angeles on July 23, 2013, the revelers visited the Oviatt Building at 617 S. Olive — the inspiration for the Treloar Building in Chandler’s 1943 novel The Lady in the Lake. Outside the building, Marc Chevalier offered stories from his upcoming book about the location, including how owner James Oviatt put the edifice in his nephew’s name for tax purposes and the overworked, put-upon underling made his slave-driving uncle buy back the building.

The festivities outside the Oviatt Building also included David Kipen — former literature director of the National Endowment for the Arts — reading the opening page from The Lady in the Lake. (Kipen currently heads Libros Schmibros, a lending library and used bookstore in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.)


The main floor of the Oviatt Building is now home to the Cicada Club —  — and the owner allowed the Chandler birthday party to move inside and tour the club in all its Art Deco splendor.


After walking around the mezzanine — a balcony that frames the space — we congregated in the bar (closed during our visit), where host Richard Schave and Oviatt historian Marc Chevalier shared wild tales about James Oviatt — the teenager from humble beginnings in Utah who became a linchpin and millionaire in Los Angeles. Oviatt also served as inspiration for Derace Kingsley,  the heavy in The Lady of the Lake.

While touring the club, I chatted with Sybil Davis, daughter of Raymond Chandler’s last secretary, who earlier in the evening had given a talk and held up one of her prized possessions — Chandler’s monogrammed silver cigarette case. Realizing it was a lot to ask, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without trying — so in a barely audible voice I asked if I could hold the cigarette case, if only for a few seconds.

Looking around, so as not to cause a stampede of people who wished to follow my example, Sybil slipped the cigarette case (wrapped in a white gauze bag with a satin tie) from her purse. She removed the case from its covering and placed it on my outstretched hand. I enclosed the case between my palms and felt a profound sense of gratitude — to Sybil and to Chandler for his masterful, iconic, poetic works of art.


This was the Noir Holy Grail — Raymond Chandler’s silver cigarette case — and, as a devotee of both Chandler and noir, I found myself speechless and humbled by this unexpected blessing.

Thanks to the organizers and participants for a wonderful celebration of Raymond Chandler‘s birth! And a special thank you to the gifted husband and wife team of Kim Cooper — who read from her amazing, beautifully written, Chandler-inspired novel during the evening — and Richard Schave, the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Visionaries Association, for hosting this inspired event.


THE LADY IN THE LAKE (Opening paragraph)

By Raymond Chandler

The Treloar Building was, and is, on Olive Street, near Sixth, on the west side. The sidewalk in front of it had been built of black and white rubber blocks. They were taking them up now to give to the government, and a hatless pale man with a face like a building superintendent was watching the work and looking as if it was breaking his heart.


The Raymond Chandler 125th birthday celebration on July 23rd hosted by the Los Angeles Visionaries Association (LAVA) in downtown Los Angeles took place in several locations frequented by Raymond Chandler during the 1920s and early 1930s — including the 12-story Oviatt Building (the first Art Deco highrise in Los Angeles, now a designated historic cultural monument) at 617 S. Olive Street. Completed in 1928, the Oviatt Building served as the model for the Treloar Building featured in the opening passage (included above) from Chandler’s 1943 novel The Lady in the Lake.


Oviatt Building historian Marc Chevalier — who wrote and produced a documentary film about the building and its founder, James Oviatt — offered a variety of fascinating anecdotes as we stood in the entrance, including a story about the rubber sidewalk immortalized in Chandler’s novel.

Turns out, James Oviatt had installed just such a sidewalk as a publicity stunt — saying the soft surface would allow people to  stand for hours looking in the windows of his exclusive menswear shop — and years later the savvy businessman had the the sidewalk removed as another ploy for recognition when the U.S. government called on citizens to donate rubber to the WWII effort. Today, Oviatt’s exclusive haberdashery has transformed into the Cicada Club — an chic supper-club in the tradition of classic Los Angeles night spots.

Chandler fans who’d like to read (or reread) The Lady in the Lake, the full text is available at this link.

On Saturday, July 13, 2013, I hopped onboard the Esotouric bus tour entitled, Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski’s Los Angeles.” I’ll write more about the tour in the Silver Birch Press BUKOWSKI ANTHOLOGY (available in August 2013), but will offer some highlights in this post.

The hosts, Richard Schave (who wrote the tour) and wife Kim Cooper, are everything you’d wish for in guides: knowledgable, enthusiastic, creative, and, best of all, passionate about their subject — in this case, the Los Angeles of Charles Bukowski.

For the in-depth journey you take in just four hours, this tour — at just $58 — is a super bargain. Plus you get free donuts, coffee, and an $18 coupon good on another Esotouric tour — and they all sound fascinating. I plan to use my coupon before it expires in three months — I hope for the upcoming James M. Cain tour. On all tours, participants are ushered  from place to place in the luxurious, air-conditioned comfort of a large, modern bus.

The Bukowski tour started in downtown L.A., where Buk lived in a range of SROs (Single Room Occupancy buildings), took his meals at Clifton’s Cafeteria (RIP), and worked for 14 years at the U.S. Postal Annex Terminal.


We then traveled to East Hollywood to stand outside the author’s apartment at 5124 De Longpre Avenue  — for which tour guide Richard Shave successfully garnered historic landmark status in 2008, saving the courtyard complex from demolition. After a stop at Buk’s erased residence at 5437 Carlton Way (now “redeveloped” — and not for the better), we headed to Pink Elephant Liquors at Western and Franklin for coffee, donuts, and something stronger if we wished. On the sidewalk, I found a Pabst beer cap, part of the “deck of cards” series with playing card figures on the inside — my find was a 7 of diamonds, a great souvenir of the trip, which I later posed with my copy of Women (photo above right).

After stopping at the Royal Palms, a former SRO in Westlake (MacArthur Park), where Buk lived with his first love Jane, we headed back downtown.

During the tour, while the bus was in motion, the activities remained lively — with Richard and Kim offering background and anecdotes about the next location, reading Buk’s letters (his letter to John Fante brought me to tears) and poetry, showing slides on a monitor of how L.A. looked back in the day, and playing video interviews with Buk, along with related movie clips.


BOTTOM LINE: I give “Haunts of a Dirty Old Man: Charles Bukowski’s Los Angeles”  my highest and most enthusiastic recommendation — 7 diamonds!  It exceeded all my wildest expectations. Thank you, Richard and Kim.

Photo: Charles Bukowski at his couryard apartment (a small bungalow) at 5437 Carlton Way, Los Angeles, mid-1970s.

Image Silver Birch Press extends a big thank you to the fabulous Skylight Books in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles for hosting a June 30th launch event for Philippa Mayall and her memoir PHOENIX (Silver Birch Press, June 2013).

During well-attended gathering, Philippa read the first chapter of her book — a harrowing account of her rescue from a tragic house fire — answered questions about the memoir and her writing process, and signed books for the enthusiastic and supportive attendees.

We appreciate the opportunity to showcase our latest release at the prestigious Skylight Books. Please support Skylight Books by purchasing books — either in person or on line — from this outstanding independent bookstore. Skylight offers an awesome (and reasonable) membership package that provides impressive discounts and free shipping. So, no matter where you live, please patronize the stellar Skylight Books. To learn more about memberships, please visit

Skylight books is located at 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027, 323-660-1175.


I recently spoke with Barbara Kraft (pictured at right at Alias Books in Los Angeles) about her memoir  Anais Nin: The Last Days — peppering her with questions about the iconic Nin. Kraft mentioned that after Nin’s death in 1977, she was invited to meet Henry Miller — then in his 80s and living in Pacific Palisades (located to the west of Los Angeles).

Miller and Nin had had a storied relationship in Paris during the 1930s. According to Wikipedia, “Although Miller had little or no money that first year in Paris [1930],  things began to change with the meeting of Anais Nin who…would go on to pay his entire way through the 1930s…Nin became his lover and financed the first printing of The Tropic of Cancer in 1934.”

It was amazing that Barbara Kraft had befriended not one, but two literary giants during their final years. Her memoir tells Nin’s story with depth of feeling and telling detail. Now Kraft is considering writing about her experiences with Miller — including her front-row seat at his frequent dinner parties for artistic and literary figures during the late 1970s and delivering some of the over 1500 letters Miller wrote to his “twilight muse” Brenda Venus. To this, I gave a decided, “Yes! Yes! Yes.” I want to read that book!

Anais Nin: The Last Days is available as an ebook on Kindle and a range of additional formats. Find it on here.


Support your local bookstore! This was brought home to me recently when I attended an author’s reading at Alias Books East in L.A.’s Atwater neighborhood. It was wonderful to sit in a beautiful atmosphere surrounded by books and other book lovers listening to an author read her words, ask questions, and learn more about the work and the writing process.

The Atlas Books East books website describes the store as ” a curated, general used bookstore…[offering]… a wide selection of used and out of print titles with an emphasis on literature, film and the arts…dedicated to promoting a passion for reading and enriching people of all ages with the world of printed books.”

Visit your local bookstore soon and soak up the atmosphere.