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Hollywood Week: A Taste of New York + A Recap

Hollywood Week at Rather Be Reading Blog

The finale of Hollywood Week brings us cross country to New York City in 1939. Amanda Farraday is making one final leap to get the man she loves back into her life, and this includes escaping the ghosts of Hollywood and arriving in that city that never sleeps. As a New Yorker myself, nothing brings me greater joy (setting wise) then seeing this great town through the eyes of one of my book characters, and I was more than thrilled to be getting a taste of vintage NYC in Love Me.

To get you in the Starstruck spirit, I took a little walk through the city yesterday (I wore a light jacket; this feels like progress, folks) to bring to life some of Amanda’s initial reactions to this lively place.

She didn’t resent these swift-moving, smartly dressed people quite literally too busy to give her the time of day. Not at all. She wanted to be one of them.

Waldorf Astoria Love Me NYC Tour

“People come and go so quickly here,” she said aloud.

Welcome to the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s personally one of my favorite places to walk past (especially during the holidays). I’ve never stepped foot inside but I basically have it memorized from watching Serendipity every year since it came out. Back to Love Me – Amanda’s stature is pretty convincing because she can look the part of a wealthy young woman, which is why the cabbie brings her straight to the Waldorf. She gets a room so quickly; it’s uncanny.

Martin Beck Theatre Love Me NYC Tour

Up next — where better than to confront your lost love than at his place of work? Harry is working on a new place at the Martin Beck Theatre (pictured on the left in 1955 and now renamed the Al Hirschfield Theatre) called An American Girl.

Obviously, I didn’t realize you’d be in rehearsal or I’d never have dreamed of interrupting like this. But I thought as long as I was here, it would be terribly rude not to say hello.

Sure, Amanda, sure.

21 Love Me NYC Tour

“It was a little bit of a letdown.”

Harry agrees to meet Amanda for a drink so they can “talk”. Amanda has just gone shopping at the Hattie Carnegie Boutique (which, coincidentally, was located near my current office) with a quick stop at the Elizabeth Arden Spa to ensure she knocks off Harry’s socks and arrives unimpressed at 21. (Harry mentions the lawn jockeys in his description of the place so it’s pretty fun that they are still guarding the place.)

21 from Afar for Love Me NYC Tour

She sips a ginger ale and Harry orders a scotch and well, you’ll have to read the book to see what happens from there… it’s crazy and dramatic and oh-so-very juicy.

And just like that, our tour is over — short and sweet like this troubled starlet’s jaunt to the big city. This is yet another reason why I enjoy Shukert’s work so much. Even though this characters spends so little time in New York City, Shukert doesn’t skimp on the details and instead brings this setting to life.

The sharp scent of diesel filled her nose as she pushed through the throngs of people waiting to embark for destinations north, skirting the uniformed porters struggling with piles of luggage, the little vignettes of joyous reunions and tearful farewells playing simultaneously around her. Like everyone is in their own movie.

Will Amanda return to NYC in book three of the Starstruck series? Will skyscrapers ever rank above palm trees? There’s so much to look forward to (and more) in the upcoming book! So much.

Thanks so much for following along with Hollywood Week! It was so much fun to change up the routine, spotlight a great series, and also share the spotlight with some of my favorite bloggers. In case you missed any of the posts, here’s a quick run down of how it all went:

» Nailed It: Starstruck + Reality Boy
» Andi ABC’s Styles the Stars for the Oscars
» My review of Love Me (Book 2 of the Starstruck series!)
» Hollywood Tour from Rachel Shukert
» Hollywood to Your Bookshelf: Lea Michele + Jonathan Groff
» Pop! Goes the Reader + Films of the Dirty Thirties
» Author Rachel Shukert Meet + Greet

Thank you thank you thank you to Andi + Jen! Huge hugs to Rachel from Hello Chelly for making this gorgeous header!

And one final bonus: your chance to win Starstuck + Love Me! It’s easy to enter + open to U.S.  readers only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

» For info on STARSTUCKGoodreads | Amazon | B&N | Rachel Shukert «

March 16, 2014 - 7:35 pm

Alexa S. - I love that you were able to give us a mini-tour of NYC based on LOVE ME (which I still have to read). It’s so awesome, just as this entire Hollywood Week has been. AWESOME JOB E!

March 13, 2014 - 6:42 am

Munira Kapadia - New Yorks my dream. I am so going to do this the day i go there

March 13, 2014 - 6:02 am

Book Review: Starstruck | Just a Couple More Pages - […] reading Starstruck, you can win a copy of it, and the second book in the series Love Me, over on Rather Be Reading. The contest is open until […]

March 12, 2014 - 10:05 pm

Lisa - So much fun! I’ve never been to New York, so these pictures definitely add a whole new level to the books set in NY. I totally wish people could do little tours like this for EVERY book. Man, that would be so cool. I loved this post. :D

March 11, 2014 - 11:13 pm

Ellice - This Southern gal has never been to NYC, so these pictures are fascinating to me! I’d love to visit sometime. I know how much fun it is for me when I find a book that’s set in the South, in a place that’s familiar (the only recent example I can think of is THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett), so I bet you do have a blast reading about your city! The potential settings in your neck of the woods are so glamorous, E :)

I honestly wasn’t familiar with this series until you reviewed it this week, and it sounds like something I’d really enjoy. I added it to my TBR, so it would be so exciting if I won this giveaway! ;) Hollywood Week has been so much fun, ladies (I’ve been reading along even though I’ve been a horrible commenter this week)!

March 11, 2014 - 10:41 pm

Hannah - I think my favorite part is big city life. Always lived the majority of my life in the ‘burbs. I love the idea of life in the big city!

March 10, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - So you still haven’t been in the Waldorf? You should have went in on your tour! You know I love tours so I love this. I think those lawn jockeys are like such a NY icon. They’re so cool.

March 10, 2014 - 1:07 pm

Tammy - Of course, initially it’s the gorgeous covers. Now if only every book we read we could get a chance to walk it’s path, so fun!

March 9, 2014 - 5:06 pm

alice-jane - Ahh I think it’s absolutely neat to trace the path that fictional characters take in real life! I love New York and it’s cool to see the places that are talked about in books. I can’t wait for my upcoming trip to NY!

Hollywood Week: Meeting the Star a.k.a Author

Hollywood Week at Rather Be Reading Blog

Greetings!

Honest truth: I always forget to do recaps of author events on Rather Be Reading. It’s so so terrible of me because I’ve gone to some great ones and never seem to get them written in time. But by a huge stroke of luck, Starstuck and Love Me author Rachel Shukert was in town around the time I brainstormed Hollywood Week (in the Notes app on my phone over a drink with my husband).

Another truth tidbit: I was absolutely so nervous to meet her. After all, she’s written two awesome books, and she used to write fantastically funny recaps for Smash (the deceased NBC show about theatre that I had a total love/hate relationship with) for New York Magazine so there’s sort of kind of a degree or two of separation between her and Jeremy Jordan (my just-below-Zac-Efron celebrity crush).

Anyway! Last Sunday afternoon, I headed over to McNally Jackson in Soho for a pre-Oscars launch party for Love Me. Truly impeccable timing because the opening of Rachel’s latest book started with main character Margo freaking out over the Oscar nominations. All bets are on her getting a nod for her first starring role, but until she knows for sure, she opts to be a total wreck.

McNally Jackson Soho

Nestled in a cozy corner of McNally’s second floor, I had a seat next to one of my (other) favorite books.

Books I Sat Next To McNally Jackson

Couldn’t be more fitting since Rachel is a huge Muppet fan too.

Rachel Shukert Book Event at McNally Jackson

To kick the event off, Rachel read a great bit from Love Me. I kept thinking WHY ISN’T MY INSIDE VOICE AS ENTERTAINING AS HERS because it’s so interesting to hear someone read from a book that you read  alone on your couch or on the subway. I’ve decided that Rachel will have to read part 3 of the series outloud to me.

In a Q&A afterwards, the crowd learned a few of these tidbits:

  • Most of her research for the 1930s Hollywood setting was done spur of the moment because she had accumulated so much “useless” Hollywood knowledge over the years.
  • She tried to write the book as realistically as possible but had to edit some minor details to fit in her fictional characters. (Like omitting a person from an Oscar category.) It made her think a lot about what actors and actresses we would be remembering 70 years later.
  • Rachel is a pro at Oscar speeches. She was even quoted in the New York Times last week.
  • Book 3 of the Starstruck series (out next year) will bring readers into the 1940s and into a war.

Afterwards, Rachel was sweet enough to chat, sign a copy of my book, and even draw something very special.

Rachel Shukert at her Book Signing

Yes, I took a very up close shot. Of course.

Can’t say I’ve ever had an author draw a Muppet in my book before.

Obviously, she’s the best.

It’s been so long since I’ve visited McNally Jackson (which Rachel called her favorite bookstore in NYC) and I’m so glad I stopped in to celebrate the release of Love Me! I’m pretty much dying to find out what happens with Margo, Amanda, and Gabby in the last book of the trilogy. Let’s hope I can keep my patience in check.

Until then, there’s time for you to experience the Starstruck series! The books are a total guilty pleasure but they are also so smartly written and I think it brings them to a whole new level in the young adult genre!

» THIS IS HOLLYWOOD WEEK! For info on STARSTUCKGoodreads | Amazon | B&N | Rachel Shukert «

March 16, 2014 - 7:39 pm

Alexa S. - I wish I’d known about this event, as it sounds great! Rachel seems awesome, and I love that she’s got that much of a connection with Jeremy Jordan ;) So glad you were able to meet her!

March 10, 2014 - 4:02 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I assume that’s your really cool looking Benz parked in front of McNally Jackson that will ferry me from the NYPL down to SoHo in a few weeks?

Is it weird I didn’t know there was an upstairs to McNally Jackson? I’ve been downstairs, but I can’t even picture how to get upstairs.

Sorry, would you like me to leave you a comment related to this post? I love the tidbits you learned during the Q&A and the Muppet that she drew for you, that is very cool.

March 9, 2014 - 9:36 pm

Christina @ My Life In Books - I absolutely love, love, LOVE McNally Jackson – I even got to meet Sarah McNally through a class in college! The layout in that bookstore is so organic and welcoming at the same time. Wish I was still in the city to visit :)

March 8, 2014 - 12:15 pm

alice-jane - AHHHH this looks like it was loads of fun! It’s cool that she personalized your book (Kermit!) and her extensive knowledge of Hollywood culture and the Oscars. I definitely have to read her books now!

Pass The Popcorn: The Dirty Thirties

You’ve made it to Friday, which means you are probably looking forward to putting your feet up and relaxing with a good flick this weekend! Hollywood Week continues with this fun contribution from Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader. I was clued into Jen’s love for classic Hollywood based on some of her recent book purchases and she was gracious and enthusiastic enough to put together a list of some of the most renowned films of the 1930s. Have you seen any of these? Do you love black and white films too? Be sure to leave your thoughts and have a super weekend!

Hollywood Week at Rather Be Reading Blog 

◊ ◊ ◊

Pass the Popcorn! Jen from Pop! Goes the Reader Suggests Movies of the 1930s

The 1930′s have long been regarded as one of the most successful and illustrious decades of the film industry. Known more simply as the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood, it was responsible for producing some of most iconic films in Hollywood’s history that remain critically-acclaimed favourites to this very day. In the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, the resulting Great Depression, the aftermath of World War I and the rise of threatening totalitarian regimes abroad, people increasingly sought out forms of escapist entertainment with which to distract themselves from a bleak and increasingly more threatening reality, and no institution offered more of a respite than the film industry.

The ten films I’ve chosen below are what I consider some of the best and brightest the Dirty Thirties have to offer, often laying the groundwork for what was to follow in their respective genres. These range from the big budget blockbusters to more specific niche genre pictures and re-makes of beloved classics. This decade also saw the launch of the careers of a number of stars who have since become household names now synonymous with Old Hollywood glitz and glamour like Errol Flynn, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Jean Harlow, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Vivien Leigh, John Wayne and Shirley Temple. I hope you’ll enjoy what I consider to be the perfect introductory compilation of movies in a decade of film that was as exciting as it was enduring!

Dracula
Date: 1931, Directed by: Tod Browning, Starring: Bela Lugosi & Helen Chandler
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

The Public Enemy
Date: 1931, Directed by: William A. Wellman, Starring: James Cagney & Jean Harlow
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Duck Soup
Date: 1933, Directed by: Leo McCarey, Starring: The Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo, Chico & Zeppo) & Margaret Dumont
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

It Happened One Night
Date: 1934, Directed by: Frank Capra, Starring: Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Top Hat
Date: 1935, Directed by: Mark Sandrich, Starring: Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Date: 1937, Directed by: William Cottrell & David Hand, Starring: Adriana Caselotti, Lucille La Verne, Et. Al
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Stagecoach
Date: 1939, Directed by: John Ford, Starring: John Wayne, Claire Trevor & Andy Devine
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
Date: 1939, Directed by: Frank Capra, Starring: James Stewart, Jean Arthur & Claude Rains
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

Gone With The Wind
Date: 1939, Directed by: Victor Fleming & George Cukor, Starring: Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

 

The Wizard of Oz
Date: 1939, Directed by: Victor Fleming & George Cukor, Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Et. Al
IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

So, what are you waiting for? Dim the lights and pass the popcorn – We have some movies to watch!

◊ ◊ ◊

Big big hugs to Jen for contributing to our Hollywood Week series!
(She had all of these lovely graphics, too!)
For a combination of snazzy graphics, thoughtful book reviews, and more,
be sure to visit her at Pop! Goes the Reader!

» THIS IS HOLLYWOOD WEEK! For info on STARSTUCKGoodreads | Amazon | B&N | Rachel Shukert «

March 16, 2014 - 7:41 pm

Alexa S. - This is such a cool post! I used to watch way more films when I was still in college and taking film classes. I’m definitely taking note of your suggestions :)

March 11, 2014 - 8:33 am

Lisa is Busy Nerding - IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT is by far, hands down, one of the best movies I have EVER seen. I adore it so much!

Great list, Jen!

March 8, 2014 - 2:07 pm

Sash from Sash & Em - 1939 – hands down the best year in cinema history. LOVE.

March 7, 2014 - 6:27 pm

alice-jane - Ahhh I love Jen’s picks! I’ve been meaning to watch a movie from the early 1930s, especially Gone with the Wind for a while now. The timing of this post is great because I have a lot of free time in my hands in the upcoming week, haha. Totally looking forward to watching GwtW and It Happened One Day. Thanks for sharing!

March 7, 2014 - 9:47 am

Ginger @ GReads! - Oh how I love this post! Jen, you picked some fabulous classics from cinema in the 1930s. One of my most favorite college courses I took was the History of Cinema and we had the opportunity to study a multitude of films. I found this era to be so fascinating. Even though films have progressed into something quite amazing today, there’s still nothing like the authenticity of these films.

From Hollywood to Your Bookshelf: It’s a Best Friend

Last July, Alexa and I teamed up in double posts about Hollywood stories that would make awesome YA books. We were so so excited about everyone’s responses, and have been anxious to serve up another Hollywood to Your Bookshelf post. Well, what’s better timing than Hollywood Week? That’s right — nothing!! (Refresh your memory: McGosling + Taylor Swift.)

Hollywood Week at Rather Be Reading Blog

Because I feel like we are friends, I can comfortably confess to you that I’ve been a little obsessed with Lea Michele lately. It’s a problem. Is it her perfect bangs? Her new album? (Which I downloaded Sunday night at midnight, and like a lot.) Or is the fact that I have no idea how this girl has made it through what had to be the toughest year and can still be so productive in her career, and have that brilliant smile on her face? It’s almost baffling to me. She is one tough lady.

I could probably sit here and write a million words on why I think her and Cory Monteith’s story would make a great YA novel but honestly, the wound is still too fresh and I can’t really talk about it. (All these clips from her recent interviews promoting her album have gotten to me.) So today I’m focusing on BEST FRIENDS. Lea met her best friend (Broadway star, recent Frozen supporting actor and friend to all reindeer) Jonathan Groff back in 2005, when they were starring in the off-Broadway musical, Spring Awakening, and remain just as close today.

Young Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele

Originally, when the image of the two of them popped in my head, I was like: female main character with her gay best friend. Ding ding ding! I couldn’t even think of many examples in my YA lit of this kind of relationship. (Of course, I turned to Twitter for some suggestions: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover; Something Real by Heather Demetrios [ sister + brother characters]; Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally.) Is there the risk for a friendship like this to become stereotypical? Absolutely, but if it reflects the intimate and easy-going nature of Jonathan and Lea’s relationship — it could definitely work.

I’ve never had a best friend like you. I never had the person who’s the person. The person you call, the person who’s there, the person who gets you, the person who makes you laugh. You know, that person… for the first time, I feel like I’m number one on the list. You are my first best friend. There is so much relief when you’re with the person who gets you the most. — lea on jonathan, teen vogue (march 2014)

So many times the emphasis is placed on the romance in young adult books and I think the longevity of Lea and Jonathan’s relationship through so many changes (careers, distance, partners) can definitely play into how their connection can grow and change through the years. Were they ever competitive with each other? Did they ever not like who the other was dating? Did some people just not get their friendship?

Since Glee, she’s inspired people across the world with her unapologetic ambition, insane talent, and astonishing grace. Me, especially.” — jonathan on lea, teen vogue (march 2014)

In the wake of a horrific situation, it’s obvious (even from a distance) that Jonathan stepped in as kind of protector, and has been there to support his best friend. I really admire that because it can’t be easy to see someone you love in so much pain, and be powerless to stop any of it. And on the other hand, even though Lea has displayed so much personal strength … everyone needs to accept help sometimes. They compliment each other well.

Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele Teen Vogue

Anyway, enough with the sad stuff. I want more best friends and they don’t even need to be a female character and her gay best friend. How about just best friends of the opposite sex? Or best friends in general? Because they make really, really good stories and make us appreciate the people around us who we can lean on, and who believe in us and love us just because.

Until that time comes, here are a few suggestions to tide us over:

From Hollywood to Your Bookshelf Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff

The Vow by Jessica Martinez | Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Theory of Everything by Kari LunaOpenly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Would you like to see more friendships like Lea and Jonathan’s in books? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to stop by Alexa Loves Books to check out her From Hollywood to Your Bookshelf pick!

Thanks to Betty, Judith + Ellice, and Racquel who tweeted in title suggestions!

March 15, 2014 - 1:34 pm

Alexa S. - I just love Lea Michele. She’s extremely talented, and driven, and I admire how she handles herself professionally. I’m also extremely enamored with her relationship with Jon (they are TOO cute!) and still kind of reeling from Cory :( But I love this post! You explained so eloquently about them, and gave some awesome book examples too.

March 10, 2014 - 3:57 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - This is the post idea that made me all ranty! I really like how it came out and I’m glad you added the stuff about other types of friendships at the end. I agree we need more solid, drama-free (or drama-minimum) relationships in YA.

March 9, 2014 - 1:12 pm

Lucy - I love J. Groff! He’s so good in HBO’s Looking, and his friendship with Lea is so sweet. Great book suggestions too! Better Off Friends is one I want to read asap.

March 7, 2014 - 1:33 am

fishgirl182 - Great post. I would definitely like to see more friendships like this in YA books. There is definitely an emphasis in YA but I think friendships are just as important. I have not read a lot of those books you mentioned but I’ll have to try them.

March 6, 2014 - 3:41 pm

alice-jane - I love, love this! I agree that there’s a lot of romance in YA and not enough friendships. I’d love to see friendship stories between guys and girls and how they transform over the years. So much of my life has been influenced by my friends since I’ve leaned on them for support and shared many great memories, so it’ll be lovely to see that reflected in fiction as well.

I’m going to have to check out your book recommendations, especially Better Off Friends, which I’ve heard great things about.

Hollywood Week: Rachel Shukert Welcomes You

Hello, hello! Today we are very excited to welcome STARSTRUCK author, RACHEL SHUKERT, to the blog. She’s discussing all things Hollywood, which means many of the wonderful spots featured in the first two books of her young adult series. If this doesn’t make you want to jump on a plane (or even better, pick up Starstruck — the fiscally responsible option!), I don’t know what will. Palm trees, celebrities, fancy drinks… sigh.

Take it away, Rachel!

Hollywood Week inspired by Starstruck series at Rather Be Reading Blog

Hi everybody!

When I started writing the STARSTRUCK books, my life was totally different. I was living in Manhattan, in an apartment in the East Village above a pizza place that used to blast music through our bedroom floor at 4 in the morning. I never slept, because there was so much  to do, so many people to see. I was a New York girl through and through, who could count the number of days I’d actually spent in Hollywood–my imagination is another story—on my fingers. I loved it.

Four years and two and a half books in (I’ve turned in the first draft for Number 3!) and everything has changed. I’ve made it to what my friend calls: “the end of America.” I’m living in Los Angeles now, in a Spanish-style stucco house built in 1926, probably to house some of the very first employees at the nearby Paramount Studios. I’ve got a hibiscus tree filled with hummingbirds that I see every morning through my bedroom window. I spend most of my days on the phone or at my computer, dealing with notes on television projects, and I go to bed by 11 at the latest. I don’t drive anywhere without seeing the Hollywood sign looming in the middle distance, reminding me and everyone who sees it just what’s at stake here. I love it.

There’s a lot to love about LA after so many years as a New York City girl—the weather, the ocean, the ability to go to Target and the grocery store and the post office and the bank not only all in one day, but all before lunch (seriously, the first few months I was there, my only answer to anyone when they asked me what I liked best so far was: “Is it weird if I say running errands?”)

What I love most of all is how so much of it feels preserved. LA is a town with real nostalgia for the past. Sure, many of the places I researched and described as the STARSTRUCK girls stomping grounds have made way for the new—Schwab’s Pharmacy, where Margaret Frobisher (soon to be Margo Sterling) is discovered over a sandwich and an ice cream soda, was torn down to make way for a shopping complex; the famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub, where Gabby, Margo and Amanda get up to so much glamorous trouble, was demolished along with the Ambassador Hotel in 2005, despite all efforts by some of Hollywood’s leading lights to save it.

But the majority of places on the Starstruck grand tour are still alive and thriving, and I’m so excited to take you on a little virtual tour!

First stop is the gorgeous Beverly Hills Hotel, a place I have been in love with every since Phyllis Nefler took the rain-drenched Wilderness Girls there in Troop Beverly Hills. (Roughing is one bathroom for 9 people!) It’s been restored completely to its former glory, complete with the iconic Martinique pattern of lush green palm leaves on every wall. And the pink tufted couches. And the white wrought iron chairs. And I’ve gotten a little obsessed with interior design now that I’m living in more than 500 square feet. Please excuse.

But the hotel is amazing, truly. You can have the famous McCarthy salad at the famous Polo Lounge, where Margo fights with her leading man Dane Forrest and desperately tries to fend off the leading inquiries of the malicious gossip columnist Perdita Pendleton, or you can pretend to be a hopeful young starlet desperate to be discovered at the counter of the totally vintage and museum-quality Fountain Coffee Room in the basement (it’s not exactly Schwab’s but it’ll do, pig, it’ll do. And yes, I am unable to use the phrase “that’ll do” or “it’ll do” without an allusion to Babe.) And the pool, my God, the perfect turquoise pool where you get that very particular kind of LA light that makes you feel very tan and like you have very red lips and your life is perfect.

Or for something a little sexier, the Chateau Marmont, where Margo discovers Jimmy in one of the poolside bungalows doing something they never told her about at the Orange Grove Academy for Young Ladies, is just a short drive down Sunset. Decadent and gothic as ever, it’s still full of celebrities doing things they shouldn’t. (I maaaaayy have been a secret witness to a screaming fight there once between a certain blonde female rock star and her teenage daughter. If I hadn’t been cleverly concealed in the stairwell I might not be alive today.) For food you can actually afford, the original Barney’s Beanery, where Amanda likes to go drown her sorrows and not run into anyone, is still there on Holloway Drive. The televisions blasting sporting events are not strictly vintage, but the famous chili is, and it’s amazing. (Chasen’s famous chili, so good Elizabeth Taylor used to have it overnighted to her in London when she was married to Richard Burton, is sadly long gone. But you can pretend.) Speaking of Amanda, Bullock’s Wilshire, where she indulged in so many bouts of ill-advised retail therapy, isn’t actually a store anymore (she might have put them out of business,) but the gorgeous and landmarked art deco building is still there, at 3050 Wilshire Boulevard. Pay homage, and then go shopping for real at Saks Fifth Avenue, in the original Beverly Hills location that opened in 1938, just in time for Margo’s mother to buy her the blue serge suit she wears to her very first screen test. (It was supposed to be for her debutante luncheon…but, you know.)

Gabby’s a Downtown girl, and while the Dunbar Hotel, where Eddie Sharp takes her to take in some jazz (and some other things) is now a private residence apartment building, the Central Avenue Jazz Festival still swings every July. And there are so many amazing restaurants around there now (although I can’t promise that any of them serve chili.) Or if you’re hungry in Hollywood, check out Harry Gordon’s favorite hot dog stand, Pink’s on La Brea, which has had lines snaking around the corner onto Melrose since 1938. And the price is right (Harry’s a cheap date.)

 

For a taste of old Pasadena the way Margo experienced it, check out the Gamble House as in Proctor & Gamble (not to mention Evelyn Gamble), an architectural masterpiece that makes you wonder why she ever wanted to leave. And finally, Griffith Park at sunset. Named after early Los Angeles grandee Griffith J. Griffith, it was also where the legendary film director D.W. Griffith (no relation, if you can believe it!) shot his landmark (and super creepy racist) silent film Birth of a Nation. Olive Moore probably had an affair with him, back in the silent era. You can see her house from your cliff-top perch. It’s whichever one you want it to be.

Happy reading, and LA loves you!

For more on Rachel Shukert » Website | Twitter | Our interview with Rachel | Starstruck / Love Me on Goodreads

March 15, 2014 - 1:17 pm

Alexa S. - Basically, Rachel’s post makes me want to fly to LA immediately. Warm sunshine, palm trees, gorgeous bright colors, Hollywood history? SIGN ME UP.

March 7, 2014 - 9:41 am

Ginger @ GReads! - When my sister lived in LA, I took advantage of a free place to stay and made a few visits there. I completely fell in love with the history of Hollywood! One of my most favorite museums I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to A LOT in Europe! lol) is the History of Hollywood on Sunset Blvd. It’s not a huge, fancy museum, but wow did it capture me. This was such a neat post to read, reminding me a lot about my visits there. Thanks for sharing this!

March 5, 2014 - 5:11 pm

alice-jane - I love this post! It’s so neat to see the history behind places and connect stories with places. I love California and its weather, but I haven’t seen LA like this. Also, I’m super excited for Starstruck now since I love history + old glamor, too.

March 5, 2014 - 3:58 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - Aww, I love this! It’s so cool to see all the places and to hear more about the history from Rachel. (And I totally agree with her about the best part of leaving NYC being the ability to run so many errands so quickly!)

I had no idea Birth of a Nation was shot in Griffith Park, that’s so weird! I remember watching that movie in a film class in college and just being dumbstruck. Also, the idea of Olive Moore and D.W. Griffith together makes me laugh.

How weird is it that we both did virtual tours on our blogs today?