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Journalist, party girl, bookworm, muse, artist- by the time she’d hit thirty, Eve Babitz had been all of these things. Immortalized as the nude beauty facing Duchamp over a chessboard and as one of Ed Ruscha’s Five 1965 Girlfriends, it turns out that Babitz was a writer with stories of her own. In Eve’s Hollywood she gives us indelible snapshots of southern California’s haute bohemians, of surpassingly lovely high school ingenues (“people with brains went to New York and people with faces came West”) and enviably tattooed Chicanas, of burnt-out rock stars in the Chateau Marmont. In her deceptively conversational prose, we are brought along on a ride through an LA of perpetual delight- to a joint serving the perfect taquito, to the corner of La Brea and Sunset where we make eye contact with a rollerskating hooker, through the Watts Towers, and shopping at Central Market. This “daughter of the wasteland” is here to show us that her city is no wasteland at all, but a glowing landscape, swaying with fruit trees and bougainvillea, buffeted by earthquakes and Santa Ana winds. By the end, there is little doubt that Babitz herself is proof there’s more to Hollywood than meets the eye.
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