Okay. I ripped off the title of a song by The Eagles for one purpose only: to get your attention. The more accurate title should be A Hotel in California. But that sounds like a chapter in an in-flight magazine for American Airlines. Tonight is our last night here, at the Standard Hotel, on Sunset Strip. It’s a kitschy holdover from decades past…and that’s what gives this place a charm that is infectious and amusing. I sometimes think of myself as a kitschy holdover from 1967.
[The sign for The Standard. Don’t rotate your iPhone, it’s meant to be upside down.]
The Strip itself (according to what I’ve been reading) is undergoing a makeover. Since the 1960’s its appeal had been to the hipsters, rockers, winners and downright losers. Even now, as I stroll seven or eight blocks, I pass two strip clubs, several tattoo parlors, used cars dealers and quick loan storefronts. It’s quirky. I like it.
As we were checking in last Tuesday, I noticed a large glass ‘box’ behind the front desk. Inside was a mattress and a single pillow.
“Any significance to that?” I asked nodding to the glass enclosure.
“Oh, we have people who go in there for four hours and do whatever,” responded the female clerk.
Was this some kind of sex club? I wondered.
[Young woman in a camisole with her laptop.]
[For the ladies: a middle age dude with cell phone. I’d do it too for $40/hr.]
We ate dinner beside the pool that night, but something special was going to happen at 8:00 pm. It was movie night! The movies are chosen by two guys who seek out “the worst of the worst”. Tonight’s feature: “A Hard Ticket to Hawaii”. The plot was dreadful. The acting was ludicrous. But the snake was real as far as I could tell. The audience was encouraged to ‘get involved’ with the film so there was much hooting, booing and moaning.
[A still from the “movie”]
I loved every minute of it.
Last night, we were treated to two bands who played with vigor and talent.
Tonight? Who knows?
The Standard was not the original name. It was known for many years as the Hollywood Sunset Hotel. Years ago, when a twenty-two year old Eric Clapton was arrested for possession of pot, he gave his address as 8300 Sunset Boulevard…this hotel.
Across the street was located the Chateau Hotel where John Belushi OD’d.
As I write this, I am sitting by the pool. It’s 74 F. I’m watching the pink floating tubes drift about the pool. I look up and watch the palm fronds stir in the breeze. The sun is low enough to put the entire pool area in the shade. People are slipping on light sweaters. My weather app tells me it’s 72 F now.
We’ll be eating at a Cantina across the street tonight and then come back to hear or see whatever entertainment there might be.
Then we pack. Call Uber in the morning to take us to LAX to pick up a rental car. From there we head into the desert to spend a month in Joshua Tree.
Maybe, at the edges of the Mojave, I can get over this hacking cough that’s been hanging on for a month.
New adventures lay ahead. But I will always find a place in my memory bank to store the images of what was once the infamous Sunset Strip.
[Note: All the historical information I used in this post is mostly from oral sources. If any of my readers specialize in fact checking, any mistakes are mine. All photos are mine.]