I recently read the Barbara Payton biography Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and the author kept talking about all the skid row hotels Barbara was moving between in Hollywood and L.A. in her later life. I’ve always been fascinated by the sketchier side of Los Angeles. Are there still areas like this in Hollywood and L.A. or has everything been gentrified?
Low rent hotel of Hollywood and los Angeles
|by Anonymous||reply 98||07/31/2020|
I too read that book and became fascinated by the descriptions of where Barbara lived.
The apartment building she lived in on Yucca is still sketchy, i would think.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||06/21/2020|
Well, there's always The Vibe on Hollywood Blvd. just west of the 101.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||06/21/2020|
I would think most of the places where she lived have been gentrified, but all large cities have "skid row" like hotels and motels somewhere in them--they just move further and further out.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||06/21/2020|
Much of LA looks sketchy to me.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||06/21/2020|
The skid row hotels are where I get my drugs
|by Anonymous||reply 5||06/21/2020|
I know there were a number of them left in the 90s to early 00s in Hollywood, East Hollywood and West Hollywood. I think most of them went the way of progress/gentrification. If you are a fan of Charles Bukowski he wrote about them a lot and often named the streets. They were mostly in East Hollywood, McArthur Park, Echo Park and d I'm Downtown including skid row before all the nonprofits took over.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||06/21/2020|
Didn't Carol Burnett live in one of those sketchy hotels? Wasn't that what her Broadway show was about?
|by Anonymous||reply 7||06/21/2020|
Carol grew up at the Hollywood Arms on Yucca.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||06/21/2020|
I don't think the Hollywood Arms is sketchy now, but it was in Carol's day.
Carol and her younger sister Chrissie were raised by her maternal grandmother, and they had moved from San Antonio to be near her mother, who was trying to make it (and failing) as a Hollywood screenwriter. Between the four of them they had very little money, but they were keeping up two separate establishments (Carol's and Chrissie's mother didn't want to live with them).
|by Anonymous||reply 9||06/21/2020|
Ed Wood lived in some hell hole on Yucca. That part of Hollywood was a drug supermarket for a long time.
I would imagine that a lot of 40s/50s motels on Hollywood have gone back and forth between legit and SRO. A lot of the apartments in East Hollywood from the 20s were probably set-up as residential hotels for people breaking into Hollywood,including crafts people and the like---they've probably operated as SROs, legit apartments and brotels at various times.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||06/21/2020|
Anyone here ever stay in any of these establishments?
Do we have any older DLers who remember the Hollywood area in the 70s, 80s, or 90s and lived around there?
|by Anonymous||reply 11||06/21/2020|
I lived in a nice big apt in a good building in the foothils above hollywood blvd about 3 blocks west of La Brea when I lived in LA a long time ago. It was not far away from the seedy areas mentioned above, especially in the late 80s and it was very depressing to see it. There is nothing romantic about it at all. Its about sex, often prostitution, drugs, etc. You are NOT winning in LA in being in that area...........
|by Anonymous||reply 12||06/21/2020|
Where did the girls live in Pretty Woman?
|by Anonymous||reply 13||06/21/2020|
Don't believe the gentrification hype. Most of East Hollywood is as janky as ever.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||06/21/2020|
Poor people gotta live somewhere.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||06/21/2020|
One of the place mentioned in the book was the Wilcox hotel which looks like it may be a hostel now
|by Anonymous||reply 16||06/21/2020|
The girls in Pretty Woman lived in the Las Palmas Hotel, which is in the heart of Hollywood.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||06/21/2020|
[quote]I lived in a nice big apt in a good building in the foothils above hollywood blvd about 3 blocks west of La Brea when I lived in LA a long time ago.
I guess you had to leave when the tar pits formed huh?
|by Anonymous||reply 18||06/21/2020|
Places like that seem to have disappeared from nyc
|by Anonymous||reply 19||06/21/2020|
An interesting read
|by Anonymous||reply 20||06/21/2020|
Good idea for a thread, OP.
I just started that book and for those who haven't read it yet, get your mitts on a copy. Well written and very evocative.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||06/21/2020|
Thanks for posting op and @R20. Good reading
|by Anonymous||reply 22||06/21/2020|
Barbara Payton is a fascination of mine. What a truly tragic but interesting woman.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||06/21/2020|
OP have you ever been to Los Angeles? 95% of the city in the “flats” part is seedy.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||06/21/2020|
[quote]Anyone here ever stay in any of these establishments? Do we have any older DLers who remember the Hollywood area in the 70s, 80s, or 90s and lived around there?
I stayed at the Tropicana Motel in West Hollywood once in the early 80s. The room smelled like a porn shop on 42nd Street. Sticky dark brown shag carpet. It had a "gay" reputation and was also a place where small time rock stars stayed. The coffee shop, The Duke's, was quite famous, apparently.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||06/21/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 26||06/21/2020|
Agree r21 it was an amazing book. I know her biographer wanted to make a documentary about her but I’m not sure how that’s going.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||06/21/2020|
So Hollywood is shabby but West Hollywood is kind of upscale?
|by Anonymous||reply 28||06/21/2020|
Going by at least two of the deaths shown in documentary "A Certain Kind Of Death", which shows Los Angeles County morgue and public administrator office would seem to qualify as "low rent" accommodations.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||06/21/2020|
OP I highlighted all the seedy areas of Los Angeles for you in red.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||06/21/2020|
Holloway Motel in WEHO. Porn star /drag queen Ritz Carlton.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||06/21/2020|
If anything could resurrect Lindsay Lohan's acting career from the dead, it would be playing Barbara in a bio-pic. She's inching toward too old for it, but I think it could work, especially the later years. I don't know that she has any acting chops left, what few she had to begin with. Same goes for brain cells. But if everything aligned, she could have a shining moment like Courtney Love did playing Althea.
She'd have to fully embrace just what a fucking mess she was (and likely still is) so right there I suppose it is a non starter.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||06/21/2020|
That’s an excellent documentary r29. I remember watching it repeatedly on a&e when I was a kid
|by Anonymous||reply 33||06/21/2020|
Once was enough for me; too depressing and morbid. That corpse found in "roach motel" was last straw.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||06/21/2020|
I stayed at this place in West Hollywood about 20 years ago. I paid extra for the Jim Morrison room. It is full of creepy graffiti and some broken furniture. The neighborhood was really sketchy, and I actually pushed the old decaying dresser against the door.
It has probably gotten fixed up.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||06/21/2020|
The Cecil Hotel has lots of creepy stories
|by Anonymous||reply 36||06/21/2020|
Have long since consigned book to recycling heap, but recall looking up some of the hotels or apartment buildings mentioned in book "Hollywood Babylon".
Was amazing how many once were upscale addresses back in they day, are now low rent or flea bag accommodations. This or the area where located slid right down right into "hood" territory.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||06/21/2020|
Landmark Motor Hotel, now known as the Highland Gardens Hotel. Not skid-row though, and they've tried to "glam" the joint up, but I think low rent and seedy still applies. In fact it's a good combo of the three really. This is where Janis Joplin died.
I saw a documentary some years back about the (then current) residents of the hotel that I found very interesting. Writers, struggling actors, people just trying to get by. It was good, I'll keep digging for it.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||06/21/2020|
[quote] Places like that seem to have disappeared from nyc
They're still there; just no longer in Manhattan or the nicer parts of Brooklyn.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||06/21/2020|
[quote] I stayed at this place in West Hollywood about 20 years ago. I paid extra for the Jim Morrison room.
Why, for God's sakes?
|by Anonymous||reply 40||06/21/2020|
About 30 years ago, I stayed at the Saharan Motor Hotel on the Sunset Strip that was recommended in a budget travel book. I should've sued them. Before I even got to the room I was propositioned by both a male and a female whore at the pool. They were working in tandem, and both were blond, young and cute. This was at the height of the AIDS crisis, so god knows what they were offering to do.
The room was filthy, smelled like a urinal and the bed had dirty sheets. I slept on top of the covers. In the middle of the night I was paralyzed by a loud banging on the door. Thank god it stopped after someone shouted from next door that he was at the wrong room. When I checked out early the next morning the sneering clerk asked if I enjoyed by stay, and said there was a drug deal next door.
I see that the Saharan is still there, but has been remodeled since then. Still a budget motel but it looks a lot more decent. I wonder why they kept the name, perhaps because of the cool sign.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||06/21/2020|
Is The Coral Sands Hotel on Western (just up from Hollywood Blvd.) still as notorious as it was during my time in L.A. in the 80s? Back then it was all gay all the way every day. I had a friend come out from NYC who had heard of it and booked a room there for several days. He said it was round the clock action
|by Anonymous||reply 42||06/21/2020|
R41 At midnight I appear and present hole in room # 26.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||06/21/2020|
Hollywood is not a city, OP. West Hollywood is. Hollywood is a part of the City of Los Angeles and very different than West Hollywood. I had forgotten about the Coral Sands. Omfg! Lol…my ex and I wanted to stay outside the WeHo bubble once back in the 1980s (visiting from SF). A friend had mentioned it, but we did no research. Omg. It was all these meth queens in towels wandering around like zombies. Lots of doors propped open. . Hilarious because we were prepared for just a generic Motel 6 type experience, and this was really like a bathhouse. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
|by Anonymous||reply 44||06/21/2020|
I drove over to pick my friend up for lunch the day after he arrived. I parked on the street and walked up to the front door which was locked. I took that as a bad omen.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||06/21/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 46||06/21/2020|
[quote]Do we have any older DLers who remember the Hollywood area in the 70s, 80s, or 90s and lived around there?
Yes. The area around Yucca (where Ed Wood died) was the absolute pits. There was a skid row liquor store called Pla-Boy Liquor that catered to the Social Security check crowd (we called it Pluuuuh-Boy).
The street that ran parallel between Hollywood and Sunset is/was Selma Avenue and it was where you could find the street meat that was too day-old to hustle on Santa Monica Boulevard. It was bracketed by the Ivar Theater, a decaying old palace where strung-out strippers would get totally nude and finger themselves onstage for leering, sad old men (think a busted-out version of Club Silencio in Mulholland Drive).
The other "landmark" was the Spotlight, a gay hustler bar ... not a "piano bar" where gentlemen met younger gentlemen, but a dirty, dark hole where every head in the place turned when the door was opened. Usually a dozen rough trade hustlers nursing a cheap beer at the bar. If you weren't buying or selling flesh (I was neither), the question was always "What are you doin' here, then?" I went once when the bar was having a "buffet" (cheap sandwich platters) and it was like being in a John Rechy novel circa 1963.
BUT! My favorite was the Blacklite near Santa Monica Boulevard and Western Avenue, where even thrillseekers feared to tread (if you left at last call, you RAN back to your car). It catered to black transvestite hustlers — not the Lady Chablis types, but guys who looked like Rosey Grier in cheap wigs and glowering faces. (One of the regulars was actually named Pig in a Wig.) They carried handbags with bricks in them. I don't know if anyone remembers when Rodney King was arrested for picking up a transvestite hooker, but it was at the Blacklite.
On the Yelp page for it (it's long closed), some highlights:
"Is this bar still open (despite the alleged stabbing)?"
"One of the craziest men's restrooms I've ever been in. I'd rather drop it in the street then try to in most any bar bathroom - this place - WOW! You are pretty much sitting in a cage - wire cage door!"
Later the owners tried to fancy it up and completely ruined it.
Thanks, OP, for bringing back so many memories!
|by Anonymous||reply 47||06/21/2020|
I vaguely remember visiting LA with my family in the late '50s/early '60s and we stayed in one of those motels in Holllywood, but back then I think they were just typical post-war tourist motels like you'd find around any tourist area.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||06/21/2020|
[R47] Great descriptions! There needs to be a tour guide to the seedy side, and you could write it.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||06/21/2020|
Me again - I was the one who stayed in Jim Morrison's motel room. I was into punk rock as a teen (early 80's) and would go to some seedy bar which had punk shows in the basement near Yucca. I had a (real) fake drivers license (I went to the DMV and said I was my older brother and I lost my license). So I was able to drink and go to bars around there. Lots of hustlers and drugs everywhere. One night I had borrowed my mom's car and some drunk guys jumped on the roof and ruined it.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||06/21/2020|
Thank you, r49! There was an art book that came out a few years ago about the Ivar Theater. This link has some pictures...
"The Ivar was lewd and notorious in its day. It was described by its patrons as “a chamber of desperation, a mausoleum for souls -- on and off the runway.” Ross MacLean, one time stage manager and spotlight operator for two years, says "It's difficult to convey how bizarrely un-sexy and un-romantic the place was. A lot of the girls just danced around in street clothes, and took them off with about as much charm as someone undressing in a locker room ...
"The late LA artist Mike Kelly described the behavior of the Ivar's male audience members, “as if drugged in a dentist’s chair, the men sit frozen and immobile. There is no show of emotion, no hooping, hollering or wild applause. Seances are livelier.”
|by Anonymous||reply 51||06/21/2020|
I've stayed at a couple of different hotels in or near Japantown, i.e., outskirts of Downtown. Just on the border of being seedy. My threshold for seedy is low, though.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||06/21/2020|
Outside the Spotlight just before it closed for good...
|by Anonymous||reply 53||06/21/2020|
I love the term “gentlemen’s club”
|by Anonymous||reply 54||06/21/2020|
R47 Down at the golden cup
They set the young ones up
Under the neon light
Selling day for night
Nobody rides for free
|by Anonymous||reply 55||06/21/2020|
Hollywood is pure trash.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||06/21/2020|
I used to stay at a the Hotel del Capri in Westwood in the 90s. It was actually very nice. Totally 50s L.A. (see pic)- built around a swimming pool and a palm tree. $100 a night....free self-parking. It was very clean, good TV, phone, nice bathroom, all that... but there was a functionality problem. There was usually something that didn't work so you'd always have to move rooms a couple of times to get a room that functioned properly. It was also partly residential. Some people actually lived in the rooms with kitchenettes. They were very cool about everything except your breakfast tray (bagel w cream cheese and coffee) - endless "reminders" to put the tray outside your room when you're finished with it. But it was a great place. I was there when 9/11 happened and couldn't get back to England, so they dropped the price of my room until I could get a plane home.
They tore it down about 15 years ago and replaced it with condos.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||06/21/2020|
Pic # 2 - The Del Capri.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||06/21/2020|
The Jerome Hotel, Las Palmas and Wilcox had to gut each of the buildings since the walls and floors were saturated with so much crack and meth residue with generations of bed bugs.
AMDA bought the Jerome Hotel so now college students sit in dorm rooms which used to literally be crack whore drug dens.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||06/21/2020|
There is always the Stay on Main, formerly known as the Hotel Cecil, where several serial killers stayed and guest Elisa Lamm wound up in the rooftop water tank.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||06/21/2020|
There is always the Stay on Main, formerly known as the Hotel Cecil, where several serial killers stayed and guest Elisa Lamm wound up in the rooftop water tank.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||06/21/2020|
The Cecil changed its name?
|by Anonymous||reply 62||06/21/2020|
[quote]R30 Holloway Motel in WEHO. Porn star /drag queen Ritz Carlton.
I met a guy from a personals ad there once, when I first moved to LA.
Seems apt - -
|by Anonymous||reply 63||06/21/2020|
An LA native, I've "stayed" at almost every motel in this thread. I had to leave LA over 25 years ago to survive. I don't regret a thing, but I don't miss it. But hell, the damage done....
The Spotlight was as advertised... but there were 10-15 other Hollywood/East Hollywood/Silverlake bars that were as rough, or rougher.
|by Anonymous||reply 64||06/22/2020|
Tell us more, R64! About your time there. If you are comfortable.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||06/22/2020|
The Alexandria. Where Valentino shacked up with busboy Ramon Navarro. Gloria Swanson tangoed in the ballroom. Chaplin punched L.B. Mayer in the nose.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||06/22/2020|
The hotel Charles Bronson's character stayed in in Death Wish II always fascinated me. I can't imagine even walking past it let alone staying one night inside.
|by Anonymous||reply 67||06/22/2020|
Royce Reed is the resident expert on low rent hell holes in LA. You know nothing!
|by Anonymous||reply 68||06/28/2020|
What was the hotel that Joey Stefano died in? I think it was either on Sunset or Hollywood Blvd?
|by Anonymous||reply 69||06/28/2020|
The Garden of Allah in WeHo was a fun place I've heard.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||06/28/2020|
Ahhhhhh, the Spotlight!
Went there once in the late 90s. We usually hit up Mickey's or Rage but thought it would be fun to go bar hopping in Hollywood proper and the Valley.
Spotlight was vile...and scary as fuck. Filthy beyond belief. I didn't dare order a drink because I was scared it was either spiked with something dangerous but mainly I was just too frightened to dare put my lips on a glass. Didn't Goddess Bunny used to trick there, too?
One place we loved was Bananas in Reseda! Anyone remember that place. The drinks were shitty but the mini dance floor was fun.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||06/29/2020|
Frolic Room on Hollywood was another one we would hit up. Pretty funny.
One chick was in there at the jukebox looking at all the alternative rock songs and told her friends, "5 years ago Seattle was the most happening city on the planet and now it ain't nothing but SHIT!"
|by Anonymous||reply 72||06/29/2020|
We tried Illusions night at 7969. Was chatting with Chi Chi LaRue and after having made out with a porn star, I sat down with my friend and some fat freak ran up to us, whipped his lil mushroom dick out and gave it a few tugs before running off.
We weren't upset or shocked...just laughed.
What was the club on the opposite side of The Abbey? Went there often, too.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||06/29/2020|
This is my very favorite DL thread. Love all these memories from people who were there.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||06/29/2020|
R79 Was it The Firehouse?
|by Anonymous||reply 75||06/29/2020|
This dive hotel and bar might even still be there. It was on Sunset catycorner across from the Let's Make a Deal studio. I stood there a few night. It was terrifying. Can't remember the name of the hotel or the bar. This was around 1994.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||07/01/2020|
R76, you stood there a few nights? turning tricks?
|by Anonymous||reply 77||07/01/2020|
No. Unfortunately I was not turning tricks.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||07/01/2020|
This is one of the best threads on here in a while. I'm loving these stories. Thanks to everyone who's shared so far. The seedy side of Hollywood has always fascinated me.
|by Anonymous||reply 79||07/01/2020|
Same r79 can anybody recommend some great books Or movies featuring this sort of thing?
|by Anonymous||reply 80||07/01/2020|
Yep, probably The Dunes. Just on the other side of the Hollywood Fwy. Did a lot of damage there. At one point in the late 80s I saw a door open to a room, with a table set up in the threshold with a guy vending crack right in the open, addicts waiting in a line. One dealer liked to sweep the table off of "crumbs" and watch the customers tweak on the crumbs on the ground. I thought a good night for me and my "guest" would be to hear only single shots, and not automatic weapon fire.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||07/01/2020|
^^ lovely accommodations for all needs....
|by Anonymous||reply 82||07/01/2020|
Set in the 50s and 60s.... John Rechy's City of Night is a good foundation. Well written, captures the pillars of LA seediness in the haunts of Pershing Square, Venice Beach, and, of course, Hollywood. Selma Ave - hustler's row.
|by Anonymous||reply 83||07/01/2020|
I’m currently reading that now. I think he captures the seediness of NY and LA. Some parts were truly touching @R83
|by Anonymous||reply 84||07/01/2020|
R69 It was The Coral Sands, home of the Joey Stefano death Suite!
|by Anonymous||reply 85||07/01/2020|
Anyone ever have a little fun at the TomKat?
I'd go, sit back and get blown.
After I got off, I'd listen and watch and laugh my ass. 80 year old naked man running around, homeless bum snoring in the back, etc...
|by Anonymous||reply 86||07/01/2020|
Best Hotel on Skid Row, a documentary introduced by Bukowski. Really quite grim, but very interesting.
|by Anonymous||reply 87||07/01/2020|
I used to hear comedians joking about how seedy West Hollywood was, so it wasn't always posh.
|by Anonymous||reply 88||07/02/2020|
Thanks r97. The combined knowledge of datalounge never fails to surprise me
|by Anonymous||reply 89||07/02/2020|
Great thread LA queens. I was there last summer and stayed at a hotel downtown RIGHT near Skid Row. It definitely still exists. Being driven from the airport to the hotel at night was sight enough!
|by Anonymous||reply 90||07/02/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 91||07/12/2020|
r90 Skid Row downtown? I used to work a few blocks north of there. Not a great place to be--day or night. It's probably somewhat improved since so much of downtown has become residential, but I still would avoid it. I wish I'd lived in LA during the heyday of downtown--when all the big department stores and great old movie theaters were still there, etc. By the time I got here ('87), the only big department store left was Robinson's.
|by Anonymous||reply 92||07/12/2020|
R41 The Saharan is NOT on the Sunset Strip. It's right smack in the middle of Hollywood.
|by Anonymous||reply 93||07/13/2020|
There's a total seedy hotel just behind the IHOP on Holloway and Santa Monica in WeHo.. Man, if those wall could talk!
|by Anonymous||reply 94||07/13/2020|
Thanks R20. I just ordered the book from Amazon. Never knew about Barbara Payton but she sounds fascinating. The fact that she hooked up with Tom Neal while married to Franchot Tone made me want to know more about her!
|by Anonymous||reply 95||07/13/2020|
Don't know how this thread devolved into bygone days of Weho, but thankful that's how she went. Such a blast from the past. Haven't heard the word The Spotlight in almost 20 years (when we always just drove by and never dared to go in)!
Lived in WeHo from 1995-2008 and left just before its transformation to luxury (or the illusion of it).
We're driving down to So Cal from SF in September and spending three nights in WeHo en route to Palm Springs. It amazes me how ridiculously expensive everything there is these days. Hotel rooms for $300 even as far east as Hollywood and Vine (which was still shady when I left). GTFO!
We're staying at an Airbnb in a condo on Larrabee where I probably hooked up with various queens who are probably still there and in their 50s if not 60s now (but were hot 30 olds then).
We're not even concerned that the bars will likely still be closed and or super spreader central, as we're too old to care now. We just want to check out the cute Norma Triangle homes.
|by Anonymous||reply 96||07/13/2020|
When I was 18 and 19 in the mid-80s, I was desperate to see LA and managed to get cheap flights from the Northeast and a cheap rental car. Stayed in dive hotels in WeHo/Hollywood. Dirt cheap - and disgusting - but perfect for a poor college kid to be able to experience the mythical “glamour” of LA. Met a bunch of WeHo punks/twinks and was exposed to a life on the edge - focused around drugs and hanging out with kids of famous people like Ryan O’Neal’s son. Party all night on the strip and their 3-to-a- room studio apartments - then go to the beach in the afternoon.
Such a dangerous dead end world - especially in the age of AIDS. But glad I got to see LA /WeHo before it became wholly gentrified. A desperate, depressing place where dreams went to die from a drug OD or AIDS. Would love to know what happened to those kids 30 years later.
|by Anonymous||reply 97||07/13/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 98||07/31/2020|