Friday, December 10, 2010

Christopher Isherwood's LA

LAST night the Hammer Museum held an event about Isherwood's years in LA that included his companion Don Bachardy and and journalist David Kipen. 

Isherwood with Auden, 1939
Connection problems keep me from filling this out further, but HERE is the piece I wrote on the British author's years in California, which included a visit to his old house in the Palisades. The story begins:

He abandoned a sexually decadent Berlin and an unsettled Britain to come to a bright city full of churchgoers, orange groves and beach boys. But those extremes were on the point of convergence. During the nearly 50 years that Christopher Isherwood was to spend here, Europe embraced Southern California styles transmitted by Hollywood, and Los Angeles grew closer to Europe both culturally and intellectually.
Most readers still know Isherwood as the man who wrote the stories that became "Cabaret." To many observers, however, he also presided over the transformation of his adopted hometown from a sleepy burg with Westside lima bean fields and a folksy, Midwestern tone to a cosmopolitan metropolis with powerful ambitions. 

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