Lili Anolik has indulged her obsession with the life, times, and writings of LA author Eve Babitz and created a fascinating observation of the ’70s arts scene on "the other coast." This very nontraditional biography provides the reader with a multifaceted portrait of an outsize and unforgettable talent, Babitz, and of a time and place little known or understood beyond the glitz. I'm so glad Anolik introduced me to Eve. Recommended By Kathi K., Powells.com
Loved this alluring bio of author and artist Eve Babitz, muse and lover of artists, writers, and musicians. Reads like a red hot exposé of the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll scene in 1960s Hollywood. Recommended By Adrienne C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From one of Vanity Fair's rising stars comes a brilliant, star-studded portrait of the glamorous and brazen Hollywood artist, muse, and writer Eve Babitz.
Hollywood, California in the 60s and 70s was the cultural capital of America and the world--a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz, the subject of Lili Anolik's remarkable new book, is Hollywood's native daughter.
Babitz, the child of bohemian parents and a graduate of Hollywood High, posed, at age twenty, in 1963, with the great French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. The photo, cheesecake with a Dadaist twist, went on to become one of the most celebrated images of its era. Over the next several years, Babitz turned herself into the West Coast's answer to Edie Sedgwick: a groupie with an artistic streak (or is that an artist with a groupie streak?). She designed album covers for Buffalo Springfield and Linda Ronstadt, to name but a few, and seduced Jim Morrison, Steve Martin, and Harrison Ford, to name but a very few. Though Babitz was famous on the Sunset Strip by her late twenties, she was unknown as a writer. And then, Joan Didion read a short piece Babitz wrote on her alma mater, Hollywood High. Didion passed the piece on to Rolling Stone magazine. Babitz had been discovered.
Over the course of her career, Babitz would publish seven books, usually billed as novels or short story collections, but always autobiographies and confessionals. To quote Dwight Garner of The New York Times, "Reading Eve Babitz is like being out on the warm open road at sundown...going sixty miles per hour with all four windows down. You can feel the wind in your hair."
Life was "fun and men and trouble" for Babitz until a freak fire in the late 90s turned her into a recluse.
Anolik's dazzling Hollywood's Eve is many things: a philosophical investigation, a critical appreciation, a sociological study, a cultural commentary, and a noir-style mystery. What it is above all else, though, is a love story. The lover, Lili Anolik, the love object, Eve Babitz, muse, artist, writer, and one-woman zeitgeist.
"I practically snorted this book, stayed up all night with it. Anolik decodes, ruptures, and ultimately intensifies Eve's singular irresistible glitz." --Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
"The Eve Babitz book I've been waiting for. What emerges isn't just a portrait of a writer, but also of Los Angeles: sprawling, melancholic, and glamorous." --Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter
Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world--a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA.
The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. The photograph, cheesecake with a Dadaist twist, made her an instant icon of art and sex. Babitz spent the rest of the decade rocking and rolling on the Sunset Strip, honing her notoriety. There were the album covers she designed: for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, to name but a few. There were the men she seduced: Jim Morrison, Ed Ruscha, Harrison Ford, to name but a very few.
Then, at nearly thirty, her It girl days numbered, Babitz was discovered--as a writer--by Joan Didion. She would go on to produce seven books, usually billed as novels or short story collections, always autobiographies and confessionals. Under-known and under-read during her career, she's since experienced a breakthrough. Now in her mid-seventies, she's on the cusp of literary stardom and recognition as an essential--as the essential--LA writer. Her prose achieves that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, and is so sheerly enjoyable as to be mistaken for simple entertainment.
For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire in the 90s turned her into a recluse, living in a condo in West Hollywood, where Lili Anolik tracked her down in 2012. Anolik's elegant and provocative new book is equal parts biography and detective story. It is also on dangerously intimate terms with its subject: artist, writer, muse, and one-woman zeitgeist, Eve Babitz.