My latest piece appears in the LA Review of Books: My favorite year: In Los Angeles with Eve Babitz in 1971
Men didn’t conquer Eve Babitz, she conquered them — and wrote about it, in seven published books and assorted articles and stories. Not only did Eve repel unwanted advances, sometimes even an unwelcome opinion could evoke her wrath, which could just as well be a kick in the shins as a withering retort. One friend of mine refused to go to any party he feared might include Eve, having been withered by her once too often. The list of her conquests is long, and it includes me, in my year at the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard.
My plush year was thanks to the royalties of my first novel, Going All the Way, which hit the Time magazine best-seller list in 1970 and was a double main selection of the Literary Guild, alongside Michael Crichton’s Five Patients. As Lili Anolik, author of the loving and perceptive new book on Babitz, Hollywood’s Eve, reports, I was “riding high” when I met Eve.
My first week in Hollywood was blessed by two former neighbors who lived behind me on Ocean Front Walk in Venice when I started writing that novel two years earlier. John and Sandy Gibson were working in publicity for Atlantic Records when I landed at the Marmont, and they fixed me up with Eve. I met her in a bar two blocks from the Chateau and I knew when she smiled that this would be a dream year. She was flagrantly beautiful and proud of it. Her outfit was simple and direct, a very short skirt and a very tight sweater. I called my old friends from our New York days, Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, to tell them my good news, which was Eve. Did they know her? The question was naïve. Everyone knew her.