Tonight at the Hammer Museum, Zocalo Public Square hosted a conversation on the life of the late L.A. author Christopher Isherwood. Artist Don Bachardy, his longtime lover, took part, along with the Huntington curator who oversees the Isherwood collection, painter Peter Alexander and author-critic David Kipen. Sounds like some fun stories were swapped about L.A. in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and especially of the gay and artistic underworld of the time. Zocalo's website also has an excerpt of a new book taken from Isherwood's diaries of the 1960s. From the book:
On the 15th, Don and I drove downtown on the newly opened Santa Monica Freeway. Downtown at night now seems mostly very clean and empty. Big shining new glass office buildings with no one in them; almost like models on show. We ate at the nostalgic old Clifton cafeteria — the one with the redwood décor: the other has been torn down. I must say, the food reminded me of that breakfast in jail when I was waiting to be bailed out on my drunk driving rap. And then we went to see Youngblood Hawke (perhaps the most ridiculous film ever made about writers and publishers) in a rather wonderful old theater called The Globe. It looks as if it had been legit. These downtown visits are especially moving with Don, because they recall the days when he used to come here with his mother and Ted to see films on Saturday mornings, from their home with the palm tree near the railroad station in Glendale. He and I went to look at it, once, when I was leaving by train for San Francisco. The palm tree had been removed.
Isherwood also observes some time in the decade that there's a new sound heard throughout Santa Monica Canyon, where he and Bachardy lived: kids on skateboards.