Monday, September 17, 2012

Living Hollywoodland

It was at this time that I moved out of my tiny Beverly Hills apartment for a new (also small) home in the Hollywood Hills. A friend of mine told me about the studio apartment above a garage in an exclusive area called Beachwood Canyon. I jumped at the chance to live in the Hollywood Hills, close to my dear friend Berry Berenson Perkins. The area was originally called Hollywoodland and the iconic Hollywood sign used to reflect that name. The views are a major tourist attraction and many celebrities have called the canyon home over the years from Humphrey Bogart to Aldous Huxley. You can see downtown LA all the way to the Pacific Ocean. 
My home was right at the beginning of the canyon in the flats. Tucked around the corner of my tiny place was a Catholic Monastery where a group of nuns lived and sold fresh baked bread and chocolates. Directly across the street was a magnificent apartment building that looked like a castle. I was excited to start a new life in a famous area high above the hectic pace of Hollywood. The relaxed vibe made my neighborhood feel as though it came from another era completely. I felt right at home there.
My worldly friend Berry helped me move. She immediately fell in love with my flat, commenting that it reminded her of Europe where she grew up. Something about the enchanting second story window with a view of the castle building across the street made me feel like I was living in the English countryside.
“Sean Penn and Madonna live there, can you believe it?” I told her.
“Have you seen them?” She asked. Not that celebrities meant much to her but with Madonna's rock star status and Sean Penn’s successful acting career, even Berry was intrigued that they lived across from me. I was surprised at her interest in the couple since Berry was married to legendary actor Anthony Perkins who starred as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Halloween was a sacred holiday at their house in neighboring Laurel Canyon. I remember Tony being interviewed on every talk show known to man-kind and Berry hosting an over the top costume party every year. One year, she dressed as Spuds MacKenzie, fictional Bull Terrier character created for advertising Bud Lite Beer in the 1980's. Her costumes were always very creative but even more impressive was her cooking; especially her signature dish, chicken wings. They were always cooked to perfection. She never had parties catered. Berry chose to do all the cooking herself.
“Yeah, Madonna and Sean have even waited for Blondie and me to cross the street, waving to us. Like typical newlyweds, they’re all lovie-doyevy, Madonna sitting as close as possible to him in the front seat of his truck,” I told Berry. I didn't share with her my secret fantasy that one day, Bobby and I would hang out with Sean and Madonna, the two musicians jamming as Sean and I rocked out.
“Isn’t that just divine,” Berry commented, a true romantic at heart. Shortly after I moved in, Bobby arrived with his box of personal items. Little did I know that my magical, European flat would quickly became a house of horror for me and my Blondie.

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