Alert “06880” reader, longtime Westporter — and current Californian — Fred Cantor writes:
A new book, Hollywood’s Eve by Lili Anolik, is generating plenty of media attention. It tells the story of Eve Babitz, a writer, artist and real-life Forrest Gump-type: For years, she crossed paths with many prominent Los Angeles personalities.
Critics now hail Babitz for providing a keen insider’s perspective of the LA scene of the 1950s to ’80s. She grew up there, and spent virtually her entire adult life in LA –except for a short time in Italy, and one year in New York City (March 1966 to March ’67).
What does this have to do with Westport?
In Babitz’s first book — Eve’s Hollywood — she describes visiting Westport on a summer weekend, in 1966.
She had an anti-Semitic experience. She then generalizes about it, comparing Westport to Westwood circa 1960 or 1961. (Many of her high school classmates went to UCLA. Eve chose Los Angeles City College.)
Westwood, where UCLA is, is so insanely crappy you could throw up. It’s so WHITE and it’s so clean and it’s so impervious, and the closest I ever got to that feeling of Westwood was when someone took me out of the Lower East Side in New York one horrible summer day to their mother’s house in Westport, Conn., and their mother was so shocked and repelled by me (she could tell I was Jewish, where her son hadn’t noticed) that she ran slides of his ex-girl friend for 45 minutes after dinner. That’s what Westwood is like.
Eve’s observations about LA back in the day might have been spot on. As for her representation of Westport in 1966, and the comparison to Westwood — well, if you lived in Westport the ’60s, you be the judge.