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.
Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop cultural 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. She was a sun-kissed Edie Sedgwick.
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. 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. And yet, during her career, Babitz was under-known and under-read. She's since experienced a breakthrough, and is now, twenty years after her last published work, on the cusp of literary stardom, and recognition as a—as the—essential LA writer.
For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire in the 90s turned her into a recluse, living 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.