On Saturday, July 20, Maria and I took the Amtrak train to Los Angeles to collect my award from the Hollywood Book Festival. Border Field Blues was the winning entry in the Genre category of this year’s competition. Yay!
We connected to the Metro at Union Station (still a great relic of L.A. history), and got off at the Hollywood and Highland stop, a couple of blocks from our hotel, the slightly rumpled, but friendly and quiet Liberty Hotel.
The evening’s festivities were held in The Academy Room at The Roosevelt Hotel. That’s right, they used to have the Academy Awards here. When I lived in Los Angeles in the early 80’s, The Roosevelt Hotel had gone to seed. One of the local bands we played with then had even written a song called “No Answer at the Hotel Roosevelt.” Now it’s been revitalized and upgraded to a “luxurious boutique hotel“. They’ve kept much of the original and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
We were joined at the party by our niece, Sasha Carrera, who’s recently complete her short film, Mr. Hopewell’s Remedy. After grabbing some food and an adult refreshment, we found a table and met some of the other folks who were there.
Next to me was Mark Bego, who’d won an award for his book, Paperback Writer, a memoir that starts with the opening of Studio 54 and takes off from there. Mark’s written over 55 books, including biographies of Elton John, Martha Reeves and other rock stars and celebrities. There’s fifty or so people in the room, and I manage to sit down next to the other rock and roll guy!
We also met Gregory Paul Ogden, an animator who’s written his first children’s book, Franklin Frog and the Fallen Tree. His own spectacular line drawings illustrate the book.
At any rate, the ceremony soon began, and after a few glitches with the KeyNote projection being shown on the screen, all the winners present got to go to the podium, accept their plaque and make a short speech. I didn’t prepare anything, but I think I improvised pretty well (always thank your wife). It was a splendid evening for all, as far as I could tell.
After the ceremony, Sasha, Maria, and I went to check out the David Hockney pool at the Roosevelt. There was quite a collection of would-be, and some actual, hipsters hanging out among the palm trees, the bar stools and easy chairs. Several parties were going in the rooms that surround the pool and patio area. I mentioned that I suddenly felt like I was in an Eagles song (or more likely, Warren Zevon’s Desperados Under the Eaves). Maria thought it was more like a scene from The Player. You get the picture.
We headed home the next morning, jumping on the train again after a brief stop in Olvera street for tacos.
Oh, and one last thing. On the Metro to Union Station Sunday morning, I met Raj, a music and talent agent from Mumbai. He’s looking for acts. So if you’re a musician looking to book that tour of India, let me know. Raj might be your man!