Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oasis in Woodland & Hollywood Hills & Beyond

The West Coast kickoff of Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends was a whirlwind. From my base in the Hollywood Hills, the trip lasted from Tuesday, April 28 to Tuesday, May 5, and included many opportunities to meet key players to lay the groundwork for publicizing the book. 

One of the touchstones was a marvelous book signing, which St. Mel Parish hosted for me on Wednesday, April 29 at 7 PM. This well-attended event in Woodland Hills, California, 20 miles northwest of Hollywood, included the grandson of Spencer Tracy, Joe Tracy, and Fr. Padraic Loftus, Pastor Emeritus at St. Mel. Fr. Loftus baptized Ann Miller in the waning moments of her life, the story of which is included in the respective Oasis chapter. Interestingly, the Motion Picture Home, where Mary Astor lived out her final years, is located in Woodland Hills.  

Here is the audio of the event including the introduction, my remarks and the Q&A. Afterwards I signed books, followed by a reception where we continued our lively conversation.   A lovely event!  

Pacific Design Center where
Rogers & Cowan is located
On Thursday, April 30, among other activities, I dropped by Rogers & Cowan on Melrose to take copies of my book to a couple of stars I had been in touch with c/o their publicists, one of whom praised a piece I wrote about his client a few years earlier. 
Hope Estate in Toluca Lake

On Friday, May 1, I brainstormed with a PR genius whose focus is Hollywood.  What valuable lessons she imparted! That morning I attended mass at St. Charles Borromeo, where Dolores and Bob Hope worshipped, just down the street from their former home in Toluca Lake. Afterwards, I left a signed copy of my book for some folks who played a special role in its realization.  

On Saturday, May 2, I attended a private luncheon for Roger Michael Cardinal Mahoney and Archbishop Emeritus at Blessed Sacrament Church on Sunset Boulevard, on whose door Mary Astor knocked at a pivotal moment in her life, about which I write in Oasis
Author in front of John Barrymore's home
around the corner from Moorcrest

Entrance to Moorcrest

On Monday, May 4, I toured the neighborhood where John Barrymore and Mary Astor lived. Mary’s home, known as Moorcrest, was nestled in an enclave within the Hollywood Hills intended for members of the Theosophical Society. Moorcrest as once home to Charlie Chaplin.  My tour guide for this part of the Hollywood Hills was the very accomplished Lisa Mitchell, a fountain of knowledge about classic old Hollywood. She is the author of The Hollywood Canteen, among other literary achievements. 

This overview provides but a flavor of this memorable trip in the stomping ground of the stars I write about in Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends.

Porch of author's residence in the Hollywood Hills during her stay,  not far from Moorcrest, and just below the Hollywood sign, where she could occasionally hear the whirring of helicopters 
coming to photograph the iconic landmark

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