Eve Babitz, chronicler of LA in the 70s and 80s, passes at 78
December 23, 2021 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Called the "dirty Joan Didion" she dedicated her first book to “the Didion-Dunnes, for having to be what I’m not.” Called a "child of Hollywood," and "voluptuous bard" Eve Babitz, famous for playing naked chess with Marcel Duchamp, taking drugs, and dating famous men wrote 7 books that influenced a generation of writers culminating in a renaissance at 76.

For a deeper dive, there is a new biography by Lili Anolik, "Hollywood's Eve."
posted by Word_Salad (11 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Like to think both Eve and Joan are at Musso & Frank Grill hucking pearl onions at unsuspecting passers-by.

posted by clavdivs at 2:53 PM on December 23, 2021 [6 favorites]

posted by adekllny at 3:03 PM on December 23, 2021

Confusing post, considering Babitz died last week, and Joan Didion died today. Two of the greatest LA writers of all time, I need to back and read some of their best stuff.
posted by chaz at 3:14 PM on December 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

posted by emmet at 3:48 PM on December 23, 2021

posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:08 PM on December 23, 2021

Salvador rocked me.

posted by ahimsakid at 9:08 PM on December 23, 2021

posted by lazaruslong at 11:22 PM on December 23, 2021

Thank you for making this post, Babitz is one of my favorite discoveries of the last 10 years.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 5:21 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Eve Babitz, on the brief flurry of notoriety that followed the publication of her first book, Eve's Hollywood:
I did not become famous but I got near enough to smell the stench of success. It smelt like burnt cloth and rancid gardenias, and I realized that the truly awful awful thing about success is that it's held up all those years as the thing that would make everything all right. And the only thing that makes things even slightly bearable is a friend who knows what you're talking about.
On bodies and food (CW: Dieting talk and body shaming, followed by rejection of same):
I remember when I first started having lovers, they never failed to remind me that if I didn't watch out, I'd get really fat (implying that I was painful enough to behold as it was).Then the Beatles came with their Mary Quants and their Jane Ashers that you could only wear if you were ten years old and raised on English cabbage. ... Me, especially, I was doomed to have this flesh all over me, unless I ate only vegetables and fish and drank only Perrier water. ...

When Shawn ... gave me his well-considered and carefully prepared little speech, I thought: Maybe he's right. It couldn't hurt to think I was beautiful anyway. After all, I think L.A.'s beautiful and it's not fashionable or right.

The very next night I was having dinner with this fashionable young rich man who looked at me as I smoothed some pate over some toast and said, "You better watch out with that stuff. It'll make you fat."

"Well, gee," I said to him, "there are so many perfect women, it's just horrible that you have to spend time sitting here with me."
These are both from Eve Babitz's best (IMO) book, the collection of autobiographical stories called Slow Days, Fast Company: The Word, The Flesh, And L.A. I'm not going to tell you you where to find these quotes because then you'll go right to that story, and each one of these stories deserves to be read. (I'm jealous of people who haven't read Slow Days yet. You have an experience ahead of you.)

Anyway, if there's a heaven, Eve is up there, smoking and enjoying real whipped cream on her chocolate mousse.

posted by virago at 6:19 AM on December 24, 2021 [12 favorites]

I saw this Babitz-Didion comparison elsewhere today, and...no. Beyond "white women writing about California," there's no point of comparison.
posted by the sobsister at 8:22 AM on December 24, 2021

Didion lived one week longer just to spite Babitz.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:51 AM on December 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

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