One of the (many) places I lived in the Los Angeles area was West Hollywood – just off of La Cienega and Melrose.

What a great place to live. 

Best shopping ever. 

This was before all the chi-chi shops moved onto Melrose and drove the prices sky-high.  This was when Melrose was the home of tons of second-hand shopped owned by gay gentlemen who competed with each other to have the campiest goods for sale. 

My favorite piano bar, The Carousel, was just up La Cienega; where Houston Allred often tickled the ivories and would let a young Terri Cotter get up and sing from time to time. 

And David’s piano bar was around the corner on Beverly (I think), where performers like Wayland Flowers (of Wayland and Madame fame) and Michael Greer came in to try out new material.  (It was also at David’s that when my roommates mother and father were visiting from Michigan, our friend Carl (aka Myrna) offered them poppers.  When they declined, Myrna said, “Oh, they’re not mine, I just carry them in case someone else wants some.”  Ah life in West Hollywood in the 80s.

And down La Cienega was (and I think still is) Norms – the best after 2 A.M. grab some breakfast spot in LA.  (Okay, I lie.  Copper Penny was the best after 2 A.M. grab some breakfast spot in LA) But Norms had toasters at each table –they’d just bring you bread and you could make your own toast!  How cool is that?

Biggest coincidence in the world, a friend of mine from Summer Enrichment Program in Caseville, Michigan (we were in Mame together) lived not far from there – he was writing for the LA Metro; and his roommate was a guy I had done the Chicago Abyss with (Ray Bradbury Trilogy) at Delta College!

The Pleasure Chest was also within walking distance.  I LOVED the Pleasure Chest – and not just because of their trendy blow up sheep or conversation piece sized dildos.  They had, by far, the best selection of greeting cards in LA, to say nothing of their graphic t-shirts! 

The Pleasure Chest was where I flashed a clerk.  I was wearing a Danskin wrap skirt (remember those?) and it was coming untied, and I exclaimed how I was afraid it was going to fall off; and the clerk exclaimed that he had never seen a pussy before.  Ever happy to help with someone’s education, I lifted the skirt and pulled everything down (yes, I was wearing pantyhose – because, the 80s) and said, “Well, there it is.”  I pulled everything up, pulled the skirt down, and grabbed Carl and my roommate and suggested we leave immediately. 

Proof positive that my youth was well and truly misspent.

The Pleasure Chest is where I also found my all time favorite Christmas pin.  It is a test I use.  If a person can figure out what it says, we can be friends. 

So … Can we be friends?


  1. Oh, dear – AGAIN with the nostalgia!

    So much of what you remember is gone; some remains. The Pleasure Chest is still there, but the area
    around it on Santa Monica Blvd is almost entirely Russian now. What the little old babushkas make of the
    Pleasure Chest I don’t know. The bars have changed, but then West Hollywood night spots were always
    fluid. Norm’s is still there – can remember going there in high school. Copper Penny (there were 3 or 4 of
    them) is long gone – too bad. One of my friends had her office on LaCienega (personal management) just
    up the block from Norm’s – we’d go there for lunch. She managed a fellow you must have seen in LA, Dale
    Gonyea, the self-described “sit-down comic” who did his whole act at the piano – he worked a lot during the
    time you lived here.

    Ahh – flashing the clerk at Pleasure Chest? POINTS FOR SPONTANEOUS MADCAP-NESS! What a
    great story! And so kind of you to spread knowledge in the world to those less fortunate.

    Love the pin – surprised I’ve never seen one before.

    Best campy stuff now? Out of the Closet on Santa Monica near Sweetzer Ave. – fabulous items – first place
    to shelve books by dust jacket color.

    Sounds like whatever you’re doing is making you feel better above the neck – brava – good to see. Going to
    reread your post & wallow some more……

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