Cassie said to Brendan and I, “Let me show you something”. So we looked at each other, raised eyebrows, and followed her to the car. Then followed one of those short-yet-long journeys you seem to get a lot in LA, where we discussed ideas for a TV show based on the web site www.theyfightcrime.com, and featuring about two gay private detectives. After driving toward the Hollywood hills and seeing the original realtor firm that erected the sign on the hill, Cassie parked and led us to a painted yellow gate. Producing a key, she unlocked it and led us into an amazing place – the Garden of Oz. Beads, crystals, crockery, metal tat, all embedded it into the floors, walls and outcrops of this grotto. Various thrones dedicated to different people, causes, events. It went on and on, and I wish I had taken my notebook because no photos are allowed, and people seem to obey this unwritten law (although it’s not unwritten because there is a big sign up that says â€˜no photos pleaseâ€™).
Many artists have added to the garden since it was started in about 1968, and as such they became Citizens of Oz, and their children are Children of Oz. Cassie said there are only supposed to be 25 keys, but she suspected that there are many, many more than that. She was given a key by a friend when they wanted her to see this amazing place. We spent half an hour just wondering and wandering at every new corner, step or throne, all encrusted with beads, coins, perspex windows protecting postcards, and by the gate was a pot where various leftovers had been left for people to dip into for a souvenir. Cassie gave me a green glass stone straight from Oz.
On the way back we passed a large school building which was the set for Rydell High, the school in ‘Grease’, and right nearby the site where Charles Manson and his Family committed those grisly murders. The same block. Fantastic – Iâ€™ve always hated Grease.
~ Edited based on more notes from the notebook ~
When we got back to the apartment, there was a problem with the doorknob. So Brendan and I, for we are MEN, went to the HARDWARE STORE and FIXED IT, with TOOLS and GUSTO! Then we bought Sports Illustrated and it was like ‘Real Men’ by John S Hall and Kramer.
The evening was cool – Cassie’s parents just happened to be in town (!) so they bought us a very nice dinner in Cassie’s hometown of San Marino. Never even saw the check – those are the best meals. They all had coffee, but I felt I needed a Sambucca – is that OK? The lone boozer?