Liz Goldwyn no doubt grew up with Hollywood in her blood, and her experience has stretched across film, journalism, art, and books. Turns out though, her fascination with sexuality has always been at the forefront. While we’re in a culture that is everyday more and more open about sexuality in all forms, we couldn’t help but obsess over Goldwyn’s newest book – Sporting Guide.
Sporting Guide is a guidebook to the glamorous world of high-class brothels, madams, and prostitutes of 1890s Los Angeles. Think Zagat, just a tad more risqué, chronicling – rather than restaurants – the city’s brothels, gambling dens and houses of ill-fame. We’ve spoken to Goldwyn’s brother – Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn (aka POTUS) before – and now it’s time to catch up with the very intriguing Liz Goldwyn herself…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
A large pot of PG tips with almond milk to start, preferably whilst still in bed. A hippie breakfast or lunch at Café Gratitude in LA, and in my own home cooking for dinner with loved ones. When the weather is colder, I love to do a proper roast chicken with lemon, garlic and rosemary.
What is your personal definition of good content?
Something that lets me get lost in another world.
What inspired the subject matter of your most recent book, Sporting Guide?
I’ve always been interested in writing, thinking, talking, and researching sexuality – and those women who worked in the field and were shunned by society during their lifetime – so prostitution was an early fascination, and one I knew I was going to write about even while finishing my first book Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens. I was equally inspired by setting my story in my own hometown of Los Angeles at the end of the 19th century — well before the movie business! LA was the “seventh character” in the story, if you will.
How has the hollywood scene changed over the years? What are the best and worst changes?
There is less glamour, less etiquette, more sweatpants and flip-flops. There is too much focus now on “reality,” “celebrity,” and fame for fame’s sake – and people looking over each other’s shoulders to see who else is in the room. Sometimes I feel like I am in an episode of Entourage or the Robert Altman film The Player. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, and Dorothy Parker all paid visits to Hollywood in their day to hustle as screenwriters for the studios. Those times are long gone, but now authors can sometimes adapt their own work for the screen. Also the great equalization of the movie business is that anyone can shoot a film on thier iPhone (see the great 2015 film Tangerine) and in general, it is becoming less of a “boys club.”
What has been a memorable meal in your career, during which you sat and marveled at who was sitting around you?
Hopefully this is yet to come! My most memorable meals are with people I love, not because of their infamy.
Do you watch Scandal? If so is it ever strange to watch your brother in that role?
Yes I watch it. No, it’s not strange except for the shower/sex scenes when I cover my eyes, but I am fairly used to it at this point— he’s been both an actor and my brother since I was a little girl so…
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Never let anyone photograph you from below — My Dad.
I was told countless times that caring about “a bunch of old strippers and prostitutes” was a waste of my time and a career killer. Thankfully when people give bad advice or tell me I am going the wrong way it just pushes me further.
How do you always start your day?
With a gratitude blessing, as new age as that seems – it is good to spend time every day being thankful.
The filmmaker who has inspired you most…
Too many to choose one! The late Albert Maysles, who shot my documentary Pretty Things, was one who became my real life mentor. I also love Fellini, Visconti and De Sica, Dorothy Arzner, Billy Wilder, Penelope Spheeris, Robert Altman, Shirley Clarke…Gosh I could spend all day…
The artist who has inspired you most…
Same as above – impossible to pick one. Maria Martins, David Hockney, the Starn twins, Kees Van Dongen, Carsten Holler, Tim Hawinkson, Rosson Crow, Otto Dix, Léon Bakst, and Marcel Vertes.
What are your favorite spots in LA to eat and drink? What do you order at each spot?
I love the bowls, smoothies and the immortal tonic at Café Gratitude. Tower Bar for a dirty vodka martini, Sycamore Kitchen for the Italian chop salad, Trois Mec for the tasting menu, and street truck tacos!
In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s ‘the new potato’ in entertainment right now?
Individuality and truth in storytelling. Less reality shows please! (except Love and Hip Hop Hollywood, I loved it — more!)