Monday, December 17, 2007

Steve Martin's Born Standing Up

I'm reading Steve Martin's memoir, which has already produced two points of contact with this blog's fixations. The first is Martin's youthful encounter with screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, whose Hollywood Ten experience figures in the Carey McWilliams bio and California Culture class. Martin dated Trumbo's daughter Mitzi, it turns out. I didn't know that Trumbo smoked pot in an effort to cut down on his drinking, or that he smoked it like a cigar, puffing more than inhaling, and therefore never got high. Duly noted.

I was aware of the Martin-Trumbo connection from the recent New Yorker excerpt, but I had no idea that Martin also knew Victoria Dailey, lead author of LA's Early Moderns (see my review on your starboard). Here's the relevant passage from Born Standing Up.

Victoria was a young rare-book-and-print dealer in Los Angeles whom I had stumbled upon in my collecting quests ... and over the next few years we cemented an enduring relationship that has been complex and rewarding. We have been connected over the past thirty years intellectually, aesthetically, and seemingly, gravitationally. In my latest conversation with her, I complimented her recent essay on early Southern California history. I said, "Do you realize you're going to be studied one day?" She replied, "Only one day?" (158-59).

As it turns out, I was at the UCLA Library when Victoria and her co-authors discussed LA's Early Moderns. One of her co-authors was Michael Dawson, who graciously invited me to speak about McWilliams at his cool Los Angeles bookstore/gallery.


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