Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Tropicana Motel
This sweeping staircase, worthy of interiors for a Cecil B. DeMille movie, was actually the sweeping staircase inside the bungalow behind the Tropicana that Stiv Bators stayed in during one of his many Los Angeles sojourns. In the photo with him is record producer Thom Wilson, whose credits include: DOA, TSOL, and later Offspring, Bouncing Souls and many others...just let it be known that we broke him in! Thom recorded "Disconnected" for Stiv back in 1979.
The Tropicana was the site and scene of many a fantastic punk rock photo opportunity - not just for me, but many other photographers from Los Angeles, and for those who came to LA for the photo opportunity.
The Tropicana is a romantic memory to many people other than punk rockers and their friends. It is a taste of Old Los Angeles, and of a different time - a time when Los Angeles was the old film noir town of Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain characters like Phillip Marlowe or Mildred Pierce. Now that it is gone, we have to memorialize it whenever we get the chance. The strip mall that is in its old place is as banal as the strip mall next door to it.
This guy is Marty Wetherington, and he was the front desk manager of the Tropicana all those years that Pleasant and I hung out there with our friends - Blondie, Mumps, the Cramps and many other bands who stayed there. Marty went on to work at the Sunset Marquis before its glamorous make-over...but when he made the move, so did a few of the Tropicana's steady guests... like Blondie. Marty took great care of us. He even let me cash checks! Of course, back then, we were looking for whopping great amounts like $20 for the two of us for the night. I don't know what the formula would be to tell you what that means in 2007 dollars though.
Here are some shots I've taken at the Tropicana over the years:
Mumps Kevin Kiely and Rob DuPrey with Pleasant
And then there's Duke's at the Tropicana. Duke's is still around - appropriately, it relocated to be next door to the Whisky A Go Go Sunset Blvd. Duke's was the place to eat and also to be seen. The food is great - and even though it has moved, the food is still great.
Here are some memorable meals at Duke's.
Lunch with Kristian Hoffman of the Mumps, and Bradly Field of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (below)
Leonard Graves Phillips of The Dickies with Joseph Fleury who is not only reading a copy of Lobotomy (look carefully) but managed both Mumps and the Dickies back then, as well as Sparks with his business partner, John Hewlett.