p.g. sturges was born in Hollywood, California. Punctuated by fitful intervals of school, he has subsequently occupied himself as a submarine sailor, a Christmas tree farmer, a dimension and optical metrologist, a writer and a musician. He is the author of “Tribulations of the Shortcut Man” and “Shortcut Man.”
Los Angeles is synonymous with noir – or dark, stylish Hollywood crime dramas. No one knows noir better than p.g. sturges, the author of the Los Angeles noir series “Shortcut Man” and “Tribulations of the Shortcut Man.” The son of famed Hollywood writer/director Preston Sturges, p.g. sturges grew up in Hollywood and knows the best places in LA to rub shoulders with the glitz and the grit of this great town. Here, he shares his six favorite classic LA noir spots – in classic noir fashion.
Musso & Frank Grill
6667 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Hours: Tues to Sat 11 .m. – 11 p.m.
It’s raining outside in sheets and you’re sitting at the bar and Manny is making you the best martini in town. Ghosts surround you, Sinatra, Monroe, Mickey Cohen. A very pretty girl sits to your right. She smiles at you. She’s the one. Hell may be my final destination, but tonight I’m in heaven.
Colorado Street Bridge
Pasadena, CA 91105
Technically in Pasadena, The Colorado Street Bridge lies 144 feet above the Arroyo Seco and facilitates travel between Pasadena and Eagle Rock. Constructed in 1913 for hundreds of desperate souls, this Beaux Arts bridge was the last stop. Their psychic shadows remain. It takes 2.375 seconds to hit the ground. Just long enough to whisper, “Hail Mary, full of grace.”
8818 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Hours: Mon to Sat 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Book Soup is the coolest bookstore on the West Coast, if not the United States of America. Big windows shine a mellow, golden light out on the nocturnal Sunset Strip. Everyone goes to the Soup. Those on the path up. Those on the path down. Words for all occasions. Every girl who works there is pretty and they’re all smarter than you are. If that isn’t noir, what are we talking about? Perhaps I’ll drown my sorrows at Musso & Frank.
Grand Central Market
317 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Hours: Daily 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Can one be noir during the day? Well, if you can, the Grand Central Market would be the place to do it. Life invites, seduces, threatens, and soothes, both within you and without you. Drink your black coffee. Perhaps some Chinese herbs will help you forget the girl you met at Book Soup. She doesn’t need you.
3790 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Clad in blue-green terracotta tile, originally designed for vaudeville, the Wiltern opened in 1931. It still remains a place to see, to be seen, to celebrate. From B.B. King to Willie Nelson, if they can do it, they do it here. The greatest album never made? Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix, arranged by Gil Evans. The concert would have been here. On a rainy night. Voodoo Chile In a Silent Way. Think I’ll take the girl from the Soup.
Little Tokyo, 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
A block of real estate torn from a fleeting dream. Restaurants over a hundred years old, hotels that housed a million lonely souls on the way to somewhere else. Underarm holsters, one more cigarette. And that’s just your first look. Tempus fugit, my sweet.
p.g. sturges’ “Tribulations of the Shortcut Man” was published in February 2012.