If you want to make a boozy trip down Hollywood’s alcohol-adventure soaked memory lane, make your way no further than the WORD bookstore on Franklin Street.
On October 2, WORD will play host to the launch of a new book, Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History, a series of anecdotes, secrets, memories, and stories about Hollywood celebrities right from the Silent Era of films at the turn of the twentieth century right up until the 1960s and 70s, long before mass media overtook examining every miniscule detail of every celebrity’s life.
The book is the third collaboration between Los Angeles-based, Emmy-nominated screenwriter Mark Bailey, and New York City-based illustrator Edward Hemingway, the latter of whom has filled their newest book with caricatures of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
“What the book is really trying to do is create that feeling of being in a room with a Hollywood old timer who is telling you stories about the crazy antics they got up to in those days,” said Bailey. “And we want to be able pass those along with some real film history as well.”
“Looking at the caricatures should feel like you’re looking at them through beer glasses,” added Hemingway.
The idea for the book came out of the duo’s previous book Hemingway and Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers, which took the same motif, but applied it to writers.
Bailey and Hemingway spent months working with researchers looking at autobiographies, memoirs, radio pieces, and television clips in gathering all the information available in the book.
Some of stories you’ll find browsing through the book’s lively pages include how Humphrey Bogart got arrested for protecting his drinking buddies, how Ava Gardner would water-ski to a film set with a cocktail in one hand, Bing Crosby got the name, “Binge Crosby,” and score of other anecdotes on legends like Cary Grant, William Holden, and Frank Sinatra.
What’s more, the book is replete with 40 cocktail recipes mirroring the stars’ tastes.
“I do think what’s happening now, particularly in places like Brooklyn is a revival of that cocktail culture,” said Hemingway.
Next Thursday’s event, where High West Distillery will be on hand to offer whiskey tastings, will also mark the start of Hemingway and Bailey’s national book tour.
And how did they come up with the title? They placed their trust in a classic: Casablanca.
“It’s one of the most famous lines from one of the most famous films,” said Bailey.
Of All the Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History, book launch and whiskey tasting, WORD bookstore, 126 Franklin Street, Thursday Oct 2, 7 p.m., for more info visit http://algonquin.com/book/of-all-gin-joints/.