An expat Californian building a new life via the tango in Buenos Aires since 2003, including information on learning the tango and where to dance it in Buenos Aires.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Memories of Chateau Rodney

I went to see The Ugly Truth the other day, (or La Cruda Verdad, as it's called in Argentina.) It's a cute and bland date movie and the only reason I went to see it was because it was filmed at where I lived for six years in Los Feliz (Hollywood, Ca.)

I'm not surprised it was used as a movie set--the two apartments of the lead characters--because the 1926 Monterrey-style building was so special. There are six townhouse apartments in a horseshoe shape around a central courtyard. When I moved in in 1995, it was a little shabby but because of the quality of building in those days, it was still elegant and comfortable. The apartments have hardwood floors, the original tile kitchens and bathrooms, stained-glass windows, balconies, and archways. They didn't have dishwashers, garbage disposals, or room for the refrigerator in the tiny kitchen--it had to go on the back porch. There were little doors built in the walls by the back doors for the milkman to leave a bottle of milk; my neighbor Marita used it as a cat door.

See Phoebe, the Expat Cat?

But apart from the homey and beautiful construction, the building has a very special vibe. I'm not surprised that it appealed to the location scouts.

When I lived there, all the neighbors became family, and the events and parties and the love that went on there was out of a dream. It was just what I needed at the time. I recently recovered from drastic treatment for breast cancer, and I had just returned from living in France, where I had buried my husband. I had already lost my beautiful family home in Los Feliz a couple of years before.

I really felt the magic of Chateau Rodney, as we called it, and when I most needed it. The Universe provided a place of love, connection, and fun for an unlikely assortment of Hollywoodians, who bonded permanently.

I think all of us wanted to stay there forever, I know I did, but the building sold in 2001, and the new owner tripled the rent, which none of us could pay. So we were forced to move on in our lives--me to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. But whenever I'm in L.A., all of us former neighbors try to get together, as we did last July, and it always feels like it was just yesterday that we gossiped, griped, and drank cocktails together in the courtyard.

Of course, for the movie they pimped it up a lot. I mean, the lighting alone was spectacular, and it made me wish we had used more of it while living there. Also it made me wish I had taken more photos. But I'll never forget the good times there or the lifetime friends I made.

This is the door to my old apartment; see the address?

Here most of us are in 1995, celebrating my birthday in the courtyard.

And here we are at one of our favorite hangouts, ChaChaCha, in July 2009.

I'm glad I saw The Ugly Truth, because the memories are so beautiful.


Jacky said...

Interesting story. You write well and dance well also. I just saw a video of you and Ruben with a beautiful skirt

tangocherie said...

Hi Jacky,
Thanks so much for reading--and for your nice comments!

Elizabeth said...

I love this story about a building and how it had a special place in your life. These older places in Hollywood are so darling, so human in scale. Thanks for sharing the story, and I will see the movie just to see your place.