James Lough shares This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995 in Portland, OR [Event]

ChelseaThere really is no other hotel quite like New York’s Chelsea Hotel. During its heyday from the 1960s to the 1990s, the Chelsea Hotel was a home and safe haven for Beat poets rubbing shoulders with machine-gun toting gangsters, performance artists partying with con artists, and film directors riding elevators with directors of drug rings.

This Saturday (June 29th, 2013), author James Lough comes to Portland, Oregon to share his oral history of the Chelsea Hotel “This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995.” The reading takes place on Saturday, June 29th at the Jack London Bar in SW Portland (529 SW 4th Avenue) at 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for a special free lecture for hopeful authors. Lough will be joined by actor Murri Lazaroff-Babin, best known for his portrayal of Sid Vicious from a stage adaptation of “Sid & Nancy.”

We took a moment to sit down with James Lough to learn a little more about why he decided to write the book, and what makes the Chelsea Hotel such an interesting subject for a book.

Why did you decide to write this book?

I decided to write the book when my brother-in-law, Robert Campbell, kept asking me things like, “Hey, y’ever heard of Herbert Huncke? He was the first Beat writer. I used to live next to that guy at the Chelsea.”  I did know the Beats, but I’d never heard of Herbert Huncke, so I figured he was a very minor figure, peripheral to the movement. Then, two weeks later, while reading a book review, I saw The Collected Works of Herbert Huncke. Turns out Huncke WAS the first Beat writer. He had turned Kerouac and Ginsberg onto the mean streets in Times Square, and as a result they dropped out of Columbia and hit the streets.

From then on, when my brother-in-law said things like “I knew Dee Dee Ramone — I was in a band with him at the Chelsea,” I started to take him more seriously. After grilling him about these things, and phoning people he connected me with, I realized I had great material for a book.

Who are some of the more famous people that you feature in this book?

The most famous people featured in the book are beat writers (Herbert Huncke, Gregory Corso, Marty Matz) punk rockers (Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Thunders) and various other artist/writers/musicians like playwright Arthur Miller, composer Virgil Thompson, Warhol scion Viva, jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, writer Thomas Wolfe, musicians Tom Waits and Phillip Glass, photographers William Eggleston and Louis Faurer.

What made the Chelsea Hotel such an interesting subject?

The Chelsea was so interesting because it was the biggest, longest-lasting artist’s colony in US history, maybe the history of the world. It provided an encouraging, even libertine atmosphere that encouraged artists to create great art (and to burn out spectacularly if they made some shaky choices.) Not only that, but because management looked the other way when the artists got a little crazy or debauched, it was also an attractive place for criminals. So Beat writers rode the elevators with gangsters, con artists with performance artists, film directors with directors of drug rings.  And this makes of interesting stories galore.

About The Book.

A complete oral history of the famed Chelsea establishment during its grand, final days, “This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out At the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995” (Schaffner Press, July 2013) by James Lough peers behind its iconic façade and delves into the mayhem, madness and brilliance that emerged from the hotel in the last decades of the 20th Century. First-hand accounts from former residents and visitors provide a unique and vibrant, behind-the-scenes look at one of New York City’s most celebrated cultural landmarks, and a window with a view of the latter years of Bohemian New York. Residents like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, Mark Twain and Thomas Wolfe, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol loved the Chelsea for its libertine atmosphere, where they didn’t have to put on masks or airs. And it didn’t hurt that Bard was rumored to accept paintings and scripts in lieu of rent past due.

For More Information, Check Out This Facebook Event.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

One Response to James Lough shares This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995 in Portland, OR [Event]

  1. Pingback: This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995, an Oral History by James Lough [Book] | Trainwreck'd Society

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