A couple years ago I was doing some research on L.A.’s Downtown Arts District. I wanted to put the area and some of its history into my novel The Wrong Side of Goodbye. I was lucky because I had an in. A former colleague of mine from the Los Angeles Times was Pam Wilson. Her husband, Stephen Seemayer, was one of the artists who helped establish the Arts District back in the 70s. Pam and Stephen had even made a film about those early days which I watched as part of my research and mentioned in the novel. In the course of seeking their help with my project Pam mentioned they had a project of their own underway – another documentary on the Arts District but focusing on the one place that stood for all the district and its rich history: the American Hotel. More than a hundred years old, the American has changed identity several times as its neighborhood changed. It has somehow survived as a classic and important part of the cultural DNA of a city that often doesn’t preserve its past. Stephen and Pam’s project was to preserve the American in film. To document the history and character of the place.
Most of the time I write about a character that is intrinsically connected to his own past as well as the City of Angels. So this project was a pitch over the plate to me. I had to support it anyway I could and I am proud to say the film “Tales of the American” debuted in Los Angeles on March 30, 2018. We’ll be putting the film out on DVD and streaming windows soon. I will be sure to let you know.