I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Los Angeles, California, recently - my first trip to California - and had a long list of things to see. The Getty Center? Sure. Universal Studios? Okay. Grauman's Chinese Theater? Check. But do you know what was at the top of the list? The one thing I wanted to see above all else? This quiet two-bedroom three-bath home on a hill in West Hollywood.
This, Ladies and Gents, is 1260 North Weatherly Drive, once home to Mr. and Mrs. Igor Stravinsky. That's right - the greatest composer of the 20th century and my favorite composer and chief influence lived and worked right here. My favorite opera, The Rake's Progress, was written within these walls, as were countless other masterpieces. This is the headquarters for the mid-century musical avant-garde. Igor probably entertained W. H. Auden, Toscanini, and Oscar Levant right on that balcony.
The house is off the beaten path, but is throwing distance from the famous Sunset Strip, where bands like Motly Crue and Guns N' Roses were discovered at the Roxy, the Viper Room, and the Rainbow. It's minutes away from the spot where Andy Kauffman first took the stage and where River Phoenix shuffled off his mortal coil.
Of course, it's still someone's house, so I didn't get to spend a lot of time there. I found the house, got out of the car, snapped two photos through the iron fence, and got out of there. I didn't see any activity, and I'm not sure the owners even know the importance of their address. I didn't want to bother anyone.
A few days later, I sought out another important address: 6340 Hollywood Boulevard (between Ivar and Vine). It's the location of a burger restaurant, but I was more interested in what's just outside.
That's right - he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In fact, Igor is the only classical composer to have a star on Hollywood Boulevard. Suck on that, Beethoven.
I saw other stuff in Los Angeles and had a great time, but these stood out as two major highlights in an exceptional week.