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Of All The Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History

True tales of celebrity hijinks are served up with an equal measure of Hollywood history, movie-star mayhem, and a frothy mix of forty cocktail recipes.Humphrey Bogart got himself arrested for protecting his drinking buddies, who happened to be a pair of stuffed pandas. Ava Gardner would water-ski to the set of Night of the Iguana holding a towline in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Barely legal Natalie Wood would let Dennis Hopper seduce her if he provided a bathtub full of champagne. Bing Crosby’s ill-mannered antics earned him the nickname “Binge Crosby.” And sweet Mary Pickford stashed liquor in hydrogen peroxide bottles during Prohibition. From the frontier days of silent film up to the wild auteur period of the 1970s, Mark Bailey has pillaged the vaults of Hollywood history and lore to dig up the true―and often surprising―stories of seventy of our most beloved actors, directors, and screenwriters at their most soused.Bite-size biographies are followed by ribald anecdotes and memorable quotes. If a star had a favorite cocktail, the recipe is included. Films with the most outrageous booze-soaked stories, like Apocalypse Now, From Here to Eternity, and The Misfits, are featured, along with the legendary watering holes of the day (and the recipes for their signature drinks). Edward Hemingway’s portraits complete this spirited look at America’s most iconic silver-screen legends.“This book is like being at the best dinner party in the world. And I thought I was the first person to put a bar in my closet. I was clearly born during the wrong era.” ―Chelsea Handler

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1St Edition edition (September 30, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1565125932

ISBN-13: 978-1565125933

Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #198,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #154 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Cocktails & Mixed Drinks #341 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Culinary #1399 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Education & Reference

I am not currently physically sitting in a booth at Musso & Frank's as I write this. I am, however, there in my head, which is what counts anyway.This is a perfect book if you can travel inside your head. There is no Hollywood Hotel anymore; the Coconut Grove is now the footprint of a high school auditorium. But, with the aid of this book they exist again.Books like this have to navigate a very narrow line. Too much information can squeeze the life out the story. Too little info leaves you with just a pretty postcard book. Too much sex drifts us into "Hollywood Babylon" territory; too little oomph starts to leach away the bad-boy/dirty-girl tingle.The author has made a number of wise choices in deciding how to walk that line. The book is divided into eras, (the silent era, the studio era and so on). Within that division there are 2 to 4 page "chapters" featuring a particular actor or actress. A well known and then a perhaps less well known story about the actor is related. These tie into bits about their friends, pals and acquaintances, so you get more of a group snapshot. Sidebars, usually featuring historical or architectural bits, fill in around the drinking and partying stories.Tone is almost everything once you have selected your stories and factoids, and again the author has chosen wisely. There is a consistent narrative voice; the book reads like a documentary with an indulgent, cheerful and non-judgmental voiceover that reflects a real affection and feeling for these people and this place. It is not a phony cheerful upbeat sales pitch, not mindless celebrity worship, and not mean celebrity trashing.

Of All the Gin Joints by Mark Bailey and Edward Hemmingway immediately caught my attention because the title is from one of my all-time favourite movies. Luckily, I was selected by Library Thing to review the book and I am so thankful to them for the opportunity. Now, I know you’ve all heard the line, ‘I couldn’t put this book down!’ In this case, that is definitely true, but not because I was anxious to find out ‘who did it’ or where a mystery thriller might take me next. No, here you will find yourself compelled to keep turning pages to see what misadventures the next star in the catalogue of stars within the pages has managed to get her or himself into.From the Silent Screen Era to 1979 (the stars since 1979 would require an encyclopaedia to record their antics and besides, they are just not as much fun) we are taken on a rollercoaster ride in the lives of many people whose names are synonymous with entertainment. Be prepared however, if you thought they were all choirboys and innocent little girls, you are about to have your eyes opened, and opened hard. As a great addition to the antidotes, our intrepid writing duo has also included some of the star’s best cocktail recipes as well, along with the aforementioned gin joints.I never like to quote someone else’s review, but I have to add Walter Kirn’s words from the back cover here: “The perfect cocktail of a book: sweet enough to go down easy, sour enough to cleanse the palate, and strong enough to leave you giddy. When I finished I still wanted more!” That describes it perfectly.I did attempt, more than once, to count how many of Hollywood’s characters are covered in the pages, but every time I did, something would catch my eye and I’d start to read – losing my place. Suffice it to say, there are LOTS.

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