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Front entrance of Morrison Hotel Gallery

Art and Music at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in West Hollywood

The Morrison Hotel Gallery has events every once in a while – have you been? One was in honor of David Bowie – don’t you wish you were there? In case you were unaware, the Sunset Marquis is uniquely equipped with a renowned photography gallery. The Morrison Hotel Gallery is stationed in New York City, Maui, and yours truly, Los Angeles. In fact, at a recent lunch at the hotel, I had the privilege of seeing the Morrison Hotel Gallery investors being led through the gardens by Rod Gruendyke; they looked very nice and very professional and extremely happy to be at the Sunset Marquis.

Morrison Hotel Gallery

On the night of the event, I had arrived for a meeting at around 5 pm. I witnessed the sun set on the hotel, the hum and bustle that precedes guests arriving, and the trickling and then a sudden overflow of attendees. This palatial home for West Hollywood’s rock and roll clientele was lit up like a Christmas tree, and sparkling, shimmering guests wrapped themselves around the David Bowie elements.

The event started at 6:30 pm, and I assure you that never in my entire life have I seen an event that was completely alive at its exact start time. By 6:30 pm, the pool deck was teaming with elegant and artistic compatriots. I had been snacking and wine-ing in Cavatina until

David Bowie by Mick Rock | Morrison Hotel Gallery

6:45 pm, but then was accosted by the sight of the large screen that had been hung against the decks on floors two and three of the suites.

The Wondrous David Bowie

I was stuck to the pool deck, as my eyes took in the wondrous footage of David Bowie in all his colors and varieties. I could hear the bar behind me was lively and filling up the guest’s tanks with cocktails.

Proceeding further, the gallery was nearly body-to-body, but in a warm relaxed way, in which the flow of people seemed to move circularly through the gallery at the casual and appropriate pace for viewing. The gallery was filled with voices, and they seemed to rightly accompany the visuals.

There were so many favorites. A red-headed Bowie, in a bright red jumpsuit, with a bright red guitar and navy scarf, flipping his hair with ease and grace on an electric blue backdrop. Or a candid moment in a white t-shirt lighting a cigarette, and looking away from the camera under an unlit orange neon “LOANS” sign.

Keith, Tina and David Enjoying Celebratory Libations!

Keith Richards, Tina Turner and David Bowie - Bob Gruen
Keith Richards, Tina Turner, and David Bowie – By Bob Gruen

An absolute favorite: the black and white print of Keith Richards, Tina Turner, and David Bowie at The Ritz in Manhattan in January of 1983. Photographed by Bob Gruen, the photograph captures a swank purse-lipped Richards with an almost empty bottle of Jack. Tina Turner is lifting a champagne bottle to hers and Bowie’s joined lips, while her left hand tenderly rests on his neck.

The photographs at the Morrison Hotel Gallery feature all of Bowie’s iterations: David Jones to his space alien, Ziggy

Stardust to The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Thin Duke to everything else he gave us. The photographer’s list is long and astonishing and can be found on the Morrison Hotel Galley website.

The following day an unprompted text from Jon – a new writer friend that I had met that evening –  informed me that Mena Suvari showed up, but he didn’t catch Julian Lennon.

There was a “LOL” after that, which I feel encapsulates people’s casual awareness of the stars that inhabit the Sunset Marquis. It is certainly a place to see and be seen, but that comes secondary to it being a space to reconnect and newly connect.

The guests were fabulous! Everyone was fashionable, but the tenor of the fashion depended on the individual: modish, high fashion, classical, David Bowie-esque; everyone was represented. I looked around and around at the faces too, which seemed to tell stories as well. The chatter was low but enthusiastic. Eyes gleamed all around me with interest. Interest in the event, in David Bowie, in friends, in new acquaintances, and in conversations.

I had the sincerely grand pleasure of attending the event partially alongside Chris Cope, the Sunset Marquis’s VP of marketing.

Walkway at night
Cavatina at the Sunset Marquis

He knew everyone, and everyone greeted him in turn with genuine happiness! The Sunset Marquis is defined by the people that love and work for the hotel; people like Chris operate its limbs and pump blood through the organism.

The Sunset Marquis is truly a living artifact, a home that breathes and laughs and grows with the guests that inhabit her, and it remains so because the people that love this hotel are acutely aware of her needs. And by her needs, I mean the needs of the guests.

In the words of Chris Cope: “I realized [last night] how many different people and personalities visited the grounds yesterday for one reason or another. And it occurred to me that the personality of the hotel is often assumed from the personalities that are visiting it at that moment. It’s a little surreal at times, but it seems to feed off the energy of the people it’s welcoming at any given moment. While it was rather quiet last night, it was one of the best nights I’ve ever had there, and I think it was because of the varied people I ran into over the course of the evening.”

Unfortunately, I could not stay into the wee hours of the morning this time; I had dinner with an Academy Award-winning writer from whom I was very interested to garner advice. However, as I stood floating two-inches off the ground by the valet, buzzing with a drink (or two) and the tingle of having seen things spectacular, someone addressed me out of the blue.

A Fairy Tale Ending

Turning around I saw it was an attractive young man I had seen earlier, who was wearing very cool pants. Like Cinderella leaving the ball at midnight, I was accosted by a prince only the Sunset Marquis could produce. Moments of unassuming banter lead to a few moments of piquantly interested talk; the Sunset Marquis’s persons are not only stylish and attractive but intelligent and passionate about the people and interests that brought them there.

That is why I live here…sometimes I can’t believe my good fortune. If you’re in the neighborhood or just visiting the City of Angels, be sure to stop by and see the legends living at the Morrison Hotel Gallery at the Sunset Marquis.  I’ll probably be there!

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