SAGE HEAVEN at Hollywood Roosevelt’s Library Bar

My previous rendezvous to the Library Bar have always been in the spirit of social curiosity.  My fascination with their drink-making process, no set menu, just tell the bartender your favorite tastes and he creates something on the spot, had before only been born out of an almost scientific obsession.

I was swept away wholeheartedly this time by its romance.  This was the first time my boyfriend had experienced the drink crucibling process, and through his eyes, I got to see the Library Bar a different way: the sweep of adventure.

In the past years, I’ve lost sight of Los Angeles’ romantic history (and even present).  Is this a byproduct of getting older, taking for granted a business I’ve been in a long time, or is that Hollywood itself has lost sight of this?  With the introduction of my boyfriend to the scene, everything was bathed in a swanky new light.  An old light.  The light that brought me here.  Lights that look like the Chinese Theater, just a block away from the bar.  Lights like the bar’s home, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

It helped me tremendously in the spiritual department to feel this light again.  Even though films are shot in a computer now instead of a soundstage, even though shoots are leaving California for better tax-friendly environments, even though the Alfred Hitchcock Theater at Universal was replaced with Shrek in 4-D…it’s important to me that Hollywood still have this light.

But earlier that week, I saw the light appear in myself.  I took the boy to Disneyland (also his first time), and in the Animation Building, I introduced him to a zoetrope.  Otherwise known as a Muybridge Zoetrope.  Otherwise known as the thing that made (and still makes) movies happen.  With something so much more than a smile on my face, I described how Edward Muybridge took a series of pictures of a horse in motion, spun them one after another in a cylinder, and tore out a viewfinder so that the horse photos became one, single moving picture.

“That’s what a movie is,” I said, suddenly feeling both giggly and close to tears.

The "Magic Wheel" that has brought us all to this city.

The Library Bar inadvertently cemented that feeling.  Creation, originality, that thousands of years later, flavors are still colliding in the most unexpected and fragrant ways.

Our bartender made us the (pictured above) Sage Heaven– lemon, gin, raspberries, sage, and a whole lot of other things, all shrouded in mystery.

Thanks to Ain’t It Cool News, DVD bonus features and, of course, film school, the mystery of film had been diluted to all but an eyedropper’s worth.  A beloved refrain amongst people in show business is “It’s called show business.”  Meaning one mustn’t forget that we’re out to make money.  I’m going to start a new one.  “It’s called show business.”  We’re all (or should all be) show people.  Barnum & Bailey types.  We must make it astounding, not just big.  We must make it something they’ve never seen before, not just the latest installment.  And above all, we must make it an effortless mystery how we did it, not just a bafflingly unhealthy merging of our ideas and responses on message boards.

I can’t tell you what’s in Sage Heaven, nor can I most of what the Library Bar offers.  Just go there.  Get a drink.  And while you’re at it, hop over to the Chinese Theater and put your feet in the cement footprints.  Go be a tourist.  If you’re still a decent human being, you’re not too good for it.

 

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Written by Adam Sass

Adam Sass

ADAM SASS is a journalist and copy editor for Mediaplanet, which prints in USA Today. His short story appeared in the anthology STARLING SCI-FI: NEW TALES OF THE BEYOND and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Story by Writer’s Digest. He lives in New York City with his husband and two dachshunds.

Keep up with Adam’s pop culture blogging at GeeksOut.org and on his (over)active Twitter: @TheAdamSass.