Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Day of the Locust

Parva Sed Apta Apartments
The Parva Sed Apta Apartments, located at 1817 Ivar Avenue, just a couple blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard was the home to author Nathanael West while he wrote his screenplays and his most famous novel, The Day of the Locust. While living here West got to know the Hollywood neighborhood as it was during the 1930s, including the many different characters that were also part of this community. Some of the people that West met while living in this building are said to have been inspiration for the characters he created in his novel.

1817 N. Ivar Ave. Parva Sed Apta Apartments
When The Day of the Locust came out in 1939 it was not a commercial success. It wasn't until years later that the book would take off in popularity. Unfortunately, West died a year after the book came out in a car crash. West was driving home from a hunting trip and died the day after his good friend and fellow author F. Scott Fitzgerald who had a heart attack.

I've never been inside the apartment building but I've heard the units were originally small one room spaces with a Murphy wall bed and kitchenette. Apparently now the units have been converted into larger one bedroom apartments.

If you're visiting Hollywood Boulevard just walk 2 blocks north up Ivar Ave and you will find this apartment building. Also, neighboring the Parva Sed Apta Apartments are the Alto Nido apartments which can be seen in the film Sunset Boulevard. Check out my previous post on Sunset Boulevard locations here.

Your thoughts?


Zinnia Cress said...

lets not forget his lesser known, but fabulous little novel- a cool million (the dismantling of lemuel pitkin)- this is my personal fave. when i first read him a few years ago- i had no clue he had lived so close to us- this post is a great treat! :) good work!

Anonymous said...

Yes, and of course, Miss Lonelyhearts too! I think Lonelyhearts is a real powerhouse and one of the best of West's generation-- but in terms of character study, Day of the Locust is hard to beat.

Thanks for the pics! I will make a point to drive past this today ... and envy the people that live there ...

Bryon Cole said...

I lived at Parva Sed apartments from 1989-1992 while attending Columbia College Hollywood film school. Most of the occupants were also fellow students. I had a studio with Murphy bed that hid behind the wall. Round archways and the old black and white octagon shaped tile in the kitchen and bathroom. Rent was $435 a month. If you watch the very beginning of "Sunset Blvd" you'll see the neighborhood in its golden years.


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