SUNSET STRIPPED – Audio Novel by M.D. Baer

Sunset Stripped is a cautionary tale concerning sexual obsession, blackmail, and murder. It’s the roaring ’80s, a time of greed, cocaine, and Iran-Contra. Narcissism is the fashion, AIDS is the new reality, and Ronald Reagan is snoozing at the wheel.

DESCRIPTION OF SUNSET STRIPPED :  Willie Talburt, a talented but down-and-out screenwriter, thinks his luck is changing when he snatches $300 off a drunk’s shoes at a legendary West Hollywood bistro and then meets exotic Veronica Blainewell. He would do anything to see his name on one of the giant billboards that loom high over the Sunset Strip, and she offers him the chance. But the deal and the dame don’t turn out to be as sweet as Willie’s dreams.

VENICE ARTS CLUB INTERVIEW WITH MARK BAER:

VAC: When where you writing Sunset Stripped?

M.D. BAER: Pretty much as it was happening.  During and after the dust settled.

VAC: Sounds chaotic, Los Angeles in the roaring 80’s.  Describe the setting?

M.D.BAER: For me, it began with Reagan and with Mr. Dougie (Doug Lewis) arriving in Los Angeles and meeting Jim Budman.  I was living with my wife at the time, jewelry designer Ezmarelda Gordon, at the estate of Bettina Bancroft in Bel Air, at 191 North Bentley. The estate belonged to Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner until she died. On a vacation to Tahiti, Bettina’s daughter, Elisabeth, met Mr. Dougie who at that time was working and living as a fisherman in Australia and the South Pacific. The two of them became an item, he became friends with the family and when he visited Elisabeth and her family in  L.A., he ended up moving in and staying a while. Even then, Bentley was quite a scene, anyone who was there would tell you, but after Mr. Dougie met Jim Budman, who along with Mark Brooks, Dan Millington, Adam Linter, Dana McDonald and Diane Bald launched AT SUNSET, everything went into overdrive, a real happening. AT Sunset became the place to be in L.A., it’s what people looked forward to, heading into Hollywood and going to AT Sunset, often until dawn. It was the rich, the famous, the unknown, young and old, gay and straight, a real mix, enough to make the head spin. For a writer, it was rich ground.

VAC: So, in the novel, the ‘Duck Club Crew’ is really based on the AT Sunset scene?

M.D. BAER: Loosely…we’re dealing with fiction here…

AT SUNSET 1982. L TO R: Dan Millington, Doug Lewis, Mark Baer, Mark Brooks, unknown.

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