About

I am the author of “It’s In His Kiss”.

Let’s start with a little background on how I came to write my first novel, I used to write screenplays. Horrid, arty, little things, that were praised for their characterization and literary tone, and were optioned again and again, but never made into movies. Perhaps, because they were neither commercial or cinematic? That’s a pretty good guess, if I don’t say so myself.

My people came from Moscow and a London slum called Whitechapel. When the British portion of the family arrived in New York they headed out to Seattle by train, way before the plane was invented. Finding only rain, and more rain, mud, and wooden planks for sidewalks (a segment of which appeared to be an orange crate from sunny California) they immediately booked tickets south… Or, so the story goes. And thus, my father’s grandparents came to LA. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for keeping an eye on Hollywood.

Cheers, dears! Vickie

117 comments

  1. Tommy Dangcil

    Vickie Lester…. Reminds me of Janet Gaynor’s character in “A Star Is Born”, which was a remake of “What Price Hollywood” with Constance Bennett

  2. Tommy Dangcil

    Vickie

    Great site here! Look me up and maybe you can check out my postcard books and tell me what you think!

    Tommy

  3. Awesome! I used to live at Metro 417 the, historical subway terminal (now a luxury apartment) in downtown Los Angeles for the past few years. I look forward to your blogs featuring beautiful buildings around la. :)

    • And, I look forward to reading about your progress – you have a way with words and I think you’ll find you have a facility with images as well. Don’t stay up too late, the first thing you’ll be learning is old school – pen on paper. ;)

  4. Vickie, your blog is fast becoming one of my favorites, so I have nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger Award (a bit reminiscent of a chain letter, but a nice nod, nonetheless :)) Details and rules here: ttp://leblogdemarie.com/2012/08/10/things-that-make-me-smile-19/

    Not to worry if awards aren’t your thing. Just wanted to recognize you and your exceptional space here in the blogosphere :)

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    ~M

  5. Amy Vuckovich- Theater chair, Wilshire Ebell

    I suspect the photo of the lindburg bust was at the Ebell Of Los Angeles. it was at that time the premier place to show art. If you would like to know for sure perhaps the archivist at the club can help.
    I feel like it could be found that the show was in a club program

  6. Jay Giannone

    Hi Vicke,
    My name is Jay Giannone. I shot a short film with the woman by the name of Lucien Cloutier, whom was one of the founders of the Motion Pictures Mothers Inc… I actually went to a fund raiser with her and she introduced me to quite a few of the Mothers and board members. Unfortuantely, Lucien past away shortly after fiming my short; but she gave me a note prior to her death. She asked that I reach out to a woman called Muriel and show the film at one of the organization’s meetings/fund raisers. I do not know how to reach Muriel.

    She aslo introduced me to Mrs Dugan, and I am not sure if that is Muriel. She wanted me to make sure that I showed them all the film that she stars in. Can you help me or point me in the right direction?? Thank you in advance for your help.

    Please advise.
    JayGiannone@yahoo.com

    • Hello Jay, I’ll send you a note at your email address – but I’m afraid I don’t know much about the current status of the club — I believe they’re still active and I have a couple of addresses when you can send an inquiry. I hope this helps. V

    • You are very kind — and I have to say very talented with that camera of yours! What’s going on these days in Downtown is very exciting, although nothing really competes with NYC. Thanks for dropping by and you have a new follower…

  7. Hi Vickie,

    The first of your images in the article about Cary Grant’s Palm Springs home is actually an image of the desert Inn….thought you might want to know….

  8. Ahh Whitechapel.
    Not all a vicious slum you know. A place with a proud past in many ways.
    I wonder, have you ever traveled there to trace your past?
    I would be delighted to be your guide if you ever visit The Old Smoke.
    The P. Dandy

    • I would be delighted!
      I lived in London (Hampstead Heath) when my father had business there. Do you know, it was so long ago there was still milk delivery, and the post came twice a day (does it still?)…

    • Marvelous Mae, thank you! I love your blog too. I have no excuse for not accepting your nomination, except I am swamped! I am sending you a bundle of hugs and I wanted to recommend a book to you… So I’ll pop over to your site :)

  9. Whitechapel was of course the haunt of the most famous of Victorian killers Jack The Ripper and a very poor place in the 1880s.Much has changed in the area and at one time I lived a small bus ride away.Some of the streets from The Rippers time are still there, whilst others have vanished.Tourists can enjoy Ripper Tours if they can stand the idea.Strange that such vile crimes from such a clearly deranged person should now be entertainment.

    Your ancestors were lucky to move out.

    • But if you call it “The Ripper’s time” then that means the Rippers have won! But of course, you’re right. Any sufficiently gory act of violence becomes entertainment for the following generations. We’re a weird lot, us anthropoid apes. Whoever left us in charge has some explaining to do. Music, dance and science, I suppose, excuses a lot.

      • I wonder if there really is a way of dramatizing unspeakable violence that is entertaining or edifying – what goes up on screen is generally so comic book… We are a weird lot!

  10. Vickie,just an addendum to the above.Bow Bells is the church of St Mary le Bow and is a deep part of London legend.The sound of the bells from this church are supposed in 1392 to have summoned back Dick Whittington back to London to become Lord Mayor.

    Its a fascinating history and the church has its own web site which you may care to look up.

    • Thank you. I will look it up. Now, this house of yours with the walls of imposing depth… Is it in Wales? How old is it? I read a book recently called the “The Guynd” which had (for me) a fascinating explanation of living in a home that was several hundred years old and the sense that while we were impermanent the house wasn’t and had to be maintained – this is not something we in the States are familiar with. I think the average American moves every 7 years.

      When I was a little girl and in school in London I was always puzzled by the idea of 99 year leases. Thanks to the book – puzzle solved!

  11. We are indeed a weird lot Vickie.The last Ripper based film -From Hell -starring Johnny Depp in fact was based on a comic book very loosely.

    I suppose that peoples interest in violent crime has many different roots.For my own part I have read a great deal in that area and my interest is trying to understand although not condone.I cannot claim that I always find that I have found any enlightenment.The worst acts of violence always seem to be commited by radically abnormal individuals even when they have been able to present a normal front to the world.

    I do not however find violence and gore entertaing at all and the present vogue for extremely violent torture films does not say a great deal about the human beings who enjoy them nor the society in which they exist.

    All the more reason for your site to exist as a respite from such vileness.

  12. The walls here are standard thickness for the huge number of stone houses.The house is not new but not very old either at about perhaps the 1870s.I am afraid that houses of this type, because so common, are much knocked about and -improved -which is estate agent speak for having had all historical features ripped out and put in a skip.

    I have retained quite a few original features such as stairs in old wood ,do not have a fitted kitchen and have not had my alcoves filled in to turn the sitting room into a bland box, filling them instead with floor to ceiling bookshelves.

    All of this in the context of{ let me put it bluntly} philistine values ,means my house is worth perhaps twenty thousand pounds less than my neighbours who have had the full works.Sad but true and I cannot change the culture.

    • It sounds perfect. Bookshelves and an unfitted kitchen, very nice. When I see houses advertised as “updated” it’s always a tip off to something dreadful. The 1870s is ancient in LA. There is one neighborhood in particular that was built around that time with huge gingerbread Victorian houses (Bunker Hill) – and it was razed in the sixties. http://imgur.com/iUUlxz9

  13. Yes perfect once I sort the leak in the lower roof out as its taken plaster down in the bathroom.Perfect unfortunately in my terms reduces the value of the property.You are quite right-updated-modernised etc usually means over here as well just wrecked often at great expense and not worth viewing.

    My pride and joy in my unfitted kitchen is a hand made Welsh Dresser in Elm which I bought for a mere forty Uk pounds and is worth almost seven hundred of the same.I have a collection of handmade pottery and decorative plates which it displays remarkably well.

    Yes I know the 1870s is almost Pre-History in America.Gingerbread Victorian houses US style are interesting.Our Victorian houses are quite different.

    I shall check out the site you have given me later.Thanks very much.

  14. You are right golden amber is the colour.In my case it has recieved a dark finish.It was certainly a steal.The shop I boughti it from -a charity shop-{goodwill store in US terms} had it at a hundred pounds at first ,but could not shift it incredibly.

    I am now looking out for something in a similiar style for another kitchen use.

    • I had a notion, and I’ll have to save it because it wouldn’t work in my 1924 Spanish, of fitting out the kitchen with tables and Japanese tansu cabinets.

      The “finding” of wonderful old antiques is almost better than having…

  15. I like a lot of the Spanish style residences I have seen.Sounds nice.Mixing up periods is very much a British tradition-think country house.

    I tend to mix all sorts of things together although there is a strong Arts and Crafts element in there.Most things are either old or been aged by me to fit in.

    I am no minimalist so there are all sorts of things from Tibetan prints and Buddhas to personal works of art by my late Mother and Father in Law.I treasure some busts of our three children she did when they were much younger for example.

    Yes the finding of wonderful antiques is almost better than……….finding more antiques and bygones.

  16. Vickie,
    I have to ask you for a favor – and feel free to say, “No way, Jose.”
    My “about page” is sorely lacking any spark or pizazz. I wrote it the first day I started blogging, never believing I’d get through the week. My life has changed quite a bit since that time. Now my Blog is an eclectic, in-cohesive ‘thing’ that continues to attract followers — How? I’m not sure. I do believe I need to spruce it up though, and by “Spruce it up” I mean, get my friend who happens to be a wordsmith par excellence, to write something short and sweet ( a few lines) that sums it up and does the trick. Coincidentally, Jordan River, The Fragrant Man, from the contest, has asked me to write a line or two explaining, A Gripping Life.
    Well, I don’t think I’m up to the task and since you’re the person whose talents I most envy, I’d like to ask if you wouldn’t mind writing a little something for me. All credit will go to you, naturally.
    I’m sure you have better things to do with your precious time, but since I’ve put this off for many moons, and I know I’ll never get to it, I’d be thrilled if you did this for me. I do think you ‘get me’ better than the rest, in fact you’re highly intuitive, another one of your gifts, so it would make the most sense that I ask you.
    No pressure. No worries if you don’t feel like it. It’s all good.
    Thanks, Vickie!!
    Lisa xoxo

  17. Pingback: Hollywood ahoy! tea with Vickie Lester (then later with #FrancesHa) | teamgloria

  18. Hi Vickie!

    First off, thumbs up for all the L.A. Natives, I was born and raised in Hollywood as well .. I feel the pride you exude! And secondly, THANK YOU for following our blog! We wanted you to be one of the first to know that we are launching an event website called wigo events. Our site focuses on a community of users in Los Angeles sharing cool events that they know about, and we would love to have you be a part of it! If you are interested in being one of our very first users please leave us your email address at the link right below, sorry its so long, don’t know how to add a hyperlink in the comment section haha. Once our site goes live in the next few months, we’ll let you know!

    http://wordpress.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ebc1fca4b0ccadba809d2b539&id=1d6b39dd1d

    Sincerely,
    Sara, Team Wigo!

    • Dearest Canary, thank you for the nod! I love your blog and I understand (completely) early morning chirpiness. But, being a way older bird than you are, I find myself swamped and unable to do blogger awards. I am in the middle of responding to notes on the final edit of my book. If I didn’t fall asleep like a stone every night I’d be dreaming of punctuation. xox, V

      • Thank you very much for your nice response, Vickie, and good luck with finalizing your book! Plus, I am seriously relieved to hear that you are too tired to dream of punctuation. When in doubt, sleeping like a log is the better option. Cari saluti! Your not-so-young Canary

  19. Love the stills of Louise Brooks (best hair ever) and Ann-Margaret (so gorgeous in ‘Magic’ and ‘Tommy’).
    Have a great Christmas Vicky.
    Regards from England (I once lived very near Whitechapel, but no longer) Pete.

    • Hey, Amy! That is darling, and I thank you so much! Here the thing though, and I always feel so awful doing this, but I don’t do the awards. Mostly because I was too lazy when first asked, and now I’ve set a standard for declining :( . Love your film reviews, and I couldn’t agree more on 12 Years a Slave.

  20. James Lewis

    That beautiful house you show a photo of, designed by brothers Walter & Pierpont Davis, was designed for the architects’ sister. I believe she was the only owner of the property until recently. The third Davis brother owned the Los Angeles Blueprint Company.
    Back around 1970 a friend of mine purchased the DeLario house now known as Castillo del Lago, or some other sort of nonsense. He was able to afford the down payment and some monthly payments after that, but finally found himself in great financial trouble. He is the one that added the silly tower that doesn’t match the rest of the house. At first he started construction on it without a building permit, but it didn’t take long for the inspector to notice what was going on. He stopped
    work on it until a permit was issued. In the meantime, the rains came and since a portion of the roof was left open, water poured in and did damage to the dining room ceiling. He finally listed the property and moved out.

    • When I was younger I would walk by the Castillo all the time and dream of who lived there… Thank you! And the Davis house is stunning. Just love it. Now I’m off to look up the Los Angeles Blueprint Company!

  21. James Lewis

    I mistakenly deleted your above comment to my e-mail address. I would like to send you a few old Hollywoodland photos – could you give me a response to this and I’ll shoot them along to you.
    JL

      • Jim Lewis

        These are a few shots of the Longan house. I have others, but I haven’t had the negs scanned yet. The living room looks like they used grandma’s old furniture! You’re welcome to use these, but you don’t need to put my name with them.One of my favorite DeLario houses is at 6171 Rockcliff, but it isn’t maintained very well – which may indicate that the interior hasn’t been ‘updated’, ‘restored’, ‘modernized’, in other words, ruined! I’d sure love to see inside.Jim

        Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2014 20:21:52 +0000 To: archer181433@msn.com

    • Clara! You are a delight! Thank you for the tribute, you are very kind. I am barreling my way toward the publication date for the novel so am marshaling what little wit I have left for that. xox, V

      • If you enjoy the intersection of cuisine and eros, London Broil. If you lean toward fantasy and the heroic, The Women of Culann’s Hound. If you like contemporary romance and large, gentle men, The Libertine Belles. And if you’ve always had a thing for French perfume, Opération Séduction!
        Many thanks for your interest!

    • I’m going to have get my hands on a copy… Arrogance, self-awareness, a tiny tiny tiny bit of contrition—and the kicker on his affair with Marilyn to his wife: “If you don’t like what I say and feel it necessary for your own sense of honor to divorce me, divorce me. I don’t think I should not be married or anything like that. If you divorce me, I’ll tell you plainly I will in time get married again and have more children. I feel I’m a family man and a damned good one. I don’t care what your judgment is on that.” Wow, what a prince. Although, we both know being a great director doesn’t mean somebody’s a great person…

  22. > Arrogance, self-awareness, a tiny tiny tiny bit of contrition

    That was my feeling too, even though the author of the article seemed more sympathetic. The exact section you quoted made me wince. I do like his films, though, but as a person…meh. (DiMaggio sounds worse, however!)

  23. How come WordPress isn’t choking your blog with ads?

    They’re all over my page, and I can’t get them to stop it. First just a few, now everywhere! I’m probably going to kill my blog I’m so sick of it.

    • John, you are asking possibly the least tech savvy person you know… See if this helps.

      Try going back into settings, there should be something that says AdControl in the drop down menu. There should be options for you there.

      I remember when I set up the site initially I paid a fee to block the advertising.

      Do not kill your blog!

      • Thanks, I’ll try that. But I WILL kill it if I have to pay a fee. Will kill it anyway, if/when Welsey goes to a publisher, if I decide I can stand it. (Still on the fence on that one. Monday, Wed, Fri I like it, Tues, Thurs, Sat I don’t. And Sunday I don’t know.)

      • Well, I just looked and I don’t seem to have anything about ad control in my settings. I Googled it and nothing came up, other than a pop-up I can install to *promote* advertising.

        I emailed the WordPress people but they say I don’t get support because I ain’t got premium. All the more reason to kiss them goodbye.

      • That is annoying. There’s a premium theme that costs $18 a year called Ubud, but if the WordPress platform itself is grinding on your nerves what about Blogspot? Let me know if you hop to another Internet perch?

  24. They told me moving my domain is tricky, if not impossible, tho I forget the details why. Had I known that I’d never have gone with them. Really don’t get their sterling reputation.

    • I just heard something about that, one of the big Internet firms that registers domain names and has a blogging platform is merging with WordPress and causing all sorts of ripples, like all those bloggers are shifting over here. I’ve started calling them WeirdPress—and now I’ll probably be struck by lightening.

      • Actually I found the kill-switch for the ads. Hopefully most of them are gone. I don’t mind the occasional ad off to the side, but ads that cover my images and text are unacceptable. But just today I was on a commercial celeb site that now has the same images popping up over their photos as I was getting. I was rather stunned, tho I guess I really shouldn’t be.

  25. Frank Dunnigan

    Saw your posting on Thanksgiving dinner at Grison’s in San Francisco–a clear memory of mine from the 1950s. How might I obtain a high-resolution image of that menu for use in an upcoming book of mine about growing up in San Francisco? Many thanks for your help! Frank Dunnigan

    • Hello Frank,
      Just sent you an email. Sounds like a great book. I forgot to mention typing “vintage menu grison’s san francisco” into ebay from time to time to see what pops up. Cheers, V

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