Madonna lived here – and caused a stir in Beachwood Canyon

Subscribe to Podcast


  1. April 4, 2013

    I really liked this.I liked the history of the place as well.Being British I rather enjoy the prospect of ghosts as well.Nothing like a ghost to make you feel at home.

    I notice that there was some story of Moby perhaps buying The Wolfs Lair a bit further down the road.Never liked Madonna very much I am afraid -Moby however is a different story.

  2. April 4, 2013

    Why am I not surprised that she would be drawn to this house…? A castle for the girl who grew up on the outskirts of Detroit.

    • April 4, 2013

      Before she moved into the Castillo she lived with Sean P. in an ultra-glam French Normandy condo right on Beachwood itself… And the neighbors reported strange noises and slamming doors. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.

      • April 4, 2013

        Don’t apologize. I think I could make up the dialogue for the conversations that went on behind those closed doors.

  3. April 4, 2013

    Thanks Vickie,you have it covered already with regard to Moby.Sorry you dont appear to attract the slightest bit of ectoplasm.There is nothing like drawing up your chair by a nice warm ghost to make one feel right at home.

    Personally I have stayed in about five haunted houses with interesting results.

    Every so often I take a look at so called ghost hunters courses on the net and wonder should I take one and get a Certificate that says I am the real thing.On the other hand some of the people interested in that sort of thing seem a bit loopy and am I loopy enough?Life is full of hard decisions.

    • April 4, 2013

      Five ghostly encounters??? Oh, this might be another beguiling story from around the world… I read Carl Jung’s account of staying in a haunted house. Fascinating!

  4. George Kaplan
    April 4, 2013

    Now, I simply *must* have that house. Where *did* I put my loose change?
    In the tags – Re-muddle? Boom, baby!
    Love stories of apparently haunted houses – I would guess the spooks are too respectful of you, V, they’re spectres with *taste*!
    Adore the La Ciccone/Penn joke above, you wicked, wonderful woman!

    • April 4, 2013

      I have to admit. I did like the Castillo before the exterior paint job, and I did watch it go up. Phooey.

  5. April 4, 2013

    I am right out of loose change as well George, otherwise I would lend you some.

    • April 4, 2013

      We could pool our resources, but then we wouldn’t have enough left to paint. And, it simply must be repainted!

  6. April 4, 2013

    Still on the subject of the supernatural Vickie I once climbed over the wall into Highgate Cemetery supposed home of none other than The Highgate Vampire.

    Naturally enough it was er dead quiet and it was a very spooky experiece even during the day.I read later that had I departed from the paths I could have fallen into some very shallow and very fragile graves.I remember at the time thinking that if anything happened to me know one would know where I was and I might not be found for a very long time.

    The bit that some people know is thats where Karl Marx is buried.Its a surprise to find out that his remains are not in Russia for many people.

    The part that I illegally visited is{or rather was} very overgrown at the time and extremely Gothic.It was quite like wandering through a giant film set all by oneself.I learnt later that I was not far wrong and it had ben a natural location for a number of films having a supernatural theme.It was a very vivid experiece.

    I remember looking through small barred windows in a wheel shaped catacombe section and seeing coffins, one stacked upon the other, in apparently unstable arrangements, some with partially rotted cloth hanging out of them.

    With regard to the so called vampire he declined to show himself.Of course the only explanation for that must have been the time of day?

    Despite that the legend lives on and two self styed occult experts,one who declares he is a Bishop continue to fight about who has the real goods on the vampire.All very entertaining I am sure.

    The place is genuinely spooky and can easily be Googled for some very Gothic scenes.Oh and apart from its film associations{Hammer Fims?} has connection with The Pre-Raphaelite Movement.

    Off now to polish my chains.

  7. April 4, 2013

    Agree it got to be repainted.

  8. April 4, 2013

    On repainting I think it connects to money.When people have a lot of money and it does not imply that it connects with taste and good judgement. Money being no object often allows people to do horrible things to their houses without reproach.

    Even here in the UK one can still this lots of money no taste or sense play out.I recently saw a thatched cottage which must have been very expensive that had been allowed to have a very tall stainless steel chimney stack crudely bolted to the side of the building.It also had plastic mock wood windows.I can only think that despite the age of the building and with a beautiful untouched cottage opposite as a companion it was not a conservation area.

    I always so tempted to knock on the door and ask-Are you the pinhead who lives here?

  9. George Kaplan
    April 4, 2013

    Agreed, Edward! Remake/Remodel with taste or not at all.
    Vickie’s correct of course we’ll have to repaint, get it back to a better state. Okay, Eddy, you get the paint, I’ll get the brushes…
    V, I read that there was a furore about a development in one of the canyons, I think it was a Sheik, and possibly Mike Ovitz’s old place? Excuse memory.

  10. April 4, 2013

    Exactly George or you have just ruined a building for no purpose at all.It can be put back, but in the case of a very old building it never the same even if the quality is high.

    I will get the paint Ok.We may need a lot I am afraid.

    • April 4, 2013

      Hello Edward, I’m going a bit off topic here but I am talking painting… and your stories. I’ve been putting two of your anecdotes together with two paintings of David Inshaw’s. May I publish it on Saturday? I can send you a proof to your email address if you’d like to approve it… George (above) is going to be the guest blogger on Friday. I would love to showcase both of your contributions to this weblog. Very fascinating, and thank you (and it’s perfectly ok if you decline – but I hope you won’t!)

  11. April 4, 2013

    I think that there is a difference between having an ownership and a custodian attitude to a building you live in.I have heard people make this statement a few times an think it has value.Those with an ownership attitude take the stance this is mine and I can do what I damn please with it.A custodial approach says this is mine for the moment {and perhaps for the duration of my life}but it will pass to others I want to take a custodial attitude towards it to preserve it for the future.

    • April 4, 2013

      I lean toward the custodial – so much so I’m trying to have my very modest house considered for preservation – I might slip by because the leader of an all girl jazz orchestra lived here in the 30s and 40s – and she had a weekly national radio broadcast. Really, I’m just such a control freak it turns my stomach thinking future generations might put vinyl windows in with fake mullions.

  12. George Kaplan
    April 4, 2013

    You’re telling me! You should see how many brushes it’ll take…
    I may sound snobbish but money doesn’t buy taste. There are those who have it (wealthy, pauperish, or in-between) and those who just don’t 🙂 Unfortunately, some of those who want to impose their personality on a building or what have you have *rotten* personalities 😉 Oops, bitchy of me… Mea culpa.

  13. George Kaplan
    April 4, 2013

    V, Sad to hear of the death of Roger Ebert, there is a fine tribute at if you or anyone else is interested.
    Peculiarly the Bowie documentary Cracked Actor I mentioned to you a brief while ago is on this very minute. Bowie is interestingly weird and pretentious with the effect of the Bolivian Marching Powder making it’s presence felt. Funnier still are some of the kids who were his fans. Scene with a particularly dim and spacey young man – his face painted with a sunburst – sample dialogue : Boy: “He’s from his own universe.”, Yentob : “Which universe is that?” Boy : “The Bowie Universe”. Ahahaha! Shouldn’t be cruel he must be in his mid-fifties now.

    • April 4, 2013

      I was very sad to hear of Mr. Ebert’s death. So sad. I will certainly watch the tribute.

      When you’re done with your viewing check your email 😉

      • George Kaplan
        April 4, 2013

        Done and done, dahlink. I’m afraid another missive has now winged it’s way to you 🙂
        Have a delightful rest-of-the-day, sweet. Urk! Just realised what’s comin’ up tomorrow!

  14. April 4, 2013

    Who cares if it sounds snobbish or not George its simply true and simply observable.If a wealthy person gets hold of a good building and has taste and really values what they have all well and good.I tend to be uneasy with those that say they want to make their mark on a building etc.So often this tends to mean impose their personality.Another weasel word from architects when building on for example an extension,is that they wanted to make a building that was about now.Translated by me cynically as something trendy for ten minutes{even when the quality is high}and then an embarrassing addition once the novelty wears off.I sometimes think this also means I dont know how to build to the standard of the older structure.In the seven years that an architectual degee takes last time I checked a lot can pass you by.Be as bitchy as you like I get pretty pipped off by a lot of the pompous asses you can find on some design programs.I tend to think that the space between their ears is deceptively spacious which is as you know is estate agent weasel talk for small.

    • George Kaplan
      April 4, 2013

      Edward, I can’t pretend to be totally au fait with matters architectural – unlike your good self – but merely from a layman’s perspective or a sensible, sensitive point of view, I would say you are entirely correct! Your description of the short-sighted and arrogant drive to add elements that blatantly distort and even ruin the original intent of a building or its accoutrements because of egocentric short-termism is totally apt. One would think that those educated in a craft or art would know better. It isn’t about conservatism b

      • George Kaplan
        April 4, 2013

        Drat! Hand slipped and posted accidentally!
        – but about being sensible, to be crude one doesn’t throw crap at a Caravagio or paint muck on a Monet.
        “The space between their ears is deceptively spacious…”, bwahahaha! True, true. It’s like many of the idiotic things in business, and the moronic newspeak buzzwords that are everywhere now (“downsizing” as a euphemism for laying people off seems to have been a starting point lo! those many years ago. Lack of compassion and sensitivity covered with meaningless phrases)
        Well done on your forthcoming Green Man article and your forthcoming post hereo. Vickie *is* fine isn’t she? I think she should have a day named after her, what say you? 😉 One Vickie Lester Day would not seem to be enough though! Anyway I won’t embarrass myself or her with any more superlatives!

  15. April 4, 2013

    Yes fine Vickie I am flattered.Could you please do me the favour of checking my sometimes erratic spelling.I can in fact spell quite well,but either tiredness or speed of writing sometimes overcome me.No need to send anything to me.I trust you will do a good job and besides I like to be surprised.

    By the way I have been asked to write an article for another site on The Green Man motif{as a carving} on Victorian Gothic Revival domestic furniture.That may sound academic,but there is such a paucity of information that its not likely to be long.Might start some research off though.

    • April 4, 2013

      Oh, I’m so happy! Thank you! I will proof for spelling and please send me the link to article on The Green Man Motif.
      Happy, happy, happy!

  16. April 4, 2013

    Ok Vickie,will send once its written.I look forward to seeing George as guest blogger as well.Oh and those haunted houses were pretty un-nerving, but nothing ever happened except in one and that was in broad day light the first time I visited.I had no previous knowledge of the place either, so no expectations.Thats for another time though.

    I did not know that Carl Jung had stayed in a haunted house.I know that he had an intense interest in psychic phenomena and he reports that a psycho- physical phenomena occured between him and Freud that involved a table suddenly splitting.

  17. April 5, 2013

    George.Now dont get me started on moronic newspeak.I quite accept that new words must be coined and I do not have the slightest problem with that.Its quite different when words seem chosen for other reasons that to communicate clearly{or even for poetic ineffability}.I am thinking of words that seem to conceal rather than reveal or are just intended to make the user seem as if they belong or just know what they are talking about.

    Your choice of downsizing is a good one and as you demonstrate a concealer word.One I hate in particular-This helicopter has anti-personnel capacity-meaning it kills and or maims people.Other military ones such as sub lethal{Whoa watch the lethal} means it wounds or otherwise puts out of action.

    Personal trainers have-cutting edge techniques at their disposal and use the latest array of fitness technology.Once I hear words like that my BS alarm goes off right away.Health clubs invite you to pamper yourself in our exquisite personal care facility.The more active can tone themselves to perfection with our State of the Art equipment in our Gold Standard club where expert guidance is available on a 24 hour basis from our highly qualified and experienced staff.

    Sad reality of the above is that its not uncommon to find staff who are so experienced after their three weekend courses that they cannot name a piece of equipment properly and get confused as to whether something is a barbell or a dumbell.What chew gum and walk in a straight line all at the same time-I think not.You might gather from this that I have spent rather a lot of time round the exercise world.I have and although it is quite possible to find good people -all of the previous is true.

    One last one to cap-Lifestyle.I found some toilet rolls called Lifestyle I just could not resist occasional visits to the loo are just such a part of my er Lifestyle.I am such a boaster and damn you got me going.

    • September 26, 2014

      Edward – I’m sure you are as entertained and/or sickened as I am by the announcements one hears in the airport when waiting to board a flight. “Platinum members are now welcome to board the aircraft. Gold Standard and Preferred Plus members are now welcome to board the aircraft. Diamond-studded, Asscher-cut Emerald, and Pearl Priority members are now welcome to board the aircraft. Dividend Specialty, Super Extra Wonderful, and More Important Than Thou members are now welcome to board the aircraft. Okay, the rest of you peons can get on the plane now.”

  18. April 5, 2013

    Thanks for your comments George,but I am not totally au fait with matters architectural either.I take an interest thats all I can really say.

  19. George Kaplan
    April 5, 2013

    You are too modest, Edward!
    I agree with everything you said on your “weasel words” post – and as for use of the word “lifestyle” for everything and anything… Agh. I don’t think most people would consider visits to the smallest room anything to draw attention to as part of their “lifestyle”, unless it’s to do with relaxing baths or showers if it’s the other… Ick.
    Two last phrases I absolutely *detest* and then the rant is over (;)) – “gamechanger” and “back in the day”. Imagine lots of swearing here. SO *irritating*! If things happened “back in the day” does it follow it is now “Night”?! And I blame James Cameron for popularizing “gamechanger” and “game-changing” – now it’s everywhere. Ack. Just dreadful. Imagine “Ooh, I had a game-changing salad today” or “I ate too much chocolate and afterward felt sick, that was a real gamechanger for me. Mind you, back in the day, I would have *been* sick”.

    • April 5, 2013

      Might I just second (or third) the nomination for “back in the day” as the most meaningless and yet irritating phrase currently having its moment of omnipresence.
      Which day?
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • April 5, 2013

        The day before yesterday! 😉

  20. April 5, 2013

    I like your sarcasm and rant away.Trouble for me is I have a problem taking anyone seriously if they are described as a game changer.I would have a problem getting to the ideas if they were described thus by someone else,if its used as a part of a self description I am inclined to think two words-conceited and delusional.

    Lifestyle Oh yes one of the most detestable.Have you noticed how you can just stick it either before or after other words to useless ,but annoying effect.Thus divorce is-A Lifestyle Decision,a book on Self Improvement can be Lifestyle Decisioning Your Future,concern for domestic energy use can be an article-Personal Lifestyle Energy Environment Planning.Who are these writers-just makes me want to reach for something with anti-personnel capacity ha ha.

    Now for sheer offputting BLAAAAAAAAAAAAA I think New Age/Alternative{ this or that} is pretty hard to beat.A friend and I have sometimes amused ourselves by taking words out of New Age type publications and just re-arranging them on the table top.They make as much sense or no sense, as in their printed form.Holistic Metaphysical Quantum Healing,Quantum Metaphysical Healing,Mult-Dimensional Alantean Quantum Healing,Astral Body Absent Healing Phone Diagnosis etc.Its great and we roll around with laughter.

    Must go now as I have a shamanic healing journey to take to the Hollow Earth and Adolph Hitlers clone does not like me to be late,as plans to take over the planet are getting more urgent by the day.

    Lastly no matter how much i have my tongue firmly in my cheek when I write such nonsense someone somewhere is writing something just like it and has a colony of believers.

    • April 5, 2013

      How did I miss this?! I have tears running down my cheeks. Funny, funny, funny.

  21. April 5, 2013

    Dearest V
    I’d say it was a certainty that la Ciconne loved being queen of that castle.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • April 5, 2013

      Word around the ‘hood was she wasn’t there much (music tours) and sold it quick. Living in Beachwood Canyon at the time I have to say if you wanted privacy it wasn’t a very good choice. It’s a very prominent house.

  22. George Kaplan
    April 5, 2013

    Yeah, Edward, Adolph Hitler’s clone… What *is* it with that guy?! Always with the Nazi Flying Saucers and the psychic spying and his hidden base in Antarctica and the lunches with Jimmy Hoffa, Lord Lucan, and Amelia Earhart whilst playing with his mood stones and his crystals. It’s almost as if he’s some kind of *nut* 🙂
    I try to keep an open mind but there’s so much stuff that is such flim-flammering baldercrap to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together. If you’ll believe this I’ve got a prime piece of Atlantean real state for ya – here’s my realtor the gunman from the grassy knoll (actually I am fascinated by the reality behind the assassination of Jack Kennedy, blame it on Stone’s JFK!)
    “Lifestyle decisionning your future…”. Ahahaha! If anyone did use the non-word “decisionning” rather than deciding, I think my head would explode in a Scanners-like fashion. BOOM! Such a mess! Wait, here’s two real-life back-formed words that drive this persnickety control freak buggo – “transitioning” and “tasking”. AAARRRGGHH! Yes, if you are “transitioning toward deceasement” you are “dying” whilst if you are “tasked with cleansing the lavatory and environs” you’ve actually been *told to clean the toilet*. Feh! Fie on that jazz daddio!
    Hoo! The Perfumed Dandy has it right about “Back in the Day” too. Which bally day?! Bwahahaha!

    • April 5, 2013

      I am soooo sleepy, but I had to tell you this – I met the consultant (by chance) that Oliver Stone worked with on JFK and he was a Colonel in the Army and was stationed somewhere (believe it or not, somewhere like Iceland) and he had a weird theory about timing, something like he was notified of the assassination before it could have occurred – because of the time difference at the army base. I am tired, but even awake it confused me. He told me a lot of other things too, that were very sensible – but you’ll have to remind me about them later because I’m going to bed!

  23. George Kaplan
    April 5, 2013

    “Which day?”
    “The day before yesterday. ;)” Ahahaha! Vickie Lester – as the kids say – For The Win! Now, I can’t stand that phrase either, for I am uptight and picky, but I think it works here!

  24. George Kaplan
    April 5, 2013

    Yes, that’s intriguing V. I’ve heard that about the timing. I’ll probably say something about that tomorrow! Exciting 😉 I’m finally off to bed too, finally tired enough! Sleep well.

Comments are closed.