5 L.A. Spots That Inspired the Silver Lake Movie Afternoon Delight
Courtesy of The Film Arcade Jill Soloway
Before production began on Afternoon Delight, writer/director Jill Soloway didn't know where her first feature film would take place. "Maybe this is Chicago," her hometown, she mused at the time. "Maybe this is San Francisco."
"When we were getting closer, it was like, if we were going to do this, it's going to happen in my neighborhood," says the longtime Silver Lake resident and writer/producer for shows including Showtime's The United States of Tara and HBO's Six Feet Under. "I did a rewrite and quickly it got so much better because of the specificity and I was able to kind of name all the locations. It started out of necessity but it was one of those happy accidents that made the script better."
Her first feature film, which earned her the Directing Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is so Silver Lake-centric that it's hard to imagine the story of a bored, hipster housewife who adopts a stripper as a nanny taking place anywhere else.
Having lived in Silver Lake for almost two decades, Soloway says, "There's this marine layer melancholy that I really love in terms of the tone, that can make you feel a certain way in the morning, where you can feel just kind of lost." Afternoon Delight's foggy, smoggy panoramas were taken from the heights of Baxter Street, overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir. "Which is potentially becoming my brand: Silver Lake Melancholy," Soloway jokes, referring to similar landscape shots in her 2011 short film, Una Hora Por Favora.
In honor of Afternoon Delight opening at the West L.A. Landmark Theatre today and at the Los Feliz 3 the following weekend, we asked Soloway to share five of her favorite neighborhood spots, as seen in her directorial debut about sex, marriage and strippers.
Soloway re-named this Jewish community center "Eastside JCC" in Afternoon Delight, a nod to her real-life organization, East Side Jews, which hosts cultural get-togethers and Sabbath dinners on the last Friday of every month in East Side locations like Golden Road Brewery, Barbarella Bar and Marsh Street Nature Park. The mother of a 16-year-old and a 4-year-old, Soloway serves on the board of the Silverlake JCC, where both her kids went to school. In Afternoon Delight, restless stay-at-home mom Rachel (played by Kathryn Hahn) volunteers here and eventually unleashes a shitstorm with the other JCC moms after she invites a stripper into the community. "The moms [in the movie] are definitely exaggerated versions of the moms in my world. They're all based on real ladies," says Soloway.
Rachel and McKenna at Sam's Hofbrau in Afternoon Delight
4. Sam's Hofbrau, Downtown
In the movie, Rachel takes her husband Jeff (played by Josh Radnor) to downtown L.A. strip club Sam's Hofbrau in the hopes of reviving their sexless marriage. But when Rachel gets a private lap dance from an alleged 19-year-old named McKenna (played by Juno Temple), her priorities shift and she becomes obsessed with saving McKenna from a life of sex work. Soloway remembers being blown away by the raunchy, rowdy atmosphere when she went to watch her then-stripper friends dance at Sam's Hofbrau about ten years ago.
"The best thing about Sam's for me is they have this pink and yellow sign that seems like it belongs to an ice cream parlor, which makes no sense to me. Like, why is it a hofbrau? So I just was really into Sam's for the sign," Soloway says.
Because she wasn't allowed to film inside Sam's, Soloway ended up shooting the interior strip club scenes at Cheetah's in Los Feliz and paid several visits to Jumbo's Clown Room in East Hollywood and The Playpen downtown, for further research.
"There was a dancer at Jumbo's who was just really kind of young and open and conversational about how she found her way there," she adds. "She sort of found her way into McKenna's [character]. Then there was an image that I saw at The Playpen -- and it went directly into the movie -- of this really, really large black man and he had this really tiny Japanese stripper crawling on his lap. I saw it in the corner of my eye in this moment and put it into the movie."
See also: Top 10 Strip Clubs in Los Angeles
10850 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA