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The author and film-industry insider reveals her go-to celebratory spots.
Edited By Christine Whitney

LIZ GOLDWYN / ILLUSTRATION BY @DRAWBERTSON

Artist, filmmaker, and writer Liz Goldwyn recently released her new book, Sporting Guide, a work of fiction framed around the famous brothels and gambling dens of 1897 Los Angeles. For the holidays, born-on-Christmas-Day Goldwyn shares a guide of a different nature—her favorite festive haunts in Hollywood and beyond.

A GOLDWYN
HOLIDAY

Liz goldwyn on her favorite CELEBRATORY SPOTS In AND BEYOND HOLLYWOOD 
  • Claridge’s, London
MEET LIZ
Name: Liz Goldwyn
Occupation: Filmmaker, writer, artist
Years in the industry: 10
Known for: Sporting GuideDear DiaryThe Painted LadyPretty Things
Where to find her: Los Angeles 
Instagram: @goldilocksg
Beauty essential: Lavender oil
Mentions in The Violet Files: Liz Goldwyn’s Sporting Guide 
Website: lgoldwynfilms.com
HOLIDAY RESTAURANT
Depends where I am. In L.A. there’s nothing quite like a holiday dinner at The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills (plus they have the best ice cream sundaes). In London I love a holiday high tea at Claridge’s (which has a gluten-free menu!), or a proper roast with my pals Erdem, Roksanda Ilincic, and Nicholas Kirkwood in the ’hood where my flat is and they have shops (Mayfair). It’s fun to run around in the crisp air, with twinkling lights above Mount Street and a belly full of English Christmas pudding.
WATERING HOLE
La Cita in downtown L.A. on a Friday night for the punky reggae dance party. Sweaty, dive-y, packed, and a super fun place to get lost in the music. Or the counter bar at J. Sheekey in London for an extra-dirty vodka martini.
  • J. SHEEKEY RESTAURANT, LONDON
COLD-WEATHER CAFÉ
Café de Flore in Paris, again for the “chocolat chaud”—I use every opportunity of cold weather to have them! Or Café Gratitude in L.A. for a vegan version…
HOTEL BAR
The Carlyle in New York to have hot chocolate (or a whiskey) at Bemelmans Bar. During one Christmas season, my pal Chloe and I crashed a children’s tea party sing-along there (after a stop at the Whitney to see the Kara Walker show and a romp through Zitomer pharmacy to purchase matching velvet headbands with bows), and we fit right in! It was a highlight pre-holiday moment, sipping our hot chocolates in a room full of little girls, all singing along to “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.”
  • BEMELMANS BAR, THE CARLYLE, NEW YORK
HOLIDAY SHOPPING
I’m a sucker for online shopping, or I like to make my own gifts! Especially for business gifts I prefer to be creative. I once had life-size chocolate busts and women’s legs made; another time I gifted my own “LG” deck that I designed with Girl Skateboard Company. I love the foodie website Mouth right now, and A+R, a store in L.A.
BEST GIFT GIVEN
You’d have to ask around! I love giving gifts more than receiving, and I usually give sentimental ones. I do love to find old Estée Lauder astrological compacts to give to my closest girlfriends. There is nothing so chic as reapplying lipstick with a fancy compact; this makes the act itself more luxurious and sensual.
BEST GIFT RECEIVED
My birthday is Christmas Day—the 25th—so I tend to receive birthday presents rather than holiday ones. Hard to choose a favorite, especially when they are made or given with love, but a treasured one is a Duane Michals photograph of a nude woman’s torso, her head obscured by a glorious bouquet of flowers. It originally appeared in the May 1979 issue of Vogue for a fragrance story. I came across it while in high school and fell in love with the image. She was so vulnerable and frank in her nudity, it spoke deeply to me as a young woman exploring my interest in the subject of sexuality as well as my own. I had a laser copy of it tacked onto my wall all through art school (where I majored in photography); for my thirtieth birthday, my father bought me a print (the first time Michals had ever printed the image as “art”). It has hung in a frame in my bedroom ever since.
MOST MEMORABLE FÊTE
My own birthday parties! I do them before Christmas Day, and it’s usually a dress-up theme. One of the wildest was a witches-and-wizards dress-up dance party that Jeffrey Deitch hosted for me at his home in L.A. when he was director of MOCA—everyone went all out in their looks. I had a Sonia Rykiel floor-length witchy goddess astrological gown with major ’70s frizzed-out curly hair, smoky eyes, and a purple lip. We danced for hours in the Tim Noble and Sue Webster disco room in the basement with my favorite DJs spinning.

GOLDWYN’S 
SPORTING GUIDE

Read Goldwyn’s new book, featuring Los Angeles’ most notorious addresses.