For Hamilton, Legends Of The Chelsea Hotel is also something of a labor of love. The book begins with the residents gathered in the hallway of the hotel after a fire that may or may not have been started by the hotel's telephone operator — who is herself a rather eccentric character. Sadly, it ends with the inevitable realization that like so many other things these days, the Chelsea is about to become the latest victim of gentrification — despite the rich history detailed here.
While Hamilton has been on a book signing and reading tour mostly in NYC since Legends Of The Chelsea Hotel late October release I am pleased to report that Ed will be in WDC on Thursday evening, 31 January 2008, for a 7 PM book signing and reading event at Olsson's Books & Records at Dupont Circle (South).
Here are some reviews:
- “One of the recurring pleasures of Ed Hamilton’s Legends of the Chelsea Hotel is his sly rendering of its former proprietor, Stanley Bard, an eccentric patron of the arts…There’s something remarkable about the way the author manages to celebrate the Chelsea’s singular atmosphere without ever forgetting how toxic the air is for many of the people who come desperate to breathe it…What really resonates in the book, what makes it so sorrowful at times, is Hamilton’s evocation of all the young and old hopefuls who have just enough ambition to push their lives past the point of no return. Legends comes close to convincing you that, as destructive drugs go, self-delusion has heroin beat.”—New York Times Book Review, October 28, 2007
- “"Legends of the Chelsea Hotel" is a collection of bizarre tableaux -- aging actresses, bathroom high jinks, ghosts and tricksters. It is full of affection for a passing era. Surrounded by creeping gentrification, the Chelsea may not long remain affordable to the kinds of characters Hamilton describes.” — Los Angeles Times, January 6, 2007
- “The stories in this book are far too numerous to recount here. But let us just say if you have an appetite for true stories about the famous (and some not so famous) that range from the somewhat bizarre to the downright insane, then this book will leave you breathless. With the truly odd collection of punk rockers, beat poets, and other colorful characters who populate the pages of Legends Of The Chelsea Hotel, your perverse satisfaction is guaranteed.” — Glen Boyd, www.blogcritics.org, December 08, 2007
- “Hamilton's best sketches come from direct observations and firsthand experiences — and don't worry, there are plenty of them. In "Expert Advice on Combating Terrorism," for example, he takes a break from writing his novel to transcribe construction workers bothering him outside his window. The result is a concise and accurate portrayal of what it is to live in post-9/11 New York as it builds itself into something new.
Maybe now he can get back to writing that novel. He certainly has enough material — he just needs a quiet place to write.” — Philadelphia City Paper, December 4, 2007
The book signing and reading event begins at 7 pm on Thursday evening, 31 January 2008 at Olsson's (Dupont Circle South) which is located just a few feet south of the Dupont Circle South Subway Station exit at 1307 19th Street, NW, WDC. Telephone 202-785-1133.