Black Dahlia at Sixty

Black Dahlia

Sixty years ago this morning the body of Elizabeth Short was found. Carve a moment of silence out of your day to remember her.

Okay. Seems there were/are a host of activities around the Los Angeles to commemorate the event this past weekend. The most ambitious of them is The Lost Weekend package, a multi-stage Black Dahlia event sutured together by Bella Beretta Unlimted, Ramzi Abed (the director of yet another Black Dahlia film) and 1947 Project, a small group of people who have pivoted on the Black Dahlia murder of that year and fanned out their concerns to encompass everything else going on in 1947. Larry Harnisch is one of them, a journalist whose own obsession with Ms. Short has long been documented on his website, which over the years has grown like moss, expanding to cover every new nook and cranny to develop in the case.

Part of the evening’s festivities involved attending the new show at the Regent Galleries downtown for their show, “Her Name Was Elizabeth: 60 Years of Obsession with L.A.’s Black Dahlia.”

Using 2 gallery spaces, one designated “Elizabeth” the other “The Black Dahlia” each artist explores the contrast of truth vs. myth, reality vs. report, the actual vs. sensational-and the transformation that violent crime exacts on public image.

Underneath all the salacious stories, black lace and mysterious persona she was just a 22 year old girl trying to make it in Hollywood. Underneath all the headlines, slashes and gashes-Elizabeth Short was someone’s daughter.

Sounds interesting. May be worth checking out. And the festivities are still underway, folks. Tonight at 10, 3 Clubs hosts “Requiem For A Dahlia” featuring live music from Abed’s “Black Dahlia Movie.”

Then tomorrow there’s a reception scheduled at the Biltmore Hotel, which happens to be the last place Beth was seen alive. That happens at 6 PM at the hotel’s Gallery Bar. (Maybe someone’ll stage a re-enactment of the bit where Red Manley drops her off and drives away. That would be so cool!) Following the reception is the gala “black carpet” premiere screening of Abed’s movie. And then finally, an exhaustive city tour of the Dahlia landscape begins at midnight.

I’d love to be part of that tour, even if it means shivering on a central Los Angeles street corner going, “It’s just someone’s yard.” I bet there are some nifty landmarks still clinging to the underside of modern day LA. The tour promises a stop by the “home of a little-known and very likely suspect.” Since Larry Harnisch is involved, you can bet it won’t be the Mayan temple on Franklin. Steve Hodel’s book, The Black Dahlia Avenger, casts that peculiar landmark in a central role, but the respect Harnisch has for Hodel might be charitably described as something less than stellar.

Winner of the “I Wish I Had Known This Was Happening Sooner” award?

Have You Seen This Girl?
A woman dressed as the Black Dahlia will glide eerily along Hollywood Boulevard between Argyle and Cherokee, the old stomping grounds of Elizabeth Short. Perhaps she will be found in the Frolic Room or Pig and Whistle, or just cruising the boulevard. This spectral figure carries a basket of flowers, and will give one to anyone who calls her by her true name, Elizabeth.

Good times. And if you happened to have been part of any of these events, drop me a comment. I’d love to hear about it.

Long live Beth Short.

Oh, and read the damned script, would you?

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