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My LA to Z: Dian Hanson
In The Big Butt Book, Hanson exposes derrières. Here she lays bare her private L.A.
Photograph by Helmut Newton
Adult book author Dian Hanson knows from big, so it’s no wonder that she ended up in one of the most populated cities in the country. Los Angeles “was the only place I imagined myself living,” says Hanson, who was born in Seattle and lived back east before settling down in the Hollywood Hills.
To feel beautiful, a woman can go to the Hollywood Y. Every morning I go there and I see such diversity.You have people of every age, every race, and every financial demographic. It makes me feel beautiful. There are actors, actresses, Hollywood directors, and people that seem to be without homes, napping in the locker room.
Boardner’s is an old bar up on Cherokee Ave. An old dive bar, they’ve cleaned it up a bit. It’s a good place to meet the entire strata of Hollywood society—the newly gentrified bunch and the old tawdry bunch. It is one of the places in L.A. where I meet people my own age.
The Hollywood Hills
In New York, we lived in 350 square feet; we now live in a 3,500 square-foot house. I love walking outside and being confronted with deer. I love sitting there in the evening when the skunk with her five little babies is walking around outside, looking for grub. I like the hummingbirds and waking up to the sounds of birds, and being a mile and a half from the Hollywood Bowl.
Highland Gardens Hotel
When I used to come and stay here, I could rent a three-room apartment for $75 a night. I like the seedier side of L.A. The swimming pool had bottles floating in it. The crowd by the pool would usually be there at 1 in the morning; it would be bands and magicians from the Magic Castle. One of the magicians kept his pink pigeons on his balcony. When I walked outside, I would quickly be coated in these downy pigeon feathers flying in the wind.
It’s fabulous Mexican. My favorite thing there is the giant, undulating circle of fried cheese. It’s crispy. An appetizer, it’s something I could happily eat as an entrée.
Walking around the Oaks is excellent because there are not too many people up there. There’s not many people driving so you do not take your life in your hands. Simply drive to the end of Van Ness and walk up Byercliff Road—you will build the biggest butt you could possible conceive.
With a really nice mixture of Middle Eastern and Spanish groceries, it’s the place to go if you want chivo, mutton, and cvast fish that you’ve never seen before. Once, I got blood oranges there for 99 cents a pound. I’ve bought many experimental canned goods—Polish Spam, giant beans, wonderful smoked fish. They have all kinds of smoked and preserved meats from Eastern Europe, exotic liquors, and a kind of meat-filled Russian dumpling that I’ve become completely addicted to.
I am more likely to spend money on a good pair of stockings than on any lingerie. I have both their garters and their stay-ups. They make a lot of unusual patterned pantyhose, and they continue the pattern up to the waist. They make pantyhose that are designed to be sexy when you have no clothes on.
If you really want to spend a lot of money on a T-shirt made of the softest cotton you could imagine, go to the Three Dots store. They’ve raised slouchy to a science.
If you are like me, big hunks of meat make you feel sexy. They certainly make men feel sexy. There is nothing that makes a man feel more warmly disposed towards you than when you bring him home a big bag of prime meat. I like to get the rib steaks. They make up such a huge hunk of meat.
Images courtesy of (in order): (1) woodleywonderworks, (2) Flickr/dedalus1947, (3) Flickr/mike_1630, (4) highlandgardenshotel.com, (5) loteriagrill.com, (6) Flickr/maveric2003, (7) jonsmarketplace.com, (8) losangeles.citysearch.com, (9) threedots.com, (10) huntingtonmeats.com