The Garden of Alla

"The only time Hollywood let a star come near to an orgasm on the screen"

Alla Nazimova
4 June
I am the central figure of the celebrity Sapphic scene. I am the 5ft 3in Russian with violet eyes and jet black hair. I throw the most exclusive soirees in all of Hollywood. My home is a safe haven for all the stars. And what's more, I know all the scandals and secrets about each and every one of you. But don't be shy. Why don't you stick around and see how the night unfolds? Who knows, tomorrow morning you could be adding Alla Nazimova to your list of lovers.

~Welcome to the Garden of Alla~

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A short bio of Alla Nazimova:

The grand, highly flamboyant Russian star Alla Nazimova of Hollywood silent films lived an equally grand, flamboyant life off-camera, though her legendary status has not held up as firmly as that of a Rudolph Valentino today. Born in Yalta, Crimea, in 1879, Mariam Edez Adelaida Leventon was the third child in an abusive, contentious household. Most of her sad childhood was spent in foster homes or in the care of other relatives and she showed a strong penchant for outrageous behavior to cope. Nazimova also showed a great aptitude for music at a young age and began violin lessons at age seven. She changed her name to Alla Nazimova when she began appearing on stage at the insistence of her father to protect the family name, as "performing" was not considered respectable at the time. She began acting lessons at age 17 and joined Konstatin Stanislavsky's company of actors as a pupil of his "method style" at the Moscow Art Theatre. During that time she supported herself by being kept by rich, older men. A failed love affair led to her only marriage to an acting student named Sergei Golovin, but they separated quickly. She grew discontent with Stanislavsky and later performed in repertory. She met the legendary Pavel Orlenev, a close friend of Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky, and entered into both a personal and professional relationship with him. They toured internationally throughout Europe with great success and came to New York in 1905, where Nazimova was saluted on Broadway for her definitive interpretations of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" and "A Doll's House." Orlenev returned to Russia but Nazimova stayed. She made her screen debut with War Brides (1916), which was initially a 35-minute play. By 1918 she was a box-office Metro star and completed 11 films for the studio over a three-year period. A torrid, stylish and rather outré tragedienne who played exotic, liberal women confronted by great personal anguish, she earned personal successes as a reformed prostitute in Revelation (1918), a suicide in Toys of Fate (1918) and dual roles as half-sisters during the Boxer Rebellion in The Red Lantern (1919), not to mention the title role of Camille (1921) with Valentino. At the same time she maintained a strong Broadway theatrical career. In accordance with her rise in the film industry, she began producing her own efforts which were bold and experimental--and monumental failures, although they are hailed as great artistic efforts today. Her Salome (1923/I) was quite scandalous and deemed a failure at the time. The monetary losses she suffered as producer were astronomical. The Hays Code, which led to severe censorship in pictures, also led to her downfall, as well as her outmoded acting style. She was forced to abandon films for the theater, scoring exceptionally well in Chekhov's "A Cherry Orchard." She did return briefly in the 1940s in a variety of supporting roles, but she made this films solely for the money. Nazimova's private life has long been the subject of industry gossip. As a Hollywood cover to her well-known bisexual lifestyle, she coexisted in a "marriage" with gay actor Charles Bryant for well over a decade. Her "Garden of Alla" home was the centerpiece for many glamorous private parties. She died in 1945.

More on the famous Garden of Alla:

In 1919 Madame, earning $13,000 a week spent $65,000 on a rambling Spanish House, 8080 Sunset Boulevard; way out of town, edging onto the hot and dusty Hollywood countryside. Parting with as much again she remodelled the interior and landscaped the gardens with orange groves and cedars, flowering mimosas and hibiscus, loquat and bamboo. There was a fabulous swimming pool made in the shape of the Black Sea; scandalously it boasted underwater lights, a first in Hollywood! The cream of Hollywood came to party at The Garden of Alla. Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Dorothy and Lilian Gish, Theda Bara, Gloria Swanson, Tom Mix, and Buster Keaton to name a few. Madame had an international guest list; minor royalty and globe trotting opera singers visited 8080 Sunset Boulevard and splashed happily in the pool consuming quantities of illegal alcohol and listening to first rate dance bands under the warm starlit night skies of California with Madame - who sang Russian folk songs by the pool and talked of the European actresses Ellen Terry and Eleanora Duse. June Mathis the writer, Lilyan Tashman, known preferrers of women - were favourite guests. Dorothy Arzner, the only woman to make it into Talkie Hollywood as a director met and had a short fling with Madame. Other lovers of Alla included Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, and Mercedes de Acosta.
*Madame was Alla Nazimova's nickname*

Interesting Facts:

-Godmother of actress and first lady Nancy Davis Reagan
-Aunt of director Val Lewton
-Breast-cancer survivor
-Considered the supreme interepeter of Ibsen of her day
-Was fluent in Russian, French, and German
-It only took her 3 months to learn English after she came to the United States

*Disclaimer: I am not Alla Nazimova, unfortunately, but just a die-hard fan.*

-Just so you are not misled: All entries that are factual will have dates along with the titles. Those without dates are purely ficticious filler, though the people mentioned in them will be in accord with where Alla is in her career.-

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