Friend of Dorothy

Many believe that “Dorothy” refers to Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz“. However, more likely, this Dorothy was really Dorothy Parker.

The story begins at West Hollywood adjacent Garden of Allah, built at 8150 Sunset Blvd. by obnoxious lesbian actress Alla Nazimova. In the 1930’s, Dorothy Parker, a writer, satirist, and wisecracking partier had a large following of gay men in her famous social circle. It became common for gay men to use the code phrase, “I’m a friend of Dorothy” to indicate they were invited to Dorothy’s wild parties held in Garden of Allah’s exclusive celebrity villas. The phrase morphed into a secret code all across the country to indicate one was gay. That’s right, the phrase was invented in Gay West Hollywood!

The Garden of Allah was shut down in 1959 to make way for what is now McDonalds & El Pollo Loco. Some say Joni Mitchell was referring to The Garden of Allah in her hit song “Big Yellow Taxi”, when she sings “They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot”, but it is likely a rumor.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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