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.