Friday, 9 September 2016

Buy Ike and Tina Turner's Old House!

Yes! You can now buy Ike and Tina’s Turner’s former residence! 4263 Olympiad Drive in Los Angeles neighbourhood View Park (once nicknamed “the Black Beverley Hills”) is on the market for $999,000. The current owners bought it from the tempestuous rhythm and blues royal couple in 1977 (Tina left Ike in 1976, so after their stormy marriage imploded).  Miraculously – they kept it almost entirely intact as the Turners left it! Koi fish no longer swim in the living room’s water feature and the erotic murals on the wall appear to be painted-over but otherwise the living room’s curved sofas and the circular bed in the master bedroom (worthy of a brothel) are still in place.  In fact the house is such a perfect time capsule it was used as a location for the 1993 Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It? (Judging by the photos in this link, even the avocado-green rotary phone from the seventies is still in use!).  As an Ike and Tina obsessive (I can't imagine DJ'ing at a Lobotomy Room night without dropping a few tracks by the Ike and Tina Revue) I need to make a religious pilgrimage to this place before the next owners completely renovate it!

\ The living room sofas were originally upholstered in red velvet \

From what I can gather, Ike and Tina moved into the Olympiad Drive address in the late sixties. The despotic Ike – then at the height of his cocaine psychosis - took charge of the decor. His lurid, wildly kitsch nouveau riche decorating flourishes are worthy of comparison to Elvis’ Graceland or Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace.  As Tina’s biographer / ghost writer Kurt Loder vividly describes it in her 1986 volume of memoirs I, Tina“The place looked like a bordello in hell, a Las Vegas nightmare of deep-pile red carpeting, flocked walls, and some of the most bizarre decorative appointments (Tina) had ever seen: a custom-made blue velvet couch with arms that turned into tentacles, a coffee table in the shape of a bass guitar, a waterfall in the family room. Televisions were now housed in cabinets carved to resemble giant snail shells and there was a mirror on the ceiling of the master bedroom. In fact there mirrors everywhere and lots of stained glass, red and gold velvet, eggshell-white wood, plastic plants, burbling aquariums – all of it screaming splendour.”  

As an aghast Tina herself recalled, “The colours surrounded you. One room was all blue. The kitchen was green. (Ike) thought I’d be happy because, yeah, I did like green. But not necessarily in my kitchen. In that way, everything had been done first class, custom-made at the house – I mean, it cost a fortune. But it was poor taste.”  Or should that be gloriously bad taste! 

/ At home with Ike and Tina (with flocked wallpaper as described above in evidence). Where is that exquisite naive outsider art folk portrait of Ike and Tina now? I'd kill to get my hands on that! /

/ Ike and Tina's dining room - preserved in amber. Note the vintage avocado green phone /

To save you the hassle, I've scoured the internet looking for photo documentation of Ike and Tina at home in the Olympiad address in the seventies. I didn't come up with much, and none of it is in colour, sadly. But at least we can do some "then and now" comparison:

/ Phone call for Miss Turner ... the deluxe well-appointed bar. The tropical fish aquarium is now empty /

/ In the kitchen with Tina. This room is comparatively drab and functional. The kitchen was obviously not a priority for Ike /

/ Below: Rhythm and blues royalty Ike and Tina in the seventies, their baroque / high rococo phase/

Read all about the house and see more eye-popping photos here.

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