Join our Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list to get weekly updates directly to your inbox.

A Phaidon Global Company
New York, NY,

    A brilliantly imaginative, illustrated recreation of an 1890s Los Angeles pocket guide, or "Sporting Guide," to the brothels of the day.

    A brilliantly imaginative, illustrated recreation of an 1890s Los Angeles pocket guide, or "Sporting Guide," to the brothels of the day.

    Merit Award: Special Trade Gift (30th Annual New York Book

    “Well-thought-out and executed package with added production value using high-quality materials including textured cover and ribbon.” –New York Book Show judges

    Before there was the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Los Angeles was a rough place, building its way out to the global city of today. In the late nineteenth century it was a rapidly growing city filled with pimps and prostitutes, Chinese railwaymen, robbers, smugglers, and corrupt politicians. It was a city where losers and dreamers from all over the world could come to make their fortune.

    This era of her native city has always fascinated author, fashion icon, and filmmaker Liz Goldwyn. In a series of beautiful, haunting interlinked stories she recreates the Los Angeles of the 1890s through stories of its pimps, politicians, prostitutes—male and females—businessmen, madams and johns. She takes readers inside the bordellos and velvet curtained rooms where sex entices but power and money rule. Based on her original research in the libraries and archives of LA, these fictional stories center around real historical characters—like the famous owner of LA’s grandest brothel, Pearl Morton (whose tombstone Goldwyn discovered). Interspersed in those stories, Goldwyn writes about the historical realities of the time, from fashion to opium drug addiction to sexual practices and birth control.

    Sporting Guide evokes a lost world of those on the margins of LA, of the hustlers who made it into one of the great cities of the world, and she gives a poignant voice to people and stories lost to time.

    Book Praise

    Roundly entertaining


    It is reminiscent of a Cartier box in its smooth, red, glossed leather with a gold-trimmed frame that suggests it may contain something exciting and pleasurable. Perhaps the only thing that is missing is a lock….Deeply provocative and alluring…

    Vanity Fair

    Goldwyn’s sensual, sordid account exudes a rich nostalgia for a city where 'one could be forgotten or build their own dreams'

    Jenny Hendrix, Interview

    Sporting Guide reveals a pre-Hollywood Los Angeles dreamscape, in which streetwalkers, politicians, and industrialists rubbed shoulders (among other things) with the uninhibited libidos of the Gilded Age

    Erik Morse, The Paris Review

    You have to check this book's totally the kind of thing that not only do you want on your coffee table, but you want to read every single page.

    Nancy Redd, HuffPost Live