Around age 13, I became obsessed with Ira Levin’s novel Rosemary’s Baby, which had then just been issued in a cheap paperback edition. I read it in a single sitting—gripped, of course, by the weird occult plotline. Maybe even more, as a California kid itching for a sense of East Coast sophistication, I was enamored of all the details of New York: Guy’s career as a Broadway actor and the glamorous way everybody seemed to live.
One particular detail lodged in my memory even then. Rosemary, fixing a fancy dinner to celebrate her fabulous new apartment with Guy, put Ella Sings Cole Porter on the turntable. It entered my checklist: if you want to be sophisticated, drink a cocktail while listening to this particular record….