The Best Hotel on Skid Row

This documentary, part of HBO’s America Undercover series, presents portraits of people living in Los Angeles’ Madison Hotel, dubbed by the down-and-out as ”the best hotel on skid row.” For $8.20 a night, the Madison provides furnished rooms to, among others, a prostitute and heroin addict named Becky, who says she could ”probably go straight” if she could only get on welfare; John, who brags he has ”washed dishes in New Orleans and sold pills in Fort Worth”; and Jack Woodrow Wilson, who drinks heavily but says sternly, ”I wouldn’t risk AIDS by talking to women who go to bars.” The Best Hotel offers tales of alcoholic blackouts and ruined families. In the background of these dingy rooms, the television is always on, playing The A-Team or The People’s Court. The latter, in fact, is what these people need: a court in which to plead their cases, for most of these folks are intelligent, articulate, and resourceful enough to survive on minimal money while doing irreparable harm to their bodies. The poet (and novelist) of skid row, Charles Bukowski, narrates; Christine Choy and Renee Tajima direct. ”I’m so tired of bein’ tired,” Becky moans. The pain, humor, and tragedy of The Best Hotel on Skid Row are vivid and moving. A-

The Best Hotel on Skid Row
  • TV Show