Celebrating Bukowski at the Huntington

mjp

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The ceremony/celebration for the donation of Bukowski's papers took place tonight at the Huntington. Anyone else go? Much to say, but too late right now, I'll type tomorrow.

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mjp

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Okay, here's a rundown on what happened. The event opened with a couple of people from the Huntington talking about the acquisition, thanking Linda profusely, etc. They all made reference to the fact that the Huntington is a pretty conservative place, and it seemed odd to a lot of people that Bukowski's papers ended up there. Many references to how it was "a different crowd" in attendance that evening, but I didn't notice anyone particularly dangerous or disheveled or potentially unruly, so the "regular crowd" must be very tame and conservative.

The woman in charge of cataloging and describing the collection spoke, and she estimated it will take two years to sort it all out, and in 2010 they will put on a major exhibition of highlights of the collection. They already have some pieces on permanent display, but don't head over there to look for much yet. It's going to be a while before it's even available for "scholarly research."

In addition to what she called the most extensive collection they have ever acquired (multiple copies and states of even the rarest books) apparently there are also boxes and boxes of poem manuscripts ("thousands," she said), but she didn't say whether this was published material or not. Bukowski kept copies of what he sent to Martin, so much of it may be published stuff. I tried to find her afterward to ask her if the documentation would be available in some sort of searchable form online when they finish, but she had disappeared. I would guess it will be, as other parts of their collection are online.

Linda spoke briefly (after a very loud and long standing ovation) about their connection to the Huntington. It is very near a horse track that Bukowski would go to, so she would come with him sometimes, drop him off at the track, go to the Huntington and enjoy the gardens, then go back to the track in time for the last race. While I was speaking to her after the event she told me, "He would say, 'Baby, you've got the flowers and I've got the ponies...'"

John Martin is listed on the program, but he was a no-show. Apparently he was too ill to travel. No details on that, so I don't know if it's a serious problem or just a temporary thing he'll bounce back from.

Not listed on the program was the producer of the recent Factotum movie, who was interviewed briefly (in addition to their being a dais where people spoke, there was also a couch and chairs on the stage where some people would sit and be interviewed by the moderator) and mentioned that the film rights have been sold for Post Office, Women and Ham On Rye, so there may be more films on the horizon. These things can take years to fund/develop though, so who knows. Many times rights are bought for a book and nothing ever comes of it.

There was a uninspiring, stumbling reading of a strange excerpt from Ham on Rye by someone who's connection to Bukowski I forgot.

Neeli Cherkovski told a couple of funny anecdotes and read Crucifix in a Deathhand from an original copy of Crucifix, which he held up for everyone to see, briefly mentioning LouJon press and their early championing of Bukowski's work. Cherkovski has a strange way of speaking - cutting off the last words of every sentence when he seems to want to get something out quickly - that makes it hard to follow what he's saying sometimes. He was introduced by the moderator (a Los Angeles NPR personality) as the author of a "very highly regarded" Bukowski biography, which I found amusing, considering the way Bukowski was known to feel about it.

Harry Dean Stanton and S.A. Griffin read poems, then Harry Dean Stanton did the final reading of the night, The Crunch, which he said was a special request from Linda, her favorite Bukowski poem.

The event was pretty long, due in part to the annoying and unnecessary inclusion of ac-tors muddying up the proceedings with off-the-mark readings of poems. Borderline unbearable, these ac-tors, with their overwrought, stagey readings. Apparently they have staged some plays based on Bukowski's work, and I can only imagine how horrible they were to sit through. Of course the male ac-tors (there was also a woman in a big yellow prom dress who acted out a poem) chugged water from prop beer bottles...it was all just very wrong. Only sour note(s) of the evening. A short film - or really, anything else - would have been better than the ac-tors acting their way around the room.

After the event everyone congregated outside near the bar and drank and yakked. Dennis from Vancouver (who taped the second-to-last reading), and Jon (who taped the final reading) were there. No new news on the release of those DVDs. They are in talks with some major distributors though, including the Criterion Collection, so we may see some action there. Jon mentioned that he was going to try the Independent Film Channel, so who knows where these things will end up. Jon also videotaped the event. Don't know what he plans to do with that.

All in all, a good, loose evening, despite the attempts by the ac-tors to kill it. ;)

Interesting to watch people approach Linda afterward. They treated her like a rock star. She stayed until everyone got a chance to speak to her, then the San Pedro contingent closed the joint and called it a night! Ha.
 

theeffects

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Thanks for the rundown, doesn't sound like it was very good (between Neeli's poor reading and the ac-tors!). How soon until I can bid on a program from that night on eBay do you think!??!!??
:)
 

mjp

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It wasn't good. The planned part. The hanging-around-and-bullshitting part afterward was great. The indoor, semi-ceremonial event/reading part was just overplanned. Remove the actors and it would have been just about right.

To clarify, Neeli's reading wasn't bad at all, it was when he was talking off the cuff, so to speak, and he just seemed to want to jam a lot of information into a little space, that he tripped over his own thoughts a bit. But overall he and Harry Dean Stanton were probably the most interesting and entertaining presenters.

As for the programs showing up on eBay, that will probably happen pretty soon. That's the way these things seem to go. You can avoid that by sending me a private message with your mailing address and I will put one in the mail for you. The first three of you who do that anyway. That's all I have (They're all gone - sorry).

Linda handed Carol the wine stained program that she had held onto throughout the entire evening, and I think we'll be keeping that one. ;)
 

bospress.net

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HI,
I heard from John Martin today, so maybe he was just under the weather. He seems to be fine.

All best,
Bill
 

theeffects

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John happy with FACTOTUM?? He might be more biased than some of us, but I'd be curious what he thought... I hope with HAM, WOMEN, POST being (eventually...) prepared for the BIG SCREEN we get 'A' great BUK film...
or I'll trade in a GREAT Buk film for a FINAL great ECCO release....
would be nice..
 

mjp

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I heard from John Martin today, so maybe he was just under the weather. He seems to be fine.
Too bad he couldn't make it. It was a nice surprise to see his name on the program, so it was disappointing when they said he couldn't be there.
 
Huntington Library Event

I have a few pictures and video of Harry Dean Stanton reading the last poem from the Bukowski event at the huntington. If I can figure out how to do this, is there any reason legalwise, why I shouldn't post here?
 

mjp

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You can post the pictures in here, I don't see any problem with that.
 

theeffects

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I have a few pictures and video of Harry Dean Stanton reading the last poem from the Bukowski event at the huntington. If I can figure out how to do this, is there any reason legalwise, why I shouldn't post here?
definitely like to see that...
obviously Stanton was a 'fan' of Buk's, curious what Bukowski thought of Stanton, was he mentioned in Hollywood? Also what if any relationship did those 2 have together??
 

mjp

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Also what if any relationship did those 2 have together??
He said that they met about 20 years ago, and saw each other socially many times. He told the story of one night when he was dropping Bukowski and Linda off at home and Bukowski fell on his doorstep and was bleeding from the head. Stanton imitated Bukowski's voice; "This is baaaaad." That got a big laugh.

I don't know if they were close friends, but it seems that they did spend some time together.
 

Bukfan

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curious what Bukowski thought of Stanton, was he mentioned in Hollywood? Also what if any relationship did those 2 have together??
They met at least once together with a producer who wanted to make Buk?s stories into a sitcom.Stanton was supposed to be Buk in the sitcom. He talked Buk out of it much to the producers chagrin. Stanton felt that Buk did?nt go well with canned laughter.
The episode is described in Sounes Buk bio...
 

theeffects

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BUKFAN, I had forgotten about that sitcom from Sounes book, couldn't imagine a BUK sitcom...!? But it wouldn't be any worse than all the other bad sitcoms on tv today, hell I'd watch it. Stanton is a good actor, he's great in REPO MAN and SIXTEEN CANDLES!
 

the only good poet

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stanton's also good in the 70's film straight time (based on the book, no beast so fierce, by edward bunker)
 

Rekrab

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mjp: Thanks for the detailed account of the Huntington event and the program scans. You take great care of us Bukowski fans. Man, I wish I could have been there. The Huntington is such an unlikely place for all this to be happeneing...surreal, and yet so right.
 
I guess the comment just rubbed me the wrong way....anyone who can relate to, or appreciate what Bukowski was all about shouldn't be judged because they happen to be celebrities. They just happen to have excellent taste...just like us.
 

mjp

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I guess the comment just rubbed me the wrong way....anyone who can relate to, or appreciate what Bukowski was all about shouldn't be judged because they happen to be celebrities. They just happen to have excellent taste...just like us.
I wasn't putting down anyone due to their fame or celebrity. The ac-tors I was referring to were not celebrities, they were Los Angeles stage ac-tors, and for the most part they really, really missed the mark, and that's why I ragged on them. Of the three who (over)acted poems or excerpts, I had the feeling only one of them had ever been within pissing distance of a Bukowski book, and he was still hard to watch. The other two might as well have been reciting Sam Shepard plays or somthing. It was just wrong, man, and I know I'm not the only one there who felt that way.
 

bospress.net

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Hi,
I hear that Harry Dean Stanton was very drunk for his readings. I heard this from someone who also read there... mjp, Did you notice this?

Also, I heard that Neeli was a big hit....

Bill
 
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