Interesting about "My Friend the Gambler." I just connected Steve Cosmos with Francois Racine in Hollywood the other day. Hank, do you know if "Steve Baies" is the actual person on whom Bukowski based this character? If so, who was he? He's not in the biographies I don't believe.
There's also this "double" or doppleganger theme in "My Friend the Gambler". Very weird, also in the late story "The Other" in which he plays with the idea of a double.
There's a lot more detail in the Bukowski story 'My friend the gambler', published in High Times October 1984.
In 'My friend...' his character is called 'Steve Cosmos'. Bukowski paints him as a wild character, borrowing money and skipping out all the time. He is referred to as 'one of the ten most wanted men' in Europe, an actor and con man who scams banks and casinos. He goes to the track with Chinaski then goes back to France. He gets jailed in Paris, then he jumps bail. Later he turns up again in the USA staying with Jean Sasoon (Schroeder). Still gambling, he borrows money from Chinaski and then he works as Chinaski's gardener. While Sasoon is filming a documentary about Chinaski, he persuades Cosmos to write an autobiographical story, about a professional gambler. Then Sasoon leaves for Paris to get the film of this story into production. Cosmos vanishes and resurfaces in Paris to act the part of 'Director of the Casino' in the film based on his story, which Sasoon is directing (this is a real film, Tricheurs). 'My friend the gambler' closes with Chinaski meeting Cosmos again at a race track in the US. A lot of the detail from 'Hollywood' is there too, the poor neighbourhood with the chickens and the arms coming through the wall. It's a good one. :cool:
Just wondering how you figured out it might be Steve Baes. Is he mentioned in a Barbet Schroeder biography? It's interesting to me that he comes up in both Hollywood and "My Friend the Gambler" so Bukowski must have spent a good deal of time both with him and Barbet. From "My Friend the Gambler" he seems to have had alot of affection for him.
I guess now (the pseudonyms post was a couple of years ago) that I was making this assumption based on how the story matches up to factual film data. The short story references the movie written by Cosmos, directed by Sasoon, about a Casino in which Cosmos also plays the major role of 'Director of the Casino'. This matches very closely the real movie "Tricheurs" which was written by Baës and directed by Schroeder in which Baës plays 'Directeur casino'.
Of course its not impossible that the character is just a composite.