Last reading (1 Viewer)

According to the timeline - and to a DVD which captures the event - Bukowski's last public reading was in Redondo Beach on 31 March 1980.
In Art, Survival and so Forth - the Poetry of Charles Bukowski (Wrecking Ball Press, 2000) the author Jules Smith claims that Bukowski gave a reading in Hermosa Beach, California, "during April 1980". Smith also writes: "Aside from one occasion in a San Pedro bookstore late in life, that was the end of his public reading career."
Smith visited Southern California at the end of 1996 where he was a guest of Fred Voss and Joan Jobe Smith, so I guess he didn't make that up out of thin air.

The "one occasion in a San Pedro bookstore late in life" to which Smith referred to, must have been at Vinegar Hill Books one day before Bukowski's last birthday on 15 August 1993. A couple of photos from that occasion can be found in Das war's - Letzte Worte mit Charles Bukowski (Gundolf Freyermuth & Michael Montfort, Hamburg 1996). But, as far as I understood, the latter event was hardly one you could call a 'public reading'. The question now is whether there was a reading in Hermosa Beach during April 1980.
 

mjp

Founding member
Hermosa and Redondo are right next to each other, as are March and April, which leads me to believe the "April reading in Hermosa" is someone's faulty memory of the March reading in Redondo. I've never seen any mention of a reading after March of 1980 in letters, and that would be where we'd find it (unless an ad or flyer or something turned up).

I'd never rule anything out, since we still find surprising things, but I think the dates and locations are similar enough to be a mistake rather than a previously unknown final reading. In all these years that Redondo has been called the final reading it seems that someone would have said, "Not really, I saw him in Hermosa a few weeks later..."
 
Your explanation is rather likely - I pretty much thought the same.
If anybody can clear that up I think it will be Linda Lee.
 

cirerita

Founding member
I think the San Pedro reading took place in 1986. The San Pedro newspaper Random Lengths prints in most issues a photograph of that event, where you can see Bukowski signing a book.

That was not Bukowski's last reading ever, though. He read a few poems off You Get So Alone... sometime in 1987.
 

mjp

Founding member
Pretty sure the San Pedro thing in the 80s was a signing, not a reading (and the 90s thing at Vinegar Hill was a birthday party or celebration or whatever they called it).

I wouldn't count reading a poem or two at a signing (because the organizer or attendees twisted his arm) as a reading. If or when that might have happened.
 

Johannes

Founding member
Where (and why) did the 1987 reading of You Get So Alone ... happen?

I too thought that the Redondo reading was the last one.
 

cirerita

Founding member
Where (and why) did the 1987 reading of You Get So Alone ... happen?

Homage to B.jpg

Bukowski showed up for this tribute and read a few poems off You Get So Alone...
 
Thanks for the input of the experts.

Hermosa and Redondo are right next to each other, as are March and April, which leads me to believe the "April reading in Hermosa" is someone's faulty memory of the March reading in Redondo.
The reading at Redondo Beach is mentioned in the same chapter (7) as the one in Hermosa. Smith called the former "one of his last recorded readings". But okay, maybe he just got a misinformation about the Hermosa reading, who knows.
By the way, Jules Smith (on the right in the photo) and Gerald Locklin, who wrote the preface to his book, were both at the Bukowski-Symposium in Andernach in 2002. You know the guy at the bottom in the picture, don't you?

Untitled-1.jpg
 

mjp

Founding member
But okay, maybe he just got a misinformation about the Hermosa reading, who knows.
Oh, I certainly don't know. It just seemed like an easy place to make a mix up, between those two beach cities. I haven't been able to dig up anything about a Hermosa reading after the Sweetwater reading, but I'll keep my eyes open. So to speak. If there was a final reading in Hermosa I'd like to know about it (I don't count his surprise appearance at the Barnsdall thing in '87 as a reading, since it was only 10 minutes and he wasn't even expected to be there - but I'll probably still add it to the timeline next time I'm in there).
 
that was Shane Rhodes, Jules Smith's publisher - and now you know, why his press was called 'Wrecking Ball Press'.

B.t.w.: the charming girl between Jules and Gerry is Locklin's daughter Vanessa.

B.t.w. 2:
Gerry Locklin will speak at our symposium in Berlin this year on August 13.
Feel free to come.
 

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