Ok. I'm scared. (1 Viewer)

Well, when the Bukowski cigar ash trays, and the Bukowski beer hit the
market, we can take comfort in knowing that we knew him when...

I think that these musicians are demonstrating a certain courage and a clear appreciation of Buk, no?
Whether they appreciate Bukowski or not isn't the issue as far as I'm concerned. I have a problem with people taking art or music or writing that is not theirs and putting their ugly stamp all over it. For $75 you can buy the right to fuck up a work of art? That is bullshit.

Bluebird and whatever other poems Valerian and his crew raped were perfect as they were. Setting them to music - such as it is - does not improve them. It degrades them. Unquestionably.

Also note that this was done after Bukowski was long dead. Once someone is dead you really ought to leave their shit alone. It isn't for Yoko Ono or Rita Marley or Linda Bukowski (or worse yet, Martin, or some lawyer at Ecco) to decide that the dead men's work can be deconstructed and destroyed.

But, you know, I have no strong feelings on the issue either way. ;)
You better check out this ass kicking guys:
Cool song. Great groove.

I emailed Valerian Ruminski and received a heartfelt reply.

I hope others are emailing him. He seems like such a warm fellow, appreciative of the positive comments we're sharing with him.
TDjazz said:
I emailed Valerian Ruminski and received a heartfelt reply.

I hope others are emailing him. He seems like such a warm fellow, appreciative of the positive comments we're sharing with him.

Why not post them here for us all to see?
Valerian's email

My original email I sent to Valerian:
If Bukowski were alive, he'd slap the crap out of you for butchering his poems with your awful singing.
Stop it, and destroy all the CDs--you shouldn't be making any money off of this.

Valerian's response:
Well, then Bukowski wouldnt mind if I said, " Fuck you!"

My response:
He probably wouldn't mind, but he'd still slap the crap out of you, you pimple.

As you'll notice, he's the one who used the expletive, though "crap" and "pimple" are considered quite rude in certain circles. I'll let you know whether he replies.
It's kind of funny to me to think that years after this clueless idiot foisted his stinking garbage onto the world, suddenly, out of the blue, he's getting shit from seemingly random people for it. I don't know, it's absurd and funny. To me. Probably not to VALERIAN.

I just had the misfortune of learning that he called the record, Opera Meets Skid Row. That makes me hate it even more than I used to hate it for some reason (if that's possible).


"He is actively involved in recording new music, such as the songs based on the poetry of Charles Bukowski composed by Persis Anne Vehar, for which he received rave reviews in the Los Angeles Times." http://www.naxos.com/artistinfo/6382.htm

"The first six songs of what will be an 18-song cycle premiered in Los Angeles last fall to glowing reviews." http://www.buffalo.edu/UBT/UBT-archives/16_ubtw01/alumni_profiles/profile2.html

Wow, how did I miss the rave and glowing reviews?
LOL...and afterwards we can read Valerians books: Screams From The Opera, Living On Opera and Reach for The Opera...
do you know how many bottles of wine I could buy with $75??!!
25 bottles of Charles Shaw at Trader Joe's!

You'll want to kill yourself after the first glass, but on the bright side, you'll only have 149 more glasses to choke down...

VALERIAN is the Charles Shaw of music.
At least! I'm sure some sucker on ebay would pay more. After all, it's the only copy in existence...:D
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VALERIAN isn't the only one interpreting bluebird on youtube (though he continues to hold the title of the most arrogant, annoying and utterly clueless). These are all bluebird interpretations as well. You be the judge:

I snipped the links. People can find them in your post.

What i want to link to is Charles Bukowski telling why
Poetry is the dullest of things.

You know, you can steal his words,
You can buy them,
for seventy five dollars American, evidently,
You can read them, sing them, put them to cartoons, music, and dance.

All quite flattering in a way, because of the imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery thing.

But you can't steal his magic.

None of the efforts,
none of the flatterers (i'm being kind),
no matter how arrogant, and no matter how many new minds are opened to
Bukowski because of those who are picking away at what he's done, ever come
close to touching the grandeur Buk had, and which he continues to have, still
to this day.

Dead, Bukowski is more exciting than an entire internet full of imitators.
Right on, Father Luke: Buk lives!

Watched the "Poetry in Motion" selection again and it's interesting that he doesn't like Tolstoy. The problem is that alot of people watching this clip might think Buk didn't like the "classics" in general which of course isn't true. He loved Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Li Po, Catullus, etc etc. I have the feeling that 90% of his "fans" don't really get him. Maybe I'm wrong. But if Buk was anti-intellectual, he was the most intellectual anti-intellectual who has ever lived....:)
Liza Williams nailed this down pretty well in her piece on B. She said that B. took pride in coming off as an uncultured, dumb moron. Or something like that ;)
Così fan Bukowski

Please do not shoot me
I was thinking that the fact that an opera singer would choose Bukowski's texts is not such a bad thing. I am not an opera fan but I happen to know a few very cool people who appreciate that form of art

I find it more funny than horrendous.
I think that these musicians are demonstrating a certain courage and a clear appreciation of Buk, no?
Does their work deserve to get entirely blasted?


Good point. I was hoping someone would bring it up. I could easily conceive of Bukowski's poems (some of the select) being put in a classical setting. It hasn't been done successfully (to my knowledge) because either no one knows how to do it yet or the right composer has yet to come along.

I'm not an expert by any means but I've enjoyed some of the operas of Puccini, Bizet and Mozart. Not understanding the language, I can enjoy the music as pure voice and music. Sometimes it's sublime. Songs by Mahler (one of Buk's favs) can tear your heart out.

If I were to compare Bukowski to anyone in the classical kingdom, it would be to the tortured-soul writer of lieder Hugo Wolf. There doesn't seem to be a strict measure of rhyme to worry about and Bukowski wrote in free verse. It could be done because he can strike the heart deeply. I also feel that Buk would have gotten a kick out of it. He loved the classics and he felt that they helped save his soul.

In the meantime, I try to give some leeway to the composer/song writers who are in love with the words but have not stumbled upon the right setting. But I think they should continue trying and make the necessary mistakes. That will clear the decks for the right composer. I think even a modern abstract classical setting would work with some of the poems, because you should avoid sentimentality at all costs but not at the expense of the feeling Buk's words carry. It could be done. The difficulty is that it's hard enough to write any kind of an opera in English to begin with. English can sound so plebeian, while just about anything sung in French or Italian can be music to your ears. Maybe Bukowski needs to be translated into French, Italian or German first. I would be for it just to see what could be done. The opera Carmen was considered immoral at the time because of its psychological realism. Bukowski has a honest psychological realism and some day a composer is going to tap into that stream and bring out the music behind the words. However, it may take years to work out and I probably won't be around for the unveiling. In any event, I'm glad the subject was brought up and I applaud the courage of these musicians that Black Swan points out. Play on...

Well, I am an expert (I've always wanted to write that!) and the examples so far are abysmal.
Poptop, I think you're right to suggest that, with English, one is behind that eight ball to start with.
Mahler, Britten, Shubert, Schumann, Wolf and hundreds of other great composers used the human voice in various settings to great effect.
But their work was of the era (various eras) and culturally relevant.
Stylistically congruous, ya?

I can not imagine a Bukowski poem arranged for singer and accompaniment or solo singer ever working.

Classically trained singers will employ the unnervingly wide vibrato they were taught to use along with their clearly articulated dic-ti-on and thereby remove any of the resonance of the words as written.
Speaking the poem with (the right kind of) music in the background might work, but, then, one could always do without the music in that case.

If I want to hear singing, I just have to listen to Bukowski reciting a poem.
There's more than enough music there for me.
He was still at it 2009? This is for you, VR:

The persistent opera singer

it was on the 2nd floor on Genesee Street
I used to get drunk
and throw the opera singer through the window
while he was singing, and, of course,
he would break the glass in the window
and the opera singer would sit there on the roof
still singing
and I'd tell my woman,
"Ah, what a tenacous opera singer!"
the next morning I'd take the window
off the hinges
and carry it down the street
to the glass man
who would put in another pane.
I kept throwing that opera singer through the window
each time I got drunk
and he would sit there on the roof
still singing-
the persistent opera singer

Charles Plagiarowski :DD
Bukowski Beer Drinking Cabaret
I'm scared too Johannes, who the hell would pay to see that? after the initial horror of the first one, I was laughing - inappropriately - at the second one. Or was it perhaps meant as a joke (hopefully?)
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wow. amazing.

that should be required reading for anyone considering posting that stuff here. or making it at all...

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