Red (1 Viewer)

I graduated high school in '88, and shortly there after started making occasional trips with some friends to the Baroque Book Store in Hollywood(We lived about three hours away). Red always seems agitated with yet another group of new BUK fans hanging around the store, staring at all the first editions we couldn't afford to pay $60 bucks for and taking our time to figure out which paperbacks we wanted to buy. I remember he would make occasional comments about BUK whenever we purchased anything. I know many of you may have known or been friends with Red, and I was hoping you would be willing to post some more info or stories about him. I see his name referred to from time to time in the Forum and I would certainly like to know more about him.

Red always seems agitate with yet another group of new BUK fans hanging around the store

Sorry, I meant to say "seemed agitated". I believe that last I heard Red had passed on.....
 
You are correct that Red has passed on. The bookstore closed and his Bukowski inventory was sold off by his family at a Butterfield & Butterfield auction shortly thereafter. My own personal experience with Red was uniformly negative. I called twice with money in hand and was treated like dirt. During one call, I asked if he had a copy of HOT WATER MUSIC with a painting and he said, "What do you care? You can't afford it anyway!" and hung up. As far as I'm concerned, he was nothing but a cranky old fucker who didn't know how to treat his customers. And don't get me started on Montfort.
 

chronic

old and in the way
I liked Red. Yeah, he was a crank but he could be very friendly if he took a liking to you.

He could get really excited (though he tried not to show it) when he was showing off some of the rarer items in his inventory and could act really snobbish about the not-so-rare stuff if you were interested in it.

There were times I'd be in the store talking to him and he'd lock the door. If anyone came to the door when it was locked he'd just completely ignore them. There were times that I showed up when he was eating lunch and would get the same treatment... he'd glance up to see who it was and then totally ignore me (even though by then he knew me pretty well). I never took offense... it's just the way he was.

He was very proud of his association with Bukowski (and with Henry Miller) and I think he let it define him to such an extent that I wonder if he'd have had anything to talk about at all if it hadn't been for Bukowski.

I hadn't seen him in a while and didn't find out that he had died until I decided to stop by and say hello, only to find the store was empty (though the sign was still up). I was really bummed to hear that he had died. He was a type of eccentric character that seems to be dying off along with the rest of his generation.

I almost hate to say it but I kinda miss the old fuck.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Unfortunately, my Red story is negative. We went to his shop a few times in the late 70s and bought a few items. The last time we were there, our two young daughters were with us (about 5 and 8 at the time). Both were very well-behaved, never rowdy in public. They were looking at the bookcases, not touching a thing, not making a peep. After we'd been there maybe ten minutes, Red announces in this big voice: "Children must be very, very quiet and very still." Why he said this, I haven't a clue, as they were being those things already. I got pissed off and called him an asshole, and we left. I had bought from him in the past, a copy of the OUTSIDER signed by Henry Miller. Later, my wife went in the shop alone and asked how much he wanted for a photo of Tom Waits that was hanging on the wall. He was rude to her, saying "Why would I sell a picture of my friend?" A jerk is my estimate. He did have some great books. I recall a copy of Hemingway's TORRENTS OF SPRING. The coolest Buk item I saw was a copy of DEAR MISTER BUKOWSKI (have I got that title right?).

David
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
Rekrab said:
[...]The coolest Buk item I saw was a copy of DEAR MISTER BUKOWSKI (have I got that title right?).

Cool item..

Dear Mr. Bukowski 11 individual multicoloured silkscreens with text written in answer to a letter asking Bukowski "What is your typical day like?" 50 issued.

Info from Fogel. Pics from dermaface (I think...)
 

chronic

old and in the way
I have a signed copy of the second printing of this... got it from Red. It's a really nice (and not very well known) little item.
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
don't worry chronic, i'll slip you a couple of dollars for that old reprint ... :D
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Amazing, I did have the title right. Only saw that item once, there at Red's, and it was priced out of my range. Thanks for the images, hank solo.

Hope my story isn't mean-spirited. I have nothing against the guy, other than that one incident when I called him an asshole. Maybe he was a great guy at other tmes. Just irked me that day. I'm touchy when someone gives my kids undeserved shit. Of course, after that I couln't show my face there again, my loss. He did have cool books. I have a couple of his catalogs around here someplace, and I'll hang onto them, so I must have a soft spot in my heart for the guy, rough edges and all.

David
 

chronic

old and in the way
cirerita said:
obviously, the hard-to-find, really "valuable" printing is the first one. you don't see many of these around.
I've never laid eyes one of the first printings and even the second printings are pretty scarce. If memory serves there were only 50 of the first printing and 100 of the second.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Hi,
I have freinds that were very close to Red, but I must say that even those that were close knew that he could be an ass if he felt like it. That is one flaw that I could never tolerate in a friend. It is one thing to be disinterested, but he seemed to go out of his way to insult people. Just mean and full of hate. I only wonder how he ever made it. If he treated me the way that he treated nymark or rekrab, I'd have NEVER bought anything that he ever touched. I have had a run in with another publisher (or so he would like to think). This guy was a real piece of shit. Bitter at having never made it and he goes out of his way to let current small press publishers know that there is no talent alive and that we are all wasting our time publishing no talents. He once published a Buk piece after years of begging Buk to allow him. My collection is now missing this piece and I refuse to own it.... I heard from him after I published my first Buk piece spewing his hate. I assume that after he heard about Buk piece #2, he probably made a voodoo doll of me and after #3, & #4 probably had to be institutuionalized.

Oh well. I can sleep at night.

Bill

p.s. You are free to PM me with a guess as to the name, but I cannot mention it in an open forum...
 

chronic

old and in the way
Rekrab said:
Hope my story isn't mean-spirited. I have nothing against the guy, other than that one incident when I called him an asshole. Maybe he was a great guy at other tmes. Just irked me that day. I'm touchy when someone gives my kids undeserved shit. Of course, after that I couln't show my face there again, my loss. He did have cool books. I have a couple of his catalogs around here someplace, and I'll hang onto them, so I must have a soft spot in my heart for the guy, rough edges and all.
You're probably in the majority... of the people I've known who also knew Red more people disliked him than liked him. Even Bukowski seemed to have mixed feelings about him. I think having driven a taxi at night for a couple of years made me kind of tolerant of drunks, malcontents, and eccentrics. I usually find them more interesting than "normal" people.

hank solo said:
don't worry chronic, i'll slip you a couple of dollars for that old reprint ... :D
Two dollars and it's yours Hank! Just be sure to include five-hundred dollars to cover shipping and handling.

:rolleyes:
 
I knew Red fairly well. I started going to Baroque books in around 1993. He was always very kind and civil to me. He'd lock the door and we'd listen to classical on his little radio and chat about Bukowski and other books. I suppose it may have been that I was older (around 35 then) so I might have been treated better than younger fans who showed up that the door. I bought a couple good books from him, too, so i was also a good customer. He was very generous to me and used to give me free promo materials and Black Sparrow goodies and sold me one his last autographed photos of buk with his typer (look up and to the left ;)). I think part of why he was cranky was because Baroque was was in such a lousy part of LA and that he really had to be careful about who he let in. If you looked like a punk, well, you got treated like a punk. There was alot of trash walking around that area and he was getting pretty frail. It's so long ago now, but I think he went into the hospital for cancer around that time. Historically, he was from NYC and he was married with children. His wife's name was Mina. I was sorry when he died. I went to his shop and there were a bunch of books collector browsing the shelves, readying for the auction. I was told by his son (I think it was his son) that Red had passed. I was bummed out because I hadn't visited him for months and months and I had just made some screenplay money and was ready to be a good customer again, but he was gone. I have nothing but warm memories of Red and the way he always ended our conversation: "I'm gonna have to kick you out now, Kid". He always called me "Kid". I liked that. Anyway, he was a good guy to me - a (relatively) young aspiring writer new to LA. If you're looking for stories about him, that's mine.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
chadbang said:
I I suppose it may have been that I was older (around 35 then) so I might have been treated better than younger fans who showed up that the door.

Good story, thanks. I was in my early thirties when I visited the shop, had a job and a haircut, so it wasn't that I was too young or looked like a punk. Maybe he treated you well because you're a screen writer and he thought you were a cut above the rabble. I was just a nobody to him (a nobody who bought), and he wasn't so friendly. Who you are, in many (most?) people's minds, has a lot to do with how you are treated, sadly.
 
Wow! Thanks chadbang! That certainly is one of the more flattering stories I've heard in regards to Red. It really shows another side I've not heard before. ...
 
I knew Red fairly well. I started going to Baroque books in around 1993...
Hello, Chadbang,

I, too, knew Red - quite well. I managed a classical sheet music store (deKeyser Music) right up the street from Baroque Books, at on Hollywood Boulevard. I started visit Red's store in 1974, and remains a steady customer right up until the time he passed away. He was ALWAYS a gentleman to me. Always. In the early days, I had very little money. He knew what I could afford and brought those items to my attention whenever I came into his shop. As I would pay for my purchase, he would usually tell me to wait for a moment or two - and would give me another item as a gift! He had a very low tolerance for bullshit. Sometimes he would misinterpret the behavior of customers - I witnessed this. However - I also noticed that when the startled customer was gentle and careful in his/her reaction, Red would usually warm up and become more cordial. A lot of times he was just testing the visitor, to find out whether they were just going to waste his time or were truly interested in making a potential purchase. There were a LOT of nutcases in the neighbhorhood. I couldn't blame him for being on the cynical and cautious side.

You are correct, Chadbang, that it was Red's son who was handling the closure of the store and liquidation of stock. Red had some real jewels there. May he rest in peace. He was a good man, a learned man, and a generous man. That's how I see it.
 
I graduated high school in '88, and shortly there after started making occasional trips with some friends to the Baroque Book Store in Hollywood(We lived about three hours away). Red always seems agitated with yet another group of new BUK fans hanging around the store, staring at all the first editions we couldn't afford to pay $60 bucks for and taking our time to figure out which paperbacks we wanted to buy. I remember he would make occasional comments about BUK whenever we purchased anything. I know many of you may have known or been friends with Red, and I was hoping you would be willing to post some more info or stories about him. I see his name referred to from time to time in the Forum and I would certainly like to know more about him.

I was on most of those trips with you! :)

I remember Red definitely being cranky, but if you had a decent knowledge of Buk he would open up and be talkative and a tad bit warmer.

That first trip skbruce and I made to Baroque was a total accident. We went to LA to buy Bukowski books but had no idea where to go. We were going to Hollywood Blvd. for the hell of it and turned right on Las Palmas for some unknown reason. We easily found a parking space and someone said, "Hey, there's a book store." I figured, what the heck? We walked over and went in (this was before the door was locked). The old guy was sitting behind his desk and a younger bearded man was standing to his right. We kind of stopped dead when we entered the small shop, so the old man asked gruffly if he could help us, and I said, "Do you have any Bukowski?" This made them both laugh. He told us where to look and we slowly realized we were in a special place. I remember seeing my first copy of Horsemeat and The Wedding in the case, among other very rare items. I think I left with a paperback copy of Hollywood, or some other novel, and nothing else. Might have made it back two more times? Never bought much but once took in some rare items I had picked up at Ojai Books from Ed Smith, and then he knew I was serious. I think I was trying to sell them off actually.
Anyway, I'm so glad we made that right turn onto Las Palmas that day.
 
Red would've hated me. Seems to have liked John Laroquette though. (c) LA Times, 1986

And he made jokes in the newspapers (see bottom of section beneath 'Events' heading) '(c) LA Times 1979

And had a store among other stores (c) LA Times 1976
 

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Because I just retrieved some old souveniers, I want to share my memories of Red.

I visited Baroque Book Store in spring 1998. Obviously I was a young tourist without much money to spend, but Red treated me really well. I just bought the BSP„Bukowski Reads His Poetry“ CD and the „5 Postcards“ and was very delighted when he gave me the Bukowski Lives! poster for free, along with directions to Bukowski’s grave. At the end of a long chat he signed a photocopy of the poem Bukowski wrote about him. Although I assume he gave this one to a lot of people, it meant a lot to me.

I came back the next year only to find out that he died six month after my visit.

baroque.jpg


Red.jpg
 
Hello, all.

Let me begin by first apologizing for the length of this post. But considering that, by default, all of you are full-length book readers, I know that you'll be easily able to digest my somewhat verbose post without taxing your attention spans (or hopefully, your patience).

I've been a lurker here for a couple of years. My forum nickname was going to be "little atomic bomb", but I think that that nick was too long for the forum software to process. Thus, I am merely Atomic Bomb. Anyways, I just stumbled across this thread.

I live in LA and used to patronize Baroque Books in the late '80s/early '90s. Back in those halcyon days, Bukowski received very little respect from the mainstream literary types. Buk may be popular now, dare I say trendy in some circles, but back when Bukowski was still alive he really was considered an outsider by most readers and bookstores. And as such, his books were quite often hard to find.

Mainstream bookstores didn't carry his work. Your chances of finding a Bukowski book at Crown Books, Barnes and Noble, etc, were virtually zero (and I know, I actually worked in some of those stores). And this was before the internet. You couldn't easily surf over to Amazon.com to find any book you wanted. Back in those days, finding a rare book meant getting into a car and driving around looking for it. It required work.

A female drinking partner/sex object turned me on to Bukowski. I read Love is a Dog from Hell while she slept beside me, burning off a hangover. I was a long-time reader of "the classics", but Bukowski was something totally new to me, something fresh, honest, pithy, and invigorating - in short, I got hooked.

I remember quite vividly waltzing into various bookstores in my initial search for books by Bukowski, only to be scolded in the most dismissive and flamboyant manner possible that we don't carry HIS kind of books here..! - as if to imply that any decent, self-respecting book store would never trade in Bukowski's despicable brand of filth-ridden smut. You'd get treated like you had just walked into the Library of Congress and requested a copy of Hustler - with everything but the pictures cut out.

Bukowski published a lot of short stories in porn magazines, and to the effete kind of snobs that usually work in bookstores, that essentially meant that Bukowski was pornography.

So to find any decent amount (six or seven titles) of Bukowski's work, you generally had to peruse independent or "artsy" bookstores. One of the first I found was the long-gone Paperback Shack in North Hollywood - though the clerk still treated me as if I had requested a copy of The Beginner's Guide to Molesting Children when I brought every copy of Bukowski up to the register to purchase them.

One day I was slumming around Hollywood Blvd on foot when I decided to stop by the newsstand that sat on the corner of Hollywood and Las Palmas. As I was doing so, I spied a bookstore down Las Palmas, and made my way down there to check it out.

It was, of course, Baroque Books. I walked in, Red was behind the counter. I remember seeing some kind of framed photograph or clipping of Bukowski and thinking "well, THIS is the place!"

To be frank, Baroque Books may just as well have been called Bukowski Books. I may be misremembering this, but it seemed to as though 75% of the books in Baroque were Bukowski titles. I felt like I'd found heaven! I grabbed as many of the Bukowski titles I could afford and rushed them to the register.

Baroque obviously became my go-to place for buying Bukowski. In time, I got to know Red, though not on any intensely personal level, more like a "regular customer" level.

I have to say, despite the fact that so many people seem to have had unpleasant interactions with Red, he was never less than a perfect gentleman to me. Gruff, yes, but always pleasant. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I saw him being (needlessly) rude to other people on several occasions.

(I perhaps should note that I was something roughly equivalent to a "punk rocker" at this period in my life, and my hair color changed to a different color of the rainbow on a near-weekly basis - if this bothered Red in any way, he never gave me any indication of it.)

After a fashion, Red started engaging in conversations about Bukowski with me. Again, this was before the internet, so most Bukowski readers knew very little about the man, other than that last-page mini-biography that would always appear at the end of every Bukowski book. Sadly, I don't remember the content of any of those conversations, but I do recall that I relished them at the time.

One day, I walked into Baroque and Red exclaimed "You JUST missed Bukowski!" Apparently, Buk had been in Baroque for a visit just minutes before.

Red told me that Bukowski said that he was headed over to Boardner's (a bar a block away) for a beer or two, and that if I went there, I'd probably catch him.

I actually started heading over to Boardner's when I stopped and remembered HOW MANY poems I'd read in which Bukowski complained about being annoyed by fans. I was planning on quickly picking up a six-pack and bringing it to Bukowski as a gift - I remembered the many poems where Buk would express his dismay at receiving admirers, unless they possessed boobs or beer - but at the last moment I thought to myself: "Oh, for chrissakes, if you've learned anything from his books, it's that you should just leave the guy alone" - and in a move I still question to this day, I decided not to join the annoying chorus of Bukowski stalkers, and let Buk have his drinks in peace. Of course, I never again had the chance to meet him.

So that's my story of Baroque Books and Red. Here's hoping I didn't bore you too much with it.
 

mjp

Founding member
I think you're greatly exaggerating how Bukowski was thought of by people who worked in bookstores in Los Angeles. I found quite the opposite to be true. But it's your story, so you can tell it however you'd like. But bear in mind that everyone here didn't "discover" Bukowski on the Internet.

As for Red, he was the New York Dolls of booksellers. You either loved him or hated him, and both opinions were completely valid and justified.
 
I think you're greatly exaggerating how Bukowski was thought of by people who worked in bookstores in Los Angeles. I found quite the opposite to be true. But it's your story, so you can tell it however you'd like.
You are, of course, entitled to believe whatever you like; I don't have this option, as I experienced this behavior first hand. It happened to me in Crown Books in Burbank; it happened to me at Dutton's Books on Laurel Canyon. And, like I said, it happened to me (albeit, in a less strident manner) at the Paperback Shack in North Hollywood.

People who hate on Bukowski (and his readers) are far from rare, even to this day. As was noted on this very forum, the TV show "Fear the Walking Dead" took a primetime swipe at Bukowski just four months ago - a segment that the AV Club summarized as "(Alicia) is absolutely right to refuse Charles Bukowski from Jake—there’s got to be better reading around, even after the apocalypse."

TV Guide went even further by claiming that "loving Bukowski is often a red flag for having issues with women" - is it really such a stretch to believe that a fairly large segment of the general public strongly disapproves of Bukowski and his readers and are more than enthusiastic about voicing their disapproval? Bukowski himself often railed against the never-diminishing amounts of criticism leveled against him by his literary detractors.

That said, if you encountered more enlightened bookstore employees than I did, I am happy for you.

As for Red, he was the New York Dolls of booksellers. You either loved him or hated him, and both opinions were completely valid and justified.
I neither loved him nor hated him; being above the age of eight, I tend to reserve such extremes of emotion for those who truly deserve them, not for sometimes-cantankerous elderly shopkeepers.

Like all people, Red possessed both virtues and flaws. For whatever reason, he was always very kind to me, but I have absolutely no doubt that people who speak of unpleasant encounters with him are telling the truth.

This, of course, is due to the fact that I am well aware that other people have had completely different experiences to the ones that I have had in my own life - a concept you might consider familiarizing yourself with before dismissing my own experiences with bookstore employees as being "greatly exaggerated".
 
It's really amusing that you were that offended by mjp's rather mild response to your wind/douche-baggery. I'm praying to baby Jesus that you hang around and share more of your glorious and insightful stories of slumming around Hollywood and stumbling into various Bukowski-like situations. You my friend, have the makings of a star!
 
Looking for books equals a "Bukowski-like situation" to you? Which Bukowski books have you been reading? Did I get into a bar fight? Did I get thrown in the drunk tank? Did I visit a whorehouse? Did I bet on the horses? Did I sit at the "typer", pounding out noble truths? Did I bed multiple women? Did I claim to be a close friend of Red's? How, in any way, did my post paint me as stumbling into "various Bukowski-like situations"? Because part of my post took place off Hollywood Blvd??

If my reply was somehow inappropriate, then I sincerely apologize to all present. But let's be honest - mjp's post accused me of being at least a partial liar, and not many people would respond warmly to such a "greeting". I replied by pointing out that different people have different experiences, and that he should take that into account before rushing to judge someone. After all, half of the posts here say that Red was a jerk to them, so why does mjp think it so impossible that other bookstore clerks might have been a jerk to me?

But whatever. Bukowski, if given ten thousand lifetimes, would never waste even a moment of them arguing with some stranger on the internet. I thought that people might enjoy hearing yet another person's memories of Red. If not, fine. But I'm hardly going to sit around arguing on the internet, either.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Interesting story, Atomic Bomb. I experienced both situations in those days. Bookstore employees who considered Bukowski trash, and shops that stocked him in depth. But I'm not jumping into that fray. Rather, I want to weigh in on your comment "I may be misremembering this, but it seemed to [me] as though 75% of the books in Baroque were Bukowski titles." I think your enthusiasm for the Buk stock has distorted your memory of the shop as a whole. The times I went there, Red had about 25 Bukowski books in a case up near the front counter, by the windows. The other three walls of the narrow shop were lined with bookcases packed with other authors, mostly (or entirely) modern first editions. There was a long glass case in the center of the shop that was about waist high, and you could stare down at some very expensive items in there. The whole shop held maybe 2,000 to 3,000 books, so I would estimate Buk as being 1% of the stock. The Bukowski stuff included books and little magazines. The case where these were kept was on the left side of the door as you entered the shop. I think Red kept his Bukowski books there because they were targeted by shoplifters and he wanted to keep a close eye on them. This stock changed frequently. Most of the Bukowski items were signed. The prices were fair.
 
I experienced both situations in those days. Bookstore employees who considered Bukowski trash, and shops that stocked him in depth. But I'm not jumping into that fray.
Thanks for the confirmation, Rekrab. As to the fray, I swear that I had NO intention of causing such a reaction when I first posted!

But yes, there really WERE some people who really turned their noses up when it came to Bukowski. "Trash" is exactly the right word, they treated his books like they were trash. And if you were trying to buy that trash, they treated you accordingly.

Only once in my life did I ever experience something similar. I went into Golden Apple on Melrose once around '93 and asked if they had any Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics in stock. The guy gave me the same kind of "NO, we do not carry THOSE kinds of comics here" reaction as when I had asked around for Bukowski years earlier.

I want to weigh in on your comment "I may be misremembering this, but it seemed to [me] as though 75% of the books in Baroque were Bukowski titles." I think your enthusiasm for the Buk stock has distorted your memory of the shop as a whole.
I knew that my comment could not be correct, which is why I said that I was probably misremembering it, but only 1% percent?? Obviously my memory of the shop's interior has gone to pot. In all honesty, I can't remember the interior layout at all. Perhaps photos like this one, where at least 50% of the items are Bukowski (I do see a copy of Fante's Dreams from Bunker Hill, Ask the Dust, and Wait Until Spring, Bandini on the upper left) have distorted my memory. That, and it being 30 years ago when I first walked into Baroque.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Where I really saw disdain for Bukowski was at college. Most of the English professors as well as students had a very low opinion of his work. They dismissed him as a crude drunk who wrote bad poems about beer and whores. However, whenever he did a reading on campus, the room was always packed, so somebody there liked him besides me and my friends.

That photo does give the impression that Bukowski was featured at Baroque Bookshop, but there really weren't all that many Bukowski books on hand once you got inside. A friend of mine bought a lot of rare Buk books from Red, and he told me that the stock turned over quickly -- nothing by Bukowski stayed on the shelf long. My estimate of 25 Bukowski books was on the high side. Sometimes it might have been only 15 or 20. That's how I remember it.
 
He let me in the back once, and he had a lot of Bukowski back stock. He also kept a bunch of stuff at his house.
He sold a ton of Miller, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Faulkner, Hemingway, Selby etc. I bought a couple of Joseph Mitchell firsts from him too.
He also sold BSP authors like Lewis, Fante and Wanda Coleman. There was also a small press section with s.a. griffin type stuff. Red was definitely an antiquarian bookman who specialized in Bukowski. There were also a couple of "celebrity" signed framed pictures. Tom Waits was one for sure.
As for the assholes at Book Soup. Duttons and the rest, who gives a shit what they thought. Aldine's in east Hollywood also had some used Buk once in awhile.
 

mjp

Founding member
Crown Books in Burbank...
Imagine working at Crown Books and having an attitude about anything.

"Sure, I'll sell you these dusty old overstock cookbooks, the I HATE MONDAYS coffee mug, this Enya CD and the Sexy Firefighters of Pomona calendar, but not Bukowski! Never!"
 
There was also a small press section with s.a. griffin type stuff.
I've actually known S.A since the early '90s, if I had to put an exact date on it, I'd guess 1993. I was invited to (and attended) a poetry reading S.A. gave at Beyond Baroque (not to be confused with Baroque Books) around '94 or '95. That said, my best friend knows S.A. a lot better than I do.

The last time I saw S.A. was probably about a year and a half ago. I didn't know he had any connection with Bukowski until Bukowski was already dead. I thought it was pretty cool when I saw S.A. giving a speech on one of those Bukowski DVDs (the one with the features from the Huntington Library).
 
Imagine working at Crown Books and having an attitude about anything.

"Sure, I'll sell you these dusty old overstock cookbooks, the I HATE MONDAYS coffee mug, this Enya CD and the Sexy Firefighters of Pomona calendar, but not Bukowski! Never!"
I used to work at Crown Books, and can assure you that your assessment of the place is absolutely correct. Not only did we not sell any Bukowski, but we also didn't have any Baudelaire, Rimbaud, or anything of that nature. The closest we probably got was Rilke.

I'd hate it when someone would come in and ask for a GOOD book, as this meant I always had to apologize for not stocking it and turn them away. I started referring customers to places like Red's until my manager noticed and chastised me about "sending customers to our competitors" - after that, I'd have to make any suggestions on the sly.

I'd usually tell the customer "I'm not sure we have that, let's go look at the shelves" - once there, and out of earshot of my manager, I'd tell the customer what store they needed to go to.

But by FAR, our most popular items that we'd sell were these huge coffee table books that had some kind of celebrity tie-in. I can't remember any actual titles, but the books were of the "Martha Stewart's Holiday Recipes" or "Rachel Ray's Christmas Scrapbook" variety. Big, heavy, full color books that sold for something like 60 bucks apiece.

These rich women would come in and buy a stack of twenty of the same book to give one to each of their friends for Christmas. I swear, we could have sold ONLY these kind of books and the store's profits would have remained pretty much the same. We sold a metric SHIT-TON of those books.

That said, nobody at MY Crown ever gave snarky responses about Bukowski, due to the fact that my co-workers at Crown Books had never even heard of Bukowski.
 

mjp

Founding member
S.A. [...] I didn't know he had any connection with Bukowski...
He didn't.

He has created a posthumous connection by showing up to any public gathering with Bukowski's name on it and doing readings of Bukowski poems that some might consider unpleasantly clueless.

Okay, you caught me. It's me. I find them unpleasantly clueless.

I typed a lot more about the pack of vultures wonderful group of altruists who use tenuous or non-existent relationships with Bukowski for self-aggrandizement celebrate Bukowski at every opportunity, but my attorney made me delete it.
 

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