signature on 8x10

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Going through lots of old stuff lately and came across this photo. It was given to me by Red Stodolsky in 88 or 89.
For some reason the sig looks less Buk like than others I have. Didn't buy it and am not looking to sell. Just wanted an opinion or three. I assume came from a stack CB signed for Baroque. Thanks for any insight.

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bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I agree. It looks right and if you got it from Red, it is real. Red may not have been much of a people person, but he had the goods...
Bill
 
...there were quite a number signed....

That's what they all say when they're just about to give you the low-ball reach-around :fool: There's millions of those, here, I'll give you five bucks and an unopened pack of '88 donruss baseball cards. What? There could be a Tim Belcher rookie in there.

Disclaimer: this post is for fun purposes only and is not meant to attempt any legitimate valuation of either (a) Bukowski collectibles, (b) 88 Donruss baseball cards, (c) the low-ball reach-around (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-ball) (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/reach-around) or (d) Tim Belcher.
 
I agree. It looks right and if you got it from Red, it is real. Red may not have been much of a people person, but he had the goods...

Red was, in fact, a people person - it's just that the circle was small. And let me add: He might have been a bit more expensive than the rest of the trade, but I could make my purchase with complete confidence, because 1) He knew his books; and 2) He didn't deal with questionable characters (an attribute to which others who knew him will readily attest).
 
Agreed Gary. I went to Barogue at least once a week for about 10 years and was always treated like a mensch. I only made one expensive buy from him in all that time (War All The Time w/painting a year or so before died) and never felt pressured to make a purchase, which was kind of him because for most of my early years in town I couldn't afford to. He also gave me some amazing items and was incredibly generous with his time. True he could be pretty off-putting to people he felt were (rightly or wrongly) full of shit and I watched him on many ocassions not let people in. But as you well know Hollywood Blvd. back then was no tourists paradise and there was much crime in the area. So an old man with an antiquarian bookstore had to be very cautious. When Red died that area lost most of its character. Remember the barbershop a couple storefronts up? Bobby was funny as hell. A different place and time.
 
You're correct Roni. That painting is my avatar. Will attempt to scan it and post. My computer skills are pathetic but I'll see if the wife will help.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Red was, in fact, a people person - it's just that the circle was small. And let me add: He might have been a bit more expensive than the rest of the trade, but I could make my purchase with complete confidence, because 1) He knew his books; and 2) He didn't deal with questionable characters (an attribute to which others who knew him will readily attest).
You may have been tight with him and I have a close friend who was VERY tight with him, but because he had a few people that he was great with does not make one a people person. Fact is that he was overly rude to many people based on where his head was at the time. Peter at Serendipity was the same. Don't ask the right question and you get yelled at and ejected. Peter was polite to me, but I got lucky that day. Jordan witnesses me in a cold sweat as I tried to sell him my books not being able to tell me if was going to buy them, pass or strangle me with his knit hat...

I have some friends who are REALLY difficult with a lot of people, but would take a bullet for me. That does not make them a "people person."
 
A bit off topic Bill but my worst experience ever at a bookstore in LA was at Book Soup attempting to get a job. I left that interview not only without a job but with the feeling that perhaps I didn't have right qualities to even shop there. They were total snobs and I left fairly humiliated. Red was far from perfect and he certainly had his flaws, but he was no corporate or chain store hack who thought he shit Roth or John Irving because they worked at a "hip" bookstore. Fuck em.
Adam
Btw this interview was over 20 years ago so I should probably let it go.
 

mjp

Founding member
He didn't deal with questionable characters...
So he acquired (and sold) Pam Miller's stolen letters and books from an unquestionable character?

If he "knew his books" then he had to know who the letters belonged to, and that he wasn't buying them from the owner.
 
He also gave me some amazing items and was incredibly generous with his time. Remember the barbershop a couple storefronts up? Bobby was funny as hell. A different place and time.
Same thing with me. Red gave me a fountain pen that Buk gave him; he gave me one of those "pearlescent" matchbooks from their wedding; and he gave me several of those Black Sparrow New Year's things that were printed for friends of the press. Stuff like that. Sometimes he gave me stuff even when I didn't buy anything. And yes, I DO remember that barbershop. One of the barbers there, a fellow named "Eddie," was also hilarious. I don't remember Bobby. Eddie walked with a limp. My buddies and I would sometimes share a few hilarious stories with Eddie while sipping on Zombies at Don the Beachcomber up the street on the other side of the Boulevard. Ah, those were the dayz.....

You may have been tight with him and I have a close friend who was VERY tight with him, but because he had a few people that he was great with does not make one a people person.
You do make a good point here. I suppose it's all about timing and, perhaps, personality? Does anyone in LA remember that enigmatic character who ran "Aldine Books" on the east side of Hollywood Boulevard? He was one really eccentric fellow; it took me MONTHS to get to the point where he trusted me enough to invite me into his little cubby-hole of a perch upstairs, where the real treasures were. Same thing with my late friend Ken Hyre, the former owner of West LA Books. I developed friendships with them, and many other cantankerous sorts (Charlie Saltzman at Canterbury Books suddenly comes to mind), because I knew the importance of doing so, in order to have access to the best stuff. And it turned out that most of them proved to be kind fellows with an armadillo-like exterior. That was my experience and perception, at any rate.

So he acquired (and sold) Pam Miller's stolen letters and books from an unquestionable character?

If he "knew his books" then he had to know who the letters belonged to, and that he wasn't buying them from the owner.

I am not familiar with that history or scenario. Was there ipso facto proof that Red purchased from a questionable source; that the purchase turned out to be stolen; and that he then sold those letters?

my worst experience ever at a bookstore in LA was at Book Soup attempting to get a job.
I remember Book Soup. I was really never that impressed with the place. I would occasionally stop in to see what they were doing, but since wasn't antiquarian/used stuff, I never spent much time there. Bottom line, Adam, is that you realize that Red wasn't a narcissistic twit, trustafarian, bullshitter, poseur, or any of those other unsavory things. What you saw was exactly what you got. And I don't blame you for harboring some residual resentment over that experience at Book Soup. Tell you what...people REMEMBER Red Stodolsky - he has been immortalized in the work of Bukowski. Those twits at Book Soup have no such distinction, at least none that I'm aware of.
 

mjp

Founding member
Was there ipso facto proof...
Well, your honor, the owner of the letters maintains that they were stolen. And if I may approach the bench, everyone who was a potential buyer of the letters at the time knows "Red" was selling them, or brokering a sale.

Either way, he was the contact if you were interested in buying them. You can connect the dots yourself, but I see you are predisposed to the idea of lionizing the dearly departed, so there's probably not much point in discussing it either way.

But an objective reading of the situation would seem to suggest that your claim that Saint Stodolsky never sullied his hands with the temple thieves would seem to be, at the very least, questionable.

On a related note, if Mr. Stodolsky was so pure of heart, why was he constantly asking Bukowski for signatures? Bukowski even wrote that he avoided him later in his life because all the guy wanted him to do was sign books (and anything else that would take a pen mark) so he could sell them for a premium.

Let's not elevate Stodolsky to something he wasn't.
 
Neither should we discount others anecdotal histories because they don't mesh with our own. There are no hagiographies being written here to Reds memory. He was at the least cranky and at the worst a fence depending on your view. I dug the man but started the thread because I doubted the authenticity of an item he gave me. Maybe that makes me an ungrateful and doubting prick. If he indeed knowingly sold Pamela Millers stolen goods then that is clearly a shameful and illegal act. I hope as someone who greatly enjoyed my relationship to him that it is untrue. I have no firsthand knowledge of any kind in regards to the event so I can't say. I do know that through Red I got to meet with CB and hang out for an hour which was an amazing time. That was in 1992 after they had had lunch at Mussos. So perhaps he did sometimes find Red annoying but based on what I witnessed definitely not on that day. They're both gone now the great poet and his cranky and possibly felonious pal.
 

mjp

Founding member
I don't care about Stodolsky or his memory, and I have no interest in changing anyone's mind about who he was or how he may have behaved.

But if people are going to sing the praises someone who was an awful prick toward most of the people he met (according to the overwhelming majority of "anecdotal histories" I've seen here as well as those I've heard face to face), and make blanket statements such as "he didn't deal with questionable characters," when evidence suggests that may not exactly be true, then there shouldn't be a problem pointing out those contradictions. It's just balance, right?

That is what we do here where Bukowski is concerned, and it's no different for anyone else who comes under discussion.

If that offends your sensibilities, you're in the wrong place.
 
Let's not elevate Stodolsky to something he wasn't.
1) I don't have any particular ax to grand vis-a-vis dead versus living; 2) I'm no judge (not even close to being an attorney, so we can dispense with the "your honor" gambit; 3) Red WAS, after all, in BUSINESS to make money - and he was damned good at it - but - he was scrupulous and fair, at least that was MY experience; 4) Red DID cajole Buk in to signing virtually everything he could get his hands on, and Buk did so GLADLY, because he LIKED Red.

As to #4: WHY did he like RED? I'll tell you why: Because Red was GENUINE. And Buk could smell a phony from a mile away. I agree, BTW, that Red was no saint. And HE would have no doubt agreed with that statement, albeit appending a sharp "fuck you" to that agreement. Red made NO SECRET about the fact that he wasn't sitting there on Las Palmas Avenue to run a 501(c). He was there to buy LOW and sell as HIGH as he could - but he was fair. And that's why he managed to stay in the game for so long.

I hope that the above clarifies things. There is NO Saint Stod0lsky, and there never was. But Red knew the score; Buk KNEW that Red knew the score; end of story.

If that offends your sensibilities, you're in the wrong place.
I am not offended, and I can promise you that Red would not be offended. In all likelihood, he wouldn't give a goddamn. I will respectfully question, however, your assertion that Red was an "awful prick toward most of the people he met." I simply don't think there is any objective means of confirming OR refuting that assertion.
 
That's painting with a pretty broad brush. Between the author and reader there was always a "middle". So blogs are the only fair exchange?
 

mjp

Founding member
I know, right?
Between the author and reader there was always a "middle".
So a rare book dealer is the same as a publisher. Got it. I guess I was wrong, then.

Okay, now that's over and you can all go polish Stodolsky's halo.

It is decreed that none shall ever speak ill of Saint Stodolsky in these pages henceforth and forsooth, ipso facto, staus quo and deus ex machina!

Selah.
 
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