The campaign to save Bukowski's De Longpre bungalow (1 Viewer)

Charles Bukowski has been called the "Poet Laureate of Skid Row," "Bard of the Barroom and the Brothel," "A Dirty Old Man" and one of the finest writers of his generation. DVDs of "Barfly," the out-of-print film starring Mickey Rourke as his combative alter ego Hank Chinaski trade for big bucks on eBay, an Esotouric bus adventure tours his former haunts and his books are among the most stolen from libraries. And in Los Angeles, his influence continues to be felt deeply by fans and fellow writers.

Now a loose consortium of Bukowski lovers and historic preservationists have come together in order to save Bukowski's long-time home in Hollywood, the modest bungalow at 5124 De Longpre Ave. where in 1969 Buk made the daring decision to leave his day job at the Post Office and try to make it as a writer. It was a wise gamble, for soon the De Longpre porch was packed with young people who wanted to know this rough-edged, tender-hearted writer with the scarred cheeks and wry laugh. They brought him beer and kisses, and Bukowski perched at his typewriter in the kitchen and wrote stories about them, and his Hollywood neighbors, his girlfriends, his parents, his bad jobs and his big dreams.

The residents of the bungalows at 5124 De Longpre Ave. were recently evicted, and the property has been advertised as a $1.3 million vacant lot on Craigslist. But Bukowski lovers won't let this significant piece of literary history be demolished without a fight.

The city's Cultural Heritage Commission has agreed to put the preservation of Bukowski's home on the agenda for their September 20th meeting. They will hear a presentation on the property, and will decide whether to proceed with the landmarking process.

That's where you come in. If you care about Bukowski's legacy, and the legacy of all writers in Hollywood, please help spread the word about this hearing. Write a letter or send an email expressing your support for the landmarking process. Come to the hearing and show your support in person.

For more info on the property and the hearing, photographs of the building, and a sample letter to the Commission, please visit
http://5124delongpre.civicspaceondemand.org/blog

Or send your letter and/or email of support before September 20 to:
Attn. Mary Martin, 200 N. Spring St., Rm. 620, Los Angeles, CA 90012
(or [email protected])

In a poem dedicated to his publisher John Martin, Bukowski wrote: "and thank you/ for locating me there at/ 5124 De Longpre Avenue/ somewhere between/ alcoholism and/ madness./ together we/ laid down the gauntlet/ and there are takers/ even at this late date/ still to be/ found/ as the fire sings/ through the/ trees."

Charles Bukowski home preservation activist Lauren Everett and Bukowski bus tour host Richard Schave of Esotouric are available for interviews. Contact Lauren at [email protected], (310) 699-1142. Contact Richard at schavester @gmail.com, 323-223-2767.
 
The Cultural Heritage Commission's role

Please note that the Cultural Heritage Commission is our friend in that they are open to considering the landmarking of the Bukowski bungalows.

Apparently there have been several angry emails sent to Mr. Garcia at the CHC complaining about the building being threatened with destruction. The CHC is not the property owner and has nothing to do with boarding up the property or offering it for sale as a tear down.

Please continue to send your letters and emails in support of the landmarking of the Bukowski bungalows, but don't do anything to alienate our friends at the CHC. I appreciate your passion for this building, and I know they will also appreciate it... so let's make sure they know how important it is to you.

thanks,
Kim
 
I received the same basic letter from a Bukowski fansite on Myspace. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it. Perhaps if the tenants were still living in the bungalows? And what exactly would they do with the property if it were saved? Stock it with empty beer bottles and a replica of his typer? Maybe an effort could be made to remove the bungalow where Bukowski lived and have it transported somewhere else? It's a fairly big complex, isn't it?
 
The tenants were just recently evicted and the property is still in good shape. It is not a large complex, but a series of single bungalows, maybe 4 or 5, in a line toward the back of the property, with Bukowski's old place in front. Classic Hollywood 1920s housing.

Depending on what the Commission decides, I imagine it could continue to act as housing in its current form, or be transformed in some inventive way that preserves the Bukowski unit as a community room (maybe a library?) for a new development. I think that would be quite a selling point.
 

Father Luke

Founding member
Depending on what the Commission decides, I imagine it could continue to act as housing in its current form, or be transformed in some inventive way that preserves the Bukowski unit as a community room (maybe a library?) for a new development. I think that would be quite a selling point.

I'll put in my 2cents.

The commission would have to be sold on the Library type idea, or something similar - along the lines of Historical Landmark - before they'll even consider.

As a Historical Landmark it might have a chance. Otherwise it's pretty much doomed.

Good luck.
 
meh.
its hard shit with all these historical landmarks being brought up all over l.a. people are tired of them.

but in this case i hope it goes thru. recently Beast and I drove to his Coronado St. address and i didn't feel such a connection with it as i do this place.

sigh. im thinking of showing up at the hearing if i can.
 

mjp

Founding member
Los Angeles, as an entity or whatever, has no place for history. Anyone who visits, even briefly, can see that. We are quick to bulldoze the past to improve it.

DeLongpre is still a rickety area, so I suppose the attempt at landmark status could fly if all the planets lined up correctly. But as soon as they start leveling the area and building condos (which is inevitable), something else will take the place of the bungalows at 5124. That's just the way it's done here.

Personally, it was nice to go to DeLongpre a couple of times and walk around and imagine how it may have been. Only because little has changed in the area in the past 30 years. But to have the bungalows surrounded by condos and Starbucks - I dunno. It seems like it would be kind of an empty experience to visit that.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Moving it would allow the bungalow to be saved, but what would that accomplish? It would be a fist out of water. Still a fish out f water is better than no fish. As the land will be sold and the new owner will want the land for something else, it may make sense to try to move it, but then who has the kind of money and interest that it would take to move something like this and where to move it to?

Bill
 
The bungalow should stay where it is. That is the whole point, It's about the context. Also, that area of Hollywood is in no immediate danger of being developed. I have yet to see one construction project in the area (maybe on Sunset), and none of the buildings appear to be less than 30/40 years old. I don't see what is so outlandish about just telling the owner that the building has to stay and remain rental units. People seem to be forgetting that he evicted everyone in the 9 apartment units to cash in on a real estate "investment". It's not as if those people jsut got tired of living there and left. BTW, the first structure was built in 1922, and this man has owned the property only since the early 2000's.
 
my friend and i drove by there today =] too bad i couldn't take my time to look around.]
chick i was with isnt a Hank fan. meh.
 

mjp

Founding member
...that area of Hollywood is in no immediate danger of being developed.
No immediate danger? Maybe not, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Echo Park, Silverlake, Eagle Rock - all trendy, expensive places to live that were very low rent and run down as little as 20 years ago.

There's a new Ralph's downtown, for christ's sake. The move back to the center of the city is on. You can see evidence of it everywhere. I have friends who didn't just get tired of their downtown loft and choose to leave either, but they were evicted to make way for people who would pay four times the rent they did.

The DeLongpre bungalows surrounded by hipsters, coffee houses and clothing stores would be pointless, that's all I'm saying. The area is relatively unchanged now, but it's kind of naive to believe that it (or any corner of Los Angeles) will stay that way.
 
Sure, obviously nothing will stay the same for eternity, but that's not a valid arguement against preservation. I live in Silverlake, and even though there are a bunch of recent fancy shops (gelatto? expensive baby shoes??) the area is still 99% old development, and that's how the community would like it to remain. I haven't seen one construction project in the last two years, other that those two hideous condo complexes on a space that used to be a vacant lot anyway.
I don't think it would be too bizarre if the bungalows on De Longpre (and there are many similar complexes) were to exist harmoniously with a Starbuck's on Sunset. I don't think it's a situation where the entire block will be huge condo developments a la Hollywood and Vine, and 5124 De Longpre would be this little tiny thing in the middle. Also, don't forget about Historic Preservation Overlay Zones, although frankly I doubt that area would ever be eligible for that designation, as it's not very picture-esq.
 
Also, in regards to Silverlake and Echo Park, there are many many bungalow courtyard apartment complexes , and "hipsters" seem to snap them up readily(much to the chagrin of the original neighborhood residents, I'm sure). I really don't think that's much of an issue for East Hollywood. Sure, maybe it will be in 20 years, but why not deal with now.
 
My family owned several rental properties in and around hell's kitchen in NYC. When gentrification came, the "chagrin" of the neighborhood wasn't considered for even two minutes when it came time to sell to developers. The family certainly wouldn't have cared if Jesus had rented an apartment at 38th and 10th. That sucker was going!


But good luck though
Shane
 
All I was saying is that I'm sure the immigrent (sp?) families who have been living in my building for years and pay $500 are less than pleased that the landlady is now able to rent the units out for $950, which means that their family/friends can't move in as they had been doing in the past...
 
Saving Bukowski's Bungalow in Time Magazine!

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1662188,00.html

Friday, Sep. 14, 2007
Saving Bukowski's Bungalow
By MATT KETTMANN/LOS ANGELES

The vacant property isn't much to look at now, and it certainly wasn't any prettier back in the late 1960s, when a 1952 Comet was parked on the front lawn, tins of bacon grease filled up the kitchen, cigar smoke stunk up the air, and newspapers littered the floors. But the little bungalow at 5124 De Longpre Avenue in East Hollywood was the epicenter of a cultural earthquake that continues to rock Los Angeles's literary landscape. It is the house where Charles Bukowski went from blue-collar postman to full-time writer, eventually becoming world famous for his bawdy tales of lust, liquor, and love.

While Bukowski, who died in 1994, is now a literary immortal, his bungalow's days may be numbered. The current owner recently evicted the tenants, erected a chain-link fence, and put the property on the market, advertising on Craigslist, "You can easily tear down the old building and do new construction!"

But like the hard-headed Hank Chinaski, the author's autobiographical alter ego, Bukowski fans aren't letting the home he rented from 1963 to 1972 go down without a rumble. They're pushing for preservation, and the city is listening. On September 20, a historical commission will take the first step in determining whether the property should be made a landmark and saved from demolition. The preservation charge is spearheaded by a young woman who might have caught Bukowski's wandering eye back in his days at De Longpre, the setting for his racy novel Women. Aspiring photographer and temp worker Lauren Everett, 26, has been a Bukowski fan since her childhood, but she probably understands him now more than ever, explaining, "I'm an office temp, so I definitely identify with his idea of 'stick-with-it-you-don't-have-to-kill- yourself-even-though-your-job-is-horrible.'" Everett claimed that the house is the most significant of all Bukowski residences: he lived there the longest and had his only child there. "Everything else has been torn down," says Everett. "It would be someplace that people could go to experience his environment. I think that's important."

She's enlisted the help of Richard Schave, who leads literary tours around Los Angeles, including one Bukowski-themed excursion called "Haunts of a Dirty Old Man." Schave explained that the De Longpre neighborhood remains the same blue-collar, immigrant community of Russians, Armenians, and Slavs that it was in the 1960s and '70s. And around the corner is still the Pink Elephant, Bukowski's favorite liquor store. "It was at De Longpre where his explosion of work began," said Schave. "This place was the rocket booster that propelled him through the rest of his life."

Bukowski's longtime publisher and friend John Martin agrees. "That's where I met him," says Martin, who founded Black Sparrow Press in 1969 after discovering the writer's poetry in underground mimeographs. He then published Bukowski until the author died from leukemia in 1994. "You just knew this was someplace special," remembers Martin, now 77 and living in Santa Rosa, California. "He had a whole closet full of unpublished poems. Literally, they were stacked up on the floor leaning against the wall two or three feet high. So I went through and picked out ones I thought were especially good, and I began, one way or another, to publish Bukowski."

Aside from being the setting for numerous poems and novels, the bungalow was also where Bukowski decided to quit the post office. "It was killing him," said Martin, who asked Bukowski how much he needed to survive every month. Martin handed Bukowski his favorite pen, and then Bukowski tallied his needs: cigarettes, rent, child support, booze, food. Adding up to a mere $100 per month, Martin promised that much in perpetuity. They shook hands on it, but the pen disappeared into the Bukowski's mess, never to be found again.

When Bukowski did quit the post office in January 1970, Martin suggested he write a novel. Twenty-one days later, Bukowski finished his first novel, telling a shocked Martin, "Fear allows you to do anything." Martin went down to De Longpre and picked up what became Post Office. "To this day, it remains his most popular book," says Martin.

If the commission moves the case forward, the preservationists will try to enlist the help of celebrity fans such as Johnny Depp, who is working on an animated film about the author. "So many people for so long have gone to the mat for Bukowski," says Schave. "If we do get a yes, then it will make it so much easier to do all the hard work that will still be in front of us."

That "yes" would come from Los Angeles's Cultural Heritage Commission, which dedicates anywhere from 30 to 50 monuments a year, according to staffer Ken Bernstein. "The vast majority are saved for architectural significance," says Bernstein, "but the cultural heritage ordinance does allow for and encourage designation of sites that are important to the social and cultural history of the city. The question for the commission will be whether the bungalow retains the physical qualities that enable it to tell the story of its culture and history." If so, demolition will be blocked to allow for further review until the L.A. City Council gives the final nod.

So what happens to the owner then? There are tax breaks for historic properties, but Schave admits, "It could potentially cramp his style." The owner, meanwhile, is not talking. When contacted, he got flustered and said, in an Eastern European accent, "I am sorry. I'm not at liberty to discuss anything about De Longpre." Former publisher Martin, who called Bukowski "the most widely recognized and important author ever born and raised in Los Angeles," hopes the property can be saved. He explains, "I don't know if they're going to be able to save this property, but I think it's as interesting and important as anything of its kind in the city."

What would Bukowski think about this hullabaloo? No one can say for sure, but it's definitely a lot of effort for a man whose gravestone reads simply, "Don't Try."
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Black sparrow Press started in 1966, not 1969, but this is a nice article.

Is this in Time Magazine proint edition, or just online?

Bill
 
HEARING - 10am September 20th, PUBLIC WELCOME

Updated information:

The Cultural Heritage Commission has agreed to put 5124 De Longpre Ave. on the agenda for their September 20th meeting. They will hear a presentation on the property, and will decide whether to proceed with the landmarking process.

Members of the public may attend the hearing, and following the formal presentation that Lauren Everett will be making, can speak up in favor of the preservation of this building. If you wish to speak, please contact Lauren so that all interested parties can meet on the morning of the hearing and plan the best possible presentation to our friends at the CHC. Reminder: this Commission has nothing to do with boarding up De Longpre, can help us enormously, and should be treated with respect and appreciation.

Hearing information: Thursday Sept. 20, Room 1010 of Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., 90012. Meeting starts at 10:00 am.

Contact link:
https://5124delongpre.civicspaceondemand.org/contact
 
I think we all agree that saving the building would be good. The question is, is it practical possible or naive. I say I don't care and have sent a letter of support.
I recall some movie quote where the phrase was "the only cause worth fighting for are the lost ones".
Whats another well intended error in judgment addd to my list?
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
If someone like Johnny Depp with his hundreds of millions got behind it, it would be easy. He could just buy it outright. Short of that, it will take some politicing and convincing them that this is important to the heritage of the city.

BIll
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
Talk about Limited Editions! Bukowski's various addresses would make a great addition to anyone's collection.

Perhaps if they put it on ebay, Nick L will show up :p
 
Updated email address for emails of support

Edgar Garcia is out of the office for the rest of the week, but I am informed that the CHC is well aware of the large number of emails he has been getting in support of saving Bukowski's bungalow. So thanks to everyone who emailed or sent a letter. It really makes a difference for the city to hear how many people all over the world care about this issue.

The hearing is Thursday morning, and there's still time to send an email-- the end of business Wednesday (5pm Pacific time) is probably the last time you can assure it will be seen before the hearing. If you do send one, please address it to [email protected] (that's Ms. Alexander to you).
 

esart

esart.com
Founding member
yeaaah, 10:am on thursday morning? that's a tough one. will johnny depp be there? maybe i'll wake up in time just to get a gander...
 

mjp

Founding member
Charles Bukowski home preservation activist Lauren Everett and Bukowski bus tour host Richard Schave of Esotouric are available for interviews.
From the TIME piece, "Aspiring photographer and temp worker Lauren Everett, 26, has been a Bukowski fan since her childhood..."

Huh? 26 is childhood.

This is all well and good, but it's starting to stink of self-promotion to me. Or cross-promotion or whatever the hell you want to call it.

Let's save Bukowski's bungalow so we have someplace to point at on our $75 bus tour!
 

cirerita

Founding member
This is all well and good, but it's starting to stink of self-promotion to me. Or cross-promotion or whatever the hell you want to call it.

Let's save Bukowski's bungalow so we have someplace to point at on our $75 bus tour!


yeah, bring that wrecking ball now...
 

mjp

Founding member
I'm hardly calling for the wrecking ball, I just want to know who we're dealing with here.

Hindinwood is definitely Lauren Everett, which is sort of funny, now that I realize that I've been scolded and lectured to by a 26 year old "aspiring photographer" and sensitive "hipster."

Is esotouric Richard Schave? I don't remember if he ever said who he was. Whoever it is, why does the huckster for "Charles Bukowski's Los Angeles" always post from Orange County?

Go ahead, save DeLongpre. I wish you luck. Make yourselves famous!

Welcome to DeLongpre. Don't forget to stop by the gift shop and pick up a bagful of Bukowski hoodies, shot glasses and skateboard decks! Sign up for the bus tour!




In the immortal words of Henry Chinaski in Barfly, "He symbolizes everything that disgusts me."
 

cirerita

Founding member
Then I guess I must be the only one calling for the wrecking ball. All forms of -big- financial speculation are disgusting and sickening.
 
Frankly, I would have rather my name not appear anywhere, because it does make me slightly uncomfortable. Especially since the owner is going to hold ME responsible, and I'd really rather not deal with that. But the report cannot be submitted anonymously, and someone has to answer questions, because the whole point is to get people interested and involved, and obviously the media is a powerful tool for that.
The dude asked me what I did, and I told him I'm an office temp (really glamorous!) and a free-lance photographer, which he changed to "aspiring".
The reason I'm doing this is because I'm tired of hearing people (myself included) bitch about what a shame this and that is, and then just say "oh well". I've had enough of that resignment, and I wanted to see if I could actually make something posative happen.
So you can look at it anyway you want. All I know is I've been working from 8 to 5 and coming straight home to spend all my spare time researching and working on this presentation for the last two weeks. Make of it what you will...
-Lauren
Ps. I can't spell either.
 
I saw a "doofus hipster" on Seinfeld once (Kramer)...but otherwise??? :)

BD

For what it's worth I've been a City Planner for 20 years...you think the post office is a tough gig? Try checking building setbacks and lot coverage for 20 years ;)

Keep doing what you're doing Hindinwood (or whoever you are) ...there is no try, there is only do or not do, as the saying goes. You get open, honest opinions in this forum...but in the end they're just opinions...you're the only one "doing" in this case.

Maybe MJP's right, maybe your motives are not pure, maybe you're an evil-doer, I don't know, I can't tell from what I've read or your posts...you sound "sensitive" - but I'm not sure an office temp/photographer/hipster can be sensitive - maybe the wrecking ball is the only answer, maybe the wrecking ball is the only way to keep the $75 bus tours away...that's what they had to do to O.J.'s place isn't it?

Well, I don't know if I'd take a bus tour, but I would like to drive by and have a look at the place...so I'm voting YES...good luck on the presentation

BD
 

mjp

Founding member
I would prefer that the DeLongpre bungalows are not torn down (if only because Los Angeles is too god damn transitory and lacking any substantial history). But then what?

If it is preserved so people can line their pockets by pointing it out from a bus, then tear the fucker down immediately and put up a stucco condo building in its place. Though the bus would probably still go by and point to the condo to show people where something used to be.

Most of esotouric's posts here have the ultimate goal of putting money in his pocket. So I'm saying "fuck you" to that. And I'm saying fuck you to anyone who is working with - or otherwise in bed with - esotouric, while trying to act like just another random person commenting on what's going on.

The probable connection between the tour guide and aspiring photographer is what makes me question Ms. Everett's motives. If that's unnecessarily suspicious, so be it. I am a suspicious type, and like everyone else, I have my opinions and biases.

If there is no connection between Lauren Everett and Richard Schave, then say so, and I will apologize for jumping to such an absurd conclusion and shut up.

Otherwise, follow the money and tell me who you find there.

All forms of -big- financial speculation are disgusting and sickening.
The speculation has already taken place. The owner bought the property about 5 years ago, according to Ms. Everett, and has now kicked out the tenants and put the property on the market (as a teardown) for 1.3 million. I would bet that is significantly more than he paid for it.
 
Richard Schave, who leads the Esotouric bus adventure Haunts of a Dirty Old Man is helping to support the preservation of the Bukowski bungalow through website advice and extensive lobbying. He is similarly involved in the matter of the endangered apartment building where John Fante wrote "Ask the Dust." Lauren Everett is leading the De Longpre campaign. She does not have a relationship with Esotouric's bus tours. Kim Cooper, Hollywood native/author, architectural historian and saver of the 76 ball, posts here as Esotouric, from beautiful downtown Lincoln Heights.

No one is getting rich from any of this, but so what? That's not why Richard and I do things. We're glad we are able to draw attention to a great Los Angeles writer and a neighborhood that's still in transition and might not change for the worse if we can help it. I wish everyone in LA who hasn't been to the DeLongpre bungalow yet would go and see the neighborhood, the perfect 1920s bungalow court across the street, the Ukranian Village apartment complex by the church, the old folks and the kids and the dogs and the parrots. It looks a lot like the Hollywood I grew up in, and Buk's place reminds me of the Los Feliz bungalow where as a kid I used to visit my mentor Mike Londgo (RIP) and drink beer and borrow books and realize I was right in thinking there was more to life than my parents ways. I hope the preservation hearing is successful, but if it's not, at least this important place won't go down without a fight and without notice.

And heck, we're not even making a fuss about the fact that before Bukowski lived there, it belonged to the celebrated millionaire newsboy of the middle west! One thing you learn when you dig into urban history: every address has a story, usually a good one.
 
I would like to add to that, that this is much more for Los Angeles history than as some kind of tribute to Bukowski (as though he is looking down on us from heaven and nodding his head in approval ahahahah). His writing is an important part of Los Angeles history, as is this apartment complex, and since this is my hometown and I love it I am trying to do everything I can. After this is done (if it ever is), and will continue to go to the mat for places that I care about, because throughout my entire life (only 26 years, I know) I have seen enough beloved buildings disappear, and I'm just tired of it.
As far as being an "aspring" photographer, that's a strange way to put it. I have been taking photos for the last 14 years, and have never "aspired" to much more than making a good image, which I think I have acheived on a number of occasions. I'm not someone trying to break into show business or whatever. I grew up in that environment and I want nothing to do with it.
That's all. Back to work. Four more hours.
 

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