Visiting L.A. Buk and non-Buk suggestions? (1 Viewer)

Hi all

I'm going to L.A. for a Bukowski research trip quite soon (I know there's a few others who've done similar ones around). Will be landing at LAX on December 29 and staying around until the end of January (spending the final week up in Santa Barbara).

I'm also thinking quite a few of you may be from the city yourselves.

So, what are some insider suggestions for places to go, bars to have a drink at, small press events or readings to check out? These can be either Buk-fan oriented or not. I want to make the most of my trip, soak up L.A. . . . but have no particular desire to visit a film set.

Also, the eternal question . . . car or no car? I'm staying near each of the archives I'm working at (USC LA and The Huntington) but will lack of a car make it impossible for me to have any fun?

Appreciate any help.
People visit here all the time without renting a car. Ask roni or cirerita. I wouldn't do it, and I wouldn't advise anyone else to do it, but what do I know. If you're relying on buses, trains and walking you will certainly "soak up L.A." Whether it will be the L.A. you want to be soaking in is another question.

Without a car you'll waste a lot of your time, and you won't be able to go to half the place you want to go. Getting to Bukowski's grave, for example (I assume you'll want to do that), will take 30 minutes in a car or three hours on buses and trains - and you'll have to walk the last mile or two - again, ask Roni.

People don't walk in Los Angeles because walking in Los Angeles sucks. Everything is ten or 15 miles from the other thing.
My last eight years in LA I lived very near Alvarado and 3rd, which is pretty fertile Buk territory. He drank and
lived around there and on Temple during his twenties and early thirties. It's also not far from Angels Flight, Bunker
Hill and the library on 5th st. Also close to Grand Central Market on Broadway. Really, his books provide the
template for any Buk tour, though apparently there's a bus tour now. Also have a drink at Mussos. And I too vote
a big yes for car.
right skiroom, spill the beans... you were either a harlem globetrotter or you were on the run from the feds ( both are good, so which was it, hmmm?) and are now under deep cover in NY- please say that it is so.
Though I am actually short, white and live an insanely mundane (albeit happy) life, I am deadly from the
outside and not opposed to throwing a random elbow. Another good woman disappointed.
If you're relying on buses, trains and walking you will certainly "soak up L.A." Whether it will be the L.A. you want to be soaking in is another question.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost...
you were either a harlem globetrotter or you were on the run from the feds

No, in fact, our friend was once considered the "the poet laureate of television" in Hollywood at the same time Buk was the the poet laureate of Skid Row. I know that this goes against the rules, but I am linking to some of his best poetry.

To the children of the 70s, rock on... And a big shout out to Chico and The Man....
Hey, thanks guys. It does seem like pop culture has not lied and L.A. really is the city with a passion for cars.

I've been lucky and managed to find accommodation within actual walking distance of the libraries I'm visiting (like, 1 mile instead of 10-15) but in terms of being able to see and experience more of the city, it seems like renting a car for at least part of my stay might be a good idea. That said, I'm not averse to a bit of lost wandering.

Don't worry Skiroomalum, I've got the books and, also, a certain helpful map of Buk's previous residences and work places to aid in a shameless fan-boy tour. It will definitely happen. Skygazer - why can't he be a Harlem Globetrotter who IS ALSO on the run from the feds?

What about non-Buk specific advice or tips? I'm thinking mostly of places for drinking, music, poetry, "culture" if you will. Gonna be landing just before New Year's eve so I'm wondering about the best place to see in 2014. Possibly through blurry eyes: I won't be starting my research until the 2nd at least. Pop culture suggests I might get killed spending NY in LA, Buk would suggest I'd have a terrible time and should stay in my hotel room . . . maybe there is a third option?
[...] it seems like renting a car for at least part of my stay might be a good idea. [...]
it is.
Still it was not too unpleasant an experience, when I first visited LA just using public transport. The bus-system is easy to 'get' and they even have a monitor in each bus showing you on a map via GPS where you are right now. So, if you have the least bit of an idea, where you want to go, you'll never really get lost.

Long distances can be a big bitch on the bus though.
But on a day, when you just want to explore, say the line between Musso's (in the West) and Downtown (East), where you'll also pass East-Hollywood (DeLongpre, Carlton Way, North Mariposa), you can definitely enjoy riding the bus.
I'm going to L.A. for a Bukowski research trip quite soon [...] what are some insider suggestions for places to go, bars to have a drink at, small press events or readings to check out?
LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a huge " don't miss "

Don't miss the greatest spa EVER - (IMO) --Wi Soa on Wilshire
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You need to have a drink at The Frolic Room. And if you want to get out of the city or sweat the alcohol off, I recommend a run/stroll up Mount Lee (Hollywood sign).
Thanks Roni . . . hopefully I won't *need* to get anywhere really fast and I'm generally a fan of public transport, don't mind looking out of bus or train windows at all . . . so good to know getting lost won't be too easy.

celeste, I haven't been to a spa before, but maybe the L.A. stress will see me needing one . . .

and Papillon . . . excellent advice.
The Frolic Room.
This one too is just in the neighborhood around mid- to-East-Hollywood (as far as I remember).

The whole axis from West to East along Hollywood //Sunset is easy travel by bus:


if you extend the above to the West, you'll find Musso's and if you use the named bus heading East, you'll hit Downtown within 20 min. The whole area in question looks like this:


the red square at the top marks the Hollywood//Sunset stretch.
the square-part in the southeast corner is downtown.
You're welcome.
And there's this.

It's worth noting that a lot has changed since Bukowski lived in Hollywood (Hollywood has changed quite dramatically in the past 20 years), so going to someplace like Carlton Way is going to disappoint. Unless you like looking at condos or whatever the hell is there now. But a surprising number of other "Bukowski buildings" are still there.

Go a few blocks west on Sunset from the area that roni has mapped out, and at the corner of Sunset and Cahuenga you'll find Amoeba, easily the largest record store I've ever seen. And I'm really old, so I've seen a lot of record stores. Go in with a list. It's way too big to browse.
Really can't thank you guys enough, much much appreciated. Excellent cartography skills there Roni.

And giant record stores are one of my oldest (harder now to indulge in) vices. Maybe a list AND some browsing time, though that could easily stretch out to several hours . . .
I remember when Amoeba opened. The one in the Haight is big, but the Hollywood version is fucking huge. Also every movie known can be purchased there. And I remember bootlegs being sold pretty openly amongst the used stuff. There was also Rockaway Records in Silver lake, which has probably gone away. Oh yeah, Paul Westerberg did an in- house show at Amoeba on Sunset not too soon after they opened, I think. Maybe.
You see why we all love Roni. His Germanic thoroughness and exactitude are such that I just copied that marvelous map!
You should see Venice Beach also. Buk spent time there on the beach, also visiting Harold Norse and with his daughter. Just don't get run over by any wild motorist...Jim Morrison also spent time there and there is as I recall a mural of him on one of the apartments where he supposedly lived...
Venice is the first place I landed in Los Angeles (30 years ago). $400 (split three ways) for an apartment 100 feet from the boardwalk. V13 everywhere. Half-burned pagodas full of cast-offs from every other part of the city (and country). Dry canals full of garbage. The crumbling Venice pier (now gone) fenced off but still easily accessible. The equally rotting Santa Monica pier about half the size it is now and empty, except for the boarded up carousel building. Thoroughly dead body in the dumpster behind my building one sunny morning. Another on the sidewalk a few weeks later (V13 again? I ain't talking!). Ancient junk shops and crack houses on West Washington Boulevard. It was something, all right. Yeah.

Rube that I was, I couldn't understand how a beach town could be left to turn into a ghetto. But they came in and gradually bulldozed the ghetto and built a nice millionaire's playground and family destination (West Washington is now Abbot Kinney Boulevard, "America's Coolest Street," selling $500 brunches and $2000 shoes). I don't know if I'd recommend going there now any more than I would have in the early 80s. For different reasons, but the end result is the same.
Yikes, sounds like it did indeed change. I was born in LA in 1953 and lived on McLaughlin in Mar Vista near Washington from mid-Fifties until 1965. I walked to school at Grandview Elementary and spent a good deal of my youth at Venice Beach. Pacific Ocean Park was still around. Still pretty lovely back in the good old days....
Ah, Grandview Elementary. I witnessed many thrilling little league games there.

Yes, from what I've read, the Venice Beach of the early 80s bore little resemblance to the Venice Beach of the 1960s (and earlier). Venice has a great history, and was built by the kind of over-the-top character that flourished in turn of the (last) century California, Abbott Kinney. Really a unique place. Even though it has gone from The Coney Island of the Pacific to Beverly Hills West now.

Jeffrey Stanton's Coney Island of the Pacific is the best book on the history of Venice. He used to ride up and down the boardwalk on a bike decked out with all kinds of signs selling copies of the book and maps and postcards. I see he's got a revised "centennial edition" out now. I'll have to get one.

My two cents, a little late. I've lived in LA for all of my 62 years. You MUST have a car, unless you want to spend most of your time here in-transit. And, if it's still around, check out the "Smog Cutter," a dive bar on Virgil Avenue in East Hollywood/Silverlake area. It might not be there any more, but if it is, that would be a place go go. Also in downtown LA, "Cole's." John Fante probably went there, and, I suspect, Buk as well. I haven't read all of the posts on this thread, so pardon any duplication herein. You certainly should go to Musso and Frank's in Hollywood. I would go to Felipe's near Union Station downtown. I believe that Buk worked at Terminal Annex, nearby. I have never read that he went to Felipe's, but there is a sense of "place" there that I think would be worth experiencing. Of course, there's the track - Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. You certainly won't run out of things to do here. But do try to manage a car. Our public transportation here SUCKS. A while back, I had to use public transport to retrieve my car - only 20 miles from where I live. It took half a day by bus. Cheers, GE
It's Philippe's, and yes, our Aussie traveler should definitely go, and yes, Bukowski ate there and wrote about it (and misspelled it too) in Phillipe's 1950 (Likely Martinized, unfortunately).

Philippe's is only a block from the Chinatown stop on the Gold line, if you are taking the train. You mentioned Cole's as well, both places claim to have invented the French Dip. My money is on Philippe's.

Smog Cutter is still there, though it will likely be full of hipster twats slumming at an "authentic dive bar." It's also only two blocks from Los Angeles City College, which Bukowski attended for a year to study journalism. I don't know that either place is worth seeing, but there you go.
Without a car you'll waste a lot of your time, and you won't be able to go to half the place you want to go. Getting to Bukowski's grave, for example (I assume you'll want to do that), will take 30 minutes in a car

Good old memories. Back in 1998, when there was no google maps and such information were hard to find, I visited Baroque Book Store and asked Red Stodolsky for directions to Bukowski’s grave. He draw me some kind of map which worked out very well. When I arrived at Green Hills Memorial Park, I had no clue how to find the grave, so I asked an employee and after an extensive sales talk (I still own the brochures), I received the needed direction.

So in addition to the maps posted above:

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after an extensive sales talk...
I think everyone who asked where Bukowski was buried got the sales pitch.

We were there a few weeks after Bukowski was planted, and when the pitch started I thought I might be able to cut it short, so I told the guy, "My wish is to have my body taken to the north woods and fed to wolves," and without even flinching he just continued on, saying, "Well, in case you change your mind about that..."
Holy SHIT, that's the SECOND faux pas on my part. Maybe I need to take a break from the sauce for a spell? Not much chance of that, I'm enjoying a bit of wood-aged vodka (from my decades-old boozewriting dayz) as I write this. In any event, that's a damned good point, Mr. Purple. By the way, great handle. I remember the deep laughter I experienced when I read Buk's reference to the purple stickpin type who had bamboozled his woman. It's a classic and makes for a great handle indeed. It says a lot about Buk and it says even more about humanity - alas, not in a particularly positive way, but that's how it is.

Let me add something else here. There is a sense of "place" that many places in LA can convey. But TIME makes a difference, and we are now in a different time. Years ago, I managed trip to Paris and was appalled by many aspects of the city. There were fast-food chains, gigantic department stores..and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the place inhabited by folks like Huysmans and Baudelaire. On a journey into Bukowski's geographic world, one must prepare oneself for the inevitable change that time brings. That would certainly include an extant Smog Cutter, and maybe Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, etc. However, I do anticipate that if Musso's is still there, it probably has changed little from the time that Buk used to dine there with Red. I can't be sure, though. Last time I visited was back in 2005. Shit, time does fly.
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On the map above, I see Kingsley between Carlton Way and DeLongpre. He lived there too, right? Funny that for most of his life, he lived within such a small area.
He certainly did live in a very small area of Los Angeles for most of his life. The Kingsley address was pretty far south of the Carlton Way/DeLongpre addresses though. It's number 14 marker here.

What always strikes me looking at that map is the separation between the jobs and the apartments. If you zoom out a couple of clicks you can see it.
There is no reason to visit America to do research on Bukowski. You will come away with little or nothing. There are plenty of other reasons to come, but research is not one of them... Unless it's paying the freight... Sorry to sound so cynical, but it's true. Get some good drugs instead and some used paperbacks...
[...] 1998, [...] Red Stodolsky [...] He draw me [...]
I do thank you for this cool drawing, baby (of course)!

But honestly: I start to wonder, Who you are. (okay, you're a guy from Germany, but this doesn't explain anything.)

You started to post a bunch of interesting contributions only a short time ago, while you've been hanging around quite a little longer. And obviously you know your stuff. Now you even come up with experiences from back to 1998 including Red, of whom we all know, he wouldn't do such a drawing for the usual, annoying passer-by, (unless he'd show some moxie).

You'll have to reveal your big secret now.
(Or I'll need to look it up on wikileaks.)

There is no reason to visit America to do research on Bukowski. You will come away with little or nothing. [...]
just to quote from Hank:
"Now, that's a fucking unreasonable statement, isn't it?"

btw here's another okay-map of the cemetery + location of the grave:
(when I asked the people there in 2007, none of them was able to tell me the place. I had to wander around a little.)
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Hey thanks again everyone for the insider advice plus cartography. Gonna be great to have in my bag after touch down.

Pogue: I do not necessarily disagree with you but, as it happens, research IS paying the freight and there's a lot to be said for the experience itself. Hence the desire to get around the old neighbourhood(s), so to speak.

Merry Christmas to all by the way . . . I'll be hiding in a dingy apartment with a bottle of Chivas, in true Buk spirit before take off.
If you want to do it in the spirit of Buk, don't do it with Chivas. Do it with some GOOD beer or wine. Buk didn't go for the hard stuff. Not that there's anything wrong with Chivas. Just saying.
Fair call Gary, fair call. Though he drank the hard stuff when younger, yes? I was probably thinking of the Tom Waits song 'Downtown' anyhow: "drinkin' chivas regal in a $4 room".

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