Vroman's Bookstore Presents "An Evening with Bukowski's Friends" (1 Viewer)


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Vroman's in Pasadena
Saturday, November 07, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
Cost: Free
For more information call: 626-449-5320

Join for an evening celebrating the life and work of Charles Bukowski. Sue Hodson, curator of literary manuscripts at the Huntington and lead archivist of Bukowski's writings, will present a slide presentation of Bukowski's life through photos. She will be joined by Linda Lee Bukowski, longtime Los Angeles poet SA Griffin (who will be reading from a new Bukowski book, The Continual Condition), and John Dullaghan, the director of the documentary, Bukowski: Born Into This.
I have to be at a party by the Mexican border that day. That should be a nice little deal there. If I had any real strength, I could drag my wife away from the party and make the 2 hour drive up.
here's the poster

Flyer Continual Condition.jpg
At least one of you Californians HAS to go and snap a few photos and file a report.

You have to. You have no choice. We'll be waiting....
I'd love it if someone shot video (if it is allowed) of Linda Lee and S.A. Griffin...

If you go, please tell S.A. that I said "Hi!"

I'd love it if someone shot video...
John Dullaghan's 11 year old punk rock son John was there shooting video. Don't know where it might end up.

Meloan: why this guy continues to show up in conjunction with Bukowski is a mystery to me. He read this article, covering his first meeting Bukowski and being thrown out of his house once on new years eve. But he threw in a story I'm pretty sure could not have possibly happened. As soon as he said it I looked at Linda and she was shaking her head (anyone know when Linda's Dew Drop Inn closed?). He's a terrible, meek, stumbling speaker, even when reading his own writing from a page. This seems to sum him up; Joe Frank said: "Nobody evokes a sense of mood and place quite like Meloan." Charles Bukowski said: "Mike Meloan is a jerk-off."

Sue Hodson from the Huntington spoke without saying much, and read "History of a Tough Motherfucker" with plenty of jokes about being a "square" librarian and saying such naughty words. She had a slideshow of all the usual Bukowski photos with one exception that surprised me when it popped up: a very clear picture I've never seen before of a young Bukowski (maybe 7?) and his mother, sitting on a lawn next to a wall. I didn't know the collection included personal photos. There must be some great stuff in there.

Everyone who spoke read poems, most from Continual Condition. It felt a bit like an infomercial at times.

S.A. Griffin read a couple poems and talked about Red Stodolsky, of all people (Griffin didn't know Bukowski, so again, I have to wonder how he's relevant, other than being friendly with Linda and having a wife who works at the Huntington). But in what was the highlight of the evening thus far, Griffin gave a long and generous shout out to "My friend and great publisher Bill Roberts in Delaware," (paraphrasing there) explaining that As Buddha Smiles was first published by Bill.

John Dullaghan was good. A good speaker, told some new stories from his interviews for Born Into This. Stuff you already generally know from Bukowski's days at the post office, but he also sought out people who knew Bukowski senior and interviewed eight of them, none of which made it into the final film. "Want to know what they all said about him? Great guy! Real good with children." He also talked about the woman inserted into the picture on the DVD cover. He said he had worked on the movie for seven years, quit his job, spent all his money, and when the distributor said, "There's gotta be a whore in the picture," he was taken aback but said, "Fine, put a whore in the picture. Whatever it takes to get this thing out there."

Carol was talking to Linda before the shindig started (she was in the back, doling out drinks from behind a table like some kind of parallel universe book store bartender) and she said, "Oh, I'm not going to read, it terrifies me! All these people are professionals. I didn't even bring my glasses!" But she did bring her glasses, and she was far and away the best reader and speaker of the evening.

She started with a Steve Richmond poem from Hitler Painted Roses. A poem where Richmond calls Bukowski the best poet in history or something. She said Bukowski and Richmond were "dear friends in the 60's and remained friends for the rest of his life."

She then read "let's have some fun" from Condition, and it was just a tremendous reading. She did voices and inflections - just nailed the poem. Then she talked a bit about how great it was that everyone had come out on a Saturday evening (it was standing room only in the Vroman's event space), said a few things and they wrapped it up.

But then Hodson asked if anyone had any questions for any of the speakers and a couple of people asked Linda questions and she went off on some great long answers that lasted longer than her talk at the podium.

She talked about finding the box of a thousand manuscripts ("all dated and signed") in the rafters of the garage and needing a neighbor's help to get it down. She said that John Martin went through them to decide what to use in the book (though it seems Bill's Bottle of Smoke published half of it first).

What did she say that you didn't already know...hmm...ha ha. Well - here's one; Bukowski took her to Disneyland one year on her birthday because she asked him to take her ("Reeeeaaally?...Ooookay kid."), and he loved it. He didn't want to leave the Pirates of the Caribbean ride - "I want to stay with those guys, up there!" I assume referring to the animated drunken pirate figures in the ride. She also said he loved Star Wars; "The first one - it was something about Chewbacca..."

It ran about an hour and 15 minutes, and they should have just propped the microphone up in front of Linda for all that time. She stole the show, which was a little surprising, knowing her and seeing her speak in public before. But she was on a roll, man, and the words were coming out perfectly. Too bad she only spoke for 20 minutes or so.
i've never noticed that woman on the "born into this" cover before, but sure enough, she's right there for no good reason at all...
thanks for the report.
She also said he loved Star Wars; "The first one - it was something about Chewbacca..."

I knew it :cool:

Thanks for the review. Would be great if the video shows up online - especially Linda's poem reading; that sounds like a real gem.
The kid taped everything.

I wanted to say hello to Dullaghan when it was over (and tell him thanks for the DMCA threat - ha), but it was hot in there and we'd been standing for an hour and a half, so we high-tailed it out of there.

I was going to say hello to S.A. for you Bill, but it seemed redundant after he fawned over you from the podium. ;)
Great report, mjp. Pirates of the Caribean! Star Wars! Buk was a secret nerd. My day is made. I hope that video of Linda shows up online.
Bukowski at Disneyland... love can make people do so weird and unexpected things.
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yeah, great review! Thanks mjp!

Maybe Dullaghan should make a 4 DVD-Box one day adding his deleted scenes as well as the material his kid filmed there.

Not surprised about the Chewbacca-thing. It's obvious.
But - was 'Pirates of the Carribean' even out back when Hank lived?
The movie series that came out within the last few years was based on the ride, I believe.
Yes, in a stunning demonstration of the utter lack of creativity in the American movie business, they did indeed base a film on an amusement park ride. Granted, the ride is only a few minutes long, so the movie isn't really "about" the ride, but still.

Expect the next Batman movie to be about the Six Flags roller coaster.
I went on Pirates of the Caribean when I was a kid, long before I met him. It was an old ride by the time Bukowski went on it.

Maybe he appreciated Chewbacca's inarticulate cry.

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