Thursday, January 6, 2011

‘Bukowski At Bellevue’: The legendary video in all its crude glory

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‘Bukowski At Bellevue’: The legendary video in all its crude glory



In 1970 Charles Bukowski flew from L.A. to the state of Washington to read his poetry before a bunch of students at Bellevue Community College. It was one of his first readings in front of an audience. Students videotaped the event but the footage never went public until the late 80s when it began circulating among Bukowski’s fans. Titled “Bukowski At Bellevue”, the video is crudely shot and the tape itself damaged and battered with age. But Bukowski’s style - the sardonic humor, wiseass growl and diamond-hard imagery - cuts thru the technical shitstorm and provides us with an intimate glimpse of Buk before he became an international literary superstar.

Part of the pleasure for me in watching “Bukowski At Bellevue” is seeing the students in the audience and recalling what it felt like when I first discovered Bukowski in my mid-teens and the impact his words had on me. Bukowski slapped me out of my suburban stupor, compelling me to leave home and live the life of a poet and provocateur. For that, he will always be my hero.


Posted by Marc Campbell

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