Introductory Notes The Last Straw

Charles Bukowski didn’t like to do live poetry readings.

He was very blunt about this; but audiences thought he was joking. He did readings for the money; usually only a few hundred dollars.

But, by 1980 his book royalties, advances for film rights, and other income provided him with the means to be able to stop doing poetry readings.

His performances were legendary; cultivating anarchy, he’d goad the audience to mutiny, and usually challenge somebody… or anybody…to fight.

In editing this video, the first impulse is to pick out the poems; but in reviewing the piece, it became obvious that the entire reading is solid state. What happens between the poems is not filler. It’s performance art.

Only a few of his readings were filmed. This performance on March 31st, 1980 at the Sweetwater Inn in Redondo Beach, California, turned out to be the very last poetry reading Bukowski ever gave, even though he lived and wrote for another 14 years.

The video of that reading remained in storage for over 25 years, and is presented here for the first time.

Liner Notes: There's Gonna Be a God Damn Riot!  About Buk: A Brief Bio