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Bukowski’s Final Public Reading: Poster for Sweetwater and Rhino First Issue Hostage CD

Bukowski’s Final Public Reading: Poster for Sweetwater and Rhino First Issue Hostage CD

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One March 31, 1980, Bukowski agreed to do a local reading in Redondo Beach, California, at the Sweetwater Café. No one knew it at the time, maybe not even Bukowski himself, but this would be his final public reading.

The reason behind the reading was to promote the new Bukowski album “Bukowski Reads His Poetry”, which was released by Tacoma records in 1980.

On this particular night, Bukowski is jovial, actively interacting with the audience while remaining well-collected, even after polishing off a couple of bottles of German wine. He’s sharp, funny, and seems to really enjoy the attention. He enters like a heavy weight and leaves like a champ.

Included here is a 14” x 9" poster promoting the event. It features a classic, but slightly older photograph of Bukowski and lists a $6 admission charge. The poster is in Near Fine condition with a tiny ding on the top edge and a faint crease. It appears never to have been folded. The paper is a little thin, but standard for a promo flyer.

Also included is a copy of the first issue CD recording of the event. Title Hostage, it was release in 1985, by Rhino Records, which was taking off after signing six-year distribution agreement with Capitol Records. The CD is still in the original shrink wrap and has never been opened.

Review by Mike McGonigal
“The San Pedro, California, audience is the hostage referred to in the title of this mid-1980s recording, but clearly they love every minute of it. It's indicative of this infamous, lowlife-lovin' poet's no-nonsense, tough-talking skill that for half the recording the crowd is nearly pissing themselves with laughter. Hostage has to be one of the rowdiest poetry records ever released, which makes sense considering how drunk Bukowski plainly is. The drink never gets in the way of his delivery, the tough, beautiful lines and moronically macho ones always landing on target, on cue. Bukowski delivers odes to dead Roman poets, lands a few good jokes, and--most crucially--offers up a few Raymond Carver-esque glimpses straight into the human soul. No document showcases Bukowski's radiant humor and occasional grace as succinctly as this intoxicating disc.”

The reading list for the recording is as followings:

  • Jam
  • What Have I Seen?
  • Trouble
  • Eating The Father
  • Competition
  • The Secret Of My Endurance
  • On The Hustle
  • I Am A Reasonable Man
  • The Beast
  • Hemingway
  • Fan Letter
  • The Drunk With The Little Legs
  • Tour
  • A Poetry Reading

Shelf 2 and Crate 1

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