Charles Bukowski´s Literary Legazy

Charles Bukowski's Literary Legacy: a preservation challenge
For immediate release

November 5, 2007

Charles Bukowski's Literary Legacy: a preservation challenge

WHAT: L.A. Cultural Heritage Commission votes on Bukowski home landmarking
WHEN: Thursday November 15, 10 AM
WHERE: L.A. City Hall, Temple/Main Streets, room 1010. Press and public welcome.

LOS ANGELES- On Thursday, November 15th, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission will decide whether to landmark poet and novelist Charles Bukowski's former East Hollywood residence at 5124 De Longpre Avenue. Bukowski lived there during his watershed period when he went from civil servant postal employee to internationally-acclaimed poet. It was at De Longpre that his novels "Post Office" and "Factotum" were written and "Women" was set. Also here, he achieved cult status in the Los Angeles underground press with his "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" column in the "Open City" newspaper.

But the literary significance of De Longpre is far greater than the works which Bukowski wrote there. For this was the place where he willed himself into being as a writer. Over the course of many late nights, between the tap of his typewriter keys and countless cigarettes and beer bottles drained, he transformed himself from just another working class stiff with a soul to an internationally acclaimed, and uniquely Angeleno, author.

The challenge before the Cultural Heritage Commission is how it can landmark a site of obvious literary significance. In the past the Commission has simply designated structures for their architectural significance. But in Los Angeles, there is no precedence for how to recognize a building purely because important creative work was done there. Do they focus on the structure as it was in the 1960s, when Bukowski moved in? The 1920s, when it was originally constructed? Do they focus on Bukowski's bungalow alone, or the entire row of little houses? What best reflects the building and the writer's work? These are some of the challenges facing the Commission members as they decide their votes.

And once this decision to designate as a landmark is made, what then? Once named as a landmark, the buildings will need a long-term preservation plan that pays appropriate tribute to Bukowski's literary legacy. The Jack Kerouac House in Florida and L.A.'s Schindler-designed MAK Center in Mid-Wilshire offer two possible solutions, artist-in-residency programs administered by non-profit agencies. But what agency will step in to run a Bukowski Arts Colony in East Hollywood?

The CHC will hold its hearing on the Charles Bukowski landmarking on Nov. 15th at 10 am in City Hall, room 1010. Your attendance and coverage is appreciated.

Charles Bukowski home preservation activist Lauren Everett and Bukowski bus tour host Richard Schave of Esotouric are available for interviews. Contact Lauren at mydarlingclementyne@yahoo.com, (310) 699-1142. Contact Richard at schavester @gmail.com, 323-223-2767.

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