|Los Angeles Times listing for Bukowski reading in 1976.|
The Golden Bear was a scuzzy little club in Huntington Beach, CA. It was right across the street from the Pacific Ocean. Everyone from Janis Joplin to Stephane Grappelli played there. It was demolished in the 1980's.
I saw Bukowski here twice. The first time, in July 1976. I was aware of a bulky video rig set up in the tiny club. Surfing the web decades later I stumble upon a snippet shot that very night while watching the documentary, "I'm Still Here". Buk's girlfriend Pamela Wood, took the stage and playfully announced: "Charles Bukowski couldn't make it here tonight." The rowdy audience responded in a predictable manner -- the clip begins with a more straightforward introduction, after she had had her laugh. My friends and I would be clearly visible sitting in the front row, up against the stage, right next to Ms.Wood, however the atrocious, poorly lit black and white footage renders us murky spectral blurs.
What a night that was! My first encounter with the mighty Bukowski was the best -- and that the waitress served us beer, though we were underage -- Michelob in long tapered bottles, made it all the sweeter.
The second time I saw him at the Golden Bear, Hank managed to misplace his glasses, as he fumbled around in his pockets, he delivered a classic spontaneous line. "Senility has arrived."