YouTuber big80blues put together the above video tour of Charles Bukowski’s Los Angeles, or at least what remains of it. We see some of the places he lived, worked, wrote, drank and ate.
As the filmmaker points out in the beginning of the video, Bukowski was brought to L.A. as a young child in 1923, by his German mother and American G.I. father. This was the same year Walt Disney arrived, and the same year the Hollywood sign went up, he goes on to say.
We start, appropriately, at Bukowski’s boyhood home. It was the house where he was routinely beaten by his father as a boy, for minor offenses such as missing a single blade of grass while mowing.
He left when he was old enough, but soon returned.
We are shown Bukowski’s residence at 521 S. Union Street, followed by the Los Angeles Public Library, where he spent much of his time as a young man, hiding from landladies and trying to find writers who spoke to him and his condition. This is where he would discover his hero John Fante‘s work.
Also shown, the Grand Central Market, at 317 S. Broadway, where he often ate, and which he mentioned in the poem “Crucifix in a Deathhand.” From the poem:
this is their land and
I walk on it, live on it a little while
near Hollywood here I see young men in rooms
listening to glazed recordings
and I think too of old men sick of music
sick of everything, and death like suicide
I think is sometimes voluntary, and to get your
hold on the land here it is best to return to the
Grand Central Market, see the old Mexican women,
the poor . . . I am sure you have seen these same women
many years before
with the same young Japanese clerks
witty, knowledgeable and golden
among their soaring store of oranges, apples
avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers –
Next up: the Terminal Annex, Post Office, 900 N. Alameda St. where Bukowski worked for many years (1958 – 1970). He wrote about his experiences there, most notably in the novel Post Office, but also in various stories and poems.
His apartment at 5124 De Longpre Ave. was home from 1964 until 1972. He wrote the novel Post Office at this residence.
Shakey’s Pizza and Ned’s Liquor become Musso and Frank as Bukowski earns increasing fame and wealth.