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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Bukday Week!

I've always appreciated when fans of a dead artist remember him (or her) on his birthday, rather than on the day of his death. I'm well-known as a Deadhead, and I loved the fact that we choose to remember Jerry on August 1st, his birthday, rather than a week later on August 9th, the day he died.

Well, tomorrow is the birthday of another great but dead 20th Century drunk, err, artist -- Charles Bukowski. And though he is the type of (alcoholic) character who might appreciate being remembered on the day of his death (March 9, 1994), I'll still be thinking of him during this time. And in fact, some people have organized a Bukday Week celebration in honor of Buk's b-day.

I've been a fan of Buk's work for a while, and always got a kick out of his thinly-veiled self-references. For screenwriters and film fans, I highly recommend watching or rewatching Barfly. The first time I saw this film, I enjoyed it, but I saw it purely as a drama. But the second time I watched it, I realized how funny it is too, and how there is a true dark comedy buried in this autobiographical piece. The film also contains two top-notch performances (Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke, both giving what I consider amongst their best performances on screen), as well as a favorite line of mine. When the art critic from the magazine finds him leaving his bar, she asks him, "Who are you?" to confirm that he is Bukowski (or Chinaski, actually). To which Chinaski responds, "Ahhhhh, the eternal question..."

Now, for those who would like to take their Bukday celebration a step further, I'd also recommend reading Buk's novel Hollywood. In it, you'll find Bukowski's thinly-veiled retelling of his life while writing Barfly, itself a thinly-veiled retelling of his earlier life. How's that for post-modern self-reference?

If that's not enough of a celebration, you can drink some whiskey (and by some, I mean a bottle or three), and pass out in a pool of your own vomit. Though it might be easier to take advantage of some of the events around L.A. (if you're in town here). LAist has a few listed here. Anyone feel like trekking downtown with me tonight?

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Anonymous Joshua James said...

I'm a big fan of the Buk as well, and loved HOLLYWOOD . . .

In fact, he's an extra in BARFLY, if I recall . . . you can even see him.

I got a chance to listen to him read some poetry on a recording, he was something.

2:00 AM  
Blogger oneslackmartian said...

Haha, I’m a big Buk fan, as well. He and his old friend John Fante are all that I need really.

In Post Office, he describes a meal of whiskey and seared steak in a pan, which is how I'll celebrate Bukday.

His collections of letters (several volumes) are great reading. You really get a feel of how brilliant he was on many, many issues.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have yet to see Matt Dillon's Bukian take, it is in the rental queue... BTW, thanks for the BD greetings today, the other scribe sharing my birthday is Matt Hader, you can link to him off my blog roll

6:25 AM  
Blogger James Moen said...

Buk's books of poetry are also interesting reading. I have a few on my shelf. Love is a Dog from Hell is worth the price just for the poem "how to be a great writer."

7:21 PM  

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