In the spring of 1970 Charles Bukowski took his first plane trip for a poetry reading at Bellevue Community College in Washington state. That he was videotaped by two students apparently was later forgotten, but the tapes were recently rediscovered and have been released by Black Sparrow press. "Bukowski at Bellevue" gives us a fascinating glimpse of the man before he had to be concerned with how celebrity and financial security were affecting him. (It is said that this was only his fourth public reading.) This is Bukowski, then about 50, taken straight. No games, no irony, no self-consciousness--just an ordinary-looking guy, maybe hung over, sitting before a small group of students reading his work with gusto, humor and sensitivity. A man who clearly had lived the marginal life he wrote about with passion and at times a lyrical, even mystical beauty.
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Have you watched Bukowski at Bellevue yet? What did you think about it?