The Last Straw is a documentary DVD of Charles Bukowski's last poetry reading. The producers recognized that the value of this 1980 performance was not simply the poems but the entire spontaneous, confrontational even. The footage is only slightly edited to avoid duplicating poems with There's Gonna Be a God Damn Riot in Here!, a DVD of another late Bukowski reading in Vancouver.
About the Actor
Charles Bukowski was born August 16, 1920 in Andernach, Germany to a German-born mother and an American serviceman after the end of World War I. He lived there until age 3, at which time the family moved to Los Angeles. His father, who was drunk most days and nights, beat Bukowski regularly. The adult Bukowski had a spotty work history, except for a decade at the Post Office; he survived there to write some classic elegies, never to be forgotten. He stated that, 'Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or a dangerous thing...' For decades he remained a fairly obscure writer; but over time, he became recognized as one the great contemporary American authors. Many knew him from the Los Angeles Free Press column Notes of a Dirty Old Man. In the late 60s Black Sparrow Press started publishing his works and supported him financially. In 1987 Barbet Schroeder directed the movie Barfly, based on Bukowski s life and screenplay. It starred Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke. Born Into This, a documentary, was released in 2004. More than a million people have seen it. In 2006 Factotum, starring Matt Dillon, was released and Bukowski's papers entered the Huntington Library permanent collection archives. All his manuscripts and papers were donated by his wife Linda to that august institution. After Barfly, Bukowski wrote some of the most contemplative and profound prose and poems you'll ever come across. Little was ever captured of him reading his poems to an audience; clips would show up now and then. But now we have two works, dormant for over 25 years, finally being released. In 1979-80 Bukowski gave two sold-out readings to audiences in Vancouver, Canada and Redondo Beach, California. After the Redondo Beach reading, he gave up public performances, concentrating instead on his writing, for the final 14 years of his life. For those of you who were lucky enough to personally experience his performance art the banter with the audience, the insane atmosphere that almost culminated in a riot these DVDs will bring vivid memories. For those of you who only know of Bukowski through his written work, prepare yourselves.