Initial Gala Report and Tour Info

Thursday, November 15, 2018

I have a fair amount of driving time ahead of me the next three days, and will post a report on the “tour” when I get back. In the meantime, I want to send out a vigorous “thank you” to everyone who attended or supported the Beyond Baroque Gala Celebration this past Saturday. It was an extraordinary gathering: Will Alexander, Kamau Daaood, John Densmore, Viggo Mortensen, Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Julie Christianson, and Chris D. I also want to thank the artists who donated work for the silent auction. The first standing ovation, though, went to George Drury Smith, who founded Beyond Baroque in 1968. As a fundraiser, the event was the most successful ever held in Beyond Baroque’s history. While the legendary concert in the mid-1980s by the band X that raised over $10,000 will never lose its luster because the fundraiser saved the organization from folding, this event will also be savored because it was not done out of fear and desperation, but rather as a testament to the ongoing maturation of a cultural institution. I am not at this point free to reveal the amount of money raised, but I assure everyone that the Board of Trustees is almost giddy as it looks forward to its next meeting. I hope to post some photographs of the event in the near future.

I made a breakthrough yesterday in how to handle some of the documentary materials for a sequence of poems I am working on, “The Winnowing of ’47,” and hope to have a solid draft of the project finished by the end of my sabbatical. I do wish to thank CSU Long Beach for this one semester sabbatical, which has also enabled me to imagine what it would be like to be “retired,” and able to devote myself entire to my artistic projects.

This past Tuesday, KCET broadcast its show on Venice as part of the “Lost Los Angeles” series, and considering how little time and money the producers had to assemble this documentary, I thought they did a superb job. The inclusion of the long tracking shot that is supposedly at the U.S.-Mexican border (but uses Venice as its set) was a lovely touch; the multitude of factors that made Venice an intriguing cynosure for the Beat poets in mid-century included the presence of an African-American neighborhood within its purview. Other factors affecting the use to which “the slum by the sea” was put to use included the impact of oil production on Venice. I wish some of the photographs of the artists had been identified: Charley Newman, Stuart Perkoff, Wallace Berman. Many viewers will never have heard of these names before. I also wish that a cover of the paperback edition of The Holy Barbarians and Donald Allen’s New American Poetry could have been shown, since those books were important vehicles for making Venice West more visible.

Well, I must get ready for my brief tour. As if the case whenever I head out, I feel nervous about the traffic. With luck, I will write you again in a few days.

Ventura Artists Union presents
Bill Mohr
Thursday Night Poetry Series
Hosted by Marsha de la O and Phil Taggart
EP Foster Library – Topping Room
651 E. Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001
Thursday, November 15, 2018; 7:30 p.m.

The Rapp Saloon Poetry Series
Hosted by Elena Secota
1436 2nd Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Bill Mohr with Beth Rusico and Leon Martell)
Friday, November 16, 2018 – 8:30 p.m.

Southern California Poetry Festival
Saturday, November 17, 2018
4:30-6:30pm – ReVerse: Beyond Baroque in Retrospect
A reading and discussion focused on the poems and poets shaped by Beyond Baroque over 50 years. Bill Mohr, Laurel Ann Bogen, Pam Ward, Dennis Phillips, Suzanne Lummis, and S.A. Griffin share memories of Beyond Baroque and read poems by Wanda Coleman, Dennis Cooper, Michelle Serros, David Trinidad, Bob Flanagan, Michelle T. Clinton, Akilah Oliver, Paul Vangelisti, and many more.

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