More BB Gala Photographs

Beyond Baroque’s 50th anniversary gala event managed to be as successful as it was due to a number of facilitators, one of whom was Mike Bonin, the Los Angeles Councilperson representing the 11th district. Mr. Bonin’s assistance enabled Beyond Baroque to hold the event outdoors, at night, under a tent put up on a public parking lot adjacent to SPARC and behind the Pacific Resident Theater. In celebrating this anniversary, one thing that was not mentioned was how much Mike Bonin’s predecessor, the late Bill Rosendahl, advocated for Beyond Baroque so that it could be assured of a home at the Venice City Hall well into the future. It was due to the hard work of Fred Dewey and Bill Rosendahl that Beyond Baroque was given a 25 year lease late in the last decade.

Mike Bonin - Gala
(Mike Bonin)

In addition to Exene Cervenka and John Doe, here are some other poets and musicians who contributed to an extraordinary evening of imaginative affirmation:

Will Alexander -- BB Gala 1
(Will Alexander)

Kamau - BB Gala 1
(Kamau Daáood)

Trio - BB Gala -3
(Dwight Trible; John Densmore; Bobby Bradford)

Trio - BB - 1
(standing, left to right: Kamau Daáood, reading his poetry; Dwight Tribble; Bobby Bradford; in rear, on drums, John Densmore)

Densmore Finishing Set
(John Densmore)

Matt Watt -- BB Gala 1
(Mike Watt, center stage)

Chris D
(Chris D. and Julie Christensen)

The entire evening, of course, would have been impossible for the founder of Beyond Baroque to imagine back in the late 1960s. The organization was surviving because of his devotion as well as the volunteer labor of Alexandra Garrett, Jim Krusoe, and Lynn Shoemaker, supplemented by a steady trickle of envelopes with $5.00 donations from readers of its early publications. One of the first items of the evening was the presentation of an award to Beyond Baroque’s founder, George Drury Smith.
GDS - BB Gala
(GSD, left)

Also, in attendance, were other people who have played significant roles in the emergence of several communities of poets in Southern California. Jack Skelley, for instance, is a poet, musician, and songwriter who ran the NewComp Graphic Center in the 1980s at Beyond Baroque, and organized a memorable series of musical events, under the title Beyond Barbecue. Jack performed a song, “Fun to be Dead,” he wrote with Bob Flanagan the following weekend during a retrospective gathering of poets associated with Beyond Baroque.

I am also including some photographs of those in attendance at the tables, some of whom would take the stage to make moving acceptance speeches. If there is not a close-up photograph of Viggo Mortensen on stage, for instance, it is simply because I did not want to intrude on him. His observation in his speech that he chose to work in Los Angeles when he was “unknown” because he had a “freedom to create” that he did not find available in New York City confirmed the long-held assessment of an earlier generation of poets who gathered at Beyond Baroque.

Pedro-Paul-Viggo-Exene
(foreground, l-r, Linda Fry; Pedro Arujo; Paul Vangelisti; sitting and standing behind Pedro Arujo are Viggo Mortensen and Exene Cervenka)

Jack S - BB Gala 1
(Jack Skelley)

Linda Fry-Pedro-Paul
(Linda Fry; Pedro Arujo; Paul Vangelisti)

Molly B - BB Gala
(Molly Bendall, center)