Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Spirit(s) of Buk

BukI've been threatening to host a Bukowski Night -- drinks (duh), readings, audio, a movie or two -- for some time now, but I think I'm going to have to postpone it again until April, after Easter.

That realization reminded me of a night a few weeks ago. I was in Detroit, at this shithole of a bar named Steve's Place, next to St. Andrew's Hall, waiting for a friend to get out of a concert. After my first cheap-ass gin and tonic, I turned to Bill and said, "Charles Bukowski would have loved this place." Not 10 minutes later, Matt came over and pointed out a yellowed piece of paper tacked next to the ancient cash register -- an old Metro Times article naming the joint "Best Bukowskian watering hole":

Steve's Place has a postapocalyptic feel, as if burnt out and only marginally re-established. Light is random and murky. High ceilings, deep booths and a bar hued in colors of '70s shag carpet; bottle green and blue... It's a Bukowskian dream, an overlooked jewel in downtown Detroit. It could be the last bar on the last block on the last day at last call.
That was written in 2002, and I can't guess even one particle of dust in that place has moved or changed since the article was published.

There's a longer piece including a conversation with Steve himeself, the owner-bartender who looked to me to be about 137 years old.

Too bad this place isn't in Ann Arbor. I guess I'll have to make due with the 8-Ball.