Back Cover – Old Photographs & Wild Dreams

In the late nineteen nineties, during a construction boom, several blocks of downtown Los Angeles businesses closed their doors to make way for high rise luxury apartments, organic grocery concerns, work out spaces, and coffee shops. One of the stores scheduled for demolition was an antique shop with an eclectic array of sundries for sale. Since it was the last of a third generation family, when faced with extinction, they were happy to retire in a sunny climate with a generous nest egg. They held a “going out of business sale” event in which every item must go.

Some large items were from old circus venues and sideshows such as authentic costumes, swords, and historical documents. Stuffed animals sat beside some prized period furniture. After the sale was over, the shop was bare except for a stack of old dusty pictures in the storage area. The boxes moved to the alley near the dumpsters and forgotten. That same night a windstorm attacked the city and blew the boxes in the air and all over the streets. One such box contained old photographs, some over one hundred years old. As they blew across the city and picked up and wondered at, stories came alive and fired a few new, wild dreams. Here are those stories.

New Photographs and Wild Dreams

32

Thirty two counties and thirty two friends

Irish legends everyone of them

A pot of pure gold and an Irish grin

Step forth and enjoy the fun and sin

The walls tell the stories, ghosts whispering true

Guinness in the pint glass and Jameson not a few

Patrick is the Lord, lift up his banner

Associate with his angels and their heavenly manner

A well worn stage where music is born and played so well

Songs of a green homeland, a shepherd rings his bell

The bar is a friend to all who garnish a stool

To doubt or not believe this, why only a fool

St Patrick’s Day and Christmas, the ground swells and shakes

Funerals and birthdays, the love they do make

A star in the Almighty’s sky, the devil would agree

A long, long way from Claire, but its citizens you can see

-John K Bucher Sr,

from Old Photographs and Wild Dreams

To order a copy click on the link below:

Old Photographs & Wild Dreams

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My latest book is now for sale and you can get it from the link below. This is a beautiful hard back book with 100 poems, prose and stories covering a range of subjects: trains, bicycles, bars, cafes, California beaches, streets, Denison, abstract feelings, coffee shops, night hours, Hollywood, East Texas, old preachers, and cowboys.

click on the lick below to purchase:

https://www.amazon.com/Photographs-Wild-Dreams-John-Bucher/dp/0997129786/ref=sr_1_1?crid=392IORFSBAD82&keywords=john+k+bucher&qid=1560743173&s=gateway&sprefix=john+k+bucher%2Caps%2C495&sr=8-1

Notes from the Winter

The California winter of 18/19 brought many new aspects, bits and pieces. I worked daily on a new book of poetry that will be published and available for sale later this year. The title is “Old Photographs and Wild Dreams” and deals with roughly ten completely different subjects with a total of 100 new poems. More on this later…

Los Angeles awoke from it’s long drought and brought rain almost daily. February was the coldest in over 100 years and we Angelenos who covet the seventy degree mark, never saw it once. So, for we hot house flowers, we froze our asses off.

The weather induced a time of reflection, introspection and appreciation for the gift of life and friendship. The Oscars seemed to be perfect for once, although to those, whom life is just one long complaint, it was still the worst. Thanks to Movie Pass and later on A-List (AMC), Edina and I saw more movies in a season that ever before. Many, many great ones and a few duds.

I read some excellent books as the rain fell and the coffee brewed against the gray skies. Willy Vlautin’s “Don’t Skip Out On Me” and his latest “Lean On Pete” were at the top of my favorites. “Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions” by J.R Helton brought back memories of my own life of ten years in East Texas. A really great read that deserves a large audience. Anthony Bourdain’s foray into a crime story “Gone Bamboo” and Michael Koryta’s “The Last Honest Horse Thief” were the ones I read in one stetting they were so good. I’ve been a John Grisham fan from the start and his “The Reckoning” is the best in years. “White Rose Black Forrest” by Eoin Dempsey is a poignant tale of Germany during WWII, while probably my favorite was a non-fiction account of “Life at the Dakota” by Stephen Birmingham, that examines a thorough history of New York’s upper West Side.

Streaming television has become an addiction and there was plenty to enjoy. Netflix and Amazon kept pouring good stuff out there almost daily, and occasionally, Hulu brought a surprise. Showtime’s Ray Donovan reset in the Big Apple and once again kept my interest week by week. HBO’s 3rd season of True Detective returned to its former glory and may have been the best series of the winter.

My sons insisted I start listening to podcasts several years ago and although I don’t tune in for as much content as they do, Marc Maron’s WTF twice weekly podcast has become a fixture in my weekly routine. He’s moved into a new house and garage, but still has the same insecurities and opinions. His cutting edge guest list keeps informed about current culture as much anything out there, I guess.

Because of a long tenure in Colorado, I’ve been a life long Broncos fan since the 70’s. About ten years ago I promised God that if he would intervene and bring an NFL team to LA, I would convert, no matter the team. So. a few years back I became a Rams fan, and what a ride it has been. Horrible disappointment set in fast over the Super Bowl loss, but I recovered quickly as spring training followed. I am over that last two World Series losses to our city and am ready to root for the “Blue” once more. Hope springs eternal and “go Dodgers!”

Edina and I fell in love with camping near the coastline a few years back and we are chomping at the bit for another season on waves, wildlife, and wonderful sunsets at Point Magu. We were able to spend a few warm days in Pismo Beach the end of January and that helped ease the camping blues.

Hollywood Bowl season is also near and we love the “bowl events” where we can take a load of fried chicken and TJ wine into the concert and escape into that special magic. The first one we have planned is the first week of June with Dead & Company. We saw Dark Star Orchestra at the Saban in Beverly Hills last month and they wrestled the Dead’s set list alive and had the place jumping till it shook.

I’ll write more posts in the coming days.

“When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez and when it’s Easter time too.”-Bob Dylan

 

 

 

1948 – Gentleman’s Agreement

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story about Phillip

Phillip Green (a gentile) Gregory Peck

“I wish I was a Jew for 6 months)

Tasked to write a story about prejudice

hating Jews for being Jews

pretends to be a Jew

Greenberg

meets a woman

surprised she can actually think

reason

New York bigotry is everywhere

mailmen, doctors, hotel keepers

bigots

hates the Jews

and a list of others

anti Jewish jokes

build a wall

keep them out

keep America Christian

white

8 Oscar nominations

won 5

Best Picture

 

 

1948 – The Naked and the Dead

 

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this was a time when folks still read books

no television (yet)

no video games (yet)

no smart phones (yet)

the population was still curious about the world

so what did they read?

Norman Mailer

The Naked and the Dead

World War II

South Pacific

Anopopei (fictional island)

Americans killing Japanese and Japanese killing Americans

Japanese soldier shot while smoking (eyes closed)

homosexual feelings (between soldiers)

men die and are sent back home

those who survive talk about the future

after all is said and done

the military industrial complex goes on

number one best seller

later a hit movie

Hollywood

Aldo Ray and Barbara Nichols

Cliff Robertson

technicolor

still relevant

same old story

nothing learned from past mistakes

 

 

1948 – The Louisiana Story

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In 1948, the Standard Oil Company commissioned this movie to promote their drilling expansion into several Louisiana bayous. It was sold as a documentary but is actually a docu-fiction as it is primarily propaganda to make the locals believe that drilling for oil in their back yards was good for them, when the opposite was true. Louisiana was exploited for its riches and left polluted, ugly, and poisoned.

The Louisiana Story

he was just “the boy he wasn’t given a name

his father was only “the father” and valued just the same

set in Cajun swampland about a boy and his raccoon

the good guys were the drillers making poor crackers rich too soon

the villain was an alligator who must have eaten the boy’s pet

river life was hard until the good old boys made them forget

the moral of the movie was drilling for oil was good

never mind the explosions or the black poison in the woods

money was the hero and damn the pristine swamp

standard oil should be praised for their awful damaging romp

this was not true story even though they wanted you to believe

back then we were gullible and this they could achieve

we feel for the raccoon and he’s a lot like us

oil is the alligator destroying land without a fuss

The Louisiana Story was praised in California at the ’48 awards

best writing was the nomination for the oil baron lords

the music won a Pulitzer but that was in ’49

filmed in black and white fictitious by design

looking backward is helpful and maybe we can learn

before all the land is polluted and our morals have all been burned

 

LA Weakly

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Groundworks Coffee in North Hollywood’s old train station is a writer’s paradise. Twenty years ago Starbucks were designed with old wood floors and velvet couches where one could hang out and read or just listen to jazz with their coffee. Today, their barebones “buy our mass produced liquids and leave” philosophy has made an American “hangout” not overcrowded by the homeless very difficult. Americans have always loved a coffee shop in order to conduct life. LA Confidential, Pulp Fiction, and The Big Lebowski all use this venue to deliver their best scenes and lines.

Writers love coffee shops and bars. Period. Life waltzs by and stories pour out naked and unafraid. Groundworks is built in a historic train station where the Southern Pacific ran electric lines through the Valley one hundred years ago. In the 1920’s it was one of the largest such sytems in the world. Groundworks sits in that same era. Wooden and old school, their coffee is good and there is plenty of room. Even when it is almost full, it doesn’t seem crowded. The spacious dining area is complimented by a giant outside balcony where the platform used to hold ticket holders.

A cute young couple sprinkles sugar, grain by grain into their common cup while forking their kale salad in each other’s mouths. Serious writers type away into Final Draft and are joined by dwellers without home internet who conduct business and wireless realtionships around the world. Buses and sirens infrequently break the sound barrier but the overall atmostphere is calm and quiet.

A three bladed ceiling fan stirs a graveyard of LA Weekly copies that rustle and snap. I recently boycotted the LA Weakly and want to explain my frustration.

Boycott-LA-Weekly

LA Weekly has been around since 1978. Jay Levin, Michael Douglas, and some other fine humans pooled their resources and founded our mainstay of an alternative newspaper. Printed and distributed weekly (hence the name), it soon became Los Angeles answer to New Yorks’ own Village Voice. Edgy and topical, LAW served us with the hard to find out word on the street, trends in music, art, theater, and food. Movie reviews were world class, and polictial insight was topnotch. Stories of police brutality, cruel landlords, and homeless situations brought about change when no other voice could. It was always free. Supported by ads from strip clubs, marijuana doctors, restaurants and bars, it was rare to find a copy by Friday as the paper came to call on Thursday. The payroll included many Pulitzer Prize winners along with my favorite, Henry Rollins.

November 2017 was a dark day here in SOCAL. A mysterious group of investors with dubious motives called “Semanal Media LLC” bought the beloved paper and immediately fish gutted it. Men with ties to Orange County politics and Tea Party money fired most of the talent as Henry Rollins quit in protest. They now produce a shadow of the former paper certainly not to ever offend a conservative again. I resolved to boycott the paper I so dearly loved and read. Recently I picked up a copy to see what I was missing.

Not very much.

The type of paper they now use is a much thinner quality that Motel Six rejected for use in their toilets.

The volume of pages is shrunk in half.

The main story was a complaint about how pot smokers will now be taxed in legal stores. The Tea Party abhors taxes unless they bail out bankers or bring relief to second homes after a hurricane. 

The diet size content is mostly ads.

The number of copies is less, much less.

This week’s edition is more of the same crap.

Dull, boring and non-entertaining.

Why?

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Darkest Hour, a movie in the 2018 race for an Oscar, has a memorable line that sums up the new LA Weakly. One of Churchill’s contemporaries complains ” The man has one hundred ideas a day. Four are good.”