Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Beyond Baroque – 4/5 Stars

Beyond Baroque Foundation & Literary Arts Center
$ Performing Arts, Bookstores
681 Venice Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

I have a teacher who is old and dying. And he’s got a scar running halfway around his head from a tumor. He was one of my favorite teachers, back when I did a Poetry MFA.

He reads here a lot. A celebration of this dead poet, a celebration of this dead movement, a celebration of 1950s cool, ‘beatnik questionnaires’. It’s all kind of held together by an antiquated charm, like City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, but dead and running in a kind of zombie celebratory marathon. Maybe most poetry itself is now in a continuous zombie celebration of 60-year-old movements.

Either way, I’ve written hundreds, if not thousands of poems. And I don’t even bother with getting poems published in books.

Because it took
seven years
to publish
ONE poem.

It was an epic poem I wrote for a Sylvia Plath anthology, a collage of her two poems ‘Lady Lazarus’ and ‘The Applicant’. And a year to see it on the bookshelf at Stories in Echo Park. And the draw is that it is a poem about a dead author’s poems and her legacy. I feel a bit parasitic about my biggest poetry accomplishment!

But alas this place is still here. The bookshop is still standing. And there has to be something good to be said about a place that looks like an old Spanish mission on a farm. This place specializes in a kind of mid-century ideal of the ‘happening’ because it runs on events. It’s a time warp of cool. I feel like a longing nostalgia for a time that I wasn’t born into. Whenever I come here, I know this sounds lame, but I have a Pleasantville fantasy, where I am a 1958 technicolored person and escaping the confines of the black and white small town to find myself. And end up on the patio here, writing poetry on a tiny notebook with rogue bobbysoxers and melancholic football players.

And the Wednesday night poetry workshops, ugh. I am reminded of how incredibly square my parents are because of all the cool Russian blue cats with silvery hair.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 4