Angela Romero is back to talk about the museum’s first commissioned art piece, a statue of prolific writer and poet Charles Bukowski.
EPISODE DATE: 09/05/2019
By Tracy Bueno
Amanda has a lot of new, exciting stuff planned for the new season. She will continue to bring amazing guests and interviews who love San Pedro and she can’t for everyone to see what’s in store. She did mention starting a Patreon page where you can support the podcast as well as events. Also, if you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, stay tuned for more information. If you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to send an email to email@example.com, leave a comment on the Hello San Pedro website or on Instagram at @hellosppodcast, where you can even send a direct message.
To kick off the new season, on today’s episode we have Angela Romero, the founder and president of the San Pedro Heritage Museum. She’s been a frequent guest of the podcast and Amanda thought it was fitting to have her to start off the new season since she was her very first guest on on the podcast. Angela talks about the museum’s first commissioned art piece, a statue of famous writer, poet and San Pedro local, Charles Bukowski. He is known for his novels Ham on Rye, Post Office and The Last Night of the Earth Poems, among others. The project is underway and scheduled to be completed before Bukowski’s 100th birthday next year. In the meantime, the San Pedro Heritage Museum is working hard to raise funds for this project. She says that times are changing and it’s time to take our history and preservation of our history seriously.
Aiden on moving to San Pedro with his husband:
“ We’re not celebrating really any prominent people [of San Pedro], whether they’re famous writers, famous artists, famous musicians…we’re not, like, shouting it from the rooftops ... in any other place if they have one famous celebrity you would know that is the home place of that celebrity. We kind of take a lot of things for granted." – Angela Romero
Angela talked about how the idea for a statue came about and it was when she had lunch with a friend who came back from a tourism convention. A public relations employee from a German tour company that was working with Angela's friend happened to be a Charles Bukowski fan and asked about San Pedro. They discussed how there wasn't anything in San Pedro that directly commemorated his time in San Pedro and that's when the idea for a statue was mentioned. Angela started doing her research about the famous writer and stumbled onto a YouTube video where a man went into a local bookstore and the owner said Bukowski would visit and secretly sign his books. Angela stresses that the idea for a statue was not hers alone. After asking around to see if this project was possible and even desired in the community, she learned that the idea had been pitched a few times, once after his death, and again a few years ago.
She said timing was everything, since next year will be Charles Bukowski’s 100th birthday. Angela tells an interesting story about a friend of hers who owned Vinegar Hill Bookstore in the 90’s and threw a birthday party for Bukowski. Though he invited Bukowski, he never expected him to show. He made a surprise appearance and that would be the last birthday celebration he would have before he died in 1994 of leukemia. Knowing there was a lot of work to do, Angela needed support to get this project off the ground. She got support from the City Councilman Joe Buscaino and San Pedro Today magazine publisher, Joshua Stecker, before reaching out to local sculptor Eugene Daub, who said yes.
Why A Bukowski Statue:
“ We need a place for people to come, who are coming from out of town to visit him ... and learn about his life here because that’s why they’re coming here and they want to feel close to him and I want to provide that place. I feel like the statue will do that" – Angela Romero
In terms of what’s next, Angela says that she is focusing on drawing people to donate to the GoFundMe campaign through fundraising events and marketing. She plans on having poetry readings, movie screenings of his work and selling merchandise to raise money. She further adds that a committee will be having their first meeting this week to discuss locations for the statue.
The GoFundMe page for Bukowski in Bronze
San Pedro Heritage Museum