In 1968, Charles Bukowski was gaining minor celebrity with “Notes From a Dirty Old Man,” a column in the leftist magazine Open City. Asked to edit a literary supplement, Bukowski selected a story by his friend, Jack Micheline. Skinny Dynamite was an explicit short story about the sexual exploits of an underage girl. When it appeared, Open City publisher John Bryan was arrested on obscenity charges. Alan Ginsberg and Norman Mailer, among others, wrote letters of support and eventually the charges were dropped. The magazine did not survive the onslaught, but Bukowski and Micheline continued defending the outcasts and giving voice to the voiceless until their deaths. Bukowski died at 73, faxing poems from the hospital bed; Micheline died at the age of 68 riding the BART in San Francisco. These unique American Voices are brought to life once again at A Theatre Under The Influence.
Charles Bukowski, author of more than 45 books of poetry and prose, has become a literary legend with semi-autobiographical works such as Post Office and Women telling the trials and tribulations of the drinking man. When Hollywood made a movie of his life, Barfly, he wrote about the experience in the scathing and bitingly funny Hollywood. Reviled by the establishment, revered by fans, his portrayals of the humor and humiliation of common life are incomparable.
Jack Micheline was born in the East Bronx and first gained notice with the publication of River of Red Wine, with an introduction by Jack Kerouac and a favorable review by Dorothy Parker. Though well known and respected among fellow writers such as Langston Hughes and William Saroyan, he never gained fame in the United States, largely due to his abhorrence of anything middle-class. He traveled the world seeking life and finding the joy of everyday existence, writing and painting; and entrusting friends across the country with these pages of poetry, drawings, and prints.
Vincent Balestri met Jack Micheline while performing Kerouac: Essence of Jack in the San Francisco Bay area. Micheline decided that Vincent would “do a show about me when I’m dead,” and left books, tapes and drawings to make the job possible. Micheline and Bukowski were friends during there lives, sharing a similar state of mind, creative spirit and love for the race track. Balestri was nominated for a Best Actor award for a previous portrayal of Bukowski in Paul Peditto's Buk: The Life and Times of Charles Bukowski in Chicago 1993, written with the blessing of the title character.  
Michael Bisio (Bass) has become a Seattle favorite since moving here in 1976 from his home town of Troy, New York. Michael has played and recorded with Barbara Donald, Joe McPhee, Wayne Horvitz, Bob Nell, Andrew Hell, Sonny Simmons, John Tchicai, Bern Nix, Jim Nolet, Vinny Golia, Greg Bendian, Carter Jefferson, Charles Gayle and Marilyn Crispell. He has worked with classical companies such as the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Michael’s first recording Ours (CT Records) was Editor’s Choice in Cadence Magazine and he has made many fine recordings since then, including In Seattle (Swedish Silkheart), selected one the top ten “Best Jazz Records of the 1980’s” by the Village Voice. Michael has been recognized with industry awards and grants from arts organizations.
Creation of this work was made possible in part by Artist Trust