David Schwep

Mything in Action: L.A. Contemporary Dance Company

His unofficial titles include “Poet Laureate of Skid Row” and “Los Angeles’ Dirty Old Man of Poetry.” His published writing career spanned 50 years, yet he was anything but a rich and famous author. Charles Bukowski was as complex an artist as they come — a querulous malcontent who could never settle down; a tormented rebel who grew up with violence and made it into a subject for his art; a sometime drifter who nonetheless managed to work for the L.A. post office for more than a decade and always called Los Angeles home. Even in death, Bukowski thumbed his nose at the conventional; his farewell message on his tombstone reads, “Don’t Try.” But try he did, to be faithful to the bold literary voice that was in him, and this week five L.A. musicians — composer Martin Herman, “free-range artist” Art Jarvinen, baritone Paul Berkolds, percussionist Amy Knoles and conductor/composer/singer Marc Lowenstein — pay homage to Bukowski with “Ordinary Madness,” a night of music performance and poetry based on some of his most incendiary writings. They dare you, they say, “to feel as passionately as Bukowski did throughout his life and work.” Just don’t go crazy. Redcat, Second & Hope sts., dwntwn.; Fri., April 18, 8:30 p.m.; $20, $16 students. (213) 237-2800 or www.redcat.org.

LA Weekly