Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center is a literary arts center located at 681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, Los Angeles, California, founded in 1968. The center is based near the beach in Los Angeles's old Venice City Hall, built in 1906. It offers an extensive program of public readings, workshops, a project room, bookstore, publications, and chapbook/small press archive.
George Drury Smith started publishing the magazine Beyond Baroque in 1968 from a storefront in Venice, which became a meeting place with workshops and space for readings, art, and music. Although 10,000 copies of the first issue were printed offset, subsequent issues were printed in-house using a four-color process. Later the magazines were printed on bound newsprint and distributed free. Over the years, the workshops have been attended by numerous well-known Los Angeles writers and poets, including founders Joseph Hansen and John Harris, Leland Hickman, Bob Flanagan, John Thomas, Will Alexander, Philomene Long, and Simone Forti. The center's first librarian was Exene Cervenka of the band X, who formed after Cervenka and John Doe met at the Wednesday Night Poetry Workshop. Some of LA artist Mike Kelley's first performances were at the center, and the cover of one of the early issues of Beyond Baroque, featuring several experimental filmmakers, was displayed in the Pompidou's 2006 show on Los Angeles art. The center's reading series, featuring over 200 writers a year, has featured writers including Amanda Gorman John Ashbery, Amiri Baraka, Raymond Carver, Jerry Casale of Devo, Wanda Coleman, Ed Dorn, Allen Ginsberg, Leland Hickman, Philip Levine, Lewis MacAdams, Viggo Mortensen, Harry Northup, Alice Notley, Graeme Revell from the band SPK, Patti Smith, James Tate, V Vale, who formed a tabloid format zine focusing on various counterculture and underground topics named RE/Search Publications documenting punk subculture, and CK Williams.
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