|Photos and Text by Pegarty Long|
Beat legend Philomene Long was born in Greenwich Village and cut her literary teeth listening to poets verbally sear the paint off the walls of their private hells. Later, after escaping a five year sentence in a Los Angeles convent, she migrated to Venice, California, wrote poems and was crowned "Queen Of Bohemia," ruling the poets, saints and mad ones, at the desperate edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Author John Maynard, in his book Venice West: The Beat Generation In Southern California describes Philomene as dark, mercurial and very Irish. "She was a regular feature of the Ocean Front in her tennis shoes, black thrift-shop dresses, long, straight hair, alarm-clock pendent, and heavy silver cross... still, somehow, considering herself a nun, she joined the world...and still lives the old ethic and upholds the old dream of salvation through creativity and counts poverty as a sign of grace."
For some, she and her husband John Thomas epitomize the bohemianism for which Venice West was once celebrated... "living amidst the dregs of society, finding uncommon beauty even in the shabby, water stained apartment that leaks from the ceiling, picking through life's dustbin, searching for scraps of the sublime." (Ellen Krout-Hasegawa. L.A. Weekly)
Philomene Long is an internationally published poet and film director,. Her films include "The Beats: An Existential Comedy" with Allen Ginsberg and "The California Missions" with Martin Sheen. Among her books of poetry are: The Book of Sleep; and The Ghosts of Venice West. Her most recent biographical book is Bukowski in the Bathtub: Recollections of Charles Bukowski with John Thomas Recent screenings and poetry readings include: Venice Film Festival (Italy); The Los Angeles County Museum; and Beyond Baroque, Los Angeles' oldest literary center in Venice. She teaches poetry at U.C.L.A. Extension Writer's Program.
Philomene spends her days grappling with the Muse in her Venice apartment, which overlooks the Pacific and gives poetry readings. Her close community of Beat poets pconsists of John Thomas, Frank Rios, Tony Scibella, Aya and the late Stuart Perkoff. Of these poets she has written: "To Venice from the late 50's to early 70's they had come, weary of deceit, consumed by the Muse and murderous silences, their footsteps; silent lightning, pierced deep into the earth. Venetians were here to devour fire and to be devoured."
Philomene Long is both a poet and a film director. Martin Sheen reads her poems in her film "The California Missions" which can be found at the Los Angeles Public Library as well as universities and libraries throughout the United States. "The Beats: An Existential Comedy," features Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Shirley Clarke, and Stuart Perkoff. It was screened in Italy at the 1996 Venice Biennale Film Festival. It was screened again, in November 1997. Among her books of poetry is The Ghosts of Venice West. In September, 1997, there was a book signing party for her most recent work, Bukowski in the Bathtub: Recollections of Charles Bukowski with John Thomas at Los Angeles' oldest literary center, Beyond Baroque in Venice.
Related Addresses and Related Web Sites The Venice Historical Society
P.O. Box 2012
Venice, CA 90294
681 Venice Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
L.A. Mudpeople And The Open-ended It
Side Street Projects (Pegarty Long's Web Page)