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Bar #28 & #29 – Cambridge Common/Bukowski Tavern – Post-Mortems

After New York and maybe DC, my biggest “fan base” (i.e. amount of local friends) is probably in Boston.  And, with only a mere 24 hours on the “How to Fail” tour dedicated to the city, I expected Thursday to be a boffo day.

Wanting to experiment, and since we only had a day in town, we decided to make Boston Thursday our first and only double-header on tour, booking both a lunchtime and evening event.  Lunchtime was at Cambridge Common, a largish sports bar/restaurant in the round.  Now maybe it was due to it being our only lunchtime stop, or perhaps you could chalk it up to New England puritanicalism, but Cambridge Common was far and away the most conservative ownership we dealt with all tour, sheepish about letting me promote my crude book full of naughty words (I don't exactly blame them).  We weren't allowed to stream the Fail-anetics videos, weren't allowed to display “How to Fail” posters around the bar, weren't really allowed to do anything but sit there looking cute.

Cambridge Common shouldn't have been so worried about offending it's clientele.  As we have quickly learned on tour, even “old” people were once young people and even uncool people want to feel cool and really no one gets offended by the book.  They may not have interest in buying, but they always get how someone younger, or cooler, or hipper, or more profane might.

After a quick respite, we moved the show to Bukowski Tavern a couple miles away.  Named after another legendary writer of naughty words (and drinker of strong drink, though I suspect my palate is better than his was), the bar has a splendid tap list and a unique food menu.  These are the kind of events I love, where the bar gets packed with people, but I know most of them.  I didn't have to wear my used car salesman cap at all at Bukowski Tavern, as I mainly just signed multiple copies of books for family and friends.  It was one of the more pleasant, and drunker, stops on tour.


My assistant having to leave Cambridge Common to go buy socks.  “Why, did you forgot to wear some?” I asked.  “No, the ones I'm wearing just aren't warm enough.”  I mean, indeed the city and bar were cold as Big Papi since he quit taking steroids, but still...I've heard of smoke breaks, but sock breaks?!


I may have just mentioned how no demographic is out of the range of the book but, nevertheless, when I saw two ooooooold ladies, dining on burgers, ogling my book cover across the room and mouthing the words, “How. To.  Fail?” I was a bit concerned.  When they nodded at me and asked me to bring them some copies for their perusal, I was getting nervous.  Easily in their late 80s, if not 90s, classy and sweet, I was embarrassed as I handed over the books.  I started getting red in the face when one of the women opened the book immediately to the page with a big “FUCK YOU” in the middle of it.  “Don't read this, you're gonna blush, and hate me,” I noted.  “Oh, you can't make her blush,” stated the other woman.  “She's written two books about human sexuality.” Come to find out, I was hawking my wares to noted human sexuality professor Zella Luria, a pioneer in the field (pictured above).  She bought a copy.  “You've made ME blush, Zella,” I signed in her book.  Surely the oldest, and one of the coolest purchasers so far.


Bukowski's has an awesome rotating tap list, but the hit of the day for me was super fresh Ithaca Flower Power.  This is an IPA that I just consider mediocre out of the bottle, but when you can locate a fresh keg of it—wow!  Piney, resiny, delicious.  I had far too many glasses.

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