Archives for posts with tag: go-go dancing


Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
by Joan Jobe Smith

It’s hard to believe today how bellybuttons
once drove men crazy in 1965, bellybuttons
the raison d’être, Original Sin of go-go bars
when French bikinis were still banned on
California state beaches and American tv
and I wouldn’t wear a bikini at first, I just
wore leotards or costumes showing just a bit
of midriff, the go-go bar owners not caring,
a shy new go-go girl gave the place class, but it
drove the guys crazy, one guy one day offering me
$20 to show him my bellybutton and I told him
No, I don’t have one, but he didn’t believe me.
I’m a Martian, I told him, but he didn’t believe
that either, he just got drunker and drunker
and yelled at me all afternoon, Hey, Baby,
lemme see yer bellybutton Baby but I kept on saying
It’s all so silly nowadays.
I sure could’ve used that $20 back then in 1965.
I still could.

SOURCE: This poem appears in Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art, His Women (&me), by Joan Jobe Smith, available at

Photo: Joan Jobe Smith, 1969, The Playgirl Club, Garden Grove, California


The weather was perfect. The crowd was enthusiastic. The performers were sublime. The guest of honor was har-har-haring somewhere on the mild summer breeze. A good time was definitely had by all — the living and the departed — at the Charles Bukowski tribute on June 30, 2012 sponsored by Tongue & Groove.

In the above photo, Joan Jobe Smith, author of an upcoming Silver Birch Press release, swaps some Bukowski stories at intermission with Kenneth Sonny Donato. Both had questions about the original poems the other had read before the break. Sonny wanted to know where Joan had go-go danced (answer: Whisky A-Go-Go and other hot spots) and Joan wanted to know more about the radio Bukowski had appropriated from Sonny. While the two chatted, Buk sat between them taking it all in. Find Sonny’s book, A Poet’s Guide to the Barshere.

(Photo by Silver Birch, Los Angeles, June 30, 2012)


Here’s what L.A. legend Charles Bukowski had to say about Joan Jobe Smith, author of the soon-to-be-released Silver Birch Press title Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me): 

The poems of Joan Jobe Smith have the reality of force properly put down on paper…a game girl…she cuts herself loose into the stratosphere…a strange woman, a strange, good, basic woman.”


Joan Jobe Smith, author of the upcoming Silver Birch Press title Charles Bukowski Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), twisted, frug-ed, and mashed her some potatoes as a go-go dancer for seven years during the swinging ’60s and ’70s. Joan often regaled her friend Charles Bukowski with her go-go girl tales, as memorialized in her poem, “Bukowski Chugs Cheap Beer @ the No-No a Go-Go.” An excerpt appears below.

Excerpt from Bukowski Chugs Cheap Beer @ the No-No a Go-Go

© Joan Jobe Smith

…Bukowski never drank

at any of those go-go bars I worked those 7 years. Too

expensive, too uppity and all that rock ‘n’ roll too noisy.

No, he preferred the bossa nova and cheap beer at the

No-No a Go-Go’s where barmaids wore overalls, not

fringed bikinis and could toss out any drunk, including

him, with one bare hand. Midnights Buk phoned me long

distance, drunk because his Woman had left him again,

he listened intently to my go-go girl tales about men like

him, broke, lonely who drank too much, said wild things,

talk of men not like him: astronauts, murderers, rich men

wearing diamond pinky rings while Bukowski chugged his

cheap beer in his cheap apartment in L.A., blew smoke

from cheap cigars into the telephone at me sipping cheap

white wine 40 miles away till one night Bukowski finally

said: You gotta write about all that madness, kid. So I did.

Photo: Courtesy of Joan Jobe Smith