By Johanna Drucker
FOR HALF A CENTURY, Beyond Baroque, the literary arts center in Venice, has provided a venue for an eclectic array of voices from diverse communities. Its program flyers and press releases have featured punk poets and New Age mystics, as well as gay, feminist, Black, and Latinx lyricists, storytellers, songsters, and activists. While creating an essential platform for Los Angeles and Southern California writers, Beyond Baroque has also attracted high-profile figures of international renown like Patti Smith, Tom Waits, Jack Hirschman, Dennis Cooper, and Viggo Mortensen. If Southern California shows up on the literary map of late 20th-century America, it is in some significant part because of Beyond Baroque’s tireless activity and advocacy. And the prevailing spirit of inclusiveness in its programming can be attributed to George Drury Smith, who founded the institution in 1968.