(The Ebook can’t be pre-ordered until 90 days before
In this issue: for Goodis' daring incest novel, Of Tender Sin, scroll directly below the image of the novel's cover. For the writer's treatment of a femme fatale of biblical proportions, scroll down or press on Lilith(naked lady).
The image above shows a beautiful young teenager on either cover. But, when the book is fully opened, she is transformed into a child-monster. It is the work of the brilliant London-based designer [Jamie] Keenan. http://www.keenandesign.com/keenan%20usf.html Of Tender Sin (paperback original, Fawcett Gold Medal, 1952) is Goodis' most experimental novel, although he returned to the theme of incest several times.
The tender sin refers to the brother-sister incest. Al Darby and his sister were each other's "favorite person." She was trying tenderly to calm him when he saw her with her boyfriend, and Al got inflamed with lust. (He was 12; she was 15). Repressed, the event had been festering until one night, after a screaming argument with his nonplussed wife Vivian, Al has a "shattered dream," in which he sawan indistinct face of a woman with platinum blonde hair. French pbk with alternate title
That matched his sister's hair color, and also that of Geraldine, a attractive, dominating individual who enraptured him until he met and married Vivian. He returns to the dark, narrow house in working-class Kensington where he last saw her. She had been waiting for him, uncannily dressed in the same settled as when he left her six years earlier. Of course she is a platinum blonde. "This time you won't get away." Their mutual lust is more luridly described than that of the incestuous episode: “It was like crawling through a furnace, in the depths of the orange glow, down and down to where the fire was hottest. Then there was her wailing laugh that climbed and climbed until it broke ." Geraldine is a symbol, or symptom, of Al's guilt. As a horror motif, readers would be familiar with the uncanny. There is lots of horror in pulp crime: Thompson, Woodrich, McCoy, Robert Edmund Alter, and Elliott Chaze. See https://crimereads.com/horror-and-crime-are-kissing-cousins/ Goodis' evocative prose, as in the sample quoted above, is fine for it. Geraldine carves her initials in his chest, sends him out into a blizzard for a can of her favorite coffee, appears out of shadows in the same clothes as six years earlier, and finally orders him to join her in pushing cocaine to school children.
Lilithwas Adam's first mate, but due to her demand for equal status, she was banished to the pagan hinterlands, where she became the consort of Samael (Satan). Perhaps that's Samael in the painting above. She enticed and destroyed men, similar to the Sirens in Homer. Her special talent was preventing women from having normal childbirth experiences. Goodis alludes to this when Geraldine wants him to sell cocaine to school children, which would almost certainly shorten their life span. Often she and Samael kidnapped babies, replacing them with evil-souled creatures--see Keenan's illustration for the novel above. Blood is a kind of food and drink to her, especially Al’s, as her first and most insistent sexual turn-on is the carving of her “G” in his chest. Only when her sadism is most irresistible to Al does she call him “darling.” I discuss other allusions that show Goodis' knowledge of the myth in my book. Geraldine is Al Darby's self-imposed torture for that forcing of his sister (after which he never saw her again). His nobility is in that very need to atone, which drew him in nightmare canniness to snowed-in, ice-bound Kensington and her old dark house, a kind of time warp. He was there 6 years before, and perhaps, if one's fate is set in ancient stone, as seems true with Goodis' ensnared protagonists, prisoners of sex, he was always there. Does he escape?
A Festival of
Classic Film Noir Movies and an Exhibition of Original Posters,
Books, Magazines and Artwork of the Genre
May 18 – May
Opening reception: May 18, 5:00 – 7:00
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FilmYard is pleased to present Noir Fest, a weekend long festival
celebrating the classic genre known as Film Noir. Curated by producer William
Horberg and hosted by Hollywood screenwriter Howard Rodman, the festival will
take a fresh look at a genre that resonates in today’s world, as it did in the
post-World War II era in which it flourished.
Hard-boiled men, femmes fatales,
eat-nickels-and-spit-dimes dialogue, all of those noir conventions seem quaint
if not dated as we make our way through the 21st century: imagine a lone corner
pay phone on Infinite Loop Drive in Silicon Valley. Yet in the ways that
matter, the classic traditions of film noir could not be more contemporary. We
live in a doomstruck world, with annihilation just around the next bend, and
the possibilities for grace all too rare and fleeting. The odd, unexpected
comradeship; the adherence to a moral code even (perhaps especially) among
thieves; the possibility of love as a bulwark against injustice and cynicism--
All of these speak very loudly now, and in a voice we need to hear.
Rarely projected films such as Nicholas
Ray’s In a Lonely Place starring
Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, Detour,
directed by Edgar Ulmer and starring the unforgettable Anne Savage, fan
favorite Out of The Past starring
Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, and the ultimate French gangster drama Le Samourai starring Alain Delon and
directed by Jean-Pierre Melville will be screened.
Even rarer, episodes from the early
1990’s anthology television series Fallen
Angels which premiered on Showtime, produced by Horberg and written by
Rodman, will be screened. Join us for a conversation after the screening with
actor, director, and writer Vondie Curtis- Hall who starred in the episode Dead End For Delia along with Gary
We are very excited to announce the launch of Retreats from Oblivion: The Journal of NoirCon!Since we weren't able to hold NoirCon 2018 as originally planned, we wanted to stay active and do something to keep the NoirCon community together. One of our favorite parts of the conference was assembling and distributing the program. It provided a platform to bring together a variety of voices and share our interests and projects. The content was as eclectic and inspired as NoirCon's participants. We want to bring this same sense of excitement and community to Retreats from Oblivion. Short stories, essays, poems, artwork, photographs—heck, maybe even some noir sea shanties!
We also want to stay in touch through more frequent newsletters. If you have any new publications you'd like to share with the NoirCon family, shoot us an email at email@example.com with "Newsletter Submission" in the subject line and we'll include it in the next newsletter!
As always, thank you for your continued support.
Noirly yours, Lou and the NoirCon (and now Retreats from Oblivion) Crew
Deen Kogan, 87, cofounder of the Society Hill Playhouse and a woman who nurtured the arts in the city for decades, died at home March 28 while recovering from a recent back injury.
In 1960, she and her husband, Jay, opened the playhouse that became a platform for experimental and avant garde theater. Her passion for the arts and her community extended throughout Ms. Kogan’s life as she introduced street theater to Philadelphia, started a youth theater project, and founded a school for the arts. She was also co-owner of Port Richmond Books.
“She was a powerhouse,” said family friend Devon Allen.
Born in Cumberland County, Md., Ms. Kogan came to Philadelphia, where she attended Temple University, graduating in 1951. She and her husband then attended the University of Colorado to earn master’s degrees in the arts. They lived in Europe for a year, working at the Piccolo Theater in Milan, Italy, and at a theater in Zurich, Switzerland.
She was an accomplished director, actress, and producer, her friends said.
The Kogans opened their playhouse as Philadelphia’s “off-Broadway” theater for contemporary American and European playwrights. As the theater became more successful, it offered mainstream, long-running plays, such as Nunsense, Menopause the Musical, Lafferty’s Wake, and Three Penny Opera.
Ms. Kogan performed as Sally Bowles in I Am a Camera. Playhouse premieres included Jean Genet’s The Blacks, Brian Friel’s The Volunteers, and productions such as Rocky Horror.
In 1986, she designed a cabaret theater — the Red Room — in the playhouse to introduce new playwrights and mystery writers, resume experimental work, and host readings for plays never produced.
From the start, Ms. Kogan served as managing director of the Society Hill Playhouse and worked as its artistic director beginning in 1993. She held both positions until she closed and sold the theater in 2016 to a developer who demolished the building and its shimmering mosaic by Isaiah Zagar, to construct luxury housing on Eighth Street, between Lombard and South. At the time, Ms. Kogan told a reporter she was sad to close the playhouse. Then she quoted from Michael Cristofer’s play The Shadow Box, concluding, “Nothing Lasts Forever.”
“She and Jay … they were just brilliant people who had multi talents,” said Susan Turlish, who worked on many projects with them until moving to New York more than 10 years ago. “The theater was her first love, then books, then Philly.”
Turlish said she was among “hundreds of children” the couple mentored. From 1970 to 1983, the Kogans ran the Philadelphia Youth Theatre, teaching play production, dance, acting, and set design. Actor Kevin Bacon is among the school’s alumni.
While desegregation of theaters was still a concern, Ms. Kogan created Philadelphia’s first Street Theater with integrated casts from 1968 to 1970, bringing productions to neighborhoods on a flatbed truck that served as the stage.
Ms. Kogan was an avid reader and especially enjoyed mysteries. Her husband had long had an interest in owning a bookstore. When he died in 1993, Ms. Kogan asked a recently retired friend, Greg Gillespie, if he wanted to partner in owning a bookshop. Gillespie said the Kogans became part of his extended family after he auditioned for his first play at Society Hill years earlier.
“She bought it,” Gillespie said of the bookstore. “She was the biz person, I was the book guy.” They stocked the shelves with 400,000 books and invited authors to do readings.
Among other interests, Ms. Kogan enjoyed traveling, was a baseball fan, and had a fondness for opera, jazz and the Mummers. She chaired national Bouchercon Mystery Writer Conferences in 1989 and 1998 in Philadelphia. She was founder of the Mid Atlantic Mystery Book Association and was an active board member for the International Association of Crime Writers. She served on Temple’s library board and in 1974 was named a Distinguished Daughter of Temple University.
“Deen will be truly missed,” said her sister, Lynne Cutler. “I loved her dearly.”
Ms. Kogan was preceded in death by her husband and by her brother, Stephen Falk. Ms. Kogan requested that there be no public services, her sister said. She will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Donations in her honor may be made to the Philadelphia Foundation, (Jay and Deen Kogan Fund), 1835 Market St., Suite 2410, Philadelphia, Pa. 19103.
‘Noir,’ by Christopher Moore, and ‘Last Ferry Home,’ by Kent Harrington
By Gerald Bartell
April 12, 2018
Along with the photos, tourists — or anyone, really — might find a place for Harrington’s book and Christopher’s Moore’s “Noir.” Besides satisfying twists and reveals and sharply drawn characters, these two thrillers come replete with images of the city by the bay that are gritty and bright, romantic and melancholy.
Consider this panorama from “Last Ferry Home”:
“The Berkeley hills, the distant stark megalopolis called Oakland to the southeast, the Bay creeping along the Marin coastline, the midnight blue sky unifying it all, making it a whole landscape that was part of his DNA.”
And there’s this scene, from “Noir”:
“Sammy could see the loading cranes across the bay in Oakland, and railroad cars loaded with raw materials lined into the distance to the south until they disappeared in the mist.”
Their shared location aside, the two thrillers differ greatly in tone.
Harrington’s “Last Ferry Home” is a sober police procedural with a surfeit of details that fans of the genre will savor. Were two children picked up at a neighbor’s home at 5:15 or 5:45? Why is a dagger, allegedly the murder weapon, smaller than the depth of the victim’s wounds? And why is the State Department interested in a domestic double murder?
The case sends O’Higgins and his partner tracking the killer of a wealthy Indian in Pacific Heights and the family nanny. The victim’s billionaire father insists that his daughter-in-law stabbed his son in a jealous rage over her husband’s alleged affair with the nanny. O’Higgins is skeptical, but not entirely objective: He’s besotted with the beautiful widow: “The woman’s smile ... had the power to heal a man.”
And O’Higgins needs healing. Nearly a year ago, his wife drowned at sea in a boating accident. A therapist he sees insists that O’Higgins stop popping Valium and confront his tragedy. The vividly written passages describing the detective’s journey back to the horrific moment surge with grief. O’Higgins emerges as a strongly drawn character, but so, too, are all the others who appear here. “Last Ferry Home” is standout work.
Christopher Moore, also a Bay Area author, says the tale he spins in “Noir” (a title that makes it easy for bookstores and libraries to find the right shelf for his book) is “perky noir,” owing more to Damon Runyon than Raymond Chandler.
Perky it is, and suffused with nostalgia for San Francisco in 1947, when the action takes place — and when language and attitudes, Moore forewarns us, were not politically correct.
Moore’s characters could populate a sequel to “Guys and Dolls.” The troupe includes Eddie Moo Shoes; Pookie O’Hara (“260 pounds of crooked cop”); and a blonde named Stilton, a.k.a. “The Cheese,’ whom protagonist Sammy “Two Toes” Tiffin calls “Toots.”
Sammy’s problems are Stilton and a snake. One night a friend takes him to a “snake whiz place” where, for $20, older Chinese men drink a concoction of noodles and snake urine said to steel the men’s erections. (The deadlier the snake, the men claim, the better the results.) Sniffing a chance to make some bucks, Sammy orders a black mamba from a friend in Boise, Idaho. On arrival, the deadly reptile slides from his crate and and starts sinking its fangs into victims around town.
And then Stilton knocks Sammy’s socks off when she pulls up at the bar he tends on Grant, near Broadway: “She had the kind of legs that kept her butt from resting on her shoes — a size-eight dame in a size-six dress and every mug in the joint was rooting for the two sizes to make a break for it.”
Before you can say femme fatale, Sammy and the lady pass a long night of passion. But then, days later, the Cheese disappears, leaving a bereft Sammy desperate to find her.
His junket largely forms the rather simple arc of the story, which expands to draw in a black man determined to work as a Secret Service guard to Franklin D. Roosevelt, even though Roosevelt has been dead for some time; an Air Force general from Roswell, N.M., where a flying saucer has crashed; and a group of respected city professionals carrying on strange ceremonies up north.There’s fun in following Moore’s shaggy-dog plot, though some readers may find its ending loopy.
“Last Ferry’s” protagonist laments that “a rough-and-tumble legendary west coast port city (is changing into a] one-size-fits-all New America.” These two thrillers preserve a city where most everything comes in all sizes.