2010 Memorial and Tour
"From the nearby Delaware a cold wind came lancing in, telling all alley cats they'd better find a heated cellar" -- Shoot the Piano Player (Down There)
Dan Wolkow at Goodis birth place. (Photo by Duane Swierczynski).
Sunday, January 10, 2010 was the 43rd anniversary of the funeral of David Goodis. In his memory, the Noir Coalition of Philadelphia re-enacted his funeral and toured the slums, dives and streets-of-the-lost which he frequented.
Ed Pettit reports in The Bibliothecary:
David Goodis died on January 7, 1967, but he has not been forgotten in Philadelphia. A few years ago, Lou Boxer organized an event called GoodisCon which brought together hardboiled and noir writers and readers for a three day conference. That conference has morphed into NoirCon, which was held in 2008 and will reconvene in November of this year. If you're a fan of dark crime fiction, this is the event for you.
This past Sunday, Goodis fans from all over the East Coast got together to honor one of the dark lights of Philly for the second annual Goodis Tribute. This year, we took a tour of sites important to the writer: his homes and haunts, as well as places associated with his works (many of Goodis' novels are set in Philadelphia). The ever tireless Lou Boxer put together a program/tour book (over 60 pages of text and photos of Goodis and his city). This program alone made the trip worth it to those who came from other states. Stacy Shreffler from Boston and Steve Pause from Yonkers joined Philly guys Aaron Finestone and Andy Kevorkian in Lou Boxer's touring van, while ENMU prof Daniel Wolkow and some Polish writer named Swierczynski toured in the smoke-filled Pettit minivan. You can check out lots of great shots at Lou's Goodis blog, The Writer in the Gutter and Duane has posted shots at Flickr.
Here I am drinking on the site of Goodis childhood home, since torn down (photo by Lou Boxer).
After the tour we visited the Goodis grave and were joined by Larry Withers, whose documentary about Goodis has just been finished, Dutch Silver, who taught Goodis and his brother how to shoot pool, and Kieran Shea, who stopped by on his drive back to Annapolis. We read some selections of Goodis' prose. Lou Boxer read a letter from Humphrey Bogart about Goodis's work (Bogey starred in Dark Passage from Goodis' novel of the same name). I read my poem composed only of Goodis novel titles. And of course, several of us toasted the author.
Then we all proceeded to the Club House Diner for food and conviviality. Dennis Tafoya joined us at the restaurant.
Ed Pettit read his poem at graveside:
the moon in the gutter.
Somebody’s done for,
the street of no return,
the street of the lost,
Shoot the piano player,
The dark chase
of missing persons,
the wounded and the slain,
the blonde on the street corner.
Behold this woman,
fire in the flesh,
of tender sin.
Somebody’s done for,
Retreat from oblivion.