Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

Banksy's DISMALAND - Mickey Noir Mouse where your Dreams are my Nightmares

The art furthers the park's sarcastic take on consumerism and amusement.
Toby Melville/Reuters

Jay Gertzman's Pulp According To David Goodis DID GOODIS READ FAULKNER?

In OF TENDER SIN, Al and Marjorie Darby are each other’s favorite person. They had hugged and snuggled after 12-year-old Al almost attacked her first boyfriend. Trying to console Al, Marjorie, then 15, seemed to glide closer, telling him she would never leave him. He got enflamed. They were in a sylvan area (“springtime grass, fragrance of violets,” bushes). “Don’t, don’t, don’t,” she cried.
Goodis may have been influenced here by THE SOUND AND THE FURY. In a place of honeysuckle scents, humid warmth, and rain water, Quentin prepares a double suicide with himself and his willing sister, Caddy, with whom he wanted to have incest. (He is impotent to do either). Their love for each other is both incestuous and of a pure, Edenic radiance, as is that of Al and Marjorie. In Faulkner’s Mississippi, it is an escape from a cynical father, a neurotic, withdrawn mother, and a culture so paralyzed by the “impurity” of miscegenation that Quentin’s impotent desire is a mirror image of the early 20th century South’s. Al’s forcing of his sister lacks such resonances, but the event breeds a storm of guilt and loss.


Pulp novelists often include examples of the basic humanity that some of the poorest and most needy of the hoi polloi have. In OF TENDER SIN, Goodis gives two instances of a minor character who provides unexpected help, or offers it. One is a burly man with whom Al Darby talks in a greasy spoon, while eating stew. He tells Al the stew is the one thing on the menu he would not touch, and adds that Al likes it because “You’re inflicting a penalty on yourself.” That is a prescient remark, but Al is not ready to listen, even when the guy follows Al out of the restaurant and wants to talk further. I think the writer suggests that "decent" and "respectable" citizens would not take the chance of behaving in this matter, possibly because their own comforts and class consciousness blind them to the responsibility of approaching people they do not know or trust.
Prime examples of this wise and empathetic stranger are the socially conscious African-American restaurant owner who shows the way to defy Hagan on THE STREET OF THE LOST; Shealy, Cassidy’s alcoholic buddy at Lundy’s Place, “a port for rudderless boats”; Winnie, the bar owner in the Kingston slum who gives the alcoholic protagonist a chance to revive and atone (THE WOUNDED AND THE SLAIN), and the intellectual barfly Carp in NIGHT SQUAD.
The protagonist meets these observers in hard-boiled locations on the edge of poverty. Each of them, perhaps due to his/her lowly status, is capable of taking the time to understand a point of view quite different from his own. It is what a reader hopes he could find in a democracy. The most closely described such character in OF TENDER SIN is Woodrow, Al’s African-American guide at the drug den. Al seems to need his company: “Don’t go away.” Woodrow’s gentle probing, and that of some of the other fugitives at the den, bring him as close as possible to what is really simmering in his fevered subconscious.
The image below depicts workers at the Philadelphia Dock Street produce market c. 1950.

Jay Gertzman's Pulp According To David Goodis PHILLY BOASTS LOTS OF FINE CRIME NOVELISTS

John T McIntyre: wrote pulp stories and novels about living conditions in the slum areas of Philadelphia in the 1920s and 30s, focusing on working class lives and the desperation that drove people with initiative and recklessness to racketeering. His Steps Going down (11936) won a best novel competition. Both Warner Brothers and Maxwell Perkins were very interested in his career.

William McGivern: a short story writer for Manhunt and other successors to the pulp crime magazines of the 30s and 40s, McGivern also covered the police beat for the Bulletin. His The Big Heat, Rogue Cop, and Odds Against Tomorrow were made into hit films, and are considered classic noir fiction.
David Goodis: Goodis was a man who wrote about a working and under class that he was not a part of. He transferred his own personal anxieties and neuroses to his protagonists in such a way that he empathized completely. His Kafka-like entrapments, his passages of emotional intensity, his yearning for individual authenticity, his belief in a spiritually rich life as evasive as happiness, love, or peace, his take on loneliness, despair, sexual dysfunction and guilt, all make him a unique commentator on the American dream
Seymour Shubin: still writing, Shubin is another example, like McGivern, of a crime reporter who wrote novels about the entanglements that result from single decisions by young, ambitious and needy men and women. He carries these moments of no return to their dramatic, tragic, conclusions with great story-telling power leading up the subtle insights tied to the continuing suspense.
Steve Lopez has two excellent noirs set in Philadelphia, written in the 1990s. The Sunday Macaroni Club is about upperworld-underworld collusion in fixing an election in order to continue using taxpayers’ money illegally. It is built on the principles of humor, violence, and sex interest that made Elmore Leonard a star in the genre. Third and Indiana is much more original and powerful, a story of a Black mother trying to protect her son from being absorbed in the drug culture of the badlands of Kensington. Lopez’s recreation of the culture of poverty and the struggles against it, without any help from City Hall, is remarkable.
I know of one “lost” Philly noir novel, William Garner Smith’s South Street (1954). It is a naturalistic study of the community, its musicians, rackets, drugs, interracial couples and their struggles between worlds. It merits reprinting.
William Lashner is very well known for his excellent thrillers, a few of which, such as Hostile Witness, are set in Philadelphia.
As for contemporary Philadelphia mystery writers, including Solomon Jones and Duane Swierczynski , Akashic’s Philadelphia Noir has a good selection of them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Noir Title for the Ages

Shadows of a Doubt: Hints of Emotional Conflict Within Black Metal Promotional Photography by Aleksander Jacobsen
Shadows of a Doubt: Hints of Emotional Conflict Within Black Metal Promotional Photography by Aleksander Jacobsen

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lock and Load in the name of Jesus

Alabama Church Opens Gun Range “in the Name of Jesus Christ”

“We have had this large hole in the back of our property at the church for quite some time, and we thought it would be neat to start a gun range,” said Pastor Phil Guin. “The hole was primarily filled with kudzu, and had been used at one time to get fill dirt for the new facility that was built on the end of our church building.”
“We started working on the gun range about a year ago with some of the members of our church helping to clean out the hole,” the pastor added. “Not only did we think it would be a good outlet for members of our church to be able to learn more about gun safety, but it would be a good outreach for the community.” According to pastor Guin, a lot of the church’s female members owned or carried firearms but didn’t know how to use them.
Originally, the range was used as a safe space for professionals and the police to teach firearm skills. But according to news reports, the safety training soon morphed into the ‘Rocky Mount Hunt and Gun Club’ which now caters to gun enthusiasts in the congregation and helps bring more people to the church. “This is an opportunity for us to reach out in the name of Jesus Christ in a setting that is completely unique,” Guin said. “Even odd by some people’s standards. But who’s to say that church can’t happen right here.”
In fact, Guin insists that the whole purpose of the range is to “provide recreational and gun safety in a warm, loving, Christian environment.” He said: “We wanted to come up with some different ideas to help our church grow, and we thought this would be a unique ministry to offer to the community.”
: Rocky Mount United Methodist Church Pastor Phil Guin practices shooting a target at the gun range located behind the church. (Photos by Emily Reed)
 Rocky Mount United Methodist Church Pastor Phil Guin practices shooting a target at the gun range located behind the church. (Photos by Emily Reed)
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“Right now, we are just really happy with how everything turned out,” Guin added. “We found a use for the small ‘Grand Canyon’ behind our church, and turned it into something that is pretty cool.”
Yeah, because churches are all about guns and being cool…