Friday, September 19, 2014

DEAD MAN'S TOWN: Springsteen- King of Noir Music and Lyrics

Dead Man’s Town: A Tribute To Born In The U.S.A. Due Out This Fall

Written by  

On September 16, Lightning Rod Records will release a tribute album in honor of the 30th anniversary of Bruce Springsteen’s landmark 1984 album Born In The U.S.A., which spawned seven top 10 singles and sold over 15 million copies.
Dead Man’s Town: A Tribute To Born In The U.S.A. features contributions from Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Low, Nicole Atkins, Justin Townes Earle, Trampled By Turtles and more (see the track list below).
The album was co-executive produced by Lightning Rod Records founder Logan Rogers and Evan Schlansky of American Songwriter.
Speaking about his cover of the title track, Jason Isbell said, “‘Born In The U.S.A.’  is one of my favorites because so many people have seemingly misunderstood the lyrical content and the song’s overall tone. When you listen to the demo, the dark, minor key arrangement makes it clear that this is not strictly a song of celebration. We wanted to stay true to that version.”

‘Dead Man’s Town: A Tribute to Born in the U.S.A’ Tracklist: 
1) “Born In The U.S.A” – Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
2) “Cover Me” – Apache Relay
3) “Darlington County” – Quaker City Nighthawks
4) “Working On The Highway” – Blitzen Trapper
5) “Downbound Train” – Joe Pug
6) “I’m On Fire” – Low
7) “No Surrender” – Holly Williams
8) “Bobby Jean” – Ryan Culwell
9) “I’m Goin’ Down” – Trampled By Turtles
10) “Glory Days” – Justin Townes Earle
11) “Dancing In The Dark” – Nicole Atkins
12) “My Hometown” – North Mississippi Allstars

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Pulp Press Rocks NoirCon 2014

New Pulp Press: Bringing you the most original voices in crime fiction and neo-pulp.

Current Titles:

The Good Life by Frank Wheeler, Jr. The Forty-Two by Ed Kurtz Phone Call From Hell & Other Tales of the Damned by Jonathan Woods Capture by Roger SmithDust Devils by Roger Smith The Bitch by Les Edgerton Night of the Furies by J.M. Taylor The Last of the Smoking Bartenders by C.J. HowellHard Bite by Anonymous-9 The Fever Kill by Tom Piccirilli Gutted by Tony Black Paying For It by Tony BlackThe Rapist by Les Edgerton Frank Sinatra in a Blender by Matthew McBride Ugly Behavior by Steve Rasnic Tem A Death in Mexico by Jonathan WoodsHell on Church Street by Jake Hinkson In Nine Kinds of Pain by Leonard Fritz Crime Factory: The First Shift edited by Keith Rawson, Cameron Ashley, and Jimmy Callaway badbadbad by Jesús Ángel GarcíaThe Bastard Hand by Heath Lowrance The Science of Paul: A Novel of Crime by Aaron Philip Clark 21 Tales by Dave Zeltserman The Red Scarf by Gil BrewerThe Disassembled Man by Nate Flexer Almost Gone by Stan Richards While the Devil Waits by Jackson Meeks The Butcher's Granddaughter by Michael LionFlight to Darkness by Gil Brewer As I Was Cutting and Other Nastinesses by LV Rautenbaumgrabner A Choice of Nightmares by Lynn Kostoff Bad Juju & Other Tales of Madness and Mayhem by Jonathan WoodsRabid Child by Pete Risley

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Killers: A Narrative of Real Life in Philadelphia

The Killers
A Narrative of Real Life in Philadelphia

George Lippard. Edited by Matt Cohen and Edlie L. Wong

The Killers

256 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 11 illus.
Cloth Jul 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4624-7 | $45.00s | £29.50 | Add to cart
Ebook Jul 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-0996-9 | $45.00s | £29.50 | About | Add to cart
View table of contents and excerpt

"With its resonant social commentary, The Killers has assumed significance in recent American studies. But this engaging novel stands on its own as a portrait of city life, with special emphasis on the street gangs of Philadelphia's underworld."—David S. Reynolds, CUNY Graduate Center
PHILADELPHIA, the 1840s: a corrupt banker disowns his dissolute son, who then reappears as a hardened smuggler in the contraband slave trade. Another son, hidden from the father since birth and condemned as a former felon, falls in with a ferocious street gang led by his elder brother and his revenge-hungry comrade from Cuba. His adopted sister, a beautiful actress, is kidnapped, and her remorseful black captor becomes her savior, as his tavern is engulfed in flames. Vendetta, gang violence, racial tensions, and international intrigue collide in an explosive novella based on the events leading up to an infamous 1849 Philadelphia race riot. The Killers takes the reader on a fast-paced journey from the hallowed halls of academia at Yale College to the dismal solitary cells of Eastern State Penitentiary and through southwest Philadelphia's community of free African Americans. Though the book's violence was ignited by the particulars of Philadelphia life and politics, the flames were fanned by nationwide anxieties about race, labor, immigration, and sexuality that emerged in the young republic.
Penned by fiery novelist, labor activist, and reformer George Lippard (1822-1854) and first serialized in 1849, The Killers was the work of a wildly popular writer who outsold Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne in his lifetime. Long out of print, the novella now appears in an edition supplemented with a brief biography of the author, an untangling of the book's complex textual history, and excerpts from related contemporaneous publications. Editors Matt Cohen and Edlie L. Wong set the scene of an antebellum Philadelphia rife with racial and class divisions, implicated in the international slave trade, and immersed in Cuban annexation schemes to frame this compact and compelling tale.
Serving up in a short form the same heady mix of sensational narrative, local color, and impassioned politics found in Lippard's sprawling The Quaker City, or The Monks of Monks HallThe Killers is brought back to lurid life.
Matt Cohen is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Networked Wilderness: Communicating in Early New England.
Edlie L. Wong is Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland and author of Neither Fugitive nor Free: Atlantic Slavery, Freedom Suits, and the Legal Culture of Travel.

Pulp According to David Goodis: "The Pulp Jungle" (Jay Gertzman)

There were many kinds of pulp yarns: men’s adventure, crime, horror, weird menace, erotica (“spicy”), murder mystery, with a touch of sci-fi (the moon and other inanimate objects addressing characters from inside their own heads). The titles of pulp magazines reflect this search for novelty: Terror Tales, Astonishing Stories, The Mysterious Wu Fang, Fantastic Adventures, Horror Stories, Spicy Mystery, True Detective Stories, Spicy Detective, Spicy Adventure; Thrilling Mystery, -Sports, -Western, or -Aviation (air war). Just as the publishers needed to keep costs down with pulp paper, they needed to swim with a host of new titles and angles to catch the browser’s eyes, or they sank. 

In the 1950s, the paperback novel replaced the pulp magazine on newsstands. The crime short story continued in the usually digest-size magazines. Cover illustration, quality of paper, and format changed. Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Mike Shane Mystery Magazine, Manhunt, and Argosy were still distributed on newsstands as well as specialty stores and magazine counters. Spillane led Manhunt to a rousing start.

He was joined by Evan Hunter, Frank Kane, Goodis, and William McGivern, writing stories that specialized, not in PI or police procedurals as did Ellery Queen, but in more pulp-centered two- fisted, sexually provocative narratives with weird plot twists. Manhunt’s publisher added Alfred Hitchcock to its productions in 1956.

From the standpoint of advocates of literary standards, the originality might have been of the wrong sort—perhaps like the circus sideshow or urban mass entertainment centers, the archetype of which was Times Square: colorful but flimsy, sexy but sleazy, and existing to make money from the common man, in the pejorative sense of “common.” The newsstand pulps complemented the grinder films, outdoor auctions, juice stands, bars, and cut rate appliance outfits.

Pulp writing, as Erin Smith makes clear, was product, as contrasted to literature. “Earle Stanley Gardiner called himself a ‘fiction factory,’ explaining that he was willing to do endless revisions of his stories (‘merchandise”) to his editor’s(‘wholesaler’s’) specifications.” One had to write fast, and follow the rules of the editors regarding style, genre, and character. It was an entry-level job, which many with the right skill set, and the disciplined energy to keep pounding the keys, found lucrative enough. One also needed to research the field(s) in which he specialized. Goodis clearly knew the specifications, weapon capacities, turning ratios, armor plating, and diving tolerances of 1930s and 40s fighter planes, squadron formations, the duties of the leader, as well as the countries over which they were maneuvering. Writing with alacrity in two genres, sports and detective (as did Goodis), William Campbell Gault made $5,728 in 1946 ($70,000 in 2014 dollars). “Not a lot of money, but a lot of money for me.”

Trouble in the Heartland at NoirCon 2014

book cover


Dennis Lehane - State Trooper
Jordan Harper - Prove It All Night
Chris Leek - Candy's Room
Hillary Davidson - Hungry Heart
James R. Tuck - I'm On Fire
Lynne Barrett - Dancing In The Dark
James Grady - Thunder Road
Dyer Wilk - Dry Lightning
Tom Pitts - Local Hero
C S DeWildt - Glory Days
Chuck Wendig - Queen of the Supermarket
Mike Creeden - Something in the Night
Rob Pierce - Rosalita
David James Keaton - The Ghost of Jim Toad
Peter Farris - What Love Can Do
Chris F. Holm - Mansion on the Hill
Ryan Sayles - Highway Patrolman
Bryan Panowich - Wreck on the Highway
Matthew Lewis - My Hometown
Christopher Irvin - Death to my Hometown
Paul J. Garth - Nebraska
Les Edgerton - The Iceman
Todd Robinson - We Take Care of Our Own
Keith Rawson - My Best Was Never Good Enough
Isaac Kirkman - Streets of Fire
John McFetridge - Spare Parts
Ezra Letra - Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
Jen Conley - It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City
Benoit Lelievre - Atlantic City
Richard Thomas - Because the Night
Lela Scott MacNeil - Darkness on the Edge of Town
Chuck Regan - Radio Nowhere
Court Merrigan - The Promised Land
Eric Beetner - Open All Night
Steve Weddle - Meeting Across The River
Chris Rhatigan - Wrecking Ball
Lincoln Crisler - Born to Run
Gareth Spark - Straight Time
Jamez Chang - This Little Light of Mine
Richard Brewer - Last to Die

Sunday, September 7, 2014

YOU ARE WHO YOU EAT - Issei Sagawa

Without a doubt, the most impressive meeting I ever had was with the Japanese Cannibal Issei Sagawa. In 1981, he murdered and cannibalized a Dutch woman named Renée Hartevelt in Paris, while he was a student at the Sorbonne. He invited her over to his apartment for dinner, with plans to translate German poetry for a class. What he did was shot her in the neck, killing her, and then carried out his plan to eat her. After having sex with the corpse, and for over two days, Sagawa ate various parts of her body. He was discovered by the police when he attempted to dump the mutilated body in a remote lake. The police later that day found parts of the body in his refrigerator. 

After two years being held in Paris without trial, Sagawa was deemed legally insane and unfit to stand trial by French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, who himself is quite an interesting character. As an investigating magistrate, he became famous for battling anti-terrorism, specifically the far-lett group Action Directe. He eventually captured the notorious terrorist Carlos (the Jackal). In 2007, he left his occupation as a magistrate to work and support the Nicolas Sarkozy presidential election. Meanwhile, Sagawa was admitted to a mental institution in France, but eventually the French authorities took the decision to have him extradited to Japan. Once he got to Japan, he was sent to Matsuzawa Hospital, where he was examined, and all the psychologists found him to be sane. The Japanese authorities found it impossible to detain him because the French declined to release the court documents on the case. Technically his case was dropped in France. Therefore on August 12, 1986, he checked himself out of the mental institution.

Sagawa’s interest in killing and eating the girl was because she was healthy and beautiful. He, on the other hand, is ugly and slightly deformed. He was quoted as saying that he is a "weak, ugly, and inadequate little man." By eating her, he claimed that he wanted to “absorb her energy.” Sagawa not only killed a girl, but also destroyed his family as well. He is from a wealthy and loving family, but due to his crime, the father and mother lost their wealth and standing in the Japanese community as well as ruining any hope or chance for his brother to obtain marriage. As for Sagawa, as a writer, he couldn’t find a publisher for his writing and has been rejected from over 500 different places of employment. When his parents died in 2005, he was not permitted to attend to their funeral. He did repay their creditors over time, and eventually moved into public housing. It was during this time when I met Sagawa.

My wife and our friend were invited over to his apartment for lunch. It was his birthday that day, and I was asked to go along. I have heard of him of course, but I was totally repelled at the thought of meeting him. Yet, at the same time, I was deeply intrigued with his narrative. Once Sagawa was released he became well-known as a person to interview, if one wants to know the inside brain of a psychotic killer. He could articulate his own crime as well, because he has full knowledge of what he did, and doesn’t blame society, parents, family for his crime. It is all due to his sexual fantasy as well as his self-hatred for himself due to his unhealthy body. He became such a celebrity in Tokyo, that he actually ended up as a food critic for Spa Magazine. Nothing can last occupation wise for him, and the only thing he does have, is his skill as a writer. He wrote two books on his crime. One volume is about the murder itself, and the second book, which I think I would find more interesting, is what happened afterwards. With great temptation, I agreed to go with my wife and friend to his house.

It took awhile to get to his two bedroom apartment in the Tokyo area. Through out the train trip, I was very nervous about meeting him, and even more so, because lunch was going to be served. Once I got there, the first thing I notice is that he had a “welcome” mat by the front door. I knocked, and he answered the door. My friend introduced me and my wife to him. We shook hands, and invited us in. After taking off our shoes, we were led to his front room, which was interesting. By his front table, I noticed a dog sleeping, because you can see it was breathing. It took me a minute or two to realize that this wasn’t a living dog, but a dog-sized doll that is always sleeping. That slightly un-nerved me. Once we took a place on his couch, he sat right by me. He was totally focused on me, because he wanted to speak English and he was very interested in the Obama campaign at the time. I thought to myself “I hope to God no one knows that he’s a Obama fan.”

There were about five or six people in the house, and it was a small birthday party for him. There was a discussion about food, and there was none in the house. It was agreed that everyone will go to the local market as well as the nearby KFC outlet and bring food back. I was told to stay in the house with Sagawa and keep him company. Once everyone left the house, and I heard the door shut behind them, I felt very uneasy with him. Sagawa is a very charming man, and he noticed my behavior, which I tried to hide, but obviously failing in doing so. He offered to give me a tour of his apartment. In his living room, he had a sizable collection of first edition copies of Yasunari Kawabata’s work. He told me that he went to the Soborne to hopefully translate his works into French. To this day, he has a passionate interest in Kawabata’s writings. Also he had a collection of 19th century French dolls, which were displayed all over the apartment. He then took me to his bedroom.

Sagawa had a lot of things in his bedroom. On the floor he had straight porn mags, and then when you look at his wall, he has images that are carefully curated in sections. First row was pictures of cats and dogs, but photographed with brightly colored bows around their necks. After that, a series of images of J-Pop female teen idols. They appear to have been carefully cut out of fan magazines. Then there is a section of the wall that is devoted to the German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Basically prints of her underwater photographs. Also an autographed self-portrait of Leni, during her world war ll years, scribed to Sagawa. Then after that a series of photographed portraits of numerous German conductors. Sagawa has a great love for German orchestration and no surprise, is a huge fan of Wagner’s music. He's clearly not a fan of Debussy or a modernist like Stockhausen. Looking back now, I don’t think I have ever been to a more fascinating bedroom than Sagawa’s room. In one tiny area of his apartment, I caught the drift of his personality and passions. 

Before the other guests came back, he told me that if “the crime” or “incident” didn’t happen, he more likely would be teaching at an all-girl university. When he told me that, I just froze. Thirty seconds later he said to me that unfortunately each student would disappear one-by-one. At that point, I was just trying to show no emotion on my face. He gently hit me on the shoulder, and said he was only kidding. To release his stress, he tells me that his humor is quite dark at times. Also he did so to make me feel more comfortable in his presence. The truth is, Sagawa at least that afternoon, was totally charming. Clearly he was interested in me due that I’m a publisher, and my wife did read his two books, and she told me that they were incredible.

What’s interesting to me about Sagawa is not the crime he committed, but what happens after such a hideous act of violence. After one crosses that line, how does one live. For me it is not a guilt issue or how society sees that person, but more of a situation where all your life you are led to a specific act, and once you have done it, how can one go back to a “normal” life. I think Sagawa clearly thought that once he got arrested, the narration will end there. But alas, life is so full of twist and turns, and it is difficult to navigate one’s fate or direction in a world that is clearly insane. For myself, I usually turn to George Herriman’s great comic strip “Krazy Kat, ” which is about a non-gender cat, a puppy who is a cop, and a no-good mouse. As the landscape changes on a consistent basis in the comic strip, I imagine Sagawa is too traveling in a world of his making, but in a world or landscape that consistently changes, due to its mood. What should have ended for him, to be frank didn't. Clearly and without a doubt, the most fascinating man I have ever met in person is Issei Sagawa

Friday, September 5, 2014

NoirCon 2014 Press Release

 - 507 SOUTH 8TH STREET -   



NOIRCON 2014 , a biennial tribute to all things noir from literature to film to art and poetry, will take place from October 30 thru November 2, 2014. This conference is produced and headquartered at Society Hill Playhouse.

Program includes panels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, parties, movie showings, an awards banquet on the banks of the Delaware, Thursday evening at MOCA, the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, and a Sunday visit to Philadelphia’s Port Richmond Books.  Farley Books of New Hope will be on site at the Playhouse throughout the weekend , the official book seller for NOIRCON.

 Among the featured guests are.

 Fuminori Nakamura of Tokyo, Japan, who will receive the David Goodis Award for excellence in writing. Nakamura has won many prizes for his novels including Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize . Two of his books have been translated into English, The Thief and Evil and the Mask, both published by Soho Press. Tom Nolan, of the Wall Street Journal will do a one on one interview with this outstanding young writer on Saturday.

 Bronwen Hruska, Soho Publishing, is being recognized as an outstanding publisher in the crime fiction with the Jay and Deen Kogan award, last given to Otto Penzler of Mysterious Books.  She has led the way in translation publishing and opened many doors for women in the field.

 Eddie Muller, called the CZAR of Noir, will accept the Anne Friedberg Award for Noir Film Appreciation and Preservation, as well as introduce a special showing of the film, THE PROWLER, (written by Dalton Trumbo and first released in 1951) at 1PM Wednesday, October 30 at The International House  A novelist from San Francisco, many of his books relate to and examine Film Noir.

Scheduled panels include: The Black Dahlia, Jewish Noir, Existential Noir, The Politics of Noir, A Ross MacDonald Examination, Veering Off the Highway: How Springsteen’s Music Shapes Crime Fiction and Three Minutes of Terror, when every attending writer gets three minutes to share his work or ideas. Among the program participants are: Joseph Samuel Starnes, William Lashner, Joan Schenker, Stuart Neville, Jean Cash, Jonathan Woods, Robert Polito, Vicki Hendricks, Steve Hodel, Carole Mallory, Sigrid Sarda, Buffy Hastings, Jeff Wong, Duane Swierczynski, Tom Nolan, Alan Gordon, Megan Abbott and keynote speaker, Eric Miles Williamson.

Dr. Louis Boxer and Deen Kogan, director of Society Hill Playhouse, co-chair NOIRCON 2014.  For further information call 215-923-0210 or check the website: