Monday, December 17, 2012

A Few More Seats Available For The Ride To Hell

Retreat to Goodisville 2013
January 5th, 2013


Embarking at 10 AM at
 The Grey Lodge Pub

Where: 6235 Frankford Avenue

More info: www.greylodge.com


Want a seat on the bus? We're asking for $50 per person to cover transportation, beer, soft drinks, bus snacks, prizes and incidentals. Seating is limited, so drop me a line at duane DOT swier AT verizon DOT net (with the subject line, "Retreat to Goodisville 2013") and I'll send you an address where you can send a check to reserve your seat.




Retreat To Goodisville 2012

 
Lou Boxer and Duane Swierczynski at the front of the bus!  Your Guides to Hell!
  
Cullen Gallagher graveside.

  
Bill Lashner reading Ken Bruen in Logan
  
Scoats, Ed Pettit and Bill Lashner at the Trestle Inn
  

Newby salutes the Trestle Inn Go-Go Girl


True Thug-4- Life Crew Circa 2012 at the Ben Franklin Bridge


The Ben Franklin Bridge in THE BUGLAR (1955)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jewish Hanukkah Noir Part II

NoirCon 2012 - Opening Night with Heide Hatry

R.I.P. Dave Brubeck

Noir - Give the gift of NoirCon 2014 this Hanukkah

Are you a NoirCon regular?
Looking for that something special gift for a true NoirCon fan or potential NoirCon fan?
Want to give new meaning to a gift straight through the heart for Hanukkah?

If your answer is yes to any one or all of the above questions, then the ultimate Holiday Gift can be yours this year!

You can be one of the first people to register for NoirCon 2014!

NoirCon 2014 will run from 
November 12 to November 16, 2014

The registration fee remains the same for NoirCon 2014.  For $250 you will be guaranteed to have the greatest time of your life with new and old friends of the genre.  Do not miss another legendary time in David Goodis's Philadelphia!
 

You can send a check or money order to:

NoirCon 2012 headquarters 
society hill Playhouse
507 south 8th street
 Philadelphia, Pa
 19147-1325
 215.923.0210 
www.societyhillplayhouse.org 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

NoirCon 2014


Get a piece of NoirCon 2014 in 2013



Are you a NoirCon regular?
Looking for that something special gift for a true NoirCon fan or potential NoirCon fan?
Want to give new meaning to a gift straight through the heart for Christmas?

If your answer is yes to any one or all of the above questions, then the ultimate Holiday Gift can be yours this year!

You can be one of the first people to register for NoirCon 2014!

NoirCon 2014 will run from 
November 12 to November 16, 2014

The registration fee remains the same for NoirCon 2014.  For $250 you will be guaranteed to have the greatest time of your life with new and old friends of the genre.  Do not miss another legendary time in David Goodis's Philadelphia!

You can send a check or money order to:

NoirCon 2012 headquarters
society hill Playhouse
507 south 8th street

 Philadelphia, Pa
 19147-1325
 215.923.0210 
www.societyhillplayhouse.org 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Noir - Retreat to Goodisville 2013


Will you be on the Bus Ride to Hell on January 5th, 2013?

Seating is limited on The Goodis Express. 

Want a seat on the bus? We're asking for $50 per person to cover transportation, beer, soft drinks, bus snacks, prizes and incidentals. Seating is limited, so drop me a line at duane DOT swier AT verizon DOT net (with the subject line, "Retreat to Goodisville 2013") and I'll send you an address where you can send a check to reserve your seat.

Do not miss opportunity to become a Thug-4-Life Goodis Style

Thug 4 life, bitchz!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Noir - Scorpion Press gets into the spirit of Goodis


Retreat to Goodisville – Philly tribute bus trip

Scorpion Press is the trade name of a small press that specialises in crime fiction for collectors. Although a very small British publisher, Scorpion Press has published some of the most prestigious names in modern crime fiction from around the world. Its distinctive combination of signed books by acclaimed authors, with additional material about the author by another writer, the special design and leather binding, combined with very small, limited runs have made it a durable success in its niche market.
Many noted authors have praised the Scorpion Press – including James Lee Burke, Dick Francis, Ken Bruen, Lindsey Davis, Reginald Hill and Julian Symons. Here are two commendations:
“Crime fiction is still often regarded as somehow second class stuff – so it is gratifying indeed to find some of the best current exponents dignified in finely bound Scorpion Press editions, books of as high a quality in their production as are the words they embrace – every sign of loving care”. H.R.F. Keating, past president of the Detection Club
“What a lovely production you’ve made of these; I hope you are as pleased with them as I am”. George MacDonald Fraser commenting on his Flashman Scorpion Press books

sCORPION PRESS


crime fiction in fine bindings 


For those that are fans of the late David Goodis, some fans have organised a special event taking place in January, 2013 at Philly.
It all began as a grave side tribute but interest has grown and fans come together celebrate the work of this noir writer on a special bus journey.
Goodis is admired by present-day crime writers such as Ken Bruen.  Part of the interest is undoubted influence on dark, ambivalent noir films in Hollywood in the 50s and later in Europe.

Jewish Hanukah Noir



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

R.I.P. YOSHINORI WATANABE




Yoshinori Watanabe, the previous boss of Japan’s largest yakuza group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, passed away this weekend according to the Hyogo prefectural police. He was the fifth-generation leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi and had rarely appeared in public since retiring or being forced out of power in 2005. He was 71.


 Yoshinori Watanabe
Yoshinori Watanabe, leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza group, walks toward the Kobe District Court, November 2002. (Kyodo / Landov)

Under the leadership of Yoshinori Watanabe Yamaguchi-gumi has grown into one of the world's most powerful criminal enterprises. In 1961, during a war with a rival gang, Watanabe was charged with weapons possession and served just over a year in prison. During the so-called Osaka gang wars in the mid-1970s, he was arrested once again for weapons possession. After his release, he continued to gain more power, becoming leader of Yamaken-gumi in 1982 and moving up the ranks within Yamaguchi-gumi. The Kobe-based Yamaken-gumi, a 7,000-member section, is the strongest and most influential among the gangs. The enactment of a law to crack down on organized crime in 1993 took a big bite out of the Yamaguchi-gumi's activities. But Watanabe worked on expanding traditional yakuza businesses like gambling, sex and drugs. He invested in the stock market and has expanded the empire to legitimate businesses as hospitals and chemical companies. The structure of the Yamaguchi-gumi is complex. Police estimated the total number of official members at about 18,000, with an unknown number of unofficial members. Watanabe is flanked by two advisers, Kazuo Nakanishi and Otomatsu Konishi, both of whom once challenged him for the leadership role. Below Watanabe are a group of 11 "Council" members. These are senior bosses, based mostly in the Kansai region, who set policy for Yamaguchi-gumi as a whole. The Council is headed by Saizou Kishimoto, head of Kishimoto-gumi and Yamaguchi-gumi's de facto second in command. A typical Japanese crime organization operates via a pyramid structure. Numerous groups exist under the umbrella of major crime syndicates, with each of the groups also having a number of subgroups. The 2004 Yamaguchi-gumi telephone directory, issued by the syndicate itself, lists 101 gangs. Monthly meetings bring together the gang bosses from around Japan who gather to hear the Council's decisions. Watanabe does not attend these meetings, sending his message through Kishimoto. While Kishimoto's announcement might focus on general matters, much of the concern the gang bosses have is related to practical matters like money.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

R.I.P. Spain Rodriguez

File:Zodiacmindwarp1.jpg
Spain Rodriguez, the celebrated underground cartoonist, died Wednesday at his home in San Francisco at age 72. Along with friends and co-conspirators like R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, S. Clay Wilson, Bill Griffith and Kim Deitch, Spain turned comics into a powerfully subversive medium. None of his illustrious pen-and-ink contemporaries were better at capturing the raw, weird beauty or the macabre humor of growing up in Cold War America. He was a master at evoking the sensual power of the city streets: thickly built bad girls, greaser Romeos, ducktailed doo-wop singers. He was an American original.
Spain Rodriguez
Phoebe Gloeckner

Born into a blue-collar Buffalo family with a left-wing immigrant heritage, Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez had an instinctual feeling for the underdog. He did stints in foundries where the pounding metal-on-metal percussion was so loud that men went deaf. He rode with a local biker gang, and got into barroom brawls. When the revolution began in the 1960s, he immediately knew what side he was on: “When I was a kid, I kinda didn’t like rich people…I just kinda had a bad attitude.”
Heading for New York’s Lower East Side, he fell in with the equally scruffy radicals putting out the East Village Other newspaper, and invented his most famous character – Trashman – scourge of the rich and powerful. Later he headed west to San Francisco, as it was becoming the Emerald City of the cultural revolution. He hooked up with Robert Crumb, a young refugee from a military family in the Midwest, and became part of the legendary Zap Comics troupe, which did much to give the 1960s its signature psychedelic realism look.
Spain was an intoxicating storyteller, and he unspooled his tales of juvenile delinquent Buffalo, or Lower East Side junkie heaven, or acid-dreamy San Francisco with an Old World leisure. His stories often took weird twists and turns, and had moments of startling violence. But Spain was more a lover than a fighter, and – with his raffish mane, bad-boy goatee, and dark-eyed good looks – he tended to attract women who were not altogether appropriate. I recall one story about a San Francisco femme fatale who locked Spain in her apartment while she went out and turned tricks for drugs. On another occasion, young Spain fell into the clutches of the notoriously libidinous Janis Joplin. His description of their affair was touching in its gentlemanly restraint: “Uh, she was a kinda forward gal.”
By the time I met Spain, he was pushing 60, happily married to documentary filmmaker Susan Stern and the father of a daughter named Nora. But he was still pushing the edges with his work. One day, near the turn of the millennium, he and a sidekick – cartoon story-writer Bob Callahan – appeared in the offices of Salon, which I was then editing, carrying sketches for a cartoon series they called “The Dark Hotel.” Managing editor Gary Kamiya – who became the story editor for the series – and I were immediately captivated by “The Dark Hotel’s” weird tunnel into the American psyche. Set in a seedy San Francisco Tenderloin hotel, the series – which ran for several months in Salon – featured Balkan war criminals on the lam, CIA drug experimenters, George W. Bush bagmen and other creatures from the dark side of Spain and Bob’s America.
Spain had a lover’s quarrel with his country. Deeply versed in history, he was keenly aware of America’s corruptions and outrages. But he never gave up on America, and even as he fought his final round with prostate cancer, he stayed tuned into the ups and downs of the presidential campaign, rooting for the imperfect Obama, whom he had campaigned for in 2008. “My hopes are that mankind will build a more just society,” he said as he neared death, in a film about his life that is being made by his wife. Although Spain could come across as the original hipster, there was nothing ironic or detached about Spain when he made these kind of openhearted comments.
Spain, who grew up on the gritty action men of EC Comics, believed in heroes and villains. He knew about Smedley Butler – the Marine hero who turned against U.S. imperialism and later helped rescue Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency from a Wall Street coup – long before I did. In 2010, Spain and I collaborated on a “pulp history” book about this real American hero, titled “Devil Dog.” One of the wonderful quirks I learned about Spain while working on “Devil Dog” with him was that this son of anarchists and socialists had a shameless passion for military uniforms and regalia. He collected whole battalions of toy soldiers from all nations and eras. And when I gave him a US Marine Corps picture book, filled with historic images of leatherneck uniforms and other memorabilia, Spain became as a giddy as a boy.
Spain loved to share his latest enthusiasms – like the Russian military chorus he found somewhere online that was fond of singing Irish ballads. At a Christmas dinner party at my house not long ago, where every guest was required to sing a song or recite a poem for their meal, Spain shyly held back until the very end. Finally, as he was heading toward the door near the conclusion of the evening, he suddenly turned around and began booming out a robust version of a song he had learned as a boy, “No Pasaran!” – the anthem of the anti-fascists during the Spanish Civil War. It was random, heartfelt, and totally Spain.
In his later years, Spain’s thick, wavy mane turned snow-white. He lived around the corner from me in San Francisco, and I would catch sight of him on a daily stroll, the lion in winter. He never seemed old or inaccessible to young people. My sons, now 18 and 22, and trying to figure out their own creative paths, felt instantly drawn to Spain, with whom they could talk about everything from film noir classics like “The Third Man” to vintage cars to the gangs that originally populated our streets when we first moved into the neighborhood. Spain loved to teach, loved to pass on to a younger generation what he knew about cartooning and life. He was teaching my younger son Nat how to draw – and, of course, filling up his head with all his stories of an older, weirder America.
When Spain was a boy in the 1950s, there was a public uproar about the kind of strange and shocking comics he loved to read. The hysteria led to congressional hearings in 1954 and a crackdown on the freedom of comics. One puffed up professor called the insidious effect of comics “the seduction of the innocent.” To Spain Rodriguez’s credit, he never listened to the censors and bluenoses. He allowed himself to be seduced. And his twisted and true comic art will continue to subvert generations for years to come.


201211281515 RIP: Spain Rodriguez

Anti-Noir: Human Kindness

cop

Photo of Officer Giving Boots to Barefoot Man Warms Hearts Online

On a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The officer disappeared for a moment, then returned with a new pair of boots, and knelt to help the man put them on.
The act of kindness would have gone unnoticed and mostly forgotten, had it not been for a tourist from Arizona.