Where does Film Noir fit in the larger world of crime films?
"One way to answer this question is to begin with a clear and complete definition of film noir. Unfortunately, that task has eluded greater minds than mine. Is noir a genre, a style, or a historical series of films? Yes and no, in all cases."
One way it differs is that it asks the audience to identify with a new kind of central character, the anti-hero, a type forged in the fires of World War II. This anti-hero might be the crook, the killer, the cop or the private eye, but he was always cynical, practical, of the streets.
Lifestyle Hacks of the Young and Restless!
A Wall Street Journal story entitled "Millennials Unearth an Amazing Hack to Get Free TV: the Antenna" says that young people are behind a surge in rabbit ears sales as they "discover" the decades-old technology.
Through a series of anecdotes, the article tells the tale of ingenue millennials who are shocked to learn that basic TV channels are free with the use of an antenna.
"I was just kind of surprised that this is technology that exists," 28-year-old Dan Sisco told the WSJ. "It's been awesome. It doesn't log out and it doesn't skip."
For cord-cutting youngsters, who rely on Netflix, Hulu and the like for their binging needs, there have even been some questions about the legality of rabbit ears.
"They don't trust me when I say that these are actually free local channels," a swap meet antenna seller told the Journal.
[Ed. Note: The "Swap Meet:" another hack ripe for discovery!]
Pickin' and a Grenin'
A chance conversation with my pal Yachta revealed there is someone else in the world who remembers and is a fan of the early work of Nils Lofgren and the band Grin.
From 1971 to the mid-eighties, Nils released a succession of brilliant records that showed off brilliant songwriting, guitar playing and singing. He then went on to the E Street Band, and has appeared with, produced, and written for a galaxy of musical stars.
And check out this video of him doing an acoustic version of "Long May You Run."
The Great Beaver Airlift
Enter Elmo Heter. Heter worked for Idaho Fish and Game in the McCall area. He had experience with beavers, and it was his job to find a solution. Heter knew there was a surplus of parachutes from World War II, and he had an idea. What if he dropped the beavers from a plane, into the backcountry?
So Heter came up with a specially-designed wooden box that would open upon impact. He tested it first with some dummy weights. Then he found an older male beaver who became his test pilot. Heter named him Geronimo. “And Geronimo went through a series of tests to see how this plan would work," says Liebenthal.
The Spirit Within You
Is a spiritual life a necessary part of being a human being? Can you be a fully realized person without a belief in some sort of higher intelligence or being or order of force?
And if the above is true, what is the connection of the unseen, the ethereal with the physical universe? Is there a connection . . . in your brain?
On the way to self-driving cars, let's slow down for a moment and review . . .
WHAT COULD GO WRONG? (self-driving cars division)
(arizona republic, 12/26/2016)
Woman found alive after nights stranded in forest
A Pennsylvania mother who trekked about 26 miles in snowy northern Arizona was found alive early Saturday after spending two nights in the forest while searching for help.
Karen Klein, 47, her husband and their 10-year-old son got stranded in the snow along a forest service road while trying to reach the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
State Route 67 is closed in the winter and the family's GPS system detoured them onto a forest service road, where their vehicle broke down.
Louisiana Book Festival, this Saturday, October 28, Baton Rouge.
Come see Fred Andersen's presentation on Hardboiled stories and Film Noir; stay to talk about and and get a signed copy of Lily Torrence. 12:30 at the State Capitol building.
As a bonus slice of Louisiana-ana (?), check out my story "Jaxon Square" about skulduggery in New Orleans: http://www.fxandersen.com/read
The Facts in Back of Lily Torrence (3): Gay in Hollywood
Homosexual characters figure prominently in Lily Torrence. Lily’s mentor, the glamorous and powerful Deborah Boynton, is a lesbian. Her ex-husband, Ted Hardy, is gay. Was this an intentional lavender marriage, or just a willing blindness to reality on the part of two young and ambitious people? Ted was the bigger star when they were married, but Deborah would prove decisively more ruthless in her ambition.
Though utterly destroyed by shame and alcohol after their divorce, Ted has resurrected his career with the help of his iron-willed second wife, a strong faith, and a hit play. It’s not that he is “cured” of homosexuality, but that to indulge that appetite would be a betrayal of the woman who is now the center of his life. So he suppresses, and finds, the book hints, other outlets for his desires.
In my book, the characters are in the grip of their times, the 1930s and ‘40s. A 2017 reader has an entirely different frame of reference. Today there is a level of acceptance that simply did not exist back then. If you were a public figure, especially in Hollywood, you were not gay.
But, in a way, so what? After all, to be in the upper echelons of Hollywood, you had possibly already given up your name, your family history, your cultural background, your natural hair color or hair line. You may well have had sex you didn’t want to have, given up a child or a spouse, and betrayed the one friend or colleague you had sworn never to desert. After all that, the loss of one’s open expression of sexuality was perhaps a minor quibble, or in an overwhelmingly closeted world, maybe even a relief.
Walter Mosley . . .
speaks the truth
about writing, race, real life in this great interview:
I especially love this:
"But I’m writing about a people, about black male heroes. Who writes about black male heroes? Langston Hughes, somewhat. And then, after that, it gets really sparse. I mean, there are a lot of black male protagonists, from Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Ellison, Chester Himes. But someone like Easy? Or Mouse or Jackson Blue or Fearless Jones or Paris Minton—the guy you want to go to if you’re in trouble? There are very few people who write about those kinds of heroes. When white people do it, they’re always drinking Dom Pérignon from the neck. It’s bullshit."
The Facts in Back of Lily Torrence (2)
Biographer Axel Madsen says "unearthing the truth about [Stanwyck's] sexuality would remain impossible," but also notes "people would swear she was…Hollywood's biggest closeted lesbian." And most Hollywood historians admit there's something to rumors that Stanwyck's marriages to Frank Fay and Robert Taylor were studio-backed "lavender marriages" created to keep the closet sealed tight.
Click the button to find out how this fits into Lily
The Facts in Back of Lily Torrence (1)
In the picture here, Billy Wilder is glancing with shall we say curiosity at the rather large sallow man in a tweed jacket who happens to be Raymond Chandler. Today, they're both historic figures. When this pic was taken in 1943 they most certainly were not, and they were struggling to write a screenplay of the best-selling novel Double Indemnity. Their efforts would be rewarded with fame and riches as the movie became one of the prototypes and archetypes of film noir.
The story of their collaboration, celebrated in Hollywood lore, is also the kickoff of Lily Torrence.
Click the button to read more.
. . . a trick that never seems to fail
Colonel Korn stretched sluggishly. "We've got to reach a decision," he observed casually to Colonel Cathcart.
"We've got to reach a decision," Colonel Cathcart said to Yossarian. "And it's all your fault. Why did you have to go around twice? Why couldn't you drop your bombs the first time like all the others?"
"I would have missed the first time."
"It seems that this discussion is going around twice," Colonel Korn interrupted with a chuckle.
"But what are we going to do?" Colonel Cathcart exclaimed with distress. "The others are all waiting outside."
"Why don't we give him a medal?" Colonel Korn proposed.
"For going around twice? What can we give him a medal for?"
"For going around twice," Colonel Korn answered with a reflective, self-satisfied smile. "After all, I suppose it did take a lot of courage to go over that target a second time with no other planes around to divert the antiaircraft fire. And he did hit the bridge. You know, that might be the answer—to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of . That's a trick that never seems to fail."
(Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, a book of cynical humor for all ages.)
EXCERPT: A LINE IN THE SAND
He grabbed his gym bag and looked in. His hand came out with money. He put a little packet of bills on the couch next to him. It was held together with a spring clip. He put another one on top of it. “Two.”
“You’ve got the stink of drug money all over you,” I said. I waved to Carissa at the other end of the pool. She seemed to look at me but did not move.
“Three,” he said.
I felt my legs tremble. Much as I wanted to leave, I could not move. I sat down on one of the lounges that faced the pool. I was no longer angry about being thought a whore, or afraid of being killed. I believed he really meant what he said. In his mind it was all perfectly ordered. He was buying purity. I am not Purity. “You still don’t get it. I don’t want anything you’ve got, cuz you are trouble. And I don’t want no more of it.”
Come Buy My Pretty Balloons—BOOKS!