In the aftermath of the Great Depression, the noir genre came into its own. Tough-talkin' broads and tougher-acting guys warred across black-and-white cityscapes where loyalty and morality were commodities; it was a slightly amplified version of the real world in which the desperation was ratcheted up a half-mile or so. Now, in the Xtreme Depression, noir's not gritty enough to capture the imagination. That's why the neo-noir movement gains new devotees daily. This is a new kind of hard-boiled, where antiheroes don't just veer slightly over the line between good and evil; they spit on it, stomp on it, set fire to it and then piss a little gasoline on the smoldering wreckage just to feel the heat from the resulting fireball. Local writers Scott Phillips (The Ice Harvest) and Jedidiah Ayers (Mosquito Kingdom) eat this stuff up with greasy spoons. So Phillips and Ayers have created Noir at the Bar, a new reading series that brings together the finest writers of scummy crime in an establishment that sells alcohol. The inaugural outing of Noir at the Bar takes place at 8 p.m. at the Delmar Lounge (6235 Delmar Boulevard), with Anthony Neil Smith (Hogdoggin') and Frank Bill. Come talk dirty to 'em, then enjoy readings by Smith and Phillips. Admission is free, but Subterranean Books will have copies of Smith's books for sale, and the Delmar sells drinks — you'll need money for those. Call 314-862-6100 if you have questions.
Thu., May 28, 2009