Saturday, October 1, 2011

L.A. Noir Poetry: Month-Long Celebration Of Dark Side

Poetry and crime fit together like a fist and a set of brass knuckles.

At least that's what noted poet, biographer and editor Robert Polito will likely demonstrate in a program that kicks off a citywide month-long noir tribute, titled "Night and the City -- L.A. Noir in Poetry, Fiction and Film: Noir Immersion."

Polito's presentation starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. Admission is free for Beyond Baroque members, $8 for non-members, $5 for students. Reservations are required: Call 310-822-3006.

Polito (pictured, left) is editor of the Library of America volumes “Crime Novels: American Noir of the ’30s and ’40s,” “Crime Novels: American Noir of the ’50s” and “The Selected Poems of Kenneth Fearing.” He is editor of “The Everyman James M. Cain” and “The Everyman Dashiell Hammett.”

Also appearing is vocalist Cristy Knowings. A short film will be shown.

Polito's most recent books are the poetry collection "Hollywood & God,"Farber on Film." His Jom Thompson biography, "Savage Art," won a Nation Book Critics Circle Award.

He is completing a new book, "Detours: Seven Noir Lives." His criticism appears regularly in Bookforum and Artforum, and he writes about art, poetry, and film for The Los Angeles Review of Books. He is founder and director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at the New School.

The Program Continues

Other notable events in the series include mystery writers Gary Phillips, Dick Lochte, poet Richard Modiano and writer Judith Freeman, author of "The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved," talking about Raymond Chandler and his legacy on Nov. 4. That discussion will be followed by an evening with James Ellroy (pictured, left), author of "L.A. Confidential," "The Black Dahlia," and, most recently, "The Hilliker Curse."

On Oct. 29, Edgar Allan Poe Award-winning writer Naomi Hirahara and poet Carol Lem will discuss women in noir before a screening of "The Crimson Kimono," with an introduction by film noir scholar Alan K. Rode, all at the Japanese American Museum in Little Tokyo. Later that evening, a literary noir bar crawl, organized by PEN, will hit the streets of downtown.

On Nov. 5, the South Pasadena Library will screen the noir film "Union Station," with an introduction by historian Tom Zimmerman. The evening will include a tribute to star William Holden (pictured, right), who also starred in the noir classic "Sunset Boulevard" by actress Stefanie Powers.

Other events include poetry readings, theatrical performances, a continental noir breakfast with a featured noir guest, open mics, film screenings and literary discussions. The events take place across the city; some have free admission, others with ticket prices going up to $15. See the L.A. Poetry Festival site for complete schedule and details.

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