The Mob Museum in Las Vegas holds what might be the world’s largest collection of crime exhibits and underworld collection and is the Promised Land for every noir and pulp mystery fan.
With a motto of “two sides to every story,” the Mob Museum’s mission is to advance the public understanding of organized crime’s history and impact on American society. It shows organized crime in all its facets, and puts a hard light on the glamour as well as the horrors of a real criminal underworld.
The museum is housed in the famous federal courthouse of downtown Las Vegas that saw the Kefauver Committee hearings on organized crime. It has restored the courtroom and turned it into a high-tech movie theater, where visitors can sit before the judge’s bench and watch on multiple screens reenactments of the trial’s highlights, where organized crime was dragged from dark alleys and into television watching America.
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The other day I was listening to NPR while driving, something only about half the people in my audience approve of, and I caught an interview with world famous author and full-time curmudgeon John Irving.
Irving is the author of The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, A Son of the Circus and many, many more. In the interview he refused to answer as many questions as he actually addressed.
While he presented himself in a generally professional manner, he was as crusty as day-old bread and gave the impression that he would really rather not be there.
Why do I bring this up?
I bring this up because John Irving is one of the best authors I have ever read and because he is also one of the authors I never, ever mention as my favorite writers, even though I should.
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As the hometown of Sam Spade, San Francisco is a major player in the geography of American Noir, and rightfully so. But it is really modern-day pulp writer and film expert Eddie Muller who puts the city front-and-center as the Noir Capital of the World!
This week kicks off Noir City, the 11th Annual San Francisco Film Noir Festival, presented by Muller, who novelist James Ellroy has appropriately dubbed the “Czar of Noir.” Running from January 25 through February 3, Noir City presents remastered prints of some of the best and darkest English speaking cinema has to offer on the big screen of one of America’s greatest movie cathedrals.
Noir City began the year with the thrill ride with Gun Crazy, written by Dalton Trumbo and staring John Dahl and Peggy Cummings. Gun Crazy tells the story of a passionate couple on a cross-country crime spree. The true gem of this showing was Noir Leading Lady Peggy Cummings. Cummings was in attendance and shared her recollections of a career in motion pictures.
There are many other facets to this crown jewel of Noir, including a Pre-festive Noir City Night Club last Saturday at the Regency Lodge, where serenaders El Radio Fantastique and torch song temptress Laura Ellis set the stage for an open bar and striptease sensation Eve Lovelle. This trip through time to 1949 was hosted by MC and Noir Czar Eddie Muller, and was the perfect way to get into the mindset of World’s Largest Noir film festival.
The true stars of Noir City are the films, lovingly restored to their original glory by the Film Noir Foundation. Classics such as Sunset Boulevard and Repeat Performance share the bill with little-known but intriguing noir stories like Hell Drivers, The Hoodlum, and The Sniper. Included in the festival are pre-code movies A House Divided, The Kiss Before the Mirror, and Laughter in Hell, as well as African American voices in Noir such as Native Sun and Intruder in the Dust. Also featured are the 3-D Noir offerings Man in the Dark and Inferno.
These dark clouds over San Francisco won’t last long, so head to the Castro and make sure you get your ticket for some of the best that Noir has to offer, brought to you by folks who truly live for the dark side.
This year the holiday season rushed in like a blitzing linebacker, catching me flat-footed and completely unaware. Today we finished our Christmas shopping, wrapped everything up, and started the holiday baking. Our cards went out last week, but we still weren’t done.
Kringle Noir follows our No-Name Detective as he hunts a gang preying on charity Santa Clauses. As our gumshoe runs down the clues, he comes to realize that these are no ordinary muggings. With the help of Jimmy Two-Fingers, a retired second-story man, No-Name goes undercover where no sleuth should ever tread: Behind the beard of a Saint!
To paraphrase Robert De Niro’s Al Capone: “They put one of our Santas in the hospital; we put one of theirs in the morgue!”
Kringle Noir sells for $2.99 at Amazon.com, but YOU can get yours FREE this holiday season! Go to our page on Amazon before 12/25/2012 and download your copy on us. Think of it as a Christmas present for those who might get left off Santa’s list this year.
Happy Holidays All!
Steve Gomez, Chief Investigator
The Noir Factory
One of the great things about living in the Sierra Foothills is that you can tell the difference in the seasons. That isn’t always the case in California, but up here, when summer turns to fall, you can see it, and even feel it. There’s a shift in the wind and a drop in the temperature, and a feeling right down into your soul that signals autumn here. It’s my favorite time of year.
It’s also football season! But this week, even though I bleed the colors of my football team, my attention has been shifted to a great post-season baseball run, and what is shaping up to be a memorable World Series.
Halloween is also a great time for me. Not because I love to dress up (although it isn’t a deal breaker), but I love horror stories, monster movies, haunted houses, and a good scare.
Oh, and those little “fun sized” candies! Their size alone gives you a free pass to eat more of them than you ever would if they were full size!
But I digress.
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