Monday, September 14, 2015

Me Elsewhere: Belly Up To The Classroom

It’s back to school season, even for yours truly. In my latest Down the Hatch column at Eat Drink Films, I recount my adventures in bartending class. Chief lesson learned: I finally crack the code of the gimlet, the cocktail Raymond Chandler made famous.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Happy Birthday, Preston Sturges!

In honor of the 1898 birthday of the American master of film comedy – and supporting character in our debut Lillian Frost/Edith Head mystery Design for Dying, available from Tor/Forge in April 2016 – here are his Eleven Rules for Box Office Appeal.

1. A pretty girl is better than an ugly one.
2. A leg is better than an arm.
3. A bedroom is better than a living room.
4. An arrival is better than a departure.
5. A birth is better than a death.
6. A chase is better than a chat.
7. A dog is better than a landscape.
8. A kitten is better than a dog.
9. A baby is better than a kitten.
10. A kiss is better than a baby.
11. A pratfall is better than anything.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Me Elsewhere: On The Rocks

A lazy lightweight, Deborah Kerr, Mad Men, and Hawaiian Punch. They all feature in my latest Down the Hatch column at Eat Drink Films, focusing on a trio of cocktails made with the same ingredient. That magical elixir? It’s the one advertised here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Extra, Extra!: Noir City

In Amadeus, Emperor Joseph II tells Mozart one of his compositions, while ingenious, includes “too many notes.” At Noir City, we tell Emperor Joe to stuff it.

The house rag of the Film Noir Foundation shines its spotlight on music, and we filled this issue to overflowing. Honestly, it’s an embarrassment of riches of which we are inordinately proud, and you owe it to yourselves to secure a copy post haste.

My favorite piece, for obvious reasons, is my lovely wife and writing partner Rosemarie’s debut in the magazine. When we finally saw Jean-Pierre Melville’s Deux Hommes dans Manhattan, Rosemarie became obsessed with “Street in Manhattan,” a haunting ballad performed onscreen by a singer billed as Glenda Leigh. Rosemarie wondered whatever became of her and doggedly tracked her down. Now Glenda Grainger, still singing at age 80, she tells the story of her jet-set career in an interview.

But that’s only one verse, kids. Open your ears and eyes to the following:

- Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus on the soundtracks of Philip Marlowe

- Ray Banks’ self-described “5000 word labour of love” on the noir ethos of Tom Waits

- Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra names his Five Favorite noir films

- Woody Haut’s survey of the 15 best film noir jazz soundtracks

- Jake Hinkson considers the country noir of Johnny Cash

- Brian Light revisits the scoring of Touch of Evil, by Henry Mancini and a cast of West Coast jazz heavyweights

- Maestro Eddie Muller not once but twice, recalling his friendship with jazz legend Charlie Haden and interviewing noir chanteuse Jill Tracy

Plus even more music, as well as our usual coverage of all things noir like my friend David Corbett’s razor sharp appraisal of the best film noir of the 21st century, El Aura, and Duane Swierczynski’s review of the new Blu-ray of Prime Cut. I yammer on about nonsense as well, sizing up a trio of titles that screened at the recent Seattle International Film Festival and serving up my usual Cocktails & Crime column.

Contribute to the Film Noir Foundation and this veritable feast will be winging its way to you. Don’t wait.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Me Elsewhere: Elementary, My Dear Bartender

Yours truly is all over this week’s issue of Eat Drink Films. First up is my Down the Hatch column, which reviews a new book destined to become a modern mixology staple: The Cocktail Chronicles by Paul Clarke. Included are some comments from Paul and a sterling trio of drink recipes from the book’s pages.

But wait! There’s more! Eat Drink Films also features excerpts from The Cocktail Chronicles, among them a take on the gimlet that could teach Raymond Chandler a thing or two.

Then I slide over to the film portion of the magazine for A Century of Cinematic Sherlocks, about seeing a pair of Sherlock Holmes films made one hundred years apart within days of each other. Swing by and give them – and the rest of the issue – a look, why don’t you?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Me Elsewhere: Oh! Canada!

My latest Down the Hatch column is now up at Eat Drink Films. In it, I serve up a pair of north-of-the-border cocktails just in time for Canada Day. Featuring cameos by Michael Caine and Errol Flynn. Check out the rest of magazine while you’re there. Plenty of good stuff.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Noir City Newsstand Now Open

More big doings at the Film Noir Foundation, kids. And what better time to launch a project long in the works than when FNF honcho Eddie Muller is serving as host of TCM’s Summer of Darkness?

The FNF’s quarterly magazine is called Noir City. Eddie is publisher and editor-in-chief. I’m co-managing editor along with the estimable Steve Kronenberg. Gorgeous visuals come courtesy of ace designer Michael Kronenberg. Each issue is packed with some of the finest writing on noir past and present, in every medium. And each issue is available by subscription only.

Until now.

At our new website, you can purchase individual back issues for the bargain price of $5.99 each! Peruse the table of contents before you buy, knowing whatever particular noir kicks you’re seeking, Noir City has you covered.

We’ve got theme issues on icons like Robert Ryan and Dan Duryea. We go way back for regular features on silent movie noir. We’ve got invaluable work from regular contributors like Imogen Sara Smith (on Jan Sterling, Jean Gabin, noir westerns) and Jake Hinkson (on Tom Neal, Peggie Castle, and those unsung directors known as Poverty Row Professionals). Not to mention Eddie, the man himself, weighing in each and every issue.

Noir City’s also your destination for crime writers on noir. Like Christa Faust on noir vixens of recent vintage. And an overview of heist movies featuring the likes of Ken Bruen, Laura Lippman and Scott Phillips. And Five Favorites, with masters like Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly and Lawrence Block giving you their quintets of quality. And Prime Cuts, spotlighting neo-noirs like Cisco Pike (Duane Swierczynski), Thief (Wallace Stroby), and The Offence (Ray Banks).

Plus there’s the stuff I’ve written over the years, on subjects like noir chanteuses, remakes, marriages, True Detective, dollhouse murders, and the films of Alan Rudolph.

Six bucks an issue, with all proceeds bankrolling the FNF’s restoration efforts. Throw in twenty bucks a year and each new installment will come right to your in-box. Do it now, because we just laid out the latest magazine – and it’s a killer.