Southern California 1931: Amongst the burgeoning urban sprawl built atop bulldozed orange groves and the bitter realization that you can’t eat the sunshine, recent emigré James M. Cain found a kernel of truth and his voice, which would eventually distill through his novels, ”The Postman Always Rings Twice,” “Mildred Pierce” and “Double Indemnity” and subsequent film adaptations into the unique American genre: Film Noir.
How did this East Coat sophisticate go from managing editor of “The New Yorker” to populist novelist accused of writing dirty books? The tour explores Cain’s L.A. from Hollywood to Glendale and along old Route 66, and includes illuminating visits to Forest Lawn Memorial Park (a Glendale institution and site of the funeral of Mildred Pierce’s “other” daughter, Ray), the Glendale Train Station where the “Double Indemnity” murder plot played out, and the punch line to a Billy Wilder joke so subtle, it’s taken 63 years for anyone to get. The tour will also cover the artisans who transformed Cain’s tales into film, including Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler, Joan Crawford and Lana Turner, each an important contributor to the Film Noir canon.
“Serial,” the true crime podcast from the producers of “This American Life,” has become an internet obsession. The first season broke the iTunes record for fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads and streams and the series has been covered by media from the Wall Street Journal to the Colbert Report.
A 15-year-old murder case is at the core of the story. Host Sarah Koenig has been exploring the disappearance and death of Hae Min Lee and the murder conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed. She and her team have been digging into the details and talking to the people involved, podcasting their findings in a new episode each week. Throughout the series the investigative team hasn’t known what was coming next or how many episodes it would take to tell the entire tale.
Now the story will come to a close in the twelfth episode to be released Thursday December 18. You can listen to the season finale at our Crawford Family Forum with fellow fans of “Serial” and KPCC managing editor of news Kristen Muller and science reporter Sanden Totten. After we hear the podcast, we’ll talk about the findings with special guests, including crime historian and mystery novelist Kim Cooper (Esotouric/ “The Kept Girl“), attorney Alan Jackson (Partner with Brown White & Newhouse LLP and former Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office) and attorney Lisa Kang (Alternate Public Defender for Los Angeles County).
Join us and tell us what you think about the case, the storytelling and its conclusion. Free, reservations required from https://www.scpr.org/events/2014/12/18/1637/serial-season-1-finale-listening-session/
Join us in the gorgeous National Register Pasadena Central Library, as true crime historian/novelist Kim Cooper discusses and reads from “The Kept Girl” (Esotouric Ink, 2014), a 1920s mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler, his devoted secretary and the real-life Philip Marlowe all on the trail of a murderous cult of angel worshippers. Accompanying Kim is husband Richard Schave, her partner in Esotouric bus adventures and LAVA – the Los Angeles Visionaries Association, and the designer of this 1940s-inspired paperback, the debut publication of their L.A.-centric press, Esotouric Ink. Kim’s illustrated talk will draw on her years of research into the lost lore of Los Angeles, with a focus on the bizarre Great Eleven cult, which ensnared dozens of credulous Angelenos in their mystical rites before one disgruntled ex-believer brought the whole enterprise tumbling down. You’ll hear about Raymond Chandler’s pre-literary life as an oil company executive, the idealistic L.A. policeman who is a likely model for Philip Marlowe, the real woman who inspired the character of Chandler’s secretary Muriel, and the terrible secrets revealed by the fraud investigation in the Great Eleven’s activities. Richard will share insights into how he used cutting edge computing tools to evoke the look and feel of a mid-century book, and Kim will talk abut the deluxe Art Deco wraps created for the Subscribers, whose pre-publication support covered a big chunk of the print cost. The talk will be followed by a Q&A, and copies of “The Kept Girl” and “The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles” will be available for purchase and signing by the author.
To sign up for this free event: First register as a user on this site, and then return to this page. Refresh the page and the signup tab will appear just to the left. Enter your email address. No plus-ones; each guest must register individually.
LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association and The Larry Edmunds Bookshop invite you to join Barry Day for a celebration of his new book, The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words (Random House). Space is extremely limited and reservations required for this free event.
Barry Day will give a short illustrated talk about Raymond Chandler and his new book, answer questions and sign books.
Immediately following the signing, LAVA co-founders and Raymond Chandler historians Richard Schave (host of Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles: In A Lonely Place) & Kim Cooper (author of The Kept Girl and The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles) will lead a free hour-long walking tour of Chandler’s downtown, ending at the King Eddy Saloon with a tour of the genuine prohibition speakeasy in its basement. Locations will include the Oviatt Building (called The Treolar Building in The Lady in the Lake), the Barclay Hotel (site of an icepick murder in The Little Sister), and numerous points of interest along the way. Please note that the walking tour will not return to its starting point, but it will be a short walk back at each guest’s leisure.
ABOUT BARRY DAY: Barry Day is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and a trustee of the Noël Coward Foundation. In addition to his seven previous books on Noël Coward, he has written about Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, Johnny Mercer, and Rodgers & Hart. Day was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) “for services to British culture in the United States.”
ABOUT THE NEW BOOK: Raymond Chandler never wrote a memoir or autobiography. The closest he came to writing either was in—and around—his novels, shorts stories, and letters. There have been books that describe and evaluate Chandler’s life, but to find out what he himself felt about his life and work, Barry Day, editor of The Letters of Noël Coward (“There is much to dazzle here in just the way we expect… the book is meticulous, artfully structured—splendid” —Daniel Mendelsohn; The New York Review of Books), has cannily, deftly chosen from Chandler’s writing, as well as the many interviews he gave over the years as he achieved cult status, to weave together an illuminating narrative that reveals the man, the work, the worlds he created. Using Chandler’s own words as well as Day’s text, here is the life of “the man with no home,” a man precariously balanced between his classical English education with its immutable values and that of a fast-evolving America during the years before the Great War, and the changing vernacular of the cultural psyche that resulted. Chandler makes clear what it is to be a writer, and in particular what it is to be a writer of “hardboiled” fiction in what was for him “another language.” Along the way, he discusses the work of his contemporaries: Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, W. Somerset Maugham, and others (“I wish,” said Chandler, “I had one of those facile plotting brains, like Erle Gardner”).