In this case, from a few of the folk who showed up for the Hammett Flash Mob on April 2nd of this year — but doesn’t the heavy red and green décor of The Ha-Ra Bar just shout out “Christmas!”? Standing left to right you have Ace Atkins, Christy Henry, ace San Francisco P.I. and pioneer Hammett researcher David Fechheimer, Vince Emery and Don, always ready to make a toast. He’s not as ready to schedule Hammett walks during the rainy months after 32 years on the mean streets, although a couple of groups by appointment have ponied up some loot and are prepared to brave the elements. In short, no extra tours this month, but have fun doing something else.
Of course, if you have drifted into the burg in the middle of winter and still want to walk the walk, you can always slip a copy of the new Dashiell Hammett Tour book into your stocking. Tom Nolan, author of the big biography of Ross MacDonald, suggests as much in a Crime-for-Christmas roundup for the Wall Street Journal. Yeah, the perfect gift for any hardboiled fan. . . .
And of course it is almost 2010 and all those science fiction stories have begun to catch up with and trample us. Just in case The Book is dead or dying, any techno type can now get the tour book electronically — for Kindle, for the Sony Reader and related devices, and as a downloadable PDF. Don still prefers the book book, but there you go.
Don’s pal in collecting Arkham House ephemerae, John Haefele (who was a cornerstone of info for the article on the ephemerae Don wrote for Firsts: The Book Collector’s Magazine), is beginning to roll into the series of books and chapbooks he has planned on Arkham House founder August Derleth. If you are interested in Arkham, H. P. Lovecraft, the way literary reputations are made and related eldritch subjects, John’s newest title is not to be missed. Don liked the manuscript so much he did a foreword especially for this limited edition. Get it before it is gone.
Next year begins with a memorial party for Dave Warren — a.k.a Flammo LeGrande, alias Irving Glick, and many more absurd identities — Saturday January 2nd from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Playland Museum in El Cerrito. Dave died January 2nd of this waning year, which happens to be the same date in 1977 that he and Gary Warne, Nancy Prussia and Adrienne Burke (Kathy Hearty was invited but couldn’t make it, and so became the fifth Beatle) founded The San Francisco Suicide Club. Every now and then some blurb writer states that Don co-founded that urban adventurer group — nope, those are the founders, Don came in about month three. Sure to be the biggest reunion of Suicide Club members in many a moon, presided over by the sardonic shade of Dave and his always ironic motto: “Have fun.”