Sinister Cinema: The Fest is Over

Noir City has folded up its sidewalks and slunk off into the night, and almost all that’s left are memories — and a really intriguing puzzle I noticed in the final day’s showing of the film Roadhouse Nights. More on that when my team of researchers finishes some detective work.

Got to see John Stanley again, after a long time — we’re forever linked in the land of cinema by our mini-movie for Creature Features entitled The Attack of the Incredible Killer Scarecrow, which has reappeared on various video and DVD compilations JS has marketed over the years. The shot above was taken on Tuesday January 24, comedy night — the selections of Unfaithfully Yours and The Good Humor Man got pretty funny at times, though the Preston Sturges was pretty damn dull for three-quarters of the action (yeah, I know, sacrilege). A funnier and much more noir bill would have been My Favorite Brunette and The Fuller Brush Man, but then they just may be too well known to haul in an audience off the mean streets.

And I learned that the “M” is for Mystery bookstore closed down shop in December — Ed, the owner, at age 80 decided to really retire (“M” was his second endeavor, after he retired from decades on his regular job), and adios, amigos. You can catch a couple of shots of Ed, garbed in white, shot during Noir City 2009. Uhoh. I hope Ace Atkins will find another place for signings next time he rolls through the burg. For the moment, and for the first time in over thirty years, the Bay Area doesn’t have a single dedicated mystery bookstore.

While that’s not good news, on the up side, Kevin Hunsanger of Green Apple Books stepped in and took over the sales tables, and seemed to be doing okay — I signed a lot of tour books during the Hammett-thon on the last day. And John Stanley was working his stock from a table — his previous title, I Was a TV Horror Host, released early in 2007, is down to under 100 copies on hand and around 50 with a distributor. Anytime a small press book moves out a few thousand copies, that is very good news.

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