Sunday, January 27, 2008
A Hell of a Woman
On Saturday night, one of my favorite living writers, the profane, brilliant, violent crime novelist James Ellroy introduced his favorite Film Noir movie, 1951's "The Prowler," directed by Joseph Losey and written by Dalton Trumbo. "This movie is so dark that after it's done the only way to get it out of your head will be through a night of booze, and drugs, and bleak anonymous sex, all of which can be found easily in this miserable city by the bay," he announced to us from the stage.
Eddie Muller, the host of the Noir City Film Festival, then joined Ellroy onstage and thanked him for putting up money for a 35mm restoration of the film that had been funded by the Film Noir Foundation and UCLA. The last time Ellroy was featured at the festival a couple of years ago, he had just moved to Twin Peaks in San Francisco, "for a woman" (click here to see my fairly extensive account). The woman must not have worked out because he's back in his hometown, "that smog-choked, hellish place to the South known as Los Angeles," as Muller put it to him.
I couldn't stay for the two movies because there was a 30th birthday party for the writer Beth Spotswood to attend (click here for her site), so I went to the mezzanine and bought her a newly published anthology of crime fiction written by women entitled "A Hell of a Woman," and had a half-dozen writers in the book write a few birthday wishes for Miss Spotswood, who is a serious crime afficionado.
Beth's birthday party was being held at a charming dive bar in her neighborhood at 20th and York called Jay 'N Bees that features a backyard, Mexican food, and cool bartenders. Beth was resplendent in a new dress and even had State Assemblyman Mark Leno pop in to give her a very funny proclamation from the State Assembly.
While we were waiting fruitlessly for a cab outside the bar on this wildly rainy night, a large black SUV pulled up and out popped Joe Veronese, who is running for California State Senator against Leno and Carole Migden. I did not see a proclamation in his hand, but it was still impressive that he had shown up. Happy birthday, one-hell-of-a-woman Beth.