Right in the Kisser

In the world of noir, geography holds sway: Alleyways and archways surpass the curve of a femme fatale’s neck, street names carry more weight than guns. Driven by mood, creators and followers of noir fall in love with landscape. Since 2004, when Girls Against Boys bassist Johnny Temple first published the Brooklyn Noir anthology on his acclaimed Akashic Books imprint, the award-winning noir series has grown to include 28 titles, focusing on cities around the world. Each has pushed the limits of the genre by driving at the heart of place — from Istanbul Noir, composed almost exclusively of translated works by Turkish authors, to New Orleans Noir, which is divided into pre- and posthurricane tales. Of course, San Francisco has not received short shrift. The first volume captured this city’s rougher edges with writers like David Corbett, David Henry Sterry, and Peter Plate. Still, unreasonably, Brooklyn and D.C. remain the series’ top sellers. To right this wrong, San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics brings together some heavy hitters — Dashiell Hammett, Jack London, Ambrose Bierce — as well as contemporary voices such as William T. Vollmann, Don Herron, and John Shirley. At St. Valentine's Day Noir, celebrate the release and the city’s delirious underbelly with live readings.
Sat., Feb. 14, 8 p.m., 2009

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