When we came across novelist Denis Johnsons gothic noir Already Dead as sheltered young lit students, we were dubious about whether California could be a credible location for the genre. Darkness and shadows amid L.A.s palm trees? Molls and mobsters haunting warehouse spaces that had been repopulated by bright-eyed tech entrepreneurs? It seemed like a pretty ridiculous notion during the height of the 90s tech bubble. Little did we know the Golden State has long been an epicenter for existential crime fiction in book and film, from Dashiell Hammett to Barry Gifford. San Francisco in particular is the perfect location for noir: The thick bed of fog that cloaks the city hangs with dread and menace, cloaking the misdeeds of desperate criminals and the conflicts of reluctant heroes. The Bullets & Booze bar crawl uses a dramatic staging of Johnsons 2009 crime caper Nobody Move as an opportunity to pay tribute to this noir legacy, as seen in films like Dark Passage and The Maltese Falcon. Sturdy-livered participants will tour the watering holes immortalized by these classic noirs while watching dramatic stagings of Johnsons black-hearted crime narrative. Like the films that inspired this bar crawl, Nobody Move is a document of the seedy California id that no amount of progress can submerge.
Wed., April 27, 7 p.m., 2011