Slam This City!
Or anyone who gives a damn about anything more than the bottom line.
Gary Phillips, creator of the Ivan Monk series and editor of the recently blogged-upon Politics Noir, among about a zillion other projects, both will be bringing his considerable activist and literary mojo, MC-ing WRITE TO THE CITY, which is billing itself as "LA's First Writer's Slam on Genrification."
Among those attending are fellow local crime writers Gar Haywood (who writes the Aaron Gunner books), Rick Dakan, Larry Fondation, Denise Hamilton (the Eve Diamond crime novels), and our old pal Robert Ward (Shedding Skin and Red Baker), as well as the Big Man himself. Popping in from the Windy City to lend a hand is Sara Paretsky (the V.I. Warshawski books, of course, and the recent literary memoir Writing in an Age of Silence).
Here's the scoop from the official web site.
Can you imagine Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe hanging out at a gastro-pub? Or Dashiell Hammett writing the Maltese Falcon from a luxury loft?
Today, noir and mystery writers are documenting a common phenomenon.
Their characters’ lives are all facing a big problem: they’re grappling with the changing face of their cities.
The vibrant city celebrated in noir books and stories is fast disappearing. Its residents and local businesses are facing the same fate as those in the non-fiction world.
Gentrification is forcing them out of their communities.
Write to the City is a one-of-a-kind slam that will pair some of the country’s foremost noir and mystery writers with inner-city activists to trade stories in a genre-melding way. We hope you’ll join us on May 29th for a literary and political exploration of the city, and a chance to talk to someone you don’t know over a whiskey sour and a background of good music.
Okay, I'm not sure Chandler "celebrated" Los Angeles in his writing -- even then he was horrified by what was happening to it in the name of "progress." But what's happening now is worse. You look at what's happening in our cities (and our suburbs, for that matter) now and it's clear this cancer can't go on. The residents of Palmdale who snidely refer to Los Angeles as "down below" and think what happens down there doesn't affect their lives in a thousand different ways -- are in for a shock. The birds are coming home to roost -- and they ain't chickens anymore. They're birds of prey. And they're not going to wait for you to drop dead before they start feasting.
My guess is that --given this crowd and the bent of the evening -- there won't be a lot of Hummers in the parking lot.
Quality of life? Making our cities livable? A spit in the face of the strip miners of our cities? Crime fiction?
I'll be there.
Hope you are too.