Thursday, December 4, 2008

Library Noir

Think my night prowling shots of the library are spooky? I guess I'm just tapping into the zeitgeist. Last month our sweet little hometown library hosted an Author Night with Steve Hodel, the national best selling author of Black Dahlia Avenger. In 1947, The Black Dahlia murder terrified Los Angeles with its grisly details. The tale of victim Elizabeth Short could have been lifted straight from the pages of Raymond Chandler. Short was a sultry drifter known for the sour company she kept and the sweet flowers she wore in her jet black hair. Her body turned up in pieces in a Los Angeles park, and for decades, the unsolved case has been the subject of investigation, public fascination, fiction and film adaptation.

So what does a brutal murder have to do with our fair city? Steve Hodel -- a police investigator with 24 years experience -- believes he has finally uncovered the elusive killer: a South Pasadena High School graduate, and (get this) his very own father! You can read all about the library's event here, and watch a local news story about it here.

Moving from real life crime to mystery fiction, The South Pasadena Library's next Author's Night is on January 22, at 7:00PM and features the Edgar Award-winning author of the fantastic Mas Arai mystery series, Naomi Hirahara -- who just happens to be another South Pasadena High School graduate. Prior to Ms. Hirahara's program, renowned jazz master (and South Pasadena resident) Elliott Caine will perform a freewheeling set of “Blue Note” style jazz. No tickets or reservations are necessary, and the entire community is invited to attend.

Thanks to our fabulously cool City Librarian Steve Fjeldsted for keeping me updated on all the famous -- and infamous -- goings on at our wonderful library ... and for not thinking I'm terribly weird for creeping around the place in the dark.

22 comments:

Tanya said...

Wow, that creepy on the Black Dahlia. What a strange twist! We rented the movie a while back but I really don't remember much of it. I don't even think we finished it for some reason.
Your night shots at the library are so colorful, love the tones.

Our house sits between two library choices. The distance to either, is about the same. I've been going to the Blue Ridge Library because Braden and Dalton used to have football practice pretty close to it so it made it convenient. But now I just read that our Fincastle library supposedly has a ghost that lives in it. Now I want to go to the library with the ghost,lol.

Mister Earl said...

Cool shot, Laurie.

One of my best friends claims that her uncle gave Short the name Black Dahlia. She said her uncle owned a drug store in Long Beach, and he had a habit of giving names to his regular customers based on some feature or characteristic. When the police showed him a photo of the girl who'd been murdered he said, "Oh that's the Black Dahlia." I have know idea if this is true or if other sources give another explanation, but I like this one.

Jutilda said...

OH MY. What I would give to come hear Elliott Caine's music.

The haunting feel of that night scene with it's acidic blue/green and almost chartreuse tinged yellow really lends itself to a murder mystery doesn't it? The curve of the sidewalk sweeps our eye across and to the back, where the lights make us squint and perhaps hide from view a monster lurking in the shadows. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Mister Earl said...

Sorry I misspelled "no," but maybe I "know" something...

Yakpate said...

Creepy, yes, but not in a Black Dahlia sexcapade way... that eerie glow emanating from the library suggests that Klaatu and his robot Gort are planning their next move in a half-century long quest to convince Earthlings that Peace, not War, is the answer.

Hey! In 1951 you two told us your planet would destroy Earth if we didn't cool it on the making war thing... now it's 2008 and you're just remaking the movie? The definition of insanity is (all together now)...

Halcyon said...

I have an odd fascination with unsolved crimes. I love watching those true crime stories on TV and reading stories and history on the internet.

Did you go to the event? Was it interesting? Were you convinced his father was the killer?

Snapper said...

That's quite a story. Right out of Raymond Chandler indeed! Your photo is indeed eerie but in a good way. I posted a library image today as well but it's quite tame. Cheers!

Wayne said...

LA Noir. I've read a lot of authors of the genre including everything James Ellmore has written. Except The Black Dahlia and I'm not entirely sure why. It isn't just because it's grisly but maybe because it's true and grisly. I've put it back on my list and if I read it I'll look for Hodel's book too.

Once again, Laurie, you've done an impressive job of expanding on the theme of your photo or creating a theme for your photo. Either way I'm impressed.

Dixie Jane said...

Another gold star light, another gold sidewalk, another interesting tale as presented by Laurie. I'm old enough to remember all the hoopla about The Black Dahlia murder. And the lingering question is always, why? Thanks for another night at the library.

San Diego Farmgirl said...

Laurie, before your blog, Pasadena was where I'd go to watch size 0 girls try on $300 jeans, and then feel bad about myself. (thankfully it's never a long walk to a bar on Colorado)

But I love your point of view soooo much better! I love your night shots, gosh, I can't shoot at night to save myself. How you get all that color and shadows is beyond me.

Finally, I'd imagine everyone at the library has a crush on you. :o)

USelaine said...

You? Weird? The library has you "on the books" as part of their security detail!

Wayne said...

Duh! It started to dawn on me, about half an hour from home, that I may have typed James Elmore when I should have typed James Ellroy. This isn't the first time I've confused Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy.

I have tiny brain syndrome.

Yakpate said...

Am I the only person who never learned to use the Huey, Louie and Dewey Decimal system?

I went to the library as often most kids go to the mall or the game store these days... and I found all my books by wandering through the isles.

Say... maybe THAT's the reason I can't master the art of html!!!!!

Yakpate said...

Oops! I meant by wandering through the aisles!

Now I've caught Wayne's tiny brain syndrome! It's temporary, isn't it, Wayne?

Ken Mac said...

even before reading your post, I felt spooked looking at the photo. you've really captured that darkness, the evil, the demonic spirit that haunts the weird corners of our populated urban jungles!! no, really a great shot..

JT said...

Love the night shots! South Pas especially "lights up" at night. One of my favorite activities during the summer is to walk SP in the balmy evenings. Murder mystery scenarios seem to swirl in my mind while walking the dark, 100-year-old sidewalks.

Petrea said...

I wouldn't call you weird, Laurie. Not compared to at least one ex-South Pas resident! South Pas oughta be glad to have you!

Blognote said...

"Chilly" indeed!! Fathers and sons ought to a lot of things together to strengthen their relationship among them, I agree, but this...

Tash said...

I remember the 1st post of the library at night that I saw - for your b-day treat. I'm not sure if the library exists during the day...it's only a facade .....
Wonderful, informative text with your post, Laurie. I've heard bits about Blk Dal but not as clearly as this.

Cafe Observer said...

Petrea, you once lived in de South of Pas??!

Laurie said...

Thanks for all the great comments and conversation today, everyone!

Tanya, I'd take the ghost library, too!

Farmgirl, remember -- this is South Pas, not Pasadena... two different cities and with two distinct personalities.

Blognote, your comment is too funny!

Petrea, you're such a doll.

Tash, I can't believe you remember my b-day post! That's one of my favorite pics. I really should shoot the library during the day! It's very beautiful and not at all spooky.

Til tomorrow, everyone...

Wayne, I get those two mixed up,too! I also often say John Updike when I mean John Barth. And vice versa. (Upton Sinclair/Sinclair Lewis, George Sand/George Saunders,Treasure Island/Robinson Caruso...)

Laurie said...

Oh, and Mister Earl -- I am choosing to believe your story is true! That's really cool... and kinda creepy!