Stay-at-Home Drive-In Movie Madness!!

After regular movie theaters have suspended operations, many couples and families have rediscovered Drive-In Movie Theaters, where social distancing is a standard feature! My sister is a drive-in movie buff, and so she and her husband love to go to the Blue Fox Drive-In up on Oak Harbor, one of five still running in our state.

Mahoning Drive-in, Leighton Pennsylvania

Sadly, now even drive-ins will need to close for a while in keeping with Washington State’s newly issued Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, but never fear: we have the solution! Kanopy, available with your Seattle Public Library card, has everything you need for a classic Drive In movie night at home  – including some wonderfully schlocky classic drive-in movie fare. First of all, learn about the history of drive-ins and their revival with a pair of documentaries:

  • At the Drive-In: Saving the Mahoning Drive-In Theater. Unable to purchase a $50,000 digital projector, a group of quirky film fanatics in rural Pennsylvania fight to keep a dying drive-in theater alive by screening only vintage 35mm film prints and working entirely for free. An award-winning underdog story.
  • Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-In Movie. A product of post World War II optimism, the drive-in movie theater emerged as the perfect blend of entertainment and car culture. In light of the recent resurgence of drive-in theaters, this informative documentary studies the factors that affected the drive-in’s dramatic rise, decline and rebirth.

Then check out Kanopy’s other offerings to create your own double feature. In amongst a wealth of classic art house films and award-winning international cinema, lurk some truly forgettable yet indelible B-movies, redolent of the heyday of drive-in cinema. Note: none of these are family films. I’m talking about movies such as…

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125th Anniversary Series: What We Were Reading in 1891

2016 marks the 125th anniversary of The Seattle Public Library. After it was adopted as a department of the city in 1890, the Library opened its first reading room in Pioneer Square on April 8, 1891. To honor this milestone, we will be posting a series of articles here about the Library’s history and life in the 1890’s. We also encourage our patrons to share their favorite memories of SPL on social media using the hashtag #SPL125. Be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest. – editor

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a time machine back to the 1890s? You can! When we read like people in the 1890s, we see the world through their eyes. Go there now, via titles that were all the rage in the Gilded Age: Continue reading “125th Anniversary Series: What We Were Reading in 1891”

G is for Goodis, Dark Prince of Noir.

I know – you were thinking G was for Grafton, but as the Kinsey Milhone series already made an appearance in a recent post on the most prolific female detectives, I get to resume my Alphabet of Crime with one of my all time favorites: David Goodis.

Close your eyes and think of “Noir.” What do you see, hear, feel?

A hot, lonely city street, after midnight, after the rain. A pair of doomed lovers, trapped in each other’s arms. Plaintive minor notes echoing from a solo trumpet somewhere in the night, chords achingly unresolved, a call as seductive as the sleep of death. A fall; a plunge from the some fleeting promise of a better place, a better life, down, down to the inky depths of despair.

This is the kind of noir that David Goodis wrote. Not the gritty proletarian tragedies of James M. Cain or the sadistic depravities of Jim Thompson, but achingly lyrical jazz noir swelling and ebbing with dark and sensuous poetry. His words were like wounds on the page – wounds that will never heal. He wrote them fast and he wrote them cheap, and he died before the age of fifty. He’d had his brush with fame: Bogart and Bacall starred in a classic adaptation of his Dark Passage. French cinéastes lapped him up, adapting his books again, and again. Then he became a nobody, and then he was gone, the ghost of a forgotten melody lost down some dark alleyway, the silent memory of a song.

Now he’s back in a handsome new volume from the Library of America (whose fine Crime Novels collections included his 1950 novel Down There) featuring five of his most lurid, longing noirs. I think every crime fan should read at least one David Goodis; I suggest Dark Passage or Down There. To learn more about this quintessential voice of American noir, check out Shooting Pool with David Goodis, an excellent website devoted to his life and works.

Experiments with Fiction, Part 1

Find Tao Lin's eeeee_eee_eeee in the Seattle Public Library catalog.I recently read a strange little book by Tao Lin, called Eeeee Eee Eeee. It is fiction, a novel of sorts, although its characters are almost uniformly flat and disaffected (including the dolphins and the bears), anything resembling a plot dissolves after a few pages of slightly bored or mildly anxious introspection, and the language feels deeply repetitive. I would recommend it to you, but when all the usual crowd pleasers are missing, how can I?

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Fear and Loathing in Seattle

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. ThompsonIt was forty years ago that Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas came forth blinking and convulsing with manic, paranoid brilliance into the light, and what a long strange trip it’s been! Long acknowledged as a cult classic, as the decades pass by without lessening the immediacy and scathing volatility of Thompson’s drug-fuelled picaresque in quest of a bankrupt American Dream it is hard to resist labelling it as anything less than an out-and-out Great Book; Thompson, who had his earthly remains fired out of a cannon, seems to have come to rest in The Canon. So I at least maintained in a recent conversation with the Bushwick Book Club’s Seattle ChapterContinue reading “Fear and Loathing in Seattle”