Noircon 2012, Evening I
My talk was short, sweet, and simple: ten minutes on noir music people might not think of as noir music, with examples from Brazil, Peru, Ireland, from jazz, country, symphony, opera, and flamenco, and a smashing conclusion with a recording of this song, from right here in America.
The presentation went well, I think, with a couple of hosanas and a huzzah flung my way afterward, including one from Robert Polito, editor of the Library of America's volumes of David Goodis and of American noir from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s.
Two highlights of the evening were contrasting views of Quentin Tarantino from the two filmmakers, and a surprising remark from Hatry about her choice of Wagner's Tannhäuser as a soundtrack for part of her presentation.
If I understood him correctly, Oren Shai cited Tarantino's self-referential genre storytelling as a vital response to exhausted genre conventions. Ed Holub, on the other hand, said it was fine for "Mr. Quentin Tarantino" to engage in "revisionist history, making sure all the parts line up, but there's more than that. I think he's missing the core." For Holub, the core of the original noir was postwar angst. Today, in neo-noir, he said, that emotional core has to be personal.
The remarks on Tarantino caught my ear because I'd said in my talk that Nick Cave's music struck me as mannered and too aware of itself, "a musical equivalent of the Coen brothers or Quentin Tarantino."
And Heide Hatry, whose work is intensely political, surely chose Wagner as an acid commentary on Germany and the hellish dangers of a nation gone wild? Nah, she said, she just liked Tannhäuser. Sometimes a piece of music is just a piece of music.
(Read Cullen Gallagher's behind-the-scenes account of Noircon, Day I at Pulp Serenade.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2012