Saturday, October 23, 2010

After Bouchercon, or San Francisco, crime city

Bouchercon 2010 ( #Bcon2010 ) lasted four days for most but eight for me, and the bulk of my sightseeing came after my fellow attendees had gone home, exhausted by four nights of carousing at a hotel bar that stayed open as late as midnight.

San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood reminded me of Vertigo, the Embarcadero put me in mind of The Lineup, and Nob Hill was saturated with Hammett.

And then there was Inner Richmond (left/above), home of the excellent Green Apple Books. The neighborhood reminded me of no particular book or movie. But, like other areas of the city, it had the general feeling of an older time. If Nob Hill looks like the 1920s, Richmond looks like a small city in the 1940s or '50s. In both cases, the noir and hard-boiled ambience is rich.

Paradoxically, the city's modernity is partly responsible. The streets are honeycombed with overhead cables that power San Francisco's environmentally friendly electric buses. This evokes the days before power and other cables went underground.

The palm-lined block at left is somewhere on the way from Noe Valley to the Mission District, and if you saw a street that pretty in a movie or read about it in a crime novel, you'd know something dreadful was about to be revealed.

Finally, a mural from the Mission District (above right), just because it's cool, and a political candidate whose name is bound to keep the voters mellow.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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Blogger Paul D Brazill said...

It does look great. A city I've always wanted to visit.

October 23, 2010  
Blogger Solea said...

Hey Peter, I am a muralist and I'm glad to see you admiring murals - both graff & brush! Did you get to see any of Diego Rivera's murals?

October 23, 2010  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

If you like graffiti, the Flickr sites for wall art in Melbourne are really lively.

October 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Paul, the only complaint I've heard about San Francisco is that it can be expensive, at least if one drinks in the hotel bar at Bouchercon.

October 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solea, I did not know or had forgotten Rivera painted murals in San Francisco. Philadelphia has a big mural project that has done much good work around the city. (There is much poorly executed crap, too, but I don't think the crap is part of the Mural Arts Project.)

I liked signs when I was a kid, and I like anything in which script turns into art -- loose, cursive Chinese calligraphy in the Tsao style, or anything that looks like it for example. This includes good, colorful, creative graffiti.

October 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Tales, Adrian McKinty posed a link to some Melbourne wall-art sites some time ago. Do you you know the links?

October 23, 2010  
Blogger The Celtic Kagemusha said...

My favourite American city, even though its now 21 years since my only visit
(yep, I got out just before the earthquake hit!)

October 23, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The earthquake altered the part of town where the convention happened. The collapsed and demolished Embarcadero Freeway ran right past where the convention hotel was. I had been in San Francisco years ago, too long for me to remember that part of town, if I ever knew it.

October 23, 2010  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

I like the cryptic nature of city life, with all the hidden messages, as your photos represent.
I also remind myself that graffiti is an offense.

Also,in time, crime writing will work all the new technologies into the fabric of the text in a very satisfying way.

Found this today:


October 26, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"I also remind myself that graffiti is an offense."

Most graffiti is an offense against the law and the imagination. Could any expression of individuality be as uniform and dull as American-style graffiti tags have become? But the best of the Philadelphia murals are skillfully executed and real ornaments to the city. And those San Francisco murals are legal -- one has to assume -- as wll as colorful and attractive.

"Also,in time, crime writing will work all the new technologies into the fabric of the text in a very satisfying way."

In time, and perhaps in a satisfying way, but to what extent, who knows? One interesting current example is Rebecca Cantrell's iDrakula. I'm not sure such things will ever be more than interesting adjuncts to more conventional books. And thanks for the link. I'll take a look later today.

October 26, 2010  

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