Monday, October 24, 2016

Noir At The Bar...Los Angeles

Cheers Mandrake
We cruised up La Cienega Blvd. The Waze App promised us the bar was on our right-1500 feet up. The App held up. We saw it at the same time. A building with no name but it had a marking we could
comprehend; a neon cocktail glass. And beneath that a pleasant three letter word: bar.

Simple. So simple it was perfect. We shut the ride down, locked her up and slid inside. Many would put this joint in the Dive category and I wouldn't argue with them. I said it was perfect, didn't I?

It wasn't until we got eighteen feet into the place that she told us her name; Mandrake. The joint was divided into two sections: bar,  hooch and old school turntables up front; tables and chairs in the back as if department heads or board members would meet back there to hammer out deals. That was the look she had. But this night would be different. A group would gather. Some would read from their works while others listened.

It was a new gig for me which meant I was the new kid in town. I'd been here before. Forty some-odd years ago I was the new kid in school. "Everyone say hi to Jonathan," the teacher sang. Now, on the brink of the big Five-One in years and comfortably nestled at Two Hundred and Two pounds I was the new 'kid' again. I was about to read a passage from my book DRUMROLL, PLEASE...A
The new gig baby!
LOU CRASHER MYSTERY to a bunch of good looking strangers.

Back in the day my gig meant loading six drums and the hardware along with it into my ride and hittin' the road. I'd set up, count to four and bash them drums like they owed me money. Tonight, it was a plain black bag bustin' at the stichin' with books, ten of them. I was nervous which was ok. It's when you're not nervous that the shit happens, shit goes wrong or should I use the word 'awry?' what with being a writer and all. The bar was stocked just right and the booze did as she promised. Somewhere during the hugs, handshakes and back slappin' I was informed that I'd be up first. I wouldn't have it any other way if the choice were mine.

I stepped to the mic with book in hand. I intro'd myself with light humor (if I may say so myself). Then I donned my 1.0 magnification friggin' readers. (Ah the joys of being 50 and 9/10ths). The reading came of without a hitch. The highs were high, the action was meaty and the sprinkling of jocularity did what I intended her to do. Six minutes later I was done. I welcomed the applause. (I'd be a friggin' psychopath not to right?). I can't say I was great or amazing, far from it. Getting over the finish line was the goal and that was achieved, baby!

But I must say it was easy because of the community. These mystery/noir/hard-boiled cats are so
Vinyl be slick baby!
dang nice and so dang supportive I don't know what to say...or write. So, let a brother end it this way: this is the new gig, the new home. A home where we write about hard-boiled P.I.'s, society's underbelly, fast talkin' dames and everything else that pops off within the perpetual rolling waves of crime. Ha, I love it here. I love the new gig. Thank you Noir At The Bar cats, I'll see ya down the road. Hold it between the ditches and stay outta the crosshairs.
Sweetest fan ever!


Einoti said...

I was one of those strangers entering the scene and feeling out of place. A bar. The "in crowd." Not a writer, not a drinker. Milling around, trying to fit in. The hipster scene on the patio...
Finally, the readings begin and I am home. Yes, I know this place. The words, the authors, carrying me into their world. Yes, I know this place, for I am a reader. For a few moments I fit in with the cool cats and it is delightful.
Than you. Paulette

Einoti said...
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