Noir at the Bar comes to Denver Thursday

Noir fiction is full of seedy bars where desperate people make bad decisions to do worse things to each other. So it makes sense that if you want to offer a place for noir writers to read their work and interact with the public, you'll skip the bookstore and go straight to the source: Noir at the Bar.

Noir writers and publishers Jedidiah Ayres and Scott Phillips kicked off the first Noir at the Bar two years ago in St. Louis, and have since expanded the program to Los Angeles, as well as put out two collections of short noir fiction under the Noir at the Bar name. Now, with the help of a handful of local writers, Noir at the Bar is coming to a bar near you: Juanita's.

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"What Jed and Scott have created is kind of a public forum, like a performing MFA of the streets," says Cortright McMeel, one of the local organizers. "[It's] this kind of noir forum where people can come together and celebrate noir fiction and noir writers, and do it with their own sensibilities that tend to be a little more populist in tone and a little less hoity-toity."

The St. Louis iterations of Noir at the Bar have a reputation for being, well, a bit dangerous. Heckling is de rigueur, ice cubes are thrown, and it's not unheard of for an author to offer to fight someone in the audience. Don't let that scare you off, though -- McMeel doubts Denver's inaugural event is going to be quite that energetic.

"The one in St. Louis was fun and loud and rowdy, [but] the one in L.A., I think, was very chic and 'L.A. noir' style. I don't think it was anything like Noir at the Bar in St. Louis," he says. "The character of the city comes out. Denver's funny ... to me it'll be interesting. I would be surprised if it's as rough a crowd as St. Louis, but I definitely don't think it's going to be as artsy-fartsy as L.A. was."

The event is being put together by McMeel along with fellow local authors Mario Acevedo and Ben Whitmer. New Pulp Press publisher Jon Basoff will MC the event, and local authors Dan Barela, Chris Ransom, Steve Ransic Tem and Warren Hammond will read. At the gathering, you'll also be able to pick up copies of their work, along with both volumes of the Noir at the Bar anthology.

Noir at the Bar starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, December 13 at Juanita's, 32 South Broadway. Admission is free. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.