Modern Pulp Mar 24 2009
PEAK SMITHOLOGY
Painter Owen Smith is at the top of his form.

These may look like new Dashiell Hammett book covers, but they’re actually promotional posters painted by the brilliant Owen Smith for the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Art on Market Street 2008 Program. If you read our post on author Daniel Chavarría you know we love Smith’s work. When we see it we immediately think pulp, but we aren’t particularly reminded of any other pulp artist’s work. To be fair, we don’t know if Smith considers himself a pulp artist, but we do think his paintings are lurid and mysterious in way that make them a fit for the genre.

Moving on from the Hammett pieces, the painting chosen for the cover of Maureen Dowd’s Are Men Neccesary? is also great, though we don’t think it belongs on a collection of essays. Below that, The Forgotten Arm is an Aimee Mann album, and the pairing is also a bit square peg/round hole. If it has to be music, we’d rather see Smith’s work on a José James cd; if on a book, then where better than on the next James Ellroy? But the art remains brilliant regardless, and we look forward to Smith’s future creations. You can see more here.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 14
1911—Team Reaches South Pole
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, along with his team Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting, becomes the first person to reach the South Pole. After a celebrated career, Amundsen eventually disappears in 1928 while returning from a search and rescue flight at the North Pole. His body is never found.
December 13
1944—Velez Commits Suicide
Mexican actress Lupe Velez, who was considered one of the great beauties of her day, commits suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. In her note, Velez says she did it to avoid bringing shame on her unborn child by giving birth to him out of wedlock, but many Hollywood historians believe bipolar disorder was the actual cause. The event inspired a 1965 Andy Warhol film entitled Lupe.
1958—Gordo the Monkey Lost After Space Flight
After a fifteen minute flight into space on a Jupiter AM-13 rocket, a monkey named Gordo splashes down in the South Pacific but is lost after his capsule sinks. The incident sparks angry protests from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but NASA says animals are needed for such tests.
December 12
1968—Tallulah Bankhead Dies
American actress, talk show host, and party girl Tallulah Bankhead, who was fond of turning cartwheels in a dress without underwear and once made an entrance to a party without a stitch of clothing on, dies in St. Luke's Hospital in New York City of double pneumonia complicated by emphysema.
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