Monday, August 18, 2008

Hammett-Inspired Artwork and Fiction

As Kevin Burton Smith reported, the San Francisco Arts Commission has commissioned a set of posters inspired by Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon by painter and illustrator, Owen Smith.

The idea is that they would be placed in kiosks along Market Street between Van Ness and the Embarcadero. My wife and I went searching for them the other day, and I was a bit bummed to discover they aren't that easy to find.

I expected they would be in the taller, more visible kiosks that JCDecaux installed when they sold the city on the the idea of using the advertising revenue generated from them to subsidize their automatic, public pay toilets (sometimes referred to in San Francisco as "hobo heroin huts.")

Turns out the posters are not on the tall kiosks; they are on the less common, harder-to-spot triangular ones. We eventually found the poster pictured here, just below Second Street, not far from the Montgomery BART station entrance.

It depicts the scene in Spade's apartment where he tells Brigid that he's turning her in. Spade's dialog is quoted on the poster:

"I'm going to send you over... You're an angel... If they hang you, I'll always remember you."

Pretty hardboiled!

In keeping with Hammett and things hardboiled, I've got the first part of a story called "Ride a Red Dragon" up at Seth Harwood's excellent It's set in 1920s San Francisco and features speakeasies in Half Moon Bay and gambling parlors in Chinatown, both of which are also settings in Hammett Continental Op stories from Black Mask.

Check it out here.


At 5:46 PM, Blogger Picks By Pat said...


Is there any chance you could get one of those posters...either buy one or "borrow" one?

One of those on my wall would be great inspiration as I sit here and try to write.


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