Swanky Lit Fun: Celebrating Dashiell Hammett

A 1950s-style menu and theatrical readings lend a special evening dash.

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The Thin Man 1934

Characters surely sparred and tarried before the sassy noir flicks that ruled cinemas some eight decades ago, but few couples did it with as much aplomb as Nick and Nora Charles.

Dashiell Hammett was the writer behind lit's most lively twosome, and he wrote several other lively and memorable characters as well. Among them? Mr. Sam Spade of "The Maltese Falcon."

His is a living legacy, however; the films inspired by his writings regularly draw new fans to his books, several of whom will likely be hobnobbing at the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Saturday, April 27. It's "A Dashiell Hammett Evening" presented by the Los Angeles Visionaries Association Literary Club.

Now we must pause and speak as straight as Sam Spade: LAVA Literary Salons are not your average book clubs. People come dressed to the nines in period dress and the speakers? They're swells, and pretty swell, too. Mr. Hammett's granddaughter Julie M. Rivett is set to speak at the salon, while biographer Richard Layman will take the podium, too.

A 1950s-style menu will be served -- crossing our fingers for fruit in aspic or something flambéed -- and actors from the Long Beach Shakespeare Company will do readings.

This is your night, if you like to dress noir, read noir, or if you can't get enough of "The Thin Man" flicks. Us? We're hoping someone comes dressed as Asta.

A ticket is one hundred dollars.

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