“It was an amazing coincidence since they had already chosen Raymond Chandler as their author for 2012, and as I don't believe in coincidences, I immediately knew that the festival was meant to be,” said organizer Helen K. Garber.
Garber created NoirFest to celebrate her love of the sexy, black and white crime dramas and her 30th anniversary of living in Santa Monica with her husband, Stuart Garber.
“I was excited to share Noir with my favorite venues and organizations of Santa Monica,” she said. “Although small in size, geographically, Santa Monica is as an amazing cultural destination as it is a play destination.”
Persian photographer Gyula Halasz “Brassai” inspired her love for the genre, which she's incorporated into her own work as a photographer. Garber recently taught a class for the Otis Art Institute as part of NoirFest, sharing her nighttime shooting techniques and favorite Santa Monica settings, including the historic pier.
NoirFest Santa Monica has included art, film, photography, literature, music and scripted events at various historic venues across Santa Monica. Work on the festival began in 2010 when Garber approached the city's Cultural Affairs department, which agreed to produce a virtual tour of local places associated with Chandler and his novels. The tour included a presentation from Judith Freeman, a leading Chandler historian and author of The Long Embrace, who illustrated the history of the many homes that Chandler occupied while living in Los Angeles.
Then she connected with organizers of the citywide read who were preparing for the program's 10th anniversary. Noir experts, Freeman and Alan K. Rode jumped on board along with the American Cinematheque and the Santa Monica Conservancy.
"I had no idea there were so many people into noir," said Pamela Schoenberg, owner of dnj Gallery, which hosted two of the events. "It was a wonderful experience... both events were well received with large crowds."
Ultimately, Schoenberg said the events were successful because of the number of people who love noir, a genre that's grown in popularity recently with the HBO prohibition drama Boardwalk Empire.
NoirFest’s closing celebration will be atHotel Casa del Mar from 7-10 p.m. Wednesday. The hotel will offer a special menu, which will benefit two area Jazz organizations, KJAZZ and the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center. Guests are encouraged to wear vintage attire.