I’ve written about both Creative Colloquy and The Nearsighted Narwhal before. Creative Colloquy is a local group that posts original content on their website and once a month performs public readings at the B-Sharp Coffee House in Tacoma’s Opera Alley. They’re next gathering is on February 23rd. The Nearsighted Narwhal is a shop on 6th Ave. where you can find dozens of self-published zines from all over as well as books and CDs from local authors.
These two have joined forces to release Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal, a full length CD album of short stories and music all done in the noir pulp fiction style of the 1930s and 1940s. It’s available starting today at The Nearsighted Narwhal or you can purchase a digital copy at this link.
Full Disclosure: I have worked with both Creative Colloquy and Nearsighted Narwhal. I’ve been a featured author and contributor for Creative Colloquy. My book, Ruin Your Life is available at Nearsighted Narwhal and I have a zine coming out that I collaborated with the Narwhal’s Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas. And there is one track on Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal that is a short piece written and performed by me. This is all to say that my opinion is not entirely unbiased.
Valentine’s Massacre at the Narwhal is part noir anthology, part concept album. There’s a loose narrative tying the stories together along with short musical interludes by The Happy Sinners and The Bad Things. Each story is performed by the author with accompanying sound effects by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas.
It starts off with a man picking up a hitchhiker. To pass the time they tell each other stories. Each story is the sort you’d find in hardboiled detective novels or paperback pulp fictions.
William Turbyfill’s Dime Store Shoes tells the tale of a dead woman and a detective who has seen too much death.
The Happy Sinners follow this up with a haunting rendition of St. James Infirmary.
Jenni Prange Boran’s Pro is a story about a career convenience store robber who encounters something new.
Dressed to Kill by L. Lisa Lawrence takes a married couple’s Valentine’s Day kink to the extreme.
At this point we go back to our driver and hitchhiker still getting to know each other.
And then it’s time for the melancholy fun of The Bad Things with Can’t Get Enough of Love.
The dark stories continue with Ashes to Ashes by Christian Carvajal, a genuine LA Private Investigator story with a femme fatale accused of killing her husband.
LTR by Gregory Knight Miskin tells the story of a couple with a deadly intimate hobby with dark humor.
There’s a nice musical interlude in the form of Witness Statement by Dennis Ellis.
Next up is my own contribution to the album, a short story called Run Away in which a desperate man writes a goodbye letter to his mother.
Michelle Biddix-Simmons’ story Masterpiece has everything you’re looking for in a noir story: private detectives, mob bosses, and a woman as beautiful as she is deadly.
The album ends with along with the hitchhiker’s ride and The Happy Sinner’s sultry rendition of Mac The Knife.
As a participant in the album, I can’t give you an objective review of the album. I can say that it was a lot of fun helping create it and I enjoyed listening to these stories and letting their words create images in my head. The radio show is almost a lost art. This album does its best to reclaim it.
If you’re interested in listening to Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal, you can buy physical copies at The Nearsighted Narwhal at 2610A 6th Ave. or you can stream it for free or purchase a digital copy at this link.
– Jack Cameron