News: July 2007


Don is heading over to Denver for a good chunk of July, so no extra tours this month, open to just anyone who shows up — the tours arranged for groups by appointment are still rolling, of course. But you can mark your calendars now for Sunday August 5 and Sunday August 19, two tours with a noon start just like normal where all you have to do is show up with a tenspot in hand, everyone welcome. And in September you’ll find tours offered every Sunday in the month.


Last month Don drove out to Cross Plains, Texas, for the annual Robert E. Howard Days. His plan was to pick up the Cimmerian Award he got a couple of years ago for his critical anthology The Barbaric Triumph, but what ho!, in this year’s voting he ended up copping two more awards. He was presented with the Black River Award for discovering the typescript of Howard’s first book, A Gent from Bear Creek, plus a cache of heavily-annotated books owned by Howard’s father — discoveries he wrote up in the August and September 2006 issues of The Cimmerian.

Even better, he garnered a Black Circle Award for Life Achievement in Howard studies, the Big Kahuna of Howard-related awards. Very nice, and Don thanks all the folk who voted. He doesn’t know if he’ll be back in the running for any more Cimmerian awards in the future, but these three make for quite a haul already. Barbaric. Heavy marble bases. Cool skulls.


Last month Don did a tour for crime writer Ace Atkins and a bunch of other folk who showed up, ready to walk, and Ace recently popped in this update: “Just finished rereading The Maltese Falcon again. I can tell you I saw the book in a whole new — 3-D — way after the tour. I could get away from the engrained images from the film and see Spade’s apartment and the town at the time. I think your point about San Francisco being a new/fresh city in the ’20s is a major detail that’s easy to forget.”

After the walk Don and Ace and a couple of other guys adjourned to the Ha-Ra Bar on Geary Street, where they were joined for some hard-boiled talk and drinks by Bill Arney — and better yet, Carl the bartender. Carl is a prolific reader of detective novels and put the crew to the test with question after question. Luckily, Carl already owned a couple of Ace’s novels and Don knows enough about this stuff to hang in there when the questions got tough, so not only did they not get 86ed, but Carl stood them to a round of drinks. Thanks, Carl.

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