NoirCon 2014 – Part 4

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Let me wrap things up: I’ve let them drag on too long, probably because I have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger since I got back. Or something like that. Fun ends and work returns and there is so much to do: I was grading papers on the train and sketching out a story in the hotel. There are no breaks for writers: there’s only writing and not writing.

There was the party though: or rather, the awards dinner. Some people really swanked up for it. I was, alas, short of any sparkling wardrobe options so I went as I was and hey, writers — so there were a lot of people to blend in with. Once again Absolutely*Kate whipped the troops into cabs, though at least a couple of the cabs had trouble getting their GPS to locate the Sheet Metal Worker’s Union Hall on the river. Swanky place!

None of the writers could quite believe that there was an open bar, but when the word spread it was like seeing a fire pass through a forest.

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There was singing, there was dancing there were ravens on the table. We had a very nice meal and a lot of chat, quite like a shindig and many tasty treats.The 4th David L. Goodis Award was presented to Fuminori Nakamura
 and the 4th Jay and Deen Kogan Award was presented to Bronwen Hruska
. Howard Rodman presented Eddie Muller with the Anne Friedberg Award for Noir Film Appreciation and Preservation and there was live music courtesy of The All Star Jazz Trio: Bruce Klauber, Bruce Kaminsky,and Andy Kahn. We danced. At some point I was inducted into the mystical order of the Black Rose Society (but my lips are sealed — for now). And there was a piñata that looked like Frank Sidebottom at the Day of the Dead. Nakamura cracked it open with a few good whacks. And then we went to the Marriott for more drinks.

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The next morning we were all (when I say “all” of course I mean those of us who were not drinking late into the night) up early for Steve Hodel’s second talk “Most Evil” in which he sketched in the case for his father as a potential candidate for Zodiac. “I’m not saying ‘he did it’ but I think he should move toward the top of the list of suspects.” Wow, it’s chilling. The weight of the evidence is really quite compelling and the thought of discovering your father as not just a killer but perhaps one of the most notorious killers of the 20th century is gob-stoppingly shocking. Despite a lot of the Black Dahlia evidence conveniently disappearing (George Hodel had procured abortions for a number of Hollywood and LAPD folks in the 40s and 50s) and Zodiac evidence being unavailable, Hodel makes a solid argument for the connections that will chill you to the bone. Do pick up his books if this is something you’re up on because wow.

I had to catch a train and missed the closing ceremony at Port Richmond Books as well as Godwin and Jay Gertzman’s Hybrid Noir panel, which I would have *loved* to see, but duty beckoned. Two years until the next one — can we wait that long?

Many thanks to the fabulous organisers, Lou Boxer and Deen Kogan, who manage to pull off an amazing experience.

NoirCon 2014 – Part 2

2014-10-31 16.06.52After a drink with Patti and her husband Phil in the Belgian beer place on South Street, we headed back to catch the Ross MacDonald panel with Tom Nolan and Jeff Wong and a whole host of images including personal photos and memorabilia. Really fascinating and sometime sad, as there were a lot of problems with their daughter being involved in a major accident and the fallout from it. We writers are always curious about other writers’ lives, I think.

Then it was time for the Three Minutes of Terror, AKA speed reading. Joe Samuel Starnes
 kept us all to our time limit with a flashlight and a toy chainsaw. Because he’d come the furthest of the readers, Richard went first and read a bit from Meaningful Conversations (which I’ve reviewed), kicking us off in style. A wide range of readers and texts, including Patti and myself. I read the bathtub scene from Extricate which was just about the right length and seemed to please. It’s a challenge to choose something for such a short slot, but I’ve been well-trained by 2nd Sundays at the Arts Center.

Then we headed back to the hotel to change for the Halloween party. Absolutely*Kate took on the mantle of carpool organiser for the weekend and had everyone down in the lobby at the appropriate time and Christa Faust whipped us all into shape, so we hopped into a string of cabs and headed to the gig hosted by Soho Press. Fuminori Nakamura and Stuart Neville gave the event an international flair. Nakamura is a rising star from Japan (more on him later) and Neville writes of the mean streets of Northern Ireland. Soho really seems to be picking the talent and it was great to have a couple of brief readings before the showing of Get Carter, which I admit I skipped because I know it well and love it and was having a nice chat and some good beer and besides there were the birds!

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And Absolutely*Kate and me — see, I did wear a costume. Thanks for the orange scarf, Byron! But my picture of Poe and his raven was a bit too dark to show up.

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Next part: onward to Saturday — maybe I can cover a whole day in one post…

Bouncing Back from Bouchercon

Yes, it always takes a while to recover from a conference: luckily I had a visit to Brigadoon to ease me into it. The net effect of a big conference like Bouchercon is to remind me that I am a very tiny minnow swimming in an enormous ocean. On the bad days, that’s discouraging. On the good days, it brings out my competitiveness. So it goes. I got to meet a lot of folks I’ve known online forever and hang with some folks I don’t see much.

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Absolutely*Kate shows her amazement that we had to wait over an hour to get our drinks at City Beer Hall.

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The passing of the seal of office: awww! Outgoing SinC pres Hank Phillippi Ryan gives the seal to Laura DiSilverio.

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At last we meet! The fabulous Mollie Cox Bryan looking great.

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The Empire Plaza was a strange place to hold the con: the lack of a bar at a writers convention meant people didn’t hang around.

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There’s a wind tunnel under the edge of the Egg when it’s blowing. Small children were carried off by it.

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Luring people into the Weird Noir Carnival: we gave away copies of the book and the official Noir Carnival three card monty-ready deck.

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Jan Kozlowski reads from “Corkscrewed” in WEIRD NOIR

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Chris Irvin reads from “The Things We Leave Behind” in NOIR CARNIVAL

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Heather Graham wrangled a bunch of would-be rock star writers together for a big party at Red Square. A fun night out!

There’s more — once I can clear out the Dropbox enough to get the rest of the photos downloaded, like the Noir at the Bar reading. I was really glad to meet up with folks like Les Edgerton, Thomas Pluck, Vince Zandri, Helen Smith, Terrence McCauley and Rita, to see the mighty Joe Lansdale — and of course Debi and Jan were great to hang out with, especially in the quieter moments. Best panel, hands down — bad girls (of course). Ooh, and there should be a group photo of the Mavens of Mayhem dressed in the QoE‘s logo.

Perhaps someone took pictures of my panel…oh, wait. There is this one just after, but it’s missing Les.

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