Saturday night the writing world said good-bye to the Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia, home of NoirCon since its inception. (NoirCon has new digs for this year’s iteration, so worry not.) “Noir at the Bar: The Final Curtain” brought together seventeen crime fiction writers along with a nice audience for readings that lasted the better part of three hours, and “the better part” is exactly what is was.
Space (and memory) preclude a full detailing of the evening’s festivities. Use your imagination, given the following line-up of writers, then add at least 20% to give yourself an idea of how the evening went:
T. Fox Dunham
Edward G. Petit
Joe Samuel Starnes
Farley’s Bookshop was on hand as always at NoirCon events to provide book sales; Brookline Booksmith, Mulholland Books, New York Review of Books, PM Press, and Thomas & Mercer provided raffle prizes.
The personal highlights for me—as though hearing sixteen other writers of this quality wasn’t enough—was getting to meet in person several friends I’d known online for quite some time. No offense intended to anyone else when I mention Adrian McKinty first. I’ve been in touch with Adrian one way or another for almost ten years, when I fell in love with The Dead Yard and reviewed it for New Mystery Reader, then interviewed him when The Bloomsday Dead came out the following year. He was one of a small handful who didn’t hate me for the ending of Wild Bill and it was a great to get his autograph on a copy of his newest, Rain Dogs.
I also got to meet and talk to—at least briefly—Mark Krajnack and Erik Arneson. I’ve known both of them online for a while and getting a chance to shake hands and chat was a treat for me. Friends I’ve known in person from other events and conferences and got to at least say hello to were Scott Adlerberg, Jen Conley, Jon McGoran, Rick Ollerman, and David Swinson. Also a shout out to Janis Malley and her husband, John, friends of The Beloved Spouse™ who risked their reputations and mental health to hang out with such a cast of reprobates. (Special mention to Patti Abbott. Patti was not there, but my reading, “Frank and Marti,” owes its creation to one of her flash fiction challenges.) The only downside to such an event is its resemblance to a wedding reception: you want to see and talk to everyone there, but there’s only time for some drive-bys and the evening is over.
Last and certainly not least, thanks and kudos to Lou Boxer, Deen Kagen, Peter Rozovsky, and everyone connected with Noir at the Bar: The Final Curtain and NoirCon in general. The event went off without a hitch and was a fitting swan song for the Society Hill Playhouse. My inclusion in such elevated company was both humbling and an honor.