Monday, June 02, 2008

Noir at the Bar with rare, archival news footage

That's Duane Swierczynski (right) being grilled by Ed Pettit at the first Noir at the Bar reading this evening at the Tritone in Philadelphia.

Duane's the author of a slew of books, including The Blonde and the newly released Severance Package, about a boss who kills off his employees. Ed's an Edgar Allan Poe scholar and the instigator of the Poe wars, the battle to bring Poe back from Baltimore to Philadelphia (Blow this photo up, and you just might be able to see the Poe action figure peeking out of Ed's shirt pocket.)

Duane and Ed had the delightful idea of turning the reading into an event. So, instead of just an author reading his own stuff, Duane talked about his work and about his view of noir; Ed's actress wife, Kate, read the first chapter of Severance Package (you'll never guess what the murder weapon is); and Ed interviewed Duane, who then took questions from the audience.

The two are friends, and Ed's familiarity with Duane's work made for a free-flowing discussion that explored such topics as the influence of comic books on Swierczynski's fictional world (No surprise there; Swierczynski also writes comic books/graphic novels.)

The ambiance, too, was slightly rowdier than one normally finds at readings (The Tritone is a bar, after all), though I was pleased to note that even the bar's regulars paid respectful and interested attention.

The crowd? At least as good as expected, according to Rick at the Tritone, so stay tuned for Noir at the Bar II. A special treat for me was the attendance of Philadelphia writer Johnny Ostentatious, who presented me with a copy of a novel of his, for which I'd done the copy editing. It was nice to see my name between covers.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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20 Comments:

Blogger Mary L said...

Thanks for leaving me a comment. That was very kind of you. I never know if or how many people read my blog. I am so glad I found you.

June 02, 2008  
Anonymous crimeficreader said...

Looks like a lot of fun! You're a star Peter.

June 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And thanks to you for highlighting this place over on your blog. It's much appreciated.

June 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It was fun, but I'm not a star. I just hang out with stars.

June 02, 2008  
Blogger Sucharita Sarkar said...

That sounded like a lot of fun!

I recently read Dorothy L Sayers' "Murder Must Advertise" (I'm on a Sayers-trip at present, am reading Have His Carcase now) where the plot began with a murder in the workplace, altough not by the murderer.

Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog(s). Love your wit and erudition (on crime fiction).

As for the Bengali writers, they were obviously heavily influenced by the British ratiocinating-sleuth prototypes like Holmes and Poirot. In fact, Christie's ABC Murders and Ten Little Niggers were bodily lifted by a Bengali writer (I've forgotten his name though). Apart from Feluda by Ray, a well-loved sleuth in Bengali is Byomkesh Bakshi by Shirshendu - who eccentricities are typically Bengali but may be inspired by the said Brit prototype.

June 02, 2008  
Blogger Sucharita Sarkar said...

Oops, I meant 'although not by the employer'! Freudian gaffe, that!

June 02, 2008  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Philadelphia is becoming such a hot spot. Dang.

June 02, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It was fun, and I am working on the second and fifth Noirs at the Bar right now, with numbers three and four lagging just slightly behind.

I have not read much Golden Age crime fiction, just a few Christie stories and Murder Must Advertise. Sayers' satire of advertising was astonishingly fresh and ahead of its time, the sort of thing that I don't think became common until thirty or more years later.

Ten Litte Niggers was, of course, too inflammatory a title for the U.S., so the book became Ten Little Indians and then And Then There Were None. As for Feluda, I will have to go back to that bookshop and see if the book is still there. And I will keep your comment about Byomkesh Bakshi in mind. This could be a fruitful area for discussion.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Patti, maybe you and Megan could do a mother-daughter Noir at the Bar reading one of these months.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm a star? You're the one who's blogging for the BBC.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Joanna D'Angelo said...

Cool event. The only mystery series that I've read lately is #1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. Generally not a crime fiction reader - so any recommendations?

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It was cool, yes. You might look into Colin Cotterill's mysteries, set in Laos and featuring a protagonist who is the chief -- and only -- coroner in Laos and who has a refreshingly skeptical attitude to just about everything. You might also enjoy the author's Web site.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Cappy said...

Peter, don't you find that having readings in bars tend to make things much more interesting? I enjoy your travels.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Cappy, that was the first reading I had ever been to in a bar, and I'd say I learned from it that a bar is a fine place for a reading. The atmosphere included spontaneous call-and-reponse from the audience, along with a bit of language one might not hear at most readings. But it was always to the point, particularly in Swierczynski's definition of noir as the state of being "`screwed,' or to put it less politely, `fucked.'"

I am happy you enjoy my travels. It is always good to have company when reliving a trip!

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Joanna D'Angelo said...

Thanks for the suggestion Peter!
cheers
Joanna

http://missmakeamovie.blogspot.com/

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're welcome. I haven't read Alexander McCall Smith, but I have noticed that reviewers sometimes mention his name and Colin Cotterill's in the same breath. Smith or no, Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paiboun is a character one can love without feeling embarrassed for doing so.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Barbara said...

This event was an absolutely brilliant idea, Peter. Wish I could have been there.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I hope to make the event enough of a fixture that people will plan visits to Philadelphia to include the first Sunday of each month.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Joanna: I just read another book that you might like: The Case of the Missing Books, the first in Ian Sansom's Mobile Library series.

June 03, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, and might I add, ধনবাদ!

June 06, 2008  

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