Monday, November 08, 2010

The Hendrick's and Tonic Crime-Convention Cost-of-Living Index ©

(#Noircon2010: David White [left] and Howard Rodman discuss Fantômas)Christa Faust (left), here with Butch on her lap and Vicki Hendricks to the right, provided one of those hotel-bar, a-ha! moments that make crime-fiction conventions such a treat for the mind even as they wreak havoc on the body.

She had bought Darwyn Cooke's graphic-novel version of Richard Stark's The Hunter, an adaptation I'd found slightly disappointing for its fidelity to Stark's novel. I reasoned that a comics adaptation ought to add something that words alone could not accomplish. Christa argued for strict obedience to the source; I defended infidelity.

But then she said look at the hands, at the panels in which hands fill the frame and their attitude tells the story. Stark's novel tells us about Parker's hands, but I don't think it focuses on hands nearly as much as Cooke does. So thanks, Christa, for opening my eyes to the power of hands.
***
So, what is the Hendrick's and Tonic Crime-Convention Cost-of-Living Index (HAT-3C-LI ©)?

A Hendrick's gin and tonic cost $14.24 with tax at Bouchercon 2010's convention hotel in San Francisco; at Noircon's hotel in Philadelphia the cost was $9.90.

Using the San Francisco cost as a baseline and assigning it a score of 100, Philadelphia's Hendrick's score is 69.5, nothing to laugh at in these hard times.

What's your city's Hendrick's score? (Trust me: You'll enjoy the research.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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21 Comments:

Anonymous solo said...

I reasoned that a comics adaptation ought to add something that words alone could not accomplish. Christa argued for strict obedience to the source; I defended infidelity

Peter, I'm with you 100% on that one. I'm always astonished at the stupidity and arrogance of writers who expect their book to be replicated faithfully in another medium. Generally, those writers have never worked in that medium themselves and know nothing about it.

If you sell the rights to your book, you should expect that somebody else, at least as smart as yourself, and perhaps more so, is going to try and create something new out of it. Any sensible writer should expect that and welcome it.

November 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, there's no need to jump all over arrogant writers. Donald Westlake (aka Richard Stark) himself took an amused attitude toward the odd casting choices in the movie verions of his Dortmunder novels. And James Ellroy, with whom one would not normally associate such traits as gratitude and modesty, has taken just those attitudes when talking about adaptations of his books.

I need to make clear, too, that Christa Faust was not insisting that an adaptation MUST be strictly faithful to its source. She was arguing merely that such a practice CAN be a good idea. She has done adaptations of a kind (tie-in novels based on movies. Hey, it pays the bills), and she has talked about the additions one can and cannot make in such work.

In any case, if I'm right that Cooke emphasizes hands more that Stark did, she was defending an example of the practice I was arguing for: an addition in the adaptation that builds on an aspect of the original or on something implied in it.

November 08, 2010  
Blogger Mike White said...

Wow, these are some great photos. Very crisp.

November 08, 2010  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

The photos certainly are full of life.

I finally got round to answering your question about photos from a moving vehicle on "Short Sights at Noon".

November 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Mike. I should title the second photo "Two Crisp Women and One Cute Dog."

The first photo required some manipulation before I could get anything prsentable. Most of my shots of the screen turned David-as-Fantomas into a watery mush. I guess that the high brightness of the image washes out much of the contrast. Heightening the contrast added that reddish tint to the screen, but I'll just call it a symbolic reflection of Howard's shirt.

November 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Tales: The life is due to the lively subjects. And thanks for our reply to my question. I read your answer and found the link.

November 08, 2010  
Blogger Paul D. Brazill said...

I'm with infidelity in general but that's another story.

November 08, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

A man talking infidelity while Christa Faust insists on obedience? That sounds like a noir sitcom, doesn't it?

November 08, 2010  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

If you try the colour corrections in the freeware program, Irfanview, it is possible to make some professional looking toning changes.

Desaturating is a better option than converting to greyscale, for a classic "noir" effect.

It can be times consuming, however.

November 09, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for letting me know about that program. I almost always tinker with contrast and saturation before I manipulate brightness and hue in Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

November 09, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Ouch! Well, at least you've developed a taste for Hendrick's gin (yep, probably my favorite both for mixing and neat over ice) and not for the Bay Area's own Junípero Gin (Anchor Distilling), which is more expensive than Hendrick's but could have been the Official Gin of Bouchercon...

If Raymond Chandler had had access to Hendrick's for his gimlets, he wouldn't have been a Tanqueray man.

Did you know you have a tasty gin distilled in your own backyard (so to speak)? Bluecoat American Gin is distilled in Philly, I believe.

November 10, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My illustration of this post with a photo that includes an author named Vicki Hendricks is purely fortuitous.

I'll look for Bluecoat and, if I return to San Francisco, Junípero Gin as well. But for now I have to stick to Hendrick's on my travels if I want the Hendrick's and Tonic Crime-Convention Cost-of-Living Index to become an accepted, meaningful instrument.

November 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

I understand completely. I certainly don't want to muddy the waters/stir the watery gin of statistics/economics research!

November 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Perhaps I could develop a UN Security Council of Gin, with Hendrick's as a permanent member and other gins given rotating seats.

The next four Bouchercons are in St. Louis, Cleveland, Albany and Long Beach, by the way. Any local gins that deserve a place on the Councsil?

November 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Well, certainly if members of the UN drank more gin the world would be a more congenial place to live in.

Don't know that St. Louis and Cleveland are gin-distilling towns... Perhaps con attendees might want to sample the special bourbons/American whiskeys/ryes of that area. (Went to the Maker's Mark distillery in KY; can't stand the stuff...)

In Saratoga Springs I had Seneca Drums Gin, which my research tells me is distilled in Burdett in NY's Finger Lakes country. Perhaps that could be the Bouchercon/Albany council gin?

SoCal is not a big gin distilling area. TRU2 Gin is the only one I know of offhand. And it's very SoCal, i.e. organic., "green", etc.

In the house we currently have Hendrick's, Bombay Sapphire, Monopolowa Vienna dry gin (a nice little gin, the one you give to your guests who wouldn't appreciate a Hendrick's or Sapphire), and both "oude" and "jonge" Dutch jenever. Drinking them is like historical research. Suddenly you're hanging out with your favorite Baroque painters!

I'd be curious to know what you think of Philly's Bluecoat vs. Hendrick's.

November 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, St. Louis and Cleveland may just be Hendrick's cons, in that case. I'm not a whiskey drinker, as far as I know; never liked the taste of any that I had.

And jenever was a bit much the time of two that I tried it neat. Do the Dutch mix it? I like the idea of raising a glass with Rembrandt, though.

November 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

It's not surprising that you don't much care for jenever since you don't like whisky, which it is related to in its distilling process and malt ingredients.

I have never heard of it being mixed but perhaps, like whisky, water or soda might be added...?

I was introduced to it by a colleague at a fantastic restaurant in The Hague, It Rains Fishes. Served icy cold in an elegant shot glass. It was the prefect aperitif to the fish entree.

Wild Turkey is the only American whiskey I've ever tried that I could finish the shot.

Hendrick's in St. Louis and Cleveland will give you further opportunities to conduct your statistics/economics research, anyway. Hey, maybe you could get a gov't grant for this!

Don't you think Rembrandt might be one of those melancholic drinkers rather than a lampshade-wearing one? I think I'd rather have a snort with Jan Steen.

v-word = zeder
Kinda Dutch.

November 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

"It Rains Fishes" is a splendid name for a restaurant. I don't remember where I've eaten in the Hague -- probably in the coffee shop at the Mauritshuis, if it has one.

In re whisky, I took a bus trip up the North Antrim coast a couple of years ago, but inevitable delays cut our stop at the Bushmill's distillery to far too brief a time to allow sampling of the product.

Rembrandt might be good company for a drink or two as long as he lapsed into companionable silence rather than melancholy. Frans Hals might be happy medium between Rembrandt and Jan Steen.

November 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, conversation at the P&P has just turned to gin. The member who has just conducted a wine tasting suggests that there are brands of gin for people who are not gin drinkers but want to say they drink gin.

The waitress then said she likes Bluecoat. I'm telling you, gin is in the air.

November 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Is a gin tasting at the P&P next in store?! We had a gin symposium at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel earlier this year. Serious stuff!

Bluecoat is, well, I won't tell you what I think it is. Just suffice to say I think it's most suitable for summertime drinks.

Ah, Blue Ruin!

November 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, gin has never been a topic of particular interest here, and its intrusion on the conversation was pure coincidence.

I shall keep Bluecoat in mind for when the weather gets warm.

November 11, 2010  

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