|Woody Haut talks about David Goodis and Central Avenue, Los |
Angeles. Photos by Peter Rozovsky unless otherwise noted.
|Charles Ardai, Stona Fitch|
ou know what noir is about? Good fellowship, empathy, sharp wit and keen intelligence, subversion without destruction, doing good for others, working hard at work one loves, and communicating that passion, among other things. And it's about gin. Always gin.
That's how it was at Philadelphia's NoirCon 2016
, which ended Sunday. Ninety-nine percent of what we hear, read, see, or are told is trivial at best, arrant lies and bullshit at worst. I thank Woody Haut, Charles Ardai, Stona Fitch, Barry Gifford, Aurélien Masson, Leigh Redhead, Buffy Hastings and others for reminding me that things don't always have to be that way. And I thank Vicki Hendricks for the gin — a Hendrick's and tonic, naturally.
Jonathan Woods, Annie Finnegan
|Ed Pettit flanked by Eric Rice (left) and Cullen|
Haut's presentation on David Goodis and Los Angeles' Central Avenue was the first time I had the feeling I was seeing something real about L.A. Ardai, who has enjoyed success in several fields, talked about how his Hard Case Crime imprint publishes the books he loves — even if these include no books by Harry Whittington — illustrated with cover art he loves just as much. Receiving a canvas by Robert McGinnis, Ardai said, is like getting a fresco by Giotto in the mail.
Masson was passionate and voluble about the venerable French crime imprint he heads, Série noire
, about what it's doing, about how French crime fiction has changed, and about authors all across that political spectrum can find a home there and still go out for a drink together.And Fitch shared the story of his Concord Free Press
and its unusual "business" model.
Gifford, interviewed on stage by Wesley Stace, offered inspiring reminder that classic books don't just reappear; someone has to do the work to get them before the public. Gifford's Black Lizard press did that for many of the hard-boiled and noir classics that we take for granted today as part of our cultural landscape.
|Mike Dennis assumes his Don |
Donovan persona for Wednesday's
Noir at the Bar at the Pen & Pencil
|Vicki Hendricks, Leigh Redhead|
Redhead, who also read at Wednesday's pre-Noircon Noir at the Bar at Philadelphia's Pen & Pencil Club, gave the only conventional presentation on a "Masters of Suspense" panel, but her thoughts on Scott Smith were so sharply focused and her examples so well chosen that I want to read Smith. (The unconventional choices were by Lano Waiwaiole, who talked about Richard Stark as a suspense writer, and Radha Vatsal, who discussed adventure films of the 1910s directed by women and featuring women in prominent roles.)
|Suzanne Solomon, Cullen Gallager,|
Ed Pettit, Andrew Nette
|Vicki Hendricks, Hendrick's and tonic, and me.|
Photo by Lou Boxer
And how nice it is to be among people to whom books matter. Huzzahs and thanks to Lou Boxer and Deen Kogan for the best edition yet of this excellent festival. I'll be beck at NoirCon in 2018. You should be, too.
|Jay Gertzman, Jedidiah Ayres, Charles Ardai|
|Veteran Boxers Association, Ring 1, site|
of NoirCon's wind-down gathering
|Radha Vatsal, Lano Waiwaiole, Leigh Redhead|
|Bob and Barbara's|
|Richard Edwards, Warren Moore|
|On the way to Port Richmond Books|
© Peter Rozovsky 2016
|The main NoirCon site|
Labels: Noircon 2016