Monday, February 10, 2014

From Syria to Jalisco to Noir at the Bar in Baltimore

(Feasting Scene, Jalisco, Proto-
Classical 200 BC-AD 250. Earthen-
ware, red-slipped resist painting,
appliqué 20 1/4 x 19 3/4 x 17 in.
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.)
(Bearded Figure
With Necklace
Syrian, 2400-
2000 BC. Terra-
cotta. H: 5 3/8
x W: 2 3/4 x
D: 1 5/16 in.
Walters Art
Museum, Baltimore.
Good fun Sunday at Noir at the Bar in Baltimore (That's a few of us at right, gathered around one of the evening's early readers.)

Some good stuff got read by Dennis Tafoya, Art Taylor, et al., not all of it unquotable on a family blog, but my favorite part was just hanging out and talking about writing and writers, notably with Dana King. Talk turned to James Ellroy, and author/Thuglit editor Todd Robinson said Ellroy made him nervous when they met.

Now, Robinson is wide, he's bald, and he's tattoo'd — not the first person I'd picture getting nervous in the presence of others. I took this as an endearing surprise, and also as evidence that despite Ellroy's intelligence, sensitivity, hard work, wide reading, and sometimes intense self-awareness, perhaps the man really does get close to the edge sometimes.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Blogger seana graham said...

I met him once myself many years ago at some book fair. He had a lot of energy, which might make some people nervous. I didn't know his work or bio well enough back then to worry.

February 10, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The standard Ellroy story has two parts, each self-promoted. The first is that Ellroy is a wildman with a youth misspent in perversion, drugs, alcohol, and petty crime. The second part is that commentators focus too much on the first part, ignoring Ellroy's intelligence and wide youthful reading.

It was an interesting to reflect that the man could be both at the same time.

February 10, 2014  
Anonymous Art Taylor said...

Hi, Peter --
Thank you so much for including me here and for your kind words last night about my story. I was sorry I didn't get more of a chance to talk with you and Dana (felt a push to head back home before too late), but enjoyed meeting you briefly and hope to cross paths again before long.
Thanks again!

February 10, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You're welcome. Your story sustained a mood very well. You may have noticed that the room got quiet as you read.

I invented Noir at the Bar some yars ago in Philly as a series in which one writer would read, then take prepared questions, followed by an open Q&A with the audience. Scott Phillips and Jed Ayres in St. Louis turned it into a noisy, gregarious 10- or 12-author readfest like the one we had Sunday, and the idea took off from there.

We staged one last year in New Hope, Pa., that fell between the extremes: five authors reading, then taking questions. Dennis Tafoya and I have talked about doing another one Philadelphia or New Hope. I shall add you to the list of prospective readers, if not menu-preparers.

February 10, 2014  
Blogger Dana King said...

This was the first N@B I attended, and it exceeded all expectations. Great to see old friends, meet some new, hear some great stuff, and swallow my first Newcastle Brown Ale.

February 11, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

What, until now you have spat out your Newcastle Brown Ales?

February 11, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, weigh in on the shape of future Noirs at the Bar: How should we best strike balance between the interaction and questions of the original one-author format, and the crowds and gregariousness of the bigger events? How many authors should be part of each event? Should they read? Take questions? Both?

Which would you prefer as an author/reader? As a fan?

February 11, 2014  

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