Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Noir at the Bar: The History

Over at LitReactor, Keith Rawson presents an oral history of Noir at the Bar-- interviews with me and with some of the people who took the N@B idea and ran with it: Jed Ayres in St. Louis, Todd Robinson and Glenn Gray in New York, Eric Beetner in Los Angeles. Duane Swierczynski, the reader at the first Noir at the Bar ever, right here in Philadelphia, weighs in with a highly entertaining excerpt from the piece he read at the first L.A. N@B.

The photo above, from October 2008, which I sent Keith for inclusion with his article, captures a seminal moment in Noir at the Bar history.  Scott Phillips (lower left, miming the theft of a bicycle) had dropped in to the fourth Noir at the Bar to hear John McFetridge (top left) and Declan Burke (center) read. (That's me behind the perp.)  Scott liked the idea, took it back to St. Louis, where he organized a Noir at the Bar with Jedidiah Ayres, and the rest is history, Noir at the Bar spreading across North America like a slow-moving, persistent, incurable virus.

It's nice to see how much the event has meant to writers all over North America, and the Noirs at the Bar Keith writes about were just some of the early ones. Toronto. Vancouver. New Hope. Texas. New Jersey. Portland. Baltimore. You name it, Noir at the Bar has conquered it.  And, like the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, it started here in Philadelphia.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Blogger Unknown said...

Well, I would challenge any naysayers and party-poopers with this question: other than at a cemetery or morgue, a bar seems like the best place to discuss noir crime fiction.

Have I stumbled on an idea for your next gathering? In a city here on the Redneck Riviera, we have a small bar and restaurant in what used to be the basement morgue of a repurposed old hospital. Perfect!

December 03, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T, that would inadvertently reflect yet another Philadelphia idea. The most recent two Noircon gatherings have included events at the Philadelpha Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, whose home is a former casket showroom.

December 03, 2014  
Blogger Dana King said...

I've been to a few now, in various locations. Great fun, every time. Considering the definition of "noir," its authors are as much fun and generous of spirit as anyone you'll meet, anywhere.

December 04, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana: They're always ready with a salutation to their forebears, that's for sure.

Hmm, let's see: I've been to Noirs at the Bar in Philadelphia, New Hope, Toronto, Cleveland, Albany, and Baltimore. Always good fun.

December 04, 2014  

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