Friday, April 11, 2008

NoirCon Recap

Charles here – did you miss me last week?

I have a good excuse. I was at the first ever NoirCon in Philadelphia, a fantastic 4-day event put together by Deen Kogan and my good pal, Lou Boxer. If you were there, you know why it was great, if not, you should have been. You can still visit the website to see what you missed, but let me just hit a few points that I think made it stand out:

  • One track, small sessions – everybody got to hear the excellent presentations and take part in the discussions. Again, see the website to see the sessions.
  • The dual screening of David Goodis’ short story The Professional Man – This was so unusual and interesting I don’t know why other mystery events haven’t done something similar. And at NoirCon, screenwriter Howard Rodman gave the inside story on how his version (the better one, starring Brandon Fraser) came to be. My new obsession? Finding both versions on DVD for my collection. (I think I ought to call my pal Jared Case…)
  • The venue – what do you know, you can host a successful mystery convention in a non-traditional setting, in this case, the Society Hill Playhouse. The conference attendees numbered about 200 overall, but as it always is with any conference, not all of them were in the same room at the same time. Still, never crowded, never empty – it was cool.
  • The Charity Auction (hosted by yours truly) to benefit the Awassa Children’s Project. My fez if duly doffed in appreciation to the fine men and women who bid high and often on the items and a second doffing for the folks who made the generous contributions. Together we raised two grand for this most worth cause (including the $100 item Rose picked up for me). If for no other reason, the charity auction made attending the event worth it.
  • The best conference program book ever. No, really. I have been to scores and this one is, by far, the best I have ever seen. Square-back bound, high-gloss, heavy-stock paper, a beautiful commissioned photograph on the cover, essays on Noir, a killer short story by Charles Willeford…folks, if you are organizing a mystery conference you need to know that when it comes to the program, NoirCon has raised the bar. Seriously, contact Lou Boxer and perhaps he can get you a spare. You will be amazed.

And what would a conference wrap-up be without a bar report? Rose and I hit a few near the hotel the night we got in but saved out serious drinking for the post-auction fete at the hotel bar where we were joined by Reed Coleman and his lovely wife, Rosanne, Ken Bruen and his just as lovely wife, Philomena, Lou Boxer, über-fan Judy Bobalik and a bunch of other folks that I should remember but man, they make a good gin martini at the Society Hill Sheraton.

NoirCon I is in the books. Ya should’da been there.

NoirCon II is in the works. Don’t miss it.



Jared said...

Ouch! My ears are burning...

According to my research, both films were episodes of cable-based anthology TV series, the first called THE EDGE on HBO and the second called FALLEN ANGELS on Showtime. But, I don't see any VHS or DVD releases for THE EDGE and the first season of FALLEN ANGELS came out on VHS, but the second (during which "The Professional Man" aired) did not.

So, it's not impossible to get them, Charles, as you saw at the conference. It's just....difficult.

Rick Blechta said...

Another similar, but smaller, though longer-running (5 years now, I believe) event is Genrecon in Sarnia, Ontario.

This is held in the library and has one track. What is very different about this gathering is that all sorts of genre fiction writers take part (mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, experimental, romance, horror) and the panels are very ecclectic and interesting because of this.

This year, Genrecon takes place on Saturday, May 3rd from 10-5:30. It's free, too! Best part is the asked me to be the Guest of Honour! (I still keep thinking they made some sort of mistake.)

Visit my website and at the top of the page are all the links you need, as well as some further info on the event.

Peter Rozovsky said...

... but man, they make a good gin martini at the Society Hill Sheraton.

I got charged $7.75 for a gin and tonic and a club soda, then $8.25 when I ordered a gin and tonic alone. That kind of math is a mystery to me, and I live in Philadelphia. I guess the bar is controlled by a gang of vicious club-soda runners.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Charles benoit said...

See the trick is, Peter, to never pay your bill. I found this hot woman to pick up the tab. Her name was Rose and she said...wait a second, that was my wife. Never mind.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Damn, that club soda was for a hot woman. I don’t know if she was anyone’s wife, though.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Persia Walker said...

Gee! I wish I hadda known. I would've been there. If you guys are compiling a mailing list, then please put me on it.

Charles benoit said...

Hey Lou, did you see that last post by Persia Walker? Make note!

LB said...

Hey Persia Walker,

Sorry we missed you at Noircon! Do not hesitate to contact me at Specifically, You will be on the list. Tell all your friends and you will be sure not to miss Charles do his magic!

Lou Boxer

Vicki Delany said...

Vicki here, having trouble logging in on this computer. I was debating going to GenreCon this year, but if you're the GOH, Rick, I just might.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

Sounds like a good time! Hope I can make it next year.