Monday, September 29, 2014

Updated Press Release for NoirCon 2014 - ONE MONTH AND COUNTING


September 29, 2014


NOIRCON 2014 , a biennial tribute to all things noir from literature to film to art and poetry, will take place from October 30 thru November 2, 2014. This conference is produced and headquartered at Society Hill Playhouse.

Program includes panels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, parties, movie showings, an awards banquet on the banks of the Delaware, Thursday evening at MOCA, the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, and a Sunday visit to Philadelphia’s Port Richmond Books.  Farley Books of New Hope will be on site at the Playhouse throughout the weekend , the official book seller for NOIRCON.

 Among the featured guests are.
 Fuminori Nakamura of Tokyo, Japan, who will receive the David Goodis Award for excellence in writing. Nakamura has won many prizes for his novels including Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize . Three of his books have been translated into English, The Thief and Evil and the Mask, both published by Soho Press. Last Winter, We Parted will be published in time for NoirCon 2014.  Tom Nolan, of the Wall Street Journal will do a one on one interview with this outstanding young writer on Saturday.

 Bronwen Hruska, Soho Press, is being recognized as an outstanding publisher in the crime fiction with the Jay and Deen Kogan award, last given to Otto Penzler of Mysterious Books.  She has led the way in translation publishing and opened many doors for women in the field.

 Eddie Muller, called the CZAR of Noir, will accept the Anne Friedberg Award for contribution to Noir Education and Preservation, as well as introduce a special showing of the film, THE PROWLER, (written by Dalton Trumbo and first released in 1951) at 1PM Thursday, October 30 at The International House [Non NoirCon registrants cost $10].  A novelist from San Francisco, many of his books relate to and examine Film Noir.
Howard A. Rodman will present the Anne Friedberg Award to Eddie Muller as well as presentation on French author Jean-Patrick Manchette.

Scheduled panels include: The Black Dahlia, Jewish Noir, Existential Noir, The Politics of Noir, A Ross MacDonald Examination, Veering Off the Highway: How Springsteen’s Music Shapes Crime Fiction and Three Minutes of Terror, when every attending writer gets three minutes to share his work or ideas. Among the program participants are: Joe Samuel Starnes, William Lashner, Joan Schenkar, Dennis Tafoya, Stuart Neville, Jean Cash, Frank DeBlase, Jonathan Woods, Robert Polito, Vicki Hendricks, Steve Hodel, Carole Mallory, Steve Hodel, Sigrid Sarda, Buffy Hastings, Jeff Wong, T. Fox Dunham, Duane Swierczynski, Tom Nolan, Alan Gordon, Megan Abbott and keynote speaker, Eric Miles Williamson.

Dr. Louis Boxer and Deen Kogan, director of Society Hill Playhouse, co-chair NOIRCON 2014.  For further information call 215-923-0210 or check the website:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Official NoirCon Hotel Rate Expires On September 28th.

Take advantage of the NoirCon discount at the Philadelphia Hilton Garden Inn 
 Official Hotel of NoirCon

Register today.

NOIR RIOT is now available!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

NoirCon 2014 History At-A-Glance

“Years down the pike, the boast will be: NoirCon, I was there.”
—Ken Bruen
Will you be there in 2014?
If you will be then here is what you are in going to hear, see and taste.
If you will not, then here is what you will miss.

NoirCon 2014 at-a-Glance
Wednesday, October 29th • 9:00–11:00 p.m. • Misconduct Tavern, 1511 Locust Street, 19102 • • Tel: 215.732.5797 Peter Rozovsky (MC) • Noir at the Bar
Thursday, October 30th • International House • 3701 Chestnut Street, 19104 • • Tel: 215.387.5125 
• 1:00–4:00 p.m. • The Prowler (1951) • Jared Case Interviews Eddie Muller (Winner of the Anne Friedberg Award for Noir Film Appreciation and Preservation) 
• 7:00–11:30 p.m. • Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art • 531 N 12th Street, 19123 • • Tel: 267.519.9651 • Ed Pettit (MC) 
Dr. Seuss’ Noir; Pin-up Photographs; The Artist and the Psychopath; Cheerleaders, Rodeo Clowns, Wrestlers and Sideshow Stars: The Deadly Serious; World of B Noir; Veering Off the Highway: How Springsteen’s Music Shapes Crime Fiction; Independent Noir Cinema Today; Howard A. Rodman on Jean-Patrick Manchette
Friday, October 31st • 8:30–9:00 a.m. at Society Hill Playhouse • 507 S 8th Street • • 215.923.0210 • Charles Benoit (MC) 
• 9:10–11:15 a.m. • The Black Dahlia • Steve Hodel and Sigrid Sarda 
• 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. • Beyond Black: Bad Behavior and Outright Evil in Patricia Highsmith and Flannery O’Connor • Jean W. Cash, Joan Schenkar, Robert Polito (Moderator) 
• 12:30–1:30 p.m. • Lunch provided by Society Hill Playhouse and NoirCon; Jeff Wong presents Ross Macdonald—In the First Person (1970) 
• 1:45–2:30 p.m. • Deen Kogan Interviews Bronwen Hruska, Soho Publisher (Winner of the Deen and Jay Kogan Award for Constant Excellence in Mystery/Crime Publishing) 
• 2:45–3:45 p.m. • Ross Macdonald Panel • Tom Nolan and Jeff Wong

• 4:00–5:30 p.m. • Three Minutes of Terror • Joe Samuel Starnes
• 8:00–11:30 p.m. • Soho Halloween Party: Readings by Fuminori Nakamura, Stuart Neville as Ted Lewis • Rembrandt’s Bar and Grill • 741 N 23rd Street, 19130 • Tel: 215.763.2228 
• 9:15 p.m. Paul Oliver presents Get Carter (1971) 
Saturday, November 1st • Society Hill Playhouse • 507 S 8th Street • Tel: 215.923.0210 • Charles Benoit (MC) 
• 9:00–10:00 a.m. • NoirCon 2014 Keynote Speaker • Eric Miles Williamson 
• 10:10–11:00 a.m. • Tom Nolan Interviews Fuminori Nakamura (Winner of the David Loeb Goodis Award for Literature and the Art of Writing in the tradition of David Goodis) with Juliet Grames 
• 11:10 a.m.–12:15 p.m. • Stray Dogs: Writing from the Other America • Ron Cooper, Patrick Michael Finn, Larry Fondation, Michael Gills, Joseph D. Haske, William Hastings (moderator), and Vicki Hendricks 
• 12:15–1:30 p.m. • Lunch courtesy of Down & Out Books 
• 1:45–2:45 p.m. • Politics of Noir • Richard Godwin, John Grant (moderator), Jon McGoran, Stuart Neville, and Asali Solomon. 
• 3:00–3:45 p.m. • Jewish Noir • Michael J. Cooper, M.D., Alan Gordon, Marshall Stein, and Kenneth Wishnia 
• 4:00–5:15 p.m. • Existential Noir • T. Fox Dunham, William Lashner (moderator), K. A. Laity, Carole Mallory and Paul Oliver 
• 7:00 p.m. • NoirCon 2014 Award Dinner at Penn Landing Caterers • 1301 S Columbus Blvd, 19147 • • Tel: 215.336.7404 
  4th David L. Goodis Award presented to Fuminori Nakamura

  4th Jay and Deen Kogan Award presented to Bronwen Hruska

  Howard Rodman presents Eddie Muller with the Anne Friedberg Award for 
Noir Film Appreciation and Preservation

  Live Music courtesy of The All Star Jazz Trio: Bruce Klauber, Bruce Kaminsky and Andy Kahn •
City Citations Presented by Philadelphia Councilman David Oh, Minority Whip
Sunday, November 2nd • Society Hill Playhouse • 507 S 8th Street • Tel: 215.923.0210 
• 9:45–11:45 a.m. • Most Evil • Steve Hodel 
• 12:15 p.m. • NoirCon 2014 Closing Ceremony • Port Richmond Books • 3037 Richmond Street • Tel: 215.425.3385 
• 12:30: p.m. • Hybrid Noir: How Noir Can Accommodate Any Genre and Still Retain Its Identity • Jay Gertzman and Richard Godwin

Register Today!  CLICK HERE

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Murder - Sticks and Stones and Words will KILL

Murder Culture Awareness Campaign

Letters From Paris - Joan Schenkar - Life At 122 years old

Joan Schenkar
The Cimitière de Passy: in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel.
DATELINE: September 2014, Paris. How many of the discerning sophisticates reading this month’s Letter From Paris know the interesting history of Jeanne Louise Calment?
No one?
Yet Jeanne Calment represents a fine, even an emblematic strain in French daily life which elides itself noiselessly with my current preoccupation: death and its dispositions during a French Fall.
And so, in my next Letter, I’ll be visiting a favorite cemetery, the Cimitière de Passy in Paris’s 16eme arrondissement: the necropolis of choice for the aristocrats of the Belle Epoque, and the least known, most elegant burying ground in town.
The Cimitière de Passy. Photo by Joan Schenkar
The Cimitière de Passy. Photo by Joan Schenkar
But in this Letter, I’ll be writing about the legendary Jeanne Calment. Because what Mme Calment did – or, rather, what she is celebrated for having done – is the perfect counterpoint to any French cemetery story.
Jeanne Louise Calment, born in 1875 to a good bourgeois family in Aix-en-Provence, lived longer than any other human being whose life has been reliably documented and accurately verified: 122 years.
Nearly all of her 122 years were wittily managed (samples of that wit are coming shortly), enjoyable to her, coherent to the people around her, and enlivened by smoking cigarettes, eating chocolates (a kilo a week), and drinking her favorite port wine.
Jeanne Calment: young and in Provençal dress.
Jeanne Calment: young and in Provençal dress.
#230Calment at 40
Jeanne Calment at 40.

At thirteen, dallying in her father’s art supply store, the observant adolescent happened one day to sell colored pencils to a disturbed young Dutchman, Vincent van Gogh by name – in the final stages of his prolonged and painful transformation into a constellation: that tortuous, hallucinogenically imagined rocket-launch towards the starry night of eternal art which cost him – as extended states of extraordinary creation often do — the extinction of his physical body.
The young Vincent van Gogh.
The young Vincent van Gogh.
Henry James, writing of Edgar Allan Poe’s death, described it (with typical circumlocution) as “the extremity of personal absence.” But whenever I stand for more than a moment before a van Gogh painting (6 seconds is the average time a museum-goer takes to contemplate a work of art; I like to linger), James’s phrase always comes taxiing back to me.
The Starry Night: Vincent van Gogh, June 1889
The Starry Night: Vincent van Gogh, June 1889
The extremity of van Gogh’s personal absence is exactly what I feel when looking at a van Gogh. He put, as he himself said, his heart and soul into his work and lost his mind in the process. The myth of the man is painted directly on to his canvases; I’m incapable of separating them.
Not so Jeanne Louise Calment. Definitely not Jeanne Calment.
And it was her vivid, illusionless word-portrait of Vincent van Gogh a hundred years after she first met him that snagged the hem of my attention, warmed the perma-chilled point of my pen, and placed me forever in the ranks of her admirers.
For Jeanne Calment, like any réaliste Frenchwoman, was entirely unimpressed by celebrity; posthumous or otherwise. To the crowd of eager journalists waiting for her to touch up the gilt on Van Gogh’s image, Mme Calment calmly announced that the red-headed Dutchman they were there to honor had been dirty, foul-mouthed, crazy, and what is more (and, here, let us imagine her taking a professional raconteuse’s pause for effect)…. he smelled.
Now that, I thought when I read her remarks, is a woman who knows how to handle herself at a press conference. And I longed to speak with her. But her maison de retraite was in the South of France; the heavy scent of lavender which perfuses that beautiful region is disagreeable to me (there’s no accounting for taste); and I worried that a tête-à-tête which might involve mouth-breathing on my part would not go down well with the argus-eyed Mme Calment. So I continued to admire her from afar.
The Lavender Fields of Provence: why I never met Jeanne Calment.
The Lavender Fields of Provence: why I never met Jeanne Calment.
Perhaps the desire to keep my distance was also informed by the knowledge that Jeanne Calment didn’t suffer fools gladly. (And who, as America’s greatest satirical novelist Dawn Powell once said, wants it written on her tombstone that she suffered fools gladly — or at all?) When a guest at one of Mme Calment’s birthday parties in her late hundred and teens remarked elegaically that, “perhaps,” they’d see each other again next year, Mme Calment retorted that she saw no reason why not: the guest wasn’t looking too bad.
At 85, Jeanne Calment took up fencing. At 90, she sold her apartment en viager to her 47 year-old notaire.
And here, the concept of selling one’s real estate en viager requires an explanation: it works only in France, a civilized country.
A seller (typically aged) sells her apartment at a healthy but strictly regulated discount to a buyer (typically younger, who is looking for an apartment to retire to in 10 or 20 years) in return for three things: an initial upfront sum called a bouquet, a guaranteed occupancy of the apartment for life, and a monthly “rent” from the buyer (again strictly regulated) which continues until the seller’s death. The apartment buyer is betting that the aged seller will expire early on; the apartment seller intends to hang on and cash in as long as possible.
It’s the French réaliste attitude all over again. And it gives the aged seller the assurance that she will never have to leave her home and, what’s more, that she’ll be supported in it as long as she lives. While the buyer, no matter how long she has to wait to take possession, knows the odds are that she’ll get the apartment at a healthy discount because, after all, no one lives forever.
No one except Jeanne Louise Calment.
Jeanne Calment, smoking.
Jeanne Calment, smoking.
Mme Calment outlived her apartment’s buyer, she outlived the buyer’s wife, and she did her best to outlive the buyer’s children as she continued to collect her monthly “rent” to the final value of perhaps two or three times what her apartment was worth.
Every year on her birthday, she wrote to the notaire’s family – (wittily, of course; she had no intention of dying) – to apologize for still being alive.
At 100, Jeanne Calment finally stopped transporting herself by bicycle. At 117, nearly blind and burning her fingers every time she tried to put a match to a cigarette, she gave up smoking. At 118, she took it up again. A mild cutaneous scorching, she indicated airily, was well worth the pleasure of lighting up a cigarette again.
At 122, Jeanne Calment cut a rap record.
Jeanne Calment at 121
Jeanne Calment at 121
More to the point, she performed a spoken word recitation over a reasonably inoffensive rap background and two CDs were cut from the track to help raise money for a new van for her maison de retraite. It’s not entirely clear that, at 122, Mme Calment was herself entirely clear about what she was doing with that microphone  in her hand but — never one to shun the limelight — she did it with a will. And a van was purchased.
Jeanne Louise Calment died 164 days after her 122nd birthday in 1997. I am still her very great fan. She cheated Death and enjoyed Life longer than anyone else ever has. And I hope to follow her example.
A Postscript:
Paris’s Emperor of Ice Cream, Raymond Berthillon, the boulanger turned master glacier who founded his eponymous ice cream and sorbet parlour on the Ile- St-Louis sixty years ago, died here in August at the age of 90.
Berthillon: 31 rue Saint-Louis en l’Île
Berthillon: 31 rue Saint-Louis en l’Île
If you’ve been to Paris long enough to stay, you’ve probably spent time in a line at M. Berthillon’s original ice cream parlour, waiting for your cone (“Deux boules où trois, madame?”). His seasonally-confected, intensely-flavored ice creams (licorice, rhubarbe, fois gras and lavender are among the more than 70 flavors on offer: my favorite is the exquisitely simple chestnut) are –- don’t bother to argue — the best in the world.
Born in Burgundy, Raymond Berthillon has probably been interred in his native terroir. But if he’s at rest in a Paris cemetery, he can expect a visit of reverential thanks from me — and some fresh chestnuts on his grave for remembrance.