Noir at the Bar Minneapolis

Noir at the Bar MPLSEditor’s note: The term Noir at the Bar was actually coined by noted crime fiction blogger Peter Rozovsky. While Jedidah Ayres has worked hard to promote it, we wish to give credit where credit is due.

Minneapolis bar Merlin’s Rest was home to a slightly different show last night than the neighborhood British pub usually is privy to. While the regular customer will come in for a pint of Guinness or a plate of Scotch eggs, what they got last night was a group of published and award winning mystery writers reading their short stories to a packed room of fans.

Noir at the Bar is a term coined by St. Louis based author Jedidiah Ayres. It’s a simple formula: local bar/coffee house/restaurant + crime writers who enjoy interacting with their fans = great night for all. While these events have been spreading out from St. Louis to L.A. to Denver and to the East Coast, we’ve never had one here in the Midwest

What started out as a question on Twitter by Anthony Neil Smith (THE BADDEST ASS) to see if there would be any interest in having an event here in the Twin Cities quickly grew from there. St. Paul artist Brent Schoonover designed the event poster and there couldn’t be a better visual to get the vibe of the night across.

Minnesota native Jess Lourey (DECEMBER DREAD) kicked off the evening with a reading from her Young Adult book THE TOADHOUSE TRILOGY. She then recruited two volunteers to read a “love scene” from her book NOVEMBER HUNT. In true Lourey style, the scene brilliantly veered away from our expectations, and took us an olfactory tour. Hey, even sexy chicks get smelly burps from vitamins.

Sean Doolittle, Paul von Stoetzel, John Rector, Jess Lourey, Anthony Neil Smith

Sean Doolittle, Paul von Stoetzel, John Rector, Jess Lourey, Anthony Neil Smith

2013 Thriller award winners Sean Doolittle (LAKE COUNTRY) and John Rector (“Lost Things”) followed Jess. John read two short stories, including one that ensured that audience members would never look at Rachael Ray the same way again. Sean gave a shout out to local mystery bookstore Once Upon a Crime and read a short story from one of their anthologies. He followed that up with a test drive of a short story he hadn’t read out loud before Noir at the Bar Minneapolis.

Anthony Neil Smith closed out the night of noir. Smith changed things up and did a quick poetry reading of poems that he… didn’t write. Again, these poems took the crowd to a totally different place. We were laughing hysterically. He followed that with a suitably dark tale about a guy working the oilrigs and brawling with the Native Americans.

Before Smith took the mic, MC Paul von Stoetzel announced that his production company, Killing Joke Films, in partnership with Pounding Heart MultiMedia, would be turning Smith’s book HOGDOGGIN into a film. The movie is slated for release in early 2015. This announcement led to a roar of approval from the audience.

Pounding Heart MultiMedia was kind enough to sponsor the event, and keep both audience and readers happily fed on Scotch eggs and sausage wrapped in pastry.

The event was also live Tweeted by Crimespree Magazine’s own Kate Malmon. Crimespree columnist Dan Malmon yelled encouraging slogans from the sidelines.

It is safe to say that Minneapolis’s first Noir at the Bar event was a resounding success.