Noir At The Bar New Orelans
Peter Rosovsky gets sworn at a lot.
The best part? He deserves it.
Peter started Noir at the Bar in Philadelphia, back in the long-ago days of 2008. His original idea was more along the lines of a traditional author Q&A, with writers like Duane Swierzynski, Dennis Tafoya, and Sandra Ruttan. Then two dirty lowdown hoodlums, Scott Phillips and Jed Ayers, stole the name and took it to St. Louis. Two new customs started there; the events began to have multiple authors reading, and the hosts started opening each show by swearing at Peter Rosovsky.
Eric Beetner and Stephen Blackmore then pretended to ask for permission to take Noir at the Bar to L.A. Todd Robinson just waded right in to the brawl and took the event to New York. He’s like that, is our Todd. Just ask John Travolta.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard of Noir at the Bar. Possibly even been to one. Chapters have sprung up across America and into Canada. In 2015 Russel D. McLean and I brought the name across the Atlantic, with three events in Glasgow. There have been chapters in Newcastle, Belfast, Carlisle, and Harrogate. Nobody in London has stepped up to the plate yet, but I think that’s because they’re all chicken.
You can find most of this information already. Keith Rawson put together a great oral history over at Litreactor, and there are no shortage of interviews and blog posts in which we’ve all talked about our fun little thing. So if none of this is new, what can I say that you’ve not heard before?
For me, the greatest thing about being part of this community is seeing the work people do for others. If you can name a Noir at the Bar host, then you’re also thinking of someone who goes out of their way to create a platform for other writers. Eric Beetner and Stephen Blackmore gave me my first live event as an author, and I’m not alone. You won’t have to go far at the Bouchercon bar to find authors –at all stages of the career- who want to thank Eric, Stephen, Todd, or any of the other hosts, for giving them a leg up along the way. It’s that very spirit that made Russel and I want to bring the party to the UK, and that leads to my second favourite thing.
As a host I get to see the authors who take time out to help someone else on the bill. I watch Denise Mina encouraging a nervous new reader. I see Johnny Shaw talking authors through how to deliver a great joke. I love putting on an author who has never read before, and in the space of a five-minute reading see them go from, ‘I’m too scared to do this,’ to, ‘when can I do it again?’
Okay. So why am I rambling at you today?
Well, another bit of history is that Bouchercon played host to Noir at the Bar for the first time in Cleveland, 2012. There has been some kind of noir-ish bar-ish presence at the convention every year since. Most have been hosted by Eric and Stephen, and last year Eryk Pruitt hit it out of the park with the bill he put together in Raleigh.
This is the fifth year in a row that we’re bringing the show to Bouchercon, and so we’ve decided to do something special. We’re giving you not one, but two doses of the noir stuff.
First up, at 4.30 on the Wednesday, Eric will be hosting Noir at the Bar: Bouchercon. This is the speed round event, similar to Albany and Long Beach. Each author (including your not-so-humble narrator) will get sixty seconds to hook you in with a short reading. At the end of the show, we will also be giving away free books.
You then have a few hours to relax and settle in before our second event, for which you are all cordially invited to join us at The Voodoo Lounge, 718 N Rampart Street, from 9pm onwards for Noir Bar After Dark. The evening show will be more of a traditional affair, with five minute readings from authors including Christa Faust, Johnny Shaw, Todd Robinson, and Renee Asher Pickup.
I mean, sure, you could be somewhere else, but why would you want to do that?
Link: An oral history of Noir at the Bar https://litreactor.com/columns/noir-at-the-bar-an-oral-history