ouchercon is about socializing, too, a rare chance for writers and other bookish sorts to get together and talk about something other than recipes for Beef Wellington, as Ali Karim likes to put it.
And we don't talk just about books. One day over lunch at Mena's Palace
, just around the corner from the convention hotel on Canal Street in New Orleans, for example, I talked Quebec politics and history with a tableful of people that included my Montreal homeboys John McFetridge and Jacques Filippi.
|Jacques Filippi and palm trees on Canal Street.|
Photos by Peter Rozovsky
Jacques doesn't post on Facebook much (What does that man do with his life?), but John, like Benjamin Whitmer and Benoit Lelievre (yet another Montrealer), is one of the sanest, smartest, most articulate people on social media. Quite apart from the perspective afforded by time and by our somewhat different backgrounds, the discussion of René Lévesque
's legacy was an invigorating break from the social, political, and professional Beef Wellington of everyday life.
Over on the book side, a lot of neo-noir writers seem to think meth, violence, and trailer parks are enough for a good story. This decidedly does not apply to Christa Faust, John Rector, Martyn Waites, Johnny Shaw, and some of the other folks who read at Wednesday's pre-Bouchercon Noir at the Bar. That lot has big heart, big laughs, or both. And they all have big chops. The atmospheric Voodoo Lounge on Rampart Street was a fine venue for the best Noir at the Bar I've attended since I created Noir at the Bar eight years ago
|A girl playing guitar in Chris Acker|
and the Growing Boys.
And the music in New Orleans! I attended no shows, but I heard more good live music in more varieties in one night just walking down the street in some delightful company and looking in at bars for a gin and tonic than I'll hear in a year where I am now. Suffice it to say that having heard a sidewalk full of people, including an 89-year-old woman, sing "Your Cheatin' Heart" along with Chris Acker and the Growing Boys, I now understand the appeal of Hank Williams much better than I used to.
But nothing beats Cajun music, which can incorporate country and blues
. Nothing I've heard so abounds with jo
y even if one does not understand the French lyrics. This music can express joy and yearning at the same time, and that's even before the singing starts
. It's one of the most beautiful things I've experienced in my life
© Peter Rozovsky 2016
Labels: Bouchercon 2016, Cajun music., New Orleans, Noir at the Bar