Reflections on Philly

I’ve chronicled some of our activity at NoirCon for Out of the Gutter on-line. Check it out here. Suffice to say we met a lot of interesting people and had fun socializing with nice folks who like and create deviant literature. Saturday we attended the awards dinner at a place called Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River. We wound up taking a taxi back with a young guy named Matt Cook who was a doctoral candidate at Penn who had just finished his first novel. It was out on the edge of the city and we clambered over train tracks to flag the taxi who turned out to have a broken meter but we nonetheless successfully negotiated a reasonable fare. We had been in a big group of partygoers who cursed us good-naturedly (at least I think so, these are crime writers after all) for “jumping the line.” Hey, that cabbie wasn’t going anywhere near the event and I think we might have made his night with some ready cash. Taxis are much of the theme for our stay—we rode the subway and did lots of walking but NoirCon events were spread out all over the city and the only way to get around was via cabs. The closing event was on Sunday at a bookstore called Port Richmond that was again out on the bleeding edge of town. It was more like a warehouse your crazy rich uncle filled up with all his stuff. There was a spectacular collection of used books that would have taken weeks to go through, but it was frigid in the place and we almost didn’t make it through the final discussion. We wandered around looking for a place to get lunch and a beer and finally settled in neighborhood bar that served pirogies. We had a great visit with British author Richard Godwin and his wife Paige. On the way back we shared a taxi with Charles Kelly who gave me a copy of his book Gunshots in Another Room, a biography of forgotten noir writer Dan J. Marlowe.

We had also visited, earlier in the day, a truly weird place called Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens which features the unique work of artist Isaiah Zagar. It’s mostly mosaics, but a lot of found objects and urban debris as well. I’ll sign off with a few pictures:


Mark and Magic

We head west on the train starting at noon today!

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