Alek went out for a haircut this morning with dad. He's a shoo-in for "Axe Murderer" in "Axe Murderer/Not An Axe Murderer" now. Although I don't know if anyone plays that game in Lincoln.
While they hit up the barber shop - a place so traditional I can't get a haircut there because I shave my legs - I headed over to the convention center for The MWA Celebrates Edgar Allen Poe panel (Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Peter Lovesey, John Lutz, Sara Paretsky). During the pre-panel wait, I struck up a conversation with the woman in front of me, during which it came out that I hadn't read novels by any of the authors on the panel - I was there for the content rather than the speakers. The woman asks, "Oh, so you're not a mystery reader?"
Well, I am, I'm just working up from Poe and Doyle and Christie and Stout to authors who are, you know, alive. As it happens I've finally made the transition from authors who are dead to authors who are "extremely old" (his words, not mine), like Michael Z. Lewin. Frankly, though, I couldn't get too annoyed at a woman who volunteers at food pantries and a steam boat museum (!) in her free time. When I'm older, I will be more than happy to become a "full-time volunteer."
The panel itself was interesting. There were people who knew much more about Poe than I ever have - and one woman in a truly cool themed vest - so I walked away with some new information. There was also a discussion about why, if Poe was bipolar (as has been suggested), there's no evidence of any writing from his "up" periods, and the running joke became "where are the tree poems?" Toward the end of the panel, Sara Paretsky randomly bust out with a "Poe poem" that does involve trees. I've done my best to reproduce it here from memory, so if you were also in the panel please feel free to correct me:
I think that I shall never see
A murder committed by a tree
Unless for asshole takes an ax
And gives that sucker 40 whacks
While some fool -let's call her me-
Walks past, and it crushes she.
Afterwards I had quite a bit of free time, even after I spent 20 minutes over at the Crimefest table. I think I might have to see if I can save up the $ necessary to go next May for two weeks: the full package includes trips by ferry and steam train, discussions over coffee, and a trip to Dartmoor in addition to room and board during Crimefest.
The Bouchercon 1934 panel (Ted Hertel, Marv Lachman, Larry Light, Gary Warren Niebuhr...I think), which came after a lunch of White Castle, covered the news, births/deaths, novels, short stories, and pulp magazines of the year. I especially enjoyed the ads from pulp mystery magazines: "dentures by mail", anyone? And, just as things got rolling, a reporter and Archie Goodwin's girlfriend showed up, so they conducted an interview during the panel. The last panel was The Sting Goes On (John Billheimer, Michael Bowen, Sean Doolittle, Jack Getze, Richard Thompson - except one of them called out sick and I don't remember who it was), which had a surprisingly small audience. I have no idea why more mystery fans wouldn't want to sit through a panel on cons; they appear in nearly every mystery I've read. Regardless, all the people who didn't attend missed a very fun/funny conversation ("I'm so slow, if I wrote guys trying to run the 'fiddle game', they'd be using a piano").
After The Sting Goes on, dad and I walked around the city a bit, up Mass. Ave. The "artsy" district was quite a disappointment in terms of things to do, so we made our own fun with my camera.
However, I'm not certain how much of what we took would be considered "serious art."
There's nothing that makes me want to enter a gallery less than "Serious Art" on the window. There's all sorts of free and fun art outside.
There was supposed to be a screening of one of the A&E episodes of Nero Wolfe, but technical difficulties (in the vein of "tapes don't go in a dvd player") nipped that in the bud. We did have a nice conversation with an author (Roberta Rogow) who kindly sang a few snippets of song for us. Once the room cleared out and people headed home, we got bored and wandered the convention area and, as usual, created our own fun.
I had a brief Zen moment where I found myself
but it passed.
All following photos published with apologies (and thanks?) to Michael Connelly, Martin Limon, Rick Mofina, the moon, the creators of James Bond, and shoe shiners everywhere.
I thought I'd end with a photo of dad and me on our thrones. Because "throne" makes me giggle.
Photos will be added tomorrow night. We have to get to bed early because there are free books tomorrow morning.