Okay, boys and girls, as promised, here’s my whole Crimelandia, Left Coast Crime, Portland, Oregon report. Yes, I put up some of this already, but here, in one handy place whether you want it or not, is the whole nine yards, the full spill, the complete thing.
note: the books in the book bag, plus the few we bought, will be the subject of a New Arrivals post in a couple of days.
Before we get down to brass tacks, the takeaway: we got books, met and talked with authors, saw friends, found good food. In short, boyo, we hand a lot of fun.
As previously reported, we drove to the con on Thursday, went through registration and got our book bags. We stopped at what would later be one of the signing tables and looked at our new book friends, sorted out the duplicates and left them on the book share table, then took the bags, minus one program book (shown above) to the car, as we weren’t checking into the hotel until the next night.
The hotel venue is compact and all on one level, which is nice, and it was easy to find people. We had a nice talk with Janet Rudolph, who would present the first panel, LCC 101. which we attended a little of. After errands,we left for lunch at the Cadillac Cafe, which has very good food.
Back at the hotel, we had time to vist with friends. Instead of putting names throughout this fascinating narrative, let me just dump here, so you can read or skip the name stuff. We had a chance to visit with and catch up with a bunch of people: Dave Lewis, Cap’n Bob Napier, Kate Derie, Brian Barrett, Chris Aldrich, Janet Rudolph, Maggie Mason, Thom Walls, Bill Gottfried and the other people I can’t remember now. Okay, done with that.
After a trip to the book room to check it out (plenty of room, not many dealers) and it was time for panels. The It’s a Living: Odd Jobs & Strange Professions panel was interesting but there was no takeaway for us. That was it for the day, fast and fun. Just one book purchased.
The first full day of panels, all 635 attendees (about average for an LCC convention) in happy anticipation of the day. We started out with Mean Streets: Pulp Detectives of the Past & Present moderated by Evan Lewis as emergency stand-in for Steve Mertz who was unavailable. This pulp panel went, in minutes, to a noir panel and didn’t get back to the actual topic. Apparently none of the panelists had ever read a pulp story (why the hell were they on the panel?). Too bad. Nice slide show, though.
We had particularly been looking forward to the International Settings panel, because a favorite author Jeffrey Siger was to be on it, but he had to cancel (surgery) so we skipped.
Next was Cliches in Crime Fiction, with David Corbett (M), Lisa Albert, Blake Crouch, Bill Fitzhugh and James Ziskin. This was a great panel, full of humor. Every writer uses cliches to some extent and just about every character type, landscape and situation either is a cliche or lends itself to one. One of my top three panels of the con.
While I hung about, Barbara took in the Book–Related Mysteries panel. Since she reads thrillers, serial killer and dark mysteries this wasn’t her thing, but for those who love the snuggle cozies (cats, recipes, quaint book stores, etcetera) this was meat. I can’t say I’m sorry I missed it. Then, while I was out running a marathon – or maybe I was taking a nap, Barbara went to Five FBI Agents Discuss Their Jobs. She said it was very interesting and the speakers were really sharp. This was her top panel of the con.
Having been told there would be hors d’ oeuvres at the evening’s tribute, we shouldn’t have gone to dinner, but I’ve heard that before only to find a plate of olives and cheese cubes. Not this time, there was a huge buffet, and we were too full to partake. Oh well. LCC 25 Years, started out well enough, Gar Anthony Haywood, the con Toastmaster, was an excellent host, but things went to hell when the magician took the stage. Bah. We bailed.
Sheesh, the con is flying by. We started out by returning to Cadillac Cafe for breakfast. It was crowded on Saturday morning, of course, but worth it. The French toast is to die for. Then back to the hotel for a full day. Intending to go to a panel or two, we ended up in the lobby in conversation with friends we rarely see, a very nice thing. After a hotel lunch (mumpf) we went to Been There, Wrote That, a panel Gar Anthony Haywood hosts, sort of a game show thing, that I found hilarious (Barbara says “it was sort of funny”). Haywood, asks the authors questions about scenes in their books, such as “when Joe walks into the Palms Motel, the three things he sees are…” A) a gun, a pair of red tennis shoes and a calendar, B) a gun, a calendar, blood on the blankets, or C) a body, blood on the blankets and a pair of red tennis shoes. The authors have a hard time, as they rewrote scenes several times and it may have been a while… Great stuff. My top panel of the con.
I wanted to see What Makes a Great Villain? panel, but was late getting there and found standing room only. Phooey. Apparently it was a good one. The remainder of the afternoon was spent out and about. Saturday night was the Awards Banquet, which we had decided to skip; we just didn’t want rubber chicken, and the Lefty Awards aren’t of that much interest to us. Search the web if you want to know who won what. Instead we drove to La Cocina for dinner, a local dive with terrific Mexican Food, some of the best in town. I had the carnitas burrito, wet, and was a very happy guy.
Seems like this con just got started, and it’s darn near over. After breakfast in the hotel, (mumpf again) Barbara went to The Modern Thriller while I took in $100 A Day Plus Expenses which I attended primarily to have a chance to see Gar Anthony Haywood one more time. My third top panel of the con. I haven’t read any of Haywood’s books (YET) but his intelligence, wit and insight made him a must-see for me. Both Barbara and I enjoyed the panels, and she found a new author to try, bought a book, got it signed. While she was doing that, I had a chance to chat with Haywood and tell him how much I enjoyed hearing him during the con. That brief chat was another highlight for me.
And then it was over. There was one set of panels remaining, but we were “paneled out” and so we said our goodbyes, checked out of the hotel, looked in briefly at the cat show that was in another hotel building and then drove home. Always good to be home. That wraps it up. Great time. Thank you, LCC organizers and volunteers, ya did good. Next year LCC is in Phoenix.