NoirCon 2012 proves its always dark


Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer

Noir, the dark literary genre populated by desperate killers, depressive, guilt-ridden cops, and down-and-out losers, thrived in the 1940s and 1950s. James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, Mickey Spillane, and that greatest of all urban anthropologists, Philadelphia’s David Goodis, produced a mini-explosion of crime novels and movies.

Half a century later, noir still thrives, says critic, editor, publisher, and crime fiction bookstore owner Otto Penzler.

“There is more noir being written today than any time in history,” says Penzler, who will speak at Philadelphia NoirCon, a four-day celebration of noir in books, art, music, film, and TV, Thursday through Sunday at various Center City locations.

The biannual event will feature more than 30 writers, critics, and musicians, including Robert Polito, DJ Morbita, Megan Abbott, Robert Olen Butler, and Philadelphia singer and novelist Wesley Stace, who is known to music fans as John Wesley Harding.

In the past we’ve focused on literature and films,” says NoirCon founder Lou Boxer, 51, an anesthesiologist and bibliophile from Media. “This year we have expanded the program to include noir music, noir art.”

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