Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween, Poe & Pals

I was going to entitle this "John Crowley Owes Me $5" but I only just met him this week and I'm not sure I can feel comfortable joshing about money with him; of course it does make for a funny story. My adventures for the weekend started with the kick off of the Poe Conference at UMass Amherst on Thursday night. My pal, the fabulous Liz Hand, was the primary draw, but as I ended up sitting next to Crowley at dinner, I had a chance to get to know him a bit more.

The $5 came about because we were all supposed to go out to dinner after the reading, courtesy of UMass and coordinator Chris Couch. I was driving Liz and Tristan, her son, but we didn't know where the restaurant was, so we were supposed to follow Crowley and his daughter Zoe who was a student there. However, they couldn't get out of the garage because he had no cash! So I gave him a fin and we were off. Good food was on offer and assessing the situation, Crowley ran out to get some wine ($5 investment paid in FULL!); since we had about a dozen folks there, Liz followed suit, so we had a good amount of beverage for the fine dinner (some yummy goat as well as rice and beans and plantains). Crowley and I ended up talking about all kinds of things like why he couldn't see the appeal of vampires (rotting corpses! think of the smell!), medieval revenants and even my film class about portrayals of writers, for which he had an additional suggestion I'd never heard of: "Youngblood Hawke" written by Herman Wouk and filmed in 1964.

Liz tried to convince me to stay in Amherst that night, but I'd brought no clothes or even a toothbrush ("You can use mine," she offered -- isn't she a sweetie?) but when dinner broke up around 11pm, I headed home. Too wired when I got home to go to sleep, I ended up pottering around until after 3am, so no way I was going back to Amherst in the morning. Sorry, Faye! I missed your panel, but heard about it afterward (and that it was enjoyed). Friday night I celebrated Samhaim with my pals and stuffed myself silly! Thought I might never eat again.

Sat dawned with an early rising to get to Amherst in time to see some of the presenters before my panel. My reading went well: I had fun talking about Poe's influence and then reading from "Palakainen" which seemed to go over well, too. Lunch offered an opportunity for chatting with folks, then Craig Shaw Gardner gave the keynote speech which -- of course! -- turned into a game show.

Then I jumped back in the car to head down to Willimantic and Miss Wendy's, where we had some tasty brisket, then prepped and headed down to New London to celebrate the day with the Queen and Johnny 10X, Marko and the Boojums (Cheryl is responsible for the photo above) at the Hygenic Park. I was dressed as Mater Tenebrarum (in case you can't tell) and we all had a lot of fun until it rained.

Some folks followed the bands to the Oasis (Marko told us later that we missed blood, 80 degree heat and a fight), some to the Bank Street (Flesh Hammer and D.O.T. were playing) and me, Miss Wendy, the Queen and Johnny 10X went to the Dutch, where we were fortunate to get a table from some friendly Phillies fans. I'm sure it looked odd enough to have Mater Tenebrarum, a Raven and the Scarecrow come in and sit down, but we got a chuckle when Batman came in and bellied up to the bar, sipping a cold one while he watched the game. We got home late and Miss Wendy and I sat up for a bit watching Halloweeny fare.

Even better, we had that extra hour from daylight savings and Miss Wendy made me breakfast -- eggs, bacon and bagels, yum! Why is breakfast always such a treat? I dunno, but it was delicious. Better yet, "I'm All Right, Jack" was playing on TCM so I had a lot of laughs with breakfast, too. Eventually I had to head home; it's such an easy drive with music playing and plenty of convenient places to stop if need be. Best thing today was being in the ladies room at one rest area and listening to a little girl sing "Lollipop" with her mom making the "pop" sound.

Home again to a happy Kipper, but no hot water! Maybe it's fixed now. Too busy catching up on things to check. Hope you all had fun this weekend!

15 comments:

Toff said...

Oddly, I never thought of vampires smelling like rotting corpses.

On Youngblood Hawke, I have never seen it but recall the "Youngblood Rule" from Ebert's Bigger Little Movie Glossary: "No movie with a hero named 'Youngblood' has ever been any good (c.f. Youngblood Hawke, Youngblood, etc.)." I wondered when reading that how many such movies there could possibly be. But I would perhaps trust Crowley over Ebert here.

Enid Wilson said...

Sensational costumes, a bit scary though.

Bargain with the Devil

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I still think it's funny that I know you and Faye through totally different connections!

K. A. Laity said...

Toff -- well, he didn't claim it was a *great* film, just that it fit the topic and hit all the clichés about what writers lives are supposedly like. There's a surprising number of films! I had such a hard time choosing.

Enid -- thanks! Yeah, we do tend to veer toward the scary, but that's just how my pals roll. They're actually very sweet, but you'd never know it to look at the costumes.

ADM -- Faye knows everyone and goes everywhere. I think I first met her at Necon -- or maybe Readercon? -- but it could just as well have been Kalamazoo. It's a weird little set of overlapping worlds!

Cranky Yankee said...

Yes, Joey and I do scary all the time...we're known as that "weird couple" in the neighborhood...the ones with the great vegetable garden, that is!

I got lots of great compliments on the Kali outfit...but I was cold! Glad we headed to the Bank St. Cafe afterward...they were rockin'!

Do you know how much blue I had to wash off when I got home?

K. A. Laity said...

Cranky, that is one of the best costumes EVAH! Things weren't rocking at the Dutch, but quiet was okay with me. LOL -- I can believe the blue. I slept with a towel over my pillow and washed it all away in the morning.

Todd Mason said...

I'm glad I'm not the first to suggest that the Wouk is one of the reasons I don't respect Wouk. But I didn't get very far with it. But Toff's suspicion, trust Crowley over Ebert, is a sound one (particularly since Crowley isn't endoring the film nor the book).

K. A. Laity said...

Yeah, I can't say I've been very impressed with Wouk. Steady product, I guess.

Todd Mason said...

Pompous takes on the pulse of his time. Contrast John Irving (who has been more goofy than pompous perhaps) in the latter '70s, Jay McInerney in the mid '80s, William Vollmann for the last decade, in their varying manners of vastly overpraised badness.

K. A. Laity said...

Yeah -- there's a career to be made in these approaches. I should learn how to do it and stop being so damn "quirky" (ahem).

Todd Mason said...

Ah, but the quirkiness they display, rather like a child with a cut on her or his finger, is both overstated and unimaginative. There's the rub.

K. A. Laity said...

Sells better than my quirky.

Liz said...

I too have a problem with vampires -- they're all supposed to be ancient, so why do they still act like teenagers?

Nice writeup of the Poe conference -- it was so much fun to see you! I also missed Faye's paper, so hope she remembers to send it to me -- all those New England vampires, could some be my neighbors? (lots of old cemetaries in Lincolnville.) The masquerade party looked like another great tiome, I especially loved Cheryl's Kali do-over. THAT should keep those pesky bloodsuckers from making a ruckus.

Liz said...

I too have a problem with vampires -- they're all supposed to be ancient, so why do they still act like teenagers?

Nice writeup of the Poe conference -- it was so much fun to see you! I also missed Faye's paper, so hope she remembers to send it to me -- all those New England vampires, could some be my neighbors? (lots of old cemetaries in Lincolnville.) The masquerade party looked like another great tiome, I especially loved Cheryl's Kali do-over. THAT should keep those pesky bloodsuckers from making a ruckus.

K. A. Laity said...

LOL -- I think it may have something to do with the people who would choose that life. Of course teenagers thing they'd want to live forever.

It was great to see you at the conference, Liz! And fun -- didn't Martín Espada have the most wonderful voice? I forgot to even mention him. Brilliant readings.