Psst. You. Yes, you. Come here. Listen. There’s something special happening on Main Street in Durham. For the low-low price of FREE, you, yes, you, can hear tales of murder, mayhem, stripping, and monkey business while relaxing on a comfy sofa and sipping craft beer. Throw in a lively emcee and parting gifts, and you got yourself one hell of an evening! Pass it on.
Noir at the Bar is Durham’s way of spreading the word about local and not-so-local noir writers’ work. The third annual Noir at the Bar was held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13th, at 106 Main, a downtown pub located at 106 E. Main St. in Durham.
What is noir? Well, the tales are gritty and not for the faint of heart. Leave the kiddies at home unless you want them to learn some colorful language. And learn to drink.
The authors on this night came from Kentucky, Virginia, and all around North Carolina to read selections from their work. Some stories made us laugh. Some made us cringe. Some caught us off-guard. All were entertaining.
The emcee, Tracey Coppedge, was perfection. She introduced each author with a brief biography and warm welcome. She dressed the part with a high-waisted skirt and pumps that channeled the 1950s. She was upbeat and effervescent.
Between stories, Coppedge tossed out random trivia questions, with the winner getting a book from the writers in attendance. Even we won some swag. What fun!
The authors took the stage in turn and read from their work. Well, it wasn’t really a stage. It was more a corner of the bar, with a music stand and a reading light at the ready. But the gritty setting was great for hearing crime stories./font>
Some writers were more theatrical than others; some had more highly developed skills for voices and accents. But they all infused their readings with a passion, an earnestness, and an honesty that can only come from ownership of the material, the special kind of ownership fostered by authorship.
The stories ran the gamut, but there were some standouts.
Eryk Pruitt, a Durham writer and film-maker, nailed an Irish lilt and the Texas twang of his protagonist in his short “Knacker.” In a brief 20 minutes, he transported the audience to the rough-and-tumble streets of Ireland, where a Texan is preparing to fight … a chimpanzee. No, Pruitt did not make chimp noises.
David Terrenoire, another Durhamite, shared his noir short, “Blank Check.” His story of a henpecked, cuckolded, and bullied Everyman slowly and skillfully shifts, becoming the tale of a man carefully planning a murder. But of whom? His wife? Her lover? His boss? Himself?
Roger Paris, a Raleigh writer, actor, and artist, told the tale of a tough Southern deputy sheriff stopping a maroon Cadillac driven by a seemingly wimpy Yankee from Florida. You’ll never guess which one of them states, “I almost had to shoot you!”
Other authors joining in the night’s festivities included S.A.Cosby, Geraud Staton, Greg Barth, and Steve Weddle, whose heart-warming tale of shelling purple-hulled peas with his grandma and killing a banker touched the heart. Well, ok, no, but it was killer (ahem) noir story-telling.
At the risk of losing our front-row seats, we hope that this event catches fire! Not literally. Although that would make a great noir tale, now wouldn’t it? Come join the fun. Catch Noir at the Bar when you can.
SECOND OPINION: Aug. 12th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Brian Howe: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/noir-at-the-bar/Event?oid=4626917.
NOIR AT THE BAR III (106 Main, Aug. 13 at 106 E. Main St. in Durham). SHOW: https://www.facebook.com/events/121162814888967/. PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.106main.com/, https://www.facebook.com/106Main, and https://twitter.com/106main. [RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.