Thanks to local writer, filmmaker, and man-about-town Eryk Pruitt, Noir at the Bar has become an annual event at 106 Main in Durham. Local and not-so-local noir writers come to the area to share an evening of reading gritty snippets from their crime novels and short stories. The authors on this night came from Kentucky, Virginia, and all around North Carolina. Who knew that Cary, NC has a seedy underbelly? Some stories made us laugh. Some shocked us. It was a fun evening.
Emcee Tracey Coppedge kept the action moving along. She introduced each author with a brief biography and warm welcome and announced the name of their book. She warned the authors that they only had 10 minutes to read, and that they would be punished if they went over their limit. The punishment? Buying her a drink!
Needless to say, with all of the great stories, Coppedge‘s drink stayed full. Between stories she tossed out trivia questions, with the winner getting a book from the writers in attendance. It was the perfect touch for the event.
The authors took the mic in turn and read from their work, with the others waiting in a bullpen of sorts to the right of the stage. It became apparent as the authors read to the crowd that writing a well-crafted story is a totally different thing from presenting a story, with the former being a mostly solitary pursuit and the latter necessitating engaging a group of listeners (and in this case, a rowdy group of listeners to boot!), which can be difficult! We decided at the end of the evening that reading a story is akin to acting — it takes talent and a very special skill set. The more successful authors were able to let themselves step into their characters’ skin and deliver dialog with emotion. Other authors seemed nervous and a little uncomfortable in the spotlight. That said, all of the stories were first-rate, and all of the authors have been published, so they are good at their craft. And it is truly magical to see an author present a story that they penned as they see it and hear it in their heads.
The stories ran the gamut, but there were two standouts.
Eryk Pruitt, a gifted actor as well as writer, nailed it again this year as he presented Stephen King-esque tale about giant crawfish taking over a Louisiana town during an, “ahem”, shall we say, inopportune courtship. Pruitt really has a gift for accents and knows his characters and takes his audience on a journey.
Shawn A. Cosby was another standout author who happened to have participated last year. He knocked it out of the park with his reading of “Slant Six,” a touching story about a boy, his deadbeat dad, drug dealers, and an awesome classic truck.
Other authors who joined the evenings’ fun were Greg Barth, Sean Jackson, Jay Wilburn, Katy Munger, and J.D. Rhoades. It was great to see some women (should we say “dames” — this is gritty writing) coming to present their work alongside the men this year!
We are thrilled with Noir at the Bar No. IV, and we are already looking forward to next year’s lineup! Don’t miss it!
NOIR AT THE BAR NO. IV (Noir at the Bar Durham, June 16 at 106 Main in Durham).
VENUE: http://www.106main.com/, https://www.facebook.com/106Main, and https://twitter.com/106main.
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. Click here to read her reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.