Left Coast Crime 2013

By David Corbett

For much of today, I’ll be en route to Colorado Springs for this year’s Left Coast Crime (where eventually I’ll be joined by fellow current or past Murderatis JT Ellison, Simon Wood, and Alexandra Sokoloff, who posted here about the conference yesterday).

I’ve made myself scarce the last few years on the conference circuit, being preoccupied with other, well, preoccupations, but co-chairs Christine Goff and Suzanne Proulx very graciously (if unwisely) asked if I’d serve as toastmaster, and how could I refuse?

Just one question, I said timidly. What exactly does a toastmaster do?

The answer: Nobody knows

I even asked last year’s toastmaster, Harley Jane Kozak, and she replied: “You just get up and make people happy to be alive, restore sight to the blind and the will to live in those who are depressed. It helps if everyone’s drunk to begin with.”

Oh. That.

Piece of cake.

Eventually, Christine and Suzanne decided to indulge my pleas for guidance, and gave me a rough list of duties I’d be expected to perform. Basically, I introduce people who are about to introduce other people. (It’s almost a twisted variant of Russell’s Paradox: If the toastmaster interviews all those and only those who don’t introduce themselves, who introduces the toastmaster?)

Actually, the people I get to introduce are quite impressive, from Guests of Honor Laura Lippman and Craig Johnson to “Last Resort” Troubadour Parnell Hall, from Fan Guest of Honor Tom Schantz (with his late wife, Enid, also honored) to Special Guest Lou Diamond Phillips. I also get to extend kind words on behalf of Christine and Suzanne and all the other LCC Committee Co-Chairs, name the various LCC Award Nominees and present the Dilys Award (for the crime/mystery/thriller novel the Independent Mystery Booksellers of America most enjoyed selling in 2012).

As if all that weren’t enough, I also get to warm up the crowd at the awards dinner on Saturday night, and double up with charity auctioneer (and fellow math geek) Robert Spiller to make sure the auction stays lively — though not as lively, I suspect, as what follows:

“Does this shoulder holster make me look fat?” A Concealed Weapon Fashion Show: Emcee: Ellen Byerrum. Gun consultant: Curt Wendelboe. Fashionista: Bonnie Ramthun. Models: Donna Andrews, Rhys Bowen, Parnell Hall, Heather and C.M. Wendelboe, Twist Phelan, Jack Chapple, Brad Parks, and Ann Charles.

But wait, there’s more.

I’ll also be teaching a three-hour (9:00 AM—noon) workshop on character Thursday morning (we’ve already got nearly forty sign-ups).

Oh, and there are the panels:

Friday, 4:00–4:45 p.m.—Truth or Dare (M) Rhys Bowen, David Corbett, Parnell Hall, Laura Lippman, Brad Parks

Saturday, 3:15–4:00 p.m.—Suspense/Thrillers Lisa Brackmann, Jan Burke, David Corbett, (M) J.T. Ellison, Mark Sullivan

If you’re coming, make sure to say hello. If you can’t make it, you’ll be missed.

So, Murderateros: If you were attending the Truth or Dare panel, and could ask an embarrassing question of one of the panelists—forcing them to either tell the truth or chip in to a charity fund—what would you ask, and of whom?

* * * * *

Jukebox Hero of the Week: I was in Los Angeles recently and got to visit with my good buddy Mark Haskell Smith, his wife Diana Faust, and fellow Murderatero Gar Anthony Haywood. Gar gave me one of the nicest compliments I’ve received lately: He praised my taste in these little music clips. Almost immediately, I thought: Oh Christ, now the pressure’s on.

So with that burden squarely in mind, the burden of living up to Gar’s appreciation, here goes: a forgotten classic from one-hit wonder and tragic heroin casualty James Ramey, aka Baby Huey of Baby Huey & the Babysitters, from 1970:

4 thoughts on “Left Coast Crime 2013

  1. Sarah W

    I was thinking after Alex's post yesterday that If I weren't trying so desperately to be financially responsible right now, I would have loved to go to Left Coast Crime, and now I'm trying to keep myself from walking off the job and taking off for parts southwest. The fashion show *alone* . . .

    This question, asked at a con i attended a few years back, earned a lot of charity money: "Which of your fellow panelists writes books you would never consider reading?"

    Followed by, "Which character or characters, written by one (or more) of your fellow panelists, would you consider inviting over for a torrid, no-holds barred, filthy weekend?"

    Which is why you don't usually have truth or dare panels at librarian conferences . . .

  2. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    I'll miss you, my brother. You'll be a terrific toastmaster, or master toaster, or electric oven, or whatever they have you doing. If I were throwing a convention I'd want you as my toastmaster, too.

  3. Reine


    I am so sorry that I cannot be there! You would be wonderful as toastmaster. Whatever that is. I think it's easier than being a roast master. Not that I know what that is, either. And you're on a panel with Rhys Bowen! I love Rhys Bowen. Please give her a hug for me. Listen, I'm trying to fix up what my speech-to-text thinks I ought to be saying to you. It is very nice, of course. Damn. Can't get out of Tucson. I'm being held captive by bad circumstance. One of these days. xo sweetie.

  4. David Corbett


    Sorry I didn't respond yesterday. All the travel, the getting settled. Sarah, those are GREAT questions and I've passed them along. I've also passed your kind words along, Reine. Thanks for the attaboy Stephen, deeply appreciated.

    Onward! To the toast!


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