Summer showed up this past Saturday in Chicago. “Whoa,” Summer said. “It’s June already? I guess I’m a little late.”
All is forgiven (until next year). Chicago was the place to be this weekend, whether it was Ribfest, Midsommerfest, Bluesfest, Printer’s Row Lit Fest, or the Wells Street Art Fair (not sure how they got away with not being a “fest”).
I spent Saturday at Lit Fest, signing books and talking with fans at the Mystery Writers of America tent, then joining Libby Fischer Hellman, Brian D’Amato, and Alec Nevala-Lee on a panel expertly moderated by Bob Goldsborough (the author who has continued the Nero Wolfe tradition). I was a little out of my league with someone like Brian, who brought a bottle of perfume to illustrate the meaning of noir (I kid you not), and Alec, whose knowledge of film surpasses my knowledge of just about anything except maybe burgers and hockey. It was fun and I learned a few things.
Then came the best part: hanging out at Kasey’s Tavern on Dearborn with fellow authors Marcus Sakey, Mike Harvey, Jon Steele, Jim Garner, and Kevin Guilfoile. We saved the world several times, then forgot how we’d done it. Back to the laptops.
I heard that later that night the local hockey team won a big game.
Sunday wasn’t quite as sweet weather-wise, but better than those November days of the previous week. Pam and I met old friends for lunch at 11 Cafe in the South Loop, where I reintroduced myself to superb pastrami. Then we sat back amid the trees at the Pepsi stage at Bluesfest, drank a beer, read the Sunday papers, and listened to some excellent blues.
Back to work today: fiction, non-fiction, and a Cubs game tonight (yes, watching the Cubs qualifies as work, especially if you’re a Tigers fan). Tomorrow night, I’ll be heading to the Hidden Shamrock at 6 p.m. to celebrate the release of Michael Harvey’s new thriller, THE INNOCENCE GAME. You’re invited. Show up and Mike will buy you a beer!