Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Scottoline, Grippando & Levine, Attorneys-at-Law

By Paul

A potpourri of events of the past week. (“Potpourri” is a fancy foreign word meaning a pot of lukewarm porridge).

The Edgars: Great week for mystery writers, editors, agents, and fans. I kibitzed on a panel with fellow barristers Lisa Scottoline and James Grippando. Title of our session: “Let’s Kill All the Lawyers...Before They Write.” Many thanks to the Mystery Writers of America for obviously naming the panel in honor of my next book: “Kill All the Lawyers,” due out in September. The panel moderator was the smart and sassy Catherine Crier, a former Texas lawyer (and judge) herself. Afterwards, Lisa, Jim & I headed off to the Court TV studios where we shmoozed on Catherine’s show, shamelessly flogging our books. If I ever wanted to practice law again, I’d want Lisa and Jim as partners.

That night, I shared barbecue at Virgil's with fellow scribblers Reed Farrell Coleman, Jason Starr, James Born, and Ken Bruen. Yeah, I know. Go to New York and eat barbecue...did you just fall off a turnip truck? But it was good...better than Dr. Hogly Wogly’s Tyler Texas BBQ in Van Nuys. I also hit the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station for – guess what – oysters, and the always reliable Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit for herring and smoked salmon.

At the Edgars banquet, I was seated next to the effervescent Harley Jane Kozak. Little known trivia tidbit. I worked with Harley, an accomplished actress, on “First Monday,” the short-lived, critically abused Supreme Court show I co-created with Don Bellisario. The Grand Hyatt ballroom was awash in tuxedos and cocktail dresses, including Sarah Weinman in racy red.

Friday night, I enjoyed a preview performance of “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” the stage adaptation of Herman Wouk’s Pulitzer Prize winning book. A bit dated, maybe, but the play still packs a punch. David Schwimmer is defense lawyer Barney Greenwald, Tim Daly the prosecutor, and veteran character actor Zeljko Ivanek is terrific as Captain Queeg.

Then, it was back to L.A. for the book festival. Scott Turow, Ridley Pearson and I played Secret Service agents Saturday night at U.C.L.A. where Dave Barry announced his candidacy for President. (Yes, of the United States! Hey, he couldn’t do a worse job, could he?) Then Dave and the rest of the Rock Bottom Remainders (Scott, Ridley, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Greg Iles, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Matt Groening, etc.) played their unique versions of “Leader of the Pack” and “Wild Thing.” Believe me, you haven’t lived until you see Scott Turow, that buttoned-down, big-firm, deep-carpet lawyer (and brilliant novelist) loosen his tie and wail: “You make my heart sing!”

Sunday was book-signing day. Greatly enjoyed meeting readers, old and new, and hung out with the multi-talented Steve Cannell, who has conquered the world of television and novels. Fellow blogger Patty Smiley was featured prominently in the Los Angeles Times account of the book festival.

That was the week that was...and now...it’s back to work.

–Paul Levine

1 comment:

  1. Paul, I saw you three raconteurs on the Crier show. You were all brilliant. I especially loved the part where Catherine said ON NATIONAL TV that she was reading your latest book, The Deep Blue Alibi and loving it, and you shot back with "I can give you the ending now and save you a couple of hours." Classic Levine. So surprising and so funny. Also, I do hope our very own James "The Barrister" Grippando will further regale us with his Peeping Tom story on a future post.