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Television

Dead Air

Homicide: Life on the Street is Gone, But HomiCon Lives On

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 10/17/2001

"All we need is a couple of facts. We already know the truth." --Al Giardello

"HomiCon is an annual convention for fans of Homicide: Life on the Street. Each October, fans gather to meet, visit shooting locations, share memorabilia, and hoist a few in honor of The Best Damn Show on Television." --The HomiCon Web site

"Jesus, you people are STILL here, the show was cancelled idiots." --Unidentified posting to alt.tv.homicide news group.

These days, "The Best Damn Show on Television" persists in half-life as reruns on Court TV at 1 a.m., but the HomiCon goes on right here on the streets of Fells Point, erstwhile home of Homicide's ersatz police HQ, real coffee shop, and semi-real bar and grill.

Here it is, at long last, the 2001 HomiCon Itinerary!

Friday, Oct. 19

5 p.m.: Meet at Kooper's

6 p.m.: Mike Kellerman Memorial Pub Crawl (we'll go from Kooper's to the Wharf Rat--follow the noise to find us)

Saturday, Oct. 20

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Bus Tour of Homicide Locations--includes lunch and duckpin bowling! Bring water, snacks, and photo supplies!

4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Redball @ Kooper's--menu will be the same as last year

Sunday, Oct. 21

10 a m.: Fells Point Walking Tour with Zippy

1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Homicide Behind the Scenes Seminar @ Henderson's Wharf

That's it, really. A bunch of people who communicate via the Internet through mail groups and sites such as the Waterfront Bar (www.waterfrontbar.com), the Box (members.aol.com/hlots98/index.html), and, uh, the Krewe of Kyle (www.kylesecor.com). Regardez the Kyle Secor Parade of Hairstyles.

As entertaining as it is, the Secor site is extreme, and in the minority, along with a few Homicide "fanfic" sites featuring fan-generated fiction of the kind made notorious in the Star Trek-fan documentary Trekkies--you know, like, what if Kirk and Spock were in love? Only it's, you know, like, what if Bayliss and Pembleton were in love?

HomiCon, on the other hand, seems to attract TV-trivia-type people from all over--about half from the Baltimore-Washington area and the other half from around the States and Canada--who make the time to get together (sometimes with name badges that include their online handles for easier recognition) to eat, drink, be merry, take a peek at all the "real" parts of the Homicide show still lying around town, do Baltimore stuff like play duckpins, and, at the "Redball" mixer, meet and greet people who have more tangible connections to the show, such as last year's special guests, Michael Ahl, a veteran Homicide uniformed cop, and the now-deceased Ralph Tabakin, who played crusty coroner Dr. Scheiner.

We passed the Waterfront. Sad, so sad. I don't remember if it was then or the next day when the owner tried to get us to come inside. It was like, "I don't think so." Then on to High Tops [sic]. It was too crowded, so we did the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" routine from "Wu's on First" outside. Then a round of questions and answers. Next stop the Horse You Came in On. They wanted a dollar cover charge to get in, but we nixed that. Still, I was let in long enough to buy a T-shirt. They didn't have any last March when I was last in Baltimore. Anyway, to the delight of passers-by and the bouncers of the Horse, we finished off the trivia quiz. When it was all over I had won. . . . Our prize was a plastic Glock 9-mm inscribed with the mike kellerman pub crawl. . . . Somehow or other I managed to get the gun through the X-ray machines. I presume they X-ray luggage that is checked. I also presume that plastic doesn't really show up in X-rays, especially when hidden in shoes. . . .

Then we went across the street to the cemetery where Jake Rydzinski's (sp?) father was killed. Other cemetery scenes were filmed there too. The rain had stopped, and the day was turning into a nice one. We went through Druid Park and the area where Luther shot his lieutenant. We went to the house on Eutaw Street where Bayliss was shot. Bill rang the doorbell, and lo and behold we were taken inside the hallway (we didn't see that last year) and then out in the backyard to see where the shooting scene was shot. The garden is rather large but not as large as it looks on the episode. When you consider how many people were in that scene, it's just amazing that it turned out the way it did on television. . . .

We met at 10 for the Monday walking tour. . . . Zippy gave us a fine tour. We met a crew member of an old schooner that was there for a race that was going to occur on Wednesday. Actually, Zippy gave us more than the usual tour, and, although Monday's group didn't get to meet Gene Hackman, we did get to meet Reggie Cathey. He was here to do The Corner. He plays Skillio (sp?), a bad drug lord. Sorry, I haven't read The Corner. Too depressing. He used to play a Klingon on Star Trek, someone named Morong (sp?). He also played the drug courier that Bayliss and Pembleton bust when they thought he was a murderer. So, he had a Homicide connection. He was really nice, and we got some good pics. --HomiCon 1999 "Incident Report," submitted by BubbazMom, homicon.tripod.com/ reports/cheryl.html

The Homicide fans out there in Internetland share a common love for the show's dialogue, locations, and characters, with a generally jaundiced eye cast upon "Season 7" (the final year of Homicide episodes) and an inexplicable, disturbingly consistent hatred of actor Jon Seda, a relative latecomer to the Homicide family. Hard-core Homiciders follow the careers of the dispersed cast, celebrating the success of Richard Belzer's Detective Munch character-transplant to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; mourning the change of, uh, "personality" in Andre Braugher on Gideon's Crossing (seems he wasn't Frank Pembleton anymore); and, disturbingly, reveling in the poor critical reviews of Seda's new UC: Undercover series. Hmm.

Saturday morning: Bus Tour. We got up on Saturday and had breakfast at Jimmy's. . . . Then we hit the Daily Grind. . . . Guide Paul and his daughter took us on a six-hour tour of locations around Baltimore. A short list of what we saw: the graffiti'd alley where Kellerman lost a witness at a crime scene; the bar where Meldrick tried to illustrate "representing" to Ballard; Loading Dock Liquors, aka the Eleven Cents Liquor Store; where the Diner diner used to be; where it is now (the Hollywood Diner is used as a job-training program by the city); the courthouse where Bayliss shoved Danvers down the steps; the courthouse where Junior Bunk sliced the dirty judge's throat; the subway station where that guy was trapped; the cemetery where Edgar Rodzinski was killed; the parents' house in "A Doll's Eyes"; the two houses from "Stakeout"; Druid Hill Park, where Luther Mahoney shot his lieutenant; and--best of all--the house used as Georgia Rae Mahoney's house in "Fallen Heroes." Somehow, we lucked out, and one of the residents was home (it's been divided into several apartments). They even let us into the backyard, where our tour leader re-enacted Bayliss lying on the ground, with Pembleton leaning over him. Then we went to the open field around back, and Paul pretended to be the shooter getting chased by the police, complete with one of the Homiconers "kicking" him after he was "shot." 'Cause we're big dorks. --Attendee of HomiCon 2000, www.boobtoob.net/ index.html?/reruns/homicon2000.html

Dorks maybe, but not exactly Trekkies.

This year's HomiCon takes place Oct. 19-21. Go to http://homicon.tripod.com for more information.

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