There are probably two emotions you feel by seeing the massive amount of CrimeCon posts on social media this past weekend: joy or jealousy.
Joy for attending a jam packed and exciting event; jealousy for everyone experiencing the fun without you.
Fortunately I planned months ahead and decided to give the event a second try after attending the first ever CrimeCon in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2017. Nashville is where everything took place this year but you didn’t need to even leave the city. The Gaylord Opryland Resort is seriously massive. The scenery can get you lost like The Shining maze but the structure and visuals are remarkable.
It’s hard to describe but Google isn’t deceptive in the images you would see.
My room wasn’t ready at the check in; I wandered aimlessly around the Opryland.
Must have been 30 to 45 minutes in when I spotted a familiar looking guy with a newsboy hat in the check in aisle.
Lance. Missing Maura Murray, Crawlspace, Empty Frames…
We recognized and hugged each other after I sprinted get his attention. Justin from Generation Why and Tim Pilleri (MMM/Crawlspace) greeted me nearby. I was just happy to see someone I fucking knew.
I stood by wherever Tim and Lance went. Maggie Freleng from the Oxygen docuseries on Maura Murray’s case arrived soon after and they all headed to an outside bar. Not in a drinking mood, I awkwardly escorted myself out to get coffee. I’ll admit I partly distanced myself because I didn’t feel cool next to Maggie. She’s down to earth though. My shyness is the worst but I would have loved having a personal conversation with her.
THANKS FOR FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER 🙂
Strangely enough at the Starbucks line is where Captain from True Crime Garage appeared. We were going over our day and whatnot. He and I headed over to the MM case gang and heard them speak about whatever.
Podcast Row first kicked off things for CrimeCon. That is where I met Rabia Chaudry from the Undisclosed podcast. Serial was my biggest obsession in 2014, along with Rabia’s Twitter feed on anything Adnan Syed. She’s sorta familiar with me and I’ve written a past article on her book chronicling the case. Rabia was very friendly and we took a selfie together.
I said hi to James Renner. The True Crime Garage line was longer than the wall of China. The Golden State Killer session was a hot attraction especially with the jaw dropping news of Joe DeAngelo’s capture occurring nine days earlier. Paul Hole’s surprise appearance spread quickly on Twitter for those who missed the session including myself. Pretty much that was the most popular story all throughout CrimeCon.
The main events I attended on Day 1 were the first Missing Maura Murray panel, the Colonial Parkway Serial Killings session, and watching the part one debut of Finding Maura Murray.
This indoor bar and lounge located in the Opryland, Fuse, was the main attraction late at night. Pretty packed, you would notice familiar faces in the true crime podcast world.
Payne Lindsey, Bob Ruff, Justin Evans, Aaron Habel, Susan Simpson, Rabia Chaudry, Captain and Nic from True Crime Garage, Robin Warder, Tim and Lance. Devin from Thinking Sideways complemented my newly adorned acrylic nails and name. She was cool as well as several podcast listeners who said hi but there were a couple of other women in this bar that rubbed me the wrong way.
Day 2 brought out more of the same from the day before.
Podcast Row was a nonstop commotion. I met John Lordan from Youtube’s Brainscratch. I mentioned my interest in the Maura Murray case and the videos he has subsequently covered over it. Off topic, Jordan stated that AFI was his favorite band or that his favorite song was made by them. I pretty much knew where he was going because AFI released a track called ‘Aurelia’ in 2016. I was super excited when they first released that track, so I appreciated hearing that Jordan really liked this obscure song.
My first session included Callahan Walsh speaking up about his life and professions connected as a criminal justice advocate. Callahan’s father is John Walsh, the star of America’s Most Wanted and The Hunt with John Walsh. Very interesting session and very nice guy. I introduced myself to Callahan after the session concluded. Last but not least I appreciated seeing Darren Kavinoky host the panel, as I have watched his ID channel shows in the past. The dude is charismatic and cool.
Kinda wish I said hi to Darren and complemented his spunky handcuff graphic styled shirt.
The Undisclosed session was another one I hit up since I’m the previously obsessed Serial fan. The basics of Adnan’s case were covered but the presentation was displayed like a literal science project. There was a biology, math, and psychological lesson weaved into their session. Nothing but respect for Susan Simpson, Colin Miller, and Rabia.
The next session I attended was the Dateline panel featuring four famous reporters from the cast: Keith, Andrea, Dennis, and Josh. This was a popular panel as you may imagine. They were awesome.
My last session of the day was Crawlspace. The discussion focused entirely on the Golden State Killer since Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes were the guest speakers next to Tim, Lance, and Maggie. Billy and Paul have researched the case for years and were friends with Michelle McNamara before she passed away.
I stopped attending any CrimeCon presentations after that and crashed in bed.
Acme Seed and Feed is where I ventured later at night. My asocial self would have preferred greasy takeout food and Saturday Night Live but being a shut in was becoming too boring. I met the nicest Lyft driver who took me downtown. We bonded and related on a few things: we were both 26, we both had names starting with the letter A, and we are both Hispanic.
The rooftop area of Acme was my main destination. I caught up with Captain and made small talk with Justin and Esther from Once Upon A Crime. I first met Esther in a Sword & Scale meetup in 2016. She has seen the worst out of me: passed out drunk and puking all over the place. Tonight I was keeping it simple with one drink. Moreover my reticence was bugging me. From a distance I noticed Paul Haynes, the guest speaker from the earlier Crawlspace session. With much courage I introduced myself to Paul.
In Michelle McNamara’s L.A. magazine article on the Golden State Killer, she mentions working with a South Florida researcher –later learned to be Paul– back when he was an anonymous source. The geographic detail always stayed with me. As a South Florida native myself, I learned through him that he’s from Fort Lauderdale and used to visit the Tower Theater in Miami where indie and foreign movies are shown; I once lived in the same neighborhood where this particular theater is located.
I appreciated hearing about our shared local roots. That part of the conversation made me comfortable chatting up a stranger like him, especially since he was well spoken and smart. Our main discussion throughout the night was on Joe DeAngelo. Also, Paul introduced me to Billy Jensen, the same reporter from the earlier Crawlspace session. I’ve been a fan of Billy’s ever since he reported the Body Barrel Murders on Crime Watch Daily.
Paul and I eventually Ubered to the Opryland since it was getting late. He had another GSK session to attend early the next morning. Apparently he had already consumed four drinks. I would be disappointed if he didn’t remember our encounter. Anyways let’s keep in touch if you read this.
I found James Renner waiting for coffee at Starbucks when I needed to grab a quick breakfast the following morning. We basically had the same conversation from last year’s CrimeCon: Gators, GSK, and Maura Murray. I’ll say I did a lot better striking up conversations in Nashville than in Indianapolis, even if it was repetitious in this case. Whatever the case I appreciated the small chat with James.
The major GSK panel was the one I saw on the third and final day of CrimeCon. It was my first time hearing Paul Holes discuss the case alongside the survivors Jane, Debby, and Margaret. With the recent news of Joe’s capture, it was bittersweet to see everyone reunited and rejoiced over the whole thing. Last year at CrimeCon I attended a GSK panel when everything was shrouded with mystery; Jane and Debby were there too. It’s humbling to see how things unfolded almost one year later; however, there remains many unknown questions regarding Joe’s whereabouts before, during, and after the rapes and murders he allegedly committed.
Podcast Row was still ongoing after the GSK session. There is this really adorable video I posted on Twitter featuring a bunch of podcasters posing together for a picture during this time. This is one of my favorite moments from CrimeCon.
While Podcast Row was emptying out and podcasters were parting ways to go home, Tim and Lance were still conducting interviews. Octavia Zapala just happened to be with them. Seeing her was a surprise because her podcast Missing Alissa wasn’t mentioned in the CrimeCon website. The one thing I was most curious about –which I asked– was her background. Octavia is Italian and not Hispanic like I originally thought.
Octavia stands out between her accent and reporting in a world where true crime podcasts are dominated by white men. We had a pleasant back and forth.
For the rest of the day I hanged out with Tim and Lance.
Our conversations consisted of sharing a mutual indifference to Star Wars and some privy Maura Murray information. Even I couldn’t let go after checking into the Nashville airport and watched them hilariously circle around for food.
This is the second time they let me tag along for anything. I go with it because fuck it they’re awesome people.
Nashville was a blast and there is more I would have wanted to explore. The convention was such a whirlwind.
New Orleans is the next big trip since the city will host CrimeCon in 2019.