Monday, May 26, 2014

World Goth Day(s) Wrapup

You may have noticed that I added a tentative S at the end of the title. That's because I attended a celebration on Thursday, which was the actual World Goth Day, and again Friday night. My having two goth events to attend on back to back days made last week special indeed.

Thursday's event, as I mentioned in my previous post, was scheduled as a luncheon and photo shoot at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art,
which is located in Bentonville, Arkansas. You'd have to see this place to believe it; because not only does the museum exhibit some of the finest art ever created in the United States, but it sits upon a beautiful tract of land. There are some four miles of nature trails surrounding and leading to the museum as well as Crystal Spring, which runs alongside the building and creates a most tranquil setting for art lovers.

Dining in Crystal Bridges is a true delight as both sides of the cafeteria-like restaurant open to the beautiful landscape just outside its windows. Our hostess, Mimielle, saw to it that the luncheon would occur under a steel heart, which straddles the center of the dining facilities.

I always look forward to events orchestrated by Mimielle as her projects are always classy, relaxed and works of art. These events also showcase the another side of Goth. These are the times during which we like to dress up in our own particular styles while others gaze in our direction with curiosity. We often drink tea instead of alcohol and discuss our various creative endeavors.

It wasn't too many years ago that going to Bentonville in full goth attire might not have been a very good idea. Crystal Bridges Museum, a planned center for the performing arts and other cultural activities are transforming not only Bentonville, but the county it resides in. As during our first World Goth Day luncheon last year, we received friendly attention instead of hostility. Some other patrons not only approached and asked who or what we were, but asked if they could photograph us as well. 

I had a great time celebrating World Goth Day with this small group of friends and already find myself looking forward to next year. On the left is another photo of the group. This time you can see the steel heart.

Before retiring at the end of this wonderful day, I watched another episode of Dark Shadows. After all, that's what it's all about isn't it? 

On Friday evening those of us remaining in Fayetteville celebrated the first anniversary of Darkness Resurrected Dance Night.
I say those of us remaining because on three-day weekend holidays such as Memorial Day, Fayetteville really empties out. Nevertheless, there was still a lively crowd present at The Stolen Glass; after all, this was the first dance night featuring the sound of live bands.

The first group to take to the stage was Axis from Tulsa, which really warmed the crowd up with their unique mix of electronic, industrial, dark wave and welding. Did I just say welding? Indeed I did! As a matter of fact, I was playing a game of pool when I looked up at the stage and found Axis Stephen welding the 55 gallon drum that doubled as a...well drum. The sparks were really flying at the Stolen Glass that night. That most unusual of drums, at least in a musical sense, had a very unique sound by the way. I enjoyed it.

Kansas City's Razorwire Halo was next to take the stage and they really rocked. I guess you could call them a very energetic band--so energetic in fact that the group's vocalist somehow managed to completely break the top of his guitar. I'm not sure how that was accomplished but it was purely by accident.

Although the turnout for this event was lower than usual due to the holiday, there were some new folks in attendance, some of which I'd been looking forward to meeting.

In a nutshell then, I had the chance to attend two great events in the spirit of World Goth Day. Unfortunately, I have no photos from Friday night. My phone doesn't take very good photos in semi-dark environments and I've found that bringing a camera to such events is a bit cumbersome. Still, I'd like to offer my thanks go to Mimielle for her organizational efforts at Crystal Bridges as well as Axis, Razorwire Halo and of course, DJ Durandal whose continual work with Darkness Resurrected is greatly appreciated.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

World Goth Day 2014

It's that time of year once again! No, I'm not referring to Halloween; that's still several months away. Thursday, May 22 however, is World Goth Day--and that's the next best thing. It's a special day during which goths all around the world dress to the nines and celebrate their subculture.

This year, as previously, many diverse events are scheduled to take place. These may take the form of a picnic in your favorite cemetery or an evening in a nightclub socializing. If there's nothing going on in your area or if you're a solitary person, you can still celebrate by watching a good horror movie, playing your favorite dark-wave music, or simply getting comfortable reading some of your favorite literature. Anne Rice may work for some; and let's not forget that her new novel, Prince Lestat, has been released. That's right! The Vampire Lestat walks the darkened streets once more.

Then again, you might want to get hold of a copy of The Castle of Otranto by Horace Mann, which is considered by many to be the first Gothic novel ever written. If you don't have time or the ability to obtain the book, you can read it in PDF format here.

As for me, I plan on attending the 2nd Annual World Goth Day Luncheon
at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. That evening, I'll probably watch another gripping episode of Dark Shadows. 

On Friday evening the fun continues locally as Darkness Resurrected Dance Night presents its First Anniversary Show featuring live music from Razorwire Halo in support of their new album, The Occurrence, as well as live music by Axis, our friends from Tulsa, Oklahoma. It looks like Northwest Arkansas plans on celebrating World Goth Day in style. It's going to be a great week.

If you'd like to know if anything is planned for your area, you can check the listings at the official World Goth Day website.
Whatever you do, have a great time celebrating our day--and night, of course!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dark Shadows: The End of the Beginning

Those of you who are regular readers here know that I've been watching every available episode of the original Gothic daytime serial from the 1960's, Dark Shadows, in chronological order. I've been taking my time about it, because when you consider that the series ran from June, 1966 until April, 1971 and consisted of 1,225 episodes, there is a risk of suffering burnout. So, I have not been trying to watch the show on anything near a daily basis and instead, put on an episode when the mood strikes, which means that I usually watch a couple of episodes per week.This way, every viewing is a special treat and I always have another episode to look forward to.

This past Tuesday night, I crossed a threshold as I took in Episode 209. Why is that significant, you might ask? Well, the first 209 episodes are categorized as "The Beginning." These original installments took place before the arrival of the Vampire Barnabas Collins and the many supernatural twists and turns that made Dark Shadows so popular during its later broadcasts. As a matter of fact, the serial's story line during its first few months revolved mostly around human conflict and only vaguely suggested the presence of supernatural forces. Over time however, the program began to fuse more occult aspects into the story line and eventually, the arrival of Laura Collins at Collinwood brought the preternatural to the fore. Overall, not many are familiar with what took place during Dark Shadow's first ten months. Since mid-September, 2012 I have been watching these nearly forgotten episodes.

During the last dozen or so installments the program has begun taking an exciting turn. The original theme and conflict upon which the serial began has been resolved. Now, a couple of unwelcome visitors have arrived at Collinwood. One of them, Willie Loomis, a dangerous and sociopathic young man, is fascinated with the Collins Family's jewels and a particular portrait hanging on the wall outside the reading room. In episode 209 we find him outside the Collins family mausoleum in a nearby cemetery. He hears a loud heartbeat as he stands, perhaps considering some despicable deed.

The stage is now set. The appearance of the Vampire Barnabas Collins is at hand!      

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Night of the Harvestmen: An Announcement

Last fall I submitted one of my stories, Night of the Harvestmen, to the Writer's Workshop competition at Horror I had almost forgotten about that submission when, early this past March, I received word from a Horror staff member that I had been named Writer's Workshop Winner for the class of 2013. To say that I was surprised is an understatement. After all, I've read some of the material created by others involved with that organization and I consider it pretty darn good.

Anyway, the staff person informed me that my work had been reviewed by four pros and that I had the opportunity to make changes to my story based upon their critiques. Considering the exposure my story would receive, I'd have been crazy not to take her up on the suggestion. Although it took me an additional 15 hours or so to decide when and where I wanted to incorporate their suggestions into my story, I feel as though the effort was really worth it and I truly believe that the critiques have made me a better writer.

So what does the winning the workshop mean? Well, Night of the Harvestmen has now been produced as a podcast complete with voice actors. It Episode 99 of Season 9 on the Horror Addicts' list of podcasts. It will sit at the top of their playlist for two weeks until the 100th episode replaces it on May 17. The overall production will also involve other features however, which include music and various other announcements. Night of the Harvestmen begins about 32 minutes into the podcast. Still, I'm quite proud of the fact that my piece of horror fiction is now a feature on their bi-weekly podcast.

It's easy to access the podcast. All you have to do is follow this link to Horror
and the player should start up within a few seconds. For the first two weeks it should begin with Episode 99. If you want to listen in after that, simply go to the player, which sits at the top right of the web page, and click on Episode 99. I invite you all to give the production a listen.

Horror also conducted an interview with me, the summary of which you can read by following this link.
So, until next time then...
Top photo source unknown

Horror Addicts.Net website

Interview summery