Steampunk called him home…

Have you ever felt that you were born in the wrong time or era?  Are you very creative and eclectic?  Do you have a fondness for fantasy and sci-fi?  If so then you are like many of us who have discovered the magic of the Steampunk Culture!  One person who felt the call to “go home” to Steampunk in a big way is Jeff Mach!  I met Jeff several years ago when he was planning his first Steampunk World’s Fair event in Central NJ….it took over a large room in a corporate hotel and has now expanded to a 3 day extravaganza, often taking over two complete corporate hotels, with hundreds  of cosplayers, artisans, vendors, musicians and those that want to just be a part of the spectacle!

Goth Girl

Goth Girl

As you may or may not know, Steampunk combines sci-fi with the Victorian Era, so fantastical contraptions are created as if solely fired by steam power.  Elements of Goth, fantasy and anime can be found as well.  Here’s a taste of what Jeff’s events bring…  https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkTendencies/videos/1317398068374556/?pnref=story

And in his own words, here’s a bit about what drew him to all this madness: 

3D computer graphics of a cyborg woman with a headdress in science fiction style

There’s a simple goal I have for every Jeff Mach Event: I make weekend-long homes for unusual people.

What does that mean?
The second martial arts school I attended was literally in the back of an alley, up a long flight of stairs. And leading to the school door, there was a pair of signs. The first was a standard martial-arts school notice, “Please remove shoes”. This simple act gave a physical reminder that I was leaving one place—“the street”—and stepping into a different world, with different rules.
The second was at the top of the stairs. “You are entering a traditional karate dojo. Please act accordingly”.
How did one “act accordingly”? I knew many common rules and practices—I also knew that every school I had seen had its own style, rules, approach. What was proper in one school might be utterly wrong in another.
Yet the practical value of that sign was enormous. It always gave me pause, called to my mind all of my associations with training grounds, what I learned there, and who and what those things made me. “Act accordingly”: know what you have come to do, know what you are doing, at least in your own mind. Or, at the barest minimum, recognize in your gut that you’ve come to a place where things are different. Don’t just take that difference passively, when it enters your space; make it a part of your consciousness.
And thus. And so.
You’ve entered our world, a place where we belong, a place where we are not the outsiders, a place where what we do matters, is meaningful, is real, and we are NOT the only ones who know it.
Steampunk, Rocky Horror, Renaissance Faires, Geeky spaces; it doesn’t matter.
Leave the outside world for outsiders.
We bring our homes with us, inside us, we foster them with love and passion.  We’re different–not better, just not the same–and sometimes, we realize: we are not alone.
And that place?  That place is home.
The next Steampunk World’s Fair is May 5-7, 2017 in Central NJ….here’s where you can find all the info & tickets:  www.SteampunkWorldsFair.com

Goth comes back to life in NJ

Goth Girl
Some of you may remember the Gothic sub-cultural movement of the 80’s….to me it was a heyday for music, fashion, art, literature and more…with roots stretching as far back as Victorian England, to 70’s punk & a romantic way to rebel against the mainstream, Goth became a major genre & continues on today…it waned for a while but has been making a huge comeback & Steampunk Convention guru, Jeff Mach has joined forces with Gothic networking powerhouse VampireFreaks to create a brand new event….
Dark Side of the Con asks the simplest question:  Why aren’t there any weekend-long Goth/Dark Alternative events in the US anymore?

Answer: Dark Side of the Con…an Underground Event for meeting alternative-minded people; A Three Day Gothic, Dark Alternative Festival and Convention in New Jersey!

Jeff Mach says:  I’ve had the good fortune to run into Jet from VampireFreaks a few times as I’ve run around doing The Steampunk World’s Fair and Glimmerdark and Wicked Faire and our other events.  He’s such a great guy, and his team is pretty marvelous to work with.  And VampireFreaks has helped us put together such an incredible weekend.
I mean, we’ve got Voltaire, we’ve got Xentrifgue, The Amatory Murder, Nigel from Platform One, and a whole slew of panels.  We’ve a hundred vendors, and marvelous drink specials.  And, of course, we’ve got dance parties to suit every taste, running until the wee hours.
We’re working with our favorite hotel, the Radisson of Piscataway.  I look forward to seeing everyone there!
Here’s a bit more info from the event site:

St Patrick’s Weekend – for 3 Days we take over the beautiful Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, NJ and provide you with an escape to socialize, make new friends and create new experiences.

To show our support for independent businesses and alternative culture, we will have a wide variety of unique and unusual vendors, catering to all your dark needs.

For your entertainment pleasure we bring you a host of events, entertainers, panels and activities.

Sponsored by VampireFreaks and Jeff Mach Events, both companies have an impressive history of hosting events and bringing people together in the dark alternative scenes.

The very preliminary schedule is up; check out all the cool things we have going on!

Here are the links:

www.darksideofthecon.com for info, darksideofthecon.com/tickets/ for tickets, and https://www.facebook.com/events/199366893801128/ to follow on FB, and http://vampirefreaks.com/cult/DarkSideOfTheCon on VampireFreaks.

Honoring an Artist’s Wild Spirit

It’s so important that artists & creatives support each other!  Although my long-time friend, Australian artist Lina Eve, & I are literally across the globe from each other we have stayed in touch and supported each other’s work.  Aside from being an amazing painter, Lina is a talented film maker and writer and is now trying to fund a YouTube project that honors a true artist’s wild spirit, Vali Myers (1930-2003).  Lina introduced me to the inspiring and bold work of this way-too-overlooked, unique soul years ago and now she wants to share Vali’s artistic legacy with the world, so please read on about this fascinating project and visit the link for more info and to find out how you can help make Lina’s dream a reality!
Lina Eve:  for my talented and lovely friend, Lauren Curtis
1999: Whilst browsing one of my favorite 2nd hand bookshops, I chanced upon Vali’s beautiful book of paintings and writing titled , “Vali Myers”.  A day or so after this rare and fabulous find, I heard Vali being interviewed on ABC Radio National.  Her unique Aussie accent, her raw and earthy take on life, combined with the amazing artwork in her book, had me toasting her talent and fierce honesty.
Vali and I eventually met in her studio in Melbourne some months later.
We had only exchanged a few letters and chatted on the phone, 
but when we met there was instant rapport. She introduced me to the Turkish spirit Raki, and we got pretty legless on it.  At least I did.  Vali would have been able to drink most people under the table! Spending glorious afternoons with Vali, filling our glasses and talking about everything under the sun became my ritual every time I traveled to Melbourne from then on. “
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(Lina, left…Vali, right)
“Vali died in 2003 and although she had a loyal following of fans, her work is largely unknown around the world. Vali’s work is highly personal, and therefore, like other amazing women artists, was not picked up by the media for the truly unique art it is.  Now I’m  trying to raise funds towards a YouTube tribute video about Vali  …..a beautiful friend, who created a whole world of powerful and magical art.”
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                                                            “Moby Dick” (c)Vali Myers
Wikipedia:    “Vali Myers (2 August 1930 – 12 February 2003) 
was an Australian visionary artist, dancer, bohemian and muse whose coverage by the media was mostly in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s in Europe and the United States.”
I’m now collecting permission from the photographers  of my favourite portraits of her, and already have permission ( from the Vali Myers Trust) to use all her images for the video
If you can help with a donation, that would be wonderful and if you could also please pass on my Go fund me link, it would be very, very much appreciated!
  “Vali Myers : Wild Spirit”

A Beautiful & Powerful Art Exhibit

“Beautiful and Powerful Statements” is an art exhibit featuring the arts of calligraphy and re-purposed materials.  It opens Saturday, January 28, 2-5pm at Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen.  The exhibit includes nearly 70 pieces in many media, from photography and video to fabric, ceramic and glass as well as all manner of re-purposed materials. Work from all over the U.S. and as far away as Israel is included in this show, along with the work of New Jersey artists. The approach to calligraphy was a very broad one and was open to any work that was text-predominant. That has allowed us to include not only work with elegant traditional calligraphy in many diverse languages, but other pieces that are very powerful and direct. “Anatolia” by Woodbridge, NJ artist Gozde Ture includes a quotation from the Orkhon Inscriptions with calligraphy in the Goturk alphabet that speaks about time. Ruth Schreiber’s works, from Israel, while connected to the Hebrew Scriptures, employ a “fantasy writing” using porcelain and other images. And California calligrapher Beverly Womack creates her work using layers of materials and images. The photography-based altered prints of East Orange artist, Onnie Strother, on the other hand, use bold text to speak directly to their viewer, and Georgia-based Craig Wilson’s almost stream-of-consciousness words dance all over the page. The art from “repurposed materials” makes their statements by way of the material itself…employing everything from actual bees and beeswax as Montclair artist Art Paxton does in “Buzz”, to the steampunk-related cast-offs used by NY artist and teacher Seth Apter, and another Steampunk influenced 3D piece by Lauren Curtis, as well as a piece by  Metuchen artist Amy Brooks in her work “Post-Truth Apocalypse”. “We were sought to incorporate in the show work featuring calligraphy or text that made, individually and collectively, a powerful statement. We were also interested that the work accepted using re-purposed materials had an inherent, accessible beauty. We were constantly weighing those two interests as we reviewed the work and decided what would fit well in this show, so that each piece really was appropriately “Beautiful and Powerful, “ noted Gallery Board Member Robert Hopkins. The Opening will be carried by Facebook Live, beginning around 2:30pm. This will be especially helpful for the artists who live great distances. It will allow anyone who wishes to log on to the Nails in the Wall Gallery FB page and interact with the visitors present at the gallery. Nails in the Wall is in the midst of its fifth year presenting international, interfaith exhibits of high-quality fine art. To learn more about the gallery, visit www.nailsinthewall.org or call the Director 732.322.6512.  Link to the Facebook invite:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1765730973753205/

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I’ll have this large, 3-D Steampunk style box in the show.

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Fairyland goes “Glimmerdark”!

If you’re like me, you love fantasy, sci-fi, and to just somehow believe that other worlds do exist containing magical beings and mystical places.  Well, fantasy & Steampunk entrepreneur  Jeff Mach believes it and has helped create these universes here on Earth…and his newest creation is the Faire called GLIMMERDARK!  Here he tells us about it in his own words…
What do you do when you’re ending the world’s largest indoor Renaissance Faire?  When the event and project which have defined your life for literally a decade have lived their course?
You go to Fairyland.
I created Wicked Faire to try to make a place where it was safe for you to be anything.  If you could imagine it, if it worked in your head canon, you were invited here.  If the outside world didn’t understand you, didn’t want you to dress the way you want to dress, didn’t want you to be who and where you were – Wicked Faire was a home.
Glimmerdark is that.  Only on fairy dust.   And fairy dust is pretty much the most potent and transformative element in the world.
Every other Fairy Festival I’ve seen is: “Step into the world of the Fae”.  Glimmerdark is the only one that says, “The Fae want more out of life.  They’re stepping out of Fairyland and we’ve all got this massive hotel for a three day party.
If you check out our entertainment, our entertainment list is absolutely massive.  This is a tremendous festival, and since it’s first-year prices, it’s cheap as fairy dirt (which is just slightly more expensive than regular dirt.)
I’m always looking for new ways to build and use creativity.  Fairyland called.  And I answered.  For more info. and to get tickets, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1683805541908177/
The event will be:
Feb 3, 2017 at 2 PM to Feb 5, 2017 at 5 PM at the

Hyatt Regency Princeton

102 Carnegie Ctr, Princeton, New Jersey 08540
And here’s a glimpse into Jeff’s Glimmerdark world….

Yule Blessings, Season’s Greetings & Hope for 2017

Happy Holidays! Blessed Yule! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyful Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!  I think that covers it but if I missed anything, then happy merry for that too!  Now more than ever we need to be accepting and appreciative of our own cultures as well as the cultures & traditions of others!  There is beauty in diversity…it would be so dull if we were all the same, wouldn’t it?  (If you don’t think so then that’s your call but really think about it….what foods do you like?  Bet at least some come from other countries….  What movies, books, art, etc. are you interested in?  Doubt they all come from a homogeneous source!)

Sure, times are scary, the unknown can be scary, but what’s the most frightening is hatred for what we don’t understand and what that can lead to!  As an artist I’ve gained so much by studying art & mythology from across the globe…it’s lead me to travel, meeting great, new people, trying delicious foods and to creating unique art.

So I wish for all of you to have a Happy Healthy Holiday, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate…and a diverse, fun, peaceful New Year!  And now I’d like to share some holiday/winter themed photographs I’ve taken recently as well as through the last several years.  Enjoy the slide show!

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all images (c)Lauren Curtis

We need Thanksgiving NOW!

These are crazy times…& no matter where you stand on politics, religion, and other personal beliefs we really could use a day of thanks now more than ever to take stock of what good we have in our lives and appreciate those that stand with us and mean so much to us!  I’m thankful for my friends and family who have stood by me, supported my art career, made me laugh…and cry…and who have been a source of balance and happiness in my life.  I’m thankful to have the freedom to create my art every day and express myself how I see fit…and I hope this right never goes away…    I’m thankful that even though I hit the scary (for me) milestone of 50 this year, I feel great and am still rockin’ my classic gothic look.  😉    And I’m thankful for everyone out there who supports creatives and/or who are creative themselves, in whatever way…it’s important to keep open minds and to explore the positive contributions of other cultures instead of focusing on how we are different in a divisive way….different is good..it keeps life interesting…we can be different yet respectful.

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So I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and ask what you are thankful for…& if you reply, please keep it positive & respectful to others.  Thanks!

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