Goth is alive..or undead…in New Jersey thanks to promoter Jet of Vampire Freaks! He’s been bringing the huge, creative and awesome Dark Side of the Con event to us recently and the next one is coming up in March 29th-31st in Parsippany, NJ. These are such elaborate, fun fests with cosplayers, bands, artists, guest speakers, authors, performers and more so I’ve invited Jet to be my latest guest blogger so he can tell us how he’s been inspired to create these events, what you can expect & how you can attend….take it away Jet….
What do these 3 things have in common? They are all new art exhibits and art interviews happening now…and I’m happy to be involved with all three of them! Spring brings out the motivation & creativity in many of us so it’s a great time to create new work or get out & experience what’s going on in the art world. Social media makes this easier than ever, especially with podcasts ! My friend at the XFactory hooked me up with the awesome guys at Know-Shit Podcasts to do an hour long interview about everything from what it’s like to be a full time artist, to the Gothic & Steampunk scenes, mythology, spirituality & more! I hope you’ll take some time to check it out, & listen in on future podcasts as well, as they have many interesting guests. Here’s the link to my interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjFT7TLpCF4&feature=share
As for Tattoos, they are an ancient art form that has gone thru many changes and stereotypes but is now more respected than ever as a true art form and is being honored in a new art exhibit at Atelier Rosal in Rahway, NJ! Amazing works depicting tattooed people and art by artists who’s work has ended up on a walking canvas as well as images addressing this much maligned but now popular art form. Show runs thru June 7, 2018. 74 East Cherry St., Rahway, NJ.
I’m happy to have 2 of my “X-RAYted” digital photo collages in this show and the exhibit will also coincide with a huge biker fest in town Sat. May 12. Here’s the Facebook invite page for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1803649219938141/
This town wide, free event will be the perfect place to see tattoo art at it’s best, both in the gallery and on human canvases!
Finally we come to “a few of our Favorite Things”. This is the latest theme for the new art exhibit at the South Brunswick Municipal Gallery, which opens Fri. May 18, 6:30pm-8pm. It’s a free event, with refreshments served, that features art from many local NJ artists focused on things we feel a connection to, that bring back memories and tell stories! I’ll have the photo below, “NOLA VooDoo Window” in this exhibit. Show runs thru Aug. 5, 2018.
540 Rt. 522/Ridge Rd., Monmouth Jct., NJ www.sbarts.org
So, there are many ways you can get involved with the arts this spring, whether it’s attending a gallery show, a biker tattoo outdoor fest or listening to a podcast from the comfort of home…or all three! Either way, I hope you enjoy these free and creative events…& stay tuned for more to come this summer!
So why should anyone be interested in Steampunk?? Well, Steampunk & Gothic event guru, Jeff Mach, has the answers for you…and the events to attend to check out this fascinating scene. Here’s a blog he wrote & allowed me to share with you…
Are there reasons NOT to do Steampunk? Oh, HECK yes. Let me give you some.
First off, it’s ridiculous. An imaginary 19th century which never happened and which we explore in the 21st century? Why in the world would anyone want to do that?
Relatedly, it doesn’t seem to make sense, when you think about it. I mean, when people imagine they’re at a Renaissance Faire, at least there is some degree of hypothetical actual history involved. It’s taken something like 50 years for the modern Renaissance fair to evolve so deeply into something which doesn’t really involve the Renaissance. It took decades for Renaissance Faires to get to a point where they embody “some sort of point in history where people carried swords; something after the Dark Ages and before the Internal Combustion Engine. Heck, in my own lifetime, with the coming of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I’ve seen Renaissance Faires be pretty excited to welcome Pirates of clearly 18th century backgrounds–ie, at LEAST a hundred years after the Renaissnance is acknowledge to have ended. That’s an impressive (and, to be clear, incredibly fun!) historical innacuracy – but at least it took a really long time.
Steampunk doesn’t have that excuse. How long has Steampunk as we know it been a thing? Eight years? Perhaps 10? I certainly know people who feel they and practicing it longer, but the very least, the Steampunk we see today has existed for less than a decade. It didn’t start out accurate and get weird. It started weird, and got more inaccurate from there.
And at least if this was something like punk rock or Goth or the hippie movement or even, as some claim, just a genre of science fiction literature, we don’t have anything like the hierarchy of those genres! For example, there may or may not be a top Steampunk band or two. But those are the main reason people discover Steampunk. Is there a topSteampunk author? I think there are many incredible steampunk authors, and some have sold more books than others, and some might have had more influence than others, but I don’t think ANY particular Steampunk author is the creator of the Steampunk we know–certainly K.W. Jeter, who coined the very term, has said repeatedly that he did NOT create the Steampunk we see today.
Famous steampunk makers? We certainly have some. We certainly love their creations. I think I could possibly narrow my own list of the top five Steampunk creators down to… I don’t know, perhaps 10 people, all of whom could lay reasonable claim to being in the top five. And most of them are actually too modest to say that. And some of the finest creations in Steampunk have absolutely not been made by people who identify as Steampunks–they’re just people who love playing with this culture.
Is Steampunk created by events? Would that mean that the people who run events run Steampunk? I’ll be honest. If you’re reading this, you are probably seeing this on my own website for my own event, or through social media that is related to an event company which bears my name. Do you think that I run Steampunk? I run the world’s largest Steampunk event. Am I in charge? Have you even heard of me? The answer to the first question is definitely no! The answer the second question is not definitely “no”…
…but I’m pretty sure that if you took all the people world who identify as Steampunk, and asked them if they know who runs any particular Steampunk events, most of they’d probably be able to answer only for the events they go to or for which they’ve seen advertising.
So why play with, create for, former lifestyle around, experiment with, or otherwise be a part of Steampunk?
For exactly and precisely each and every one of the reasons above!
Because Steampunk doesn’t have to make sense! Steampunk doesn’t have to have a leader! Steampunk doesn’t have to be any damn thing at all except a gorgeous 19th century canvas upon which we are throwing all manner of paint, and sketches, and words, and ideas. And what we get out of something which brings joy and fascination and beauty and community to a world which could choose to be humdrum and mundane and boring.
Let the world be boring? NEVER! We make the choice to be precisely the opposite. We are Steampunks! In fact, each and every one of us IS Steampunk itself. You, right now, are building steampunk just by thinking about it and contributing your presence to this culture, even if all you do is read a few articles and put a few thoughts out into the ether. In fact, people who do that “matter” just as much, in their own way, as people like me whose lifestyle and actual living depend on Steampunk. Because this isn’t a contest where somebody wins; this is a world-building to make a giant, deeply individual, deeply shared Universe we can call our own.
No masters. No slaves. No rules except the simplest one:
if you want to be a part of Steampunk, you can.
To get info on upcoming events: http://steampunkworldsfair.com
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!
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:
There’s a simple goal I have for every Jeff Mach Event: I make weekend-long homes for unusual people.
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.
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!
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.
“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/
I’ll have this large, 3-D Steampunk style box in the show.