The HP Lovecraft Film Fest 2019

This is going to be a fairly short post, compared to my usual trip postmortems. I'm low on word foo lately, and it's harder to put my thoughts into text worth a darn. But it's been 2 weeks, and if I don't do it now, I'll probably not. So here we go.

This trip was shorter than my usual, I flew in Thursday evening, and flew out Sunday morning. So I only had Friday night and Saturday for fest fun and games. But I did manage to cram a lot into then. The Fest started for me with an Innsmouth Art Show by a local art collective called Dark Arbor Lodge. Sculpture, set pieces, masks and other art, all based around Innsmouth. Needless to say, I was in heaven (or Y'ha-nthlei). Have some great ideas for Ch√Ęteau Innsmouth 2.0 decoration. If I'd been local, I'd have tried to bring one of the pieces home with me. *grin*

After the show, and some dinner, I got in line for the fest. My plan was simple, get in, get a seat in the big theater for the Opening, the first block of shorts, then the big thing...Richard Stanley's 'Color Out of Space'. The shorts were good, a couple I'd seen at 'Necronomicon', but there were other goods ones, and the final one was 'The Last Incantation', which I'd helped back on Kickstarter, and this was my first time to see it. Probably the best Clark Ashton Smith adaptation yet. Then it was time for the Colour.

Not going to go into detail, or spoilers, but if anyone had their doubts about the combo of Richard Stanley and Nicolas Cage adapting a Lovecraft story, don't. Cage doing Cage fits in the story, given that things go crazy when a Colour from space infects your farm. It's glorious and nuts and very very Lovecraftian. And if you play 'spot the reference' you'll have a field day. Per the director, it should have a wide release in Jan 2020. Go see it, I know I will again.

Saturday was much more laid back. Hung out with authors in the morning, went to see a Russian feature flick, but it honestly bored me out of my mind, gorgeous visuals, but it just...dragged. So I left early. Then the fest turned into more of an M.R. James fest. Saw a couple of British BBC adaptations, talked British ghost stories, listened to Robert Parry and Richard Stanley read M.R. James stories. Yeah, I know it's a HPL Film Fest, but I've been on a huge Jamesian and related authors kick this last year, so it was a nice fix to get. Back to the Lovecraft, the Saturday night feature was 'The Haunted Palace', the first Lovecraft adaptation, starring Vincent Price and directed by Roger Corman (Mr. Corman was at the fest, along with Price's daughter Victoria). I've seen it a number of times, but it was great seeing it on the big screen at the Hollywood Theatre. And I've been on a Price kick since I got home.

Besides the fest, I did my usual Powell's Books raids, this time visiting some of the other locations. I ate some really good food as usual. Just wish I'd had more time in Portland. It's one of my favorite cities. And the festival is...my home away from home. There isn't anywhere quite like being in that beautiful theatre, surrounded by a horde of your fellow cultists that you may not know, but you all share a love for this weirdness. (and it's amazing how many friends I do know there now). It truly is 'The only convention that understands.' (Not to knock Necronomicon, but this is my fave)

So that's my trip. Already got the 2020 one on the calendar (Oct 2-4th, 2020) and on a countdown. It's the 25th anniversary, so there's no way I'm going to miss it.

Starry Wisdom Pilgrimage: 2019

Got back from Providence on Tuesday. I had an amazing time. There were some hiccups (avoid LaGuardia like the plague, and ye gods was the weather warmer than I'd have hoped, and humid), but besides that pretty much everything else was aces.

First non-travel day was driving from Queens to New Haven for a museum exhibition on Mesopotamia. Added bonus, free museum day when I got there. So I got my cuneiform on. Then I drove a little further to Niantic, home of 'The Book Barn', a bookstore with 3 locations in this one small town. Sunday I continued on to Rhode Island, first stopping at Point Judith which is the furthest south you can get on Rhode Island, and where I visited last year in the winter. This time I got to go into the ocean. Not just up to my knees like I did in Gloucester, but full immersion. It felt so damn good. This Innsmouth boy definitely needs to get his carcass into the ocean on a regular basis. I did manage to make it back down to the same beach later in the week due to severe salt water cravings. *grin* After the beach I headed up to Providence, where I stayed at the Old Court Bed and Breakfast, a 19th century building on College Hill, I'd found it last visit while walking around. So this year I stayed there for the first half of my time in Providence. Snazzy period room, pretty comfy. Other than it's a 3rd floor walk up...well I've needed more exercise. *laugh* I spent 3 nights there, while wandering around Providence and nearby.

Went down to Newport by ferry, then took an Unplanned Schooner Sail, which reminded me how much I like being on the water. Weird day on the water, big fog bank rolled in and it seemed like we were in the plot of a horror movie. Also was a more "active" cruise, than the one in Gloucester last year, not sure if it was a stronger wind, or the bay was rougher or *shrug* Was fun, especially when the ship heeled over while running with the wind, that was a rush! After the cruise, I managed to walk to the Newport Tower, a local 'mystery'. It's one of those things that comes up as proof that the Irish or Templars or whatever made it to America prior to Columbus. It looks pretty surreal to be in the middle of a New England park, something that looks like it's from the medieval era. But it's probably just some kind of folly or mundane structure. Or it's used by cultists to conjure Yog-Sothoth...who knows.

Wednesday I switched hotels, going to the Providence Biltmore (it's been renamed to The Graduate Providence, but no one seems to want to use that name). One of the two hotels that the 'con was going to be at. The 'con started for me on Thursday, with a secret event that I am unable to speak of *wink*. Friday-Sunday was a few panels, some more interesting than others, a few readings which were much more interesting. I also spent a lot of time in the vendors area, because there was probably a dozen folks or more in there I knew either from the HPL Film Festival, or from online. Bought a bunch of nifty things, and had to convince myself to not try to come home with everything that caught my eye. I went to the Art Show at the Providence Art Club on Saturday, which was probably very wise of me, as there were several pieces of art on the wall I would have come home with. Hopefully I can find prints of them vs the originals.

I did have some anxiety/stress/lack of tentacle moments. But like the HPLFF it was no big thing for me to sit down and people watch/read, or go back to my room for a recharge. But I didn't do it as much as I thought I would. I even managed to go to an after hours event that was multiple levels of anxiety inducing. (A. hugely crowded, B. Claustrophobic, C. Performing in public). Specifically, being part of the Innsmouth Sea Shanty Sing Along. And since I knew most of the songs already, I sang loudly so people could hear/learn the lyrics. I think the last time I sang out loud, leading other people was a pagan event in 2000-2001. Luckily sea shanties don't require a lot of vocal talent, just volume. I was joking after the event that I expected my limbic system to spontaneously combust when it realized what I'd been doing.

I got a few new signatures in my copy of 'Shadow Over Innsmouth', met a bunch of folks. One of the high points was getting to meet Pete Rawlik, who I've been online pals with for years. Great guy and author, and a really personable guy. Who is a fount of Lovecraftian/weird/pulp/etc trivia. I caught part of his trivia contest before the sing along, and out of the 6-7 questions I heard, I got two right. So if you ever think 'Boy Vulpine knows a lot of Lovecraft' I but an acolyte. (And the guy who has won the thing 3 Necronomicons in a row is even more eldritch, Pete at least has his library when he's writing these things, the winner had the answers in his brain case). I also got to see two Dark Adventure Radio Theatre performances by the HPLHS, which as a card carrying member I of course had to lend my support (and ears). Special parts, I'd never heard one of the plays (the latest one 'Mad Science), and that they only had 3 guys doing the voices, where usually at live shows they have 6-7 and someone working sound effects. Watching them switch voice, accent, gender and mannerisms back and forth to cover all the voices was astounding.

The 'con ended Sunday. I didn't fly out til Tuesday, I spent Monday day shipping out the 25 pounds or so of books I bought that I felt I could let out of my hands. Then I mostly just hermitted and read. Then it was time to fly back. Which was...a mess. Weather and timing caused my flight to be delayed 3 times. Luckily Logan airport is fairly comfortable. Speaking of books, I managed to read 15 during my 11 day vacation. Pretty good, especially since I didn't just spend all my time reading. Here's the list.

  • Smoke and Dagger - Douglas Wynne
  • Killer Lake - David Eventon
  • The Lost Husband - Willie Meikle
  • 24 Hours in Ancient Egypt - Donald P Ryan
  • Secret Bloody London - John Pullen
  • Starry Wisdom - Peter Levenda
  • Library of the Lost: In Search of Forgotten Authors - Roger Dobson
  • The Weird of Hali: Red Hook - John Michael Greer
  • From Hell - Greig Beck Author
  • The Cold - Rich Hawkins
  • The Copycat Murders - Willie Meikle
  • Dark Wisdom - Gary Myers
  • Grey Magic - Gary Myers
  • Corpsepaint - David Peak
  • Demiurge - Michael Shea

    So now I'm back in DFW, and I want to go back to Providence already. Good food, really nice people, history on the half shell, and books everywhere. In fact, there's a fountain outside the Providence Athenaeum, which legend has that if you drink from the fountain you are destined to return to Providence...

    I took a total of 5 drinks while there *wink*

  • Almost time to visit Providence

    By this time next week I'll be in Rhode Island. Friday is flying up to NYC, Saturday will be commute and various Connecticut adventures. Then Providence will be my base of operations for the next 10 days. Much like my last visit, will be a mix of book hunting, historical foo, and a convention full of quirky folks, specifically NecronomiCon. This is the big event of the cultist calendar this year, and the thing I've been looking forward to all year.

    But I'm just a little worried, it's been a really rough month mood wise. Not going to go into details, trying to not dwell too much on what my brain meats are throwing at me. But yeah, worried about a major crash while out of town, like what happened during the Alaska Cruise a few years ago. We'll see, this is different. Even if I do crash out, I can hermit in my hotel with books and take out. I'm intentionally not bringing a bunch of electronics, so I'll have some degree of disconnect. Plus, Providence is well, Providence. Weather will be cooler than Texas, fresh seafood, and a very nice bookstore to distance ratio. So while I may have issues, I won't have volumes.

    So a little over 125 hours til I'm winging my way north. I still have to pack and plan stuff, deal with a work week, and the other mundanities of life. Work especially will be challenging, but I just have to keep in mind that Cthulhu has my back, and in short order I'll have time away. Come on Friday!

    Pilgrimage to Innsmouth West

    Heading out to Portland in a few hours, for the HP Lovecraft Film Festival. Very much looking forward to it, hoping for an easy trip (I have a sinus infection, and that's making me a tad nervous about flying). Lovecraftian movies and people, book raid on Powell's City of Books, and some rather good food. So wish me luck, and I'll post again after I get back, and fill you all in on the eldritch details.

    Off to Providence

    Well I'm heading to Providence in the AM. (my trip plans got rearranged a bit due to an attack of real life). I'm anxious about the trip, dealing with airports and getting from Boston to Providence in one sane piece. My flight leaves at 7 tomorrow, so I'm going to head to bed in a little while so I can be awake at 0 dark 30 to deal with all the crazy of travel. I won't be blogging from my travels, but I'll take notes for posted when I get back. Catch you all when I get back from Lovecraft Country.

    Providence, here I come!

    Well, it's official. I'll be going to Providence for StokerCon this year. Actually decided to spend an entire week up there, (stoker runs from Thurs-Sunday) so I can have a few days to wander Grandpa Theobald's stomping grounds. Not staying at the 'con hotel, but I'm just a couple of blocks away at The Dean, which is where I planned to stay last time. Yay for vacation plans!

    I'm also thinking I may consolidate, edit and post my more common Facebook ramblings into a daily post. Then hopefully I can turn my weekly post into something more interesting, if to no one else...me. It's easier for me to do daily rambles there. We'll see.