Dark Side of the Con 2017: A Rundown of America’s First Goth Convention

Last weekend I went over to the Dark Side, at Jeff Mach and VampireFreaks’s newest convention, a three-day event designed specifically for goths. Dark Side of the Con came right on the heels of another brand new convention, Glimmerdark, which I attended and posted a rundown of last month. In my overview, I noted that Glimmerdark hit a few snags trying to figure out what kind of convention it was and what audience it wanted to cater to. Dark Side of the Con, I felt, had no such problem. The convention was geared toward a very specific audience—goths—and with VampireFreaks helping to run the show, it was an audience that the organizers knew well. A few weeks ago, I posted a preview of which aspects of the con I was looking forward to most. Overall, my expectations fared pretty well against reality, despite the fact that a poorly timed sore throat and headache prevented me from getting as much out of the weekend as I wanted to. Read on for some highlights of the convention.

The spooky DJ stand for Dark Side’s Friday and Saturday night parties

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Preview of Dark Side of the Con: Finally a Local Goth Convention!

Want to spend a weekend just letting your goth flag fly in a hotel full of other creatures of the night? This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, you can dodge the garish green and seclude yourself among like-minded admirers of a monochrome wardrobe at Dark Side of the Con. Last month I gave you all a sneak peek and then overview of a brand new faerie festival called Glimmerdark. Now I’ve been invited back to attend another inaugural Jeff Mach Event and report back with my thoughts. Dark Side of the Con, happening in Piscataway, NJ, on March 17–19, is a new goth convention co-hosted by Jeff Mach and Vampire Freaks—the creators of a thriving online goth community and purveyors of excellent gothic goods. I’ll give you the low-down after the con, but in the meantime, here’s what’s got me excited, so far:

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Glimmerdark 2017: A Rundown of This Faerie Festival’s First Year

Last weekend, a three-day long faerie revel took over a hotel in Princeton, New Jersey. This misfit faerie festival known as Glimmerdark is one of the newest conventions created by goth/geek/steampunk event coordinator Jeff Mach. A few weeks ago, I gave you all a preview of what I was looking forward to at this event. I would say that although the convention hit a few organizational snags, it met most of my expectations and I had a delightful time—as I always do at Jeff Mach Events.

I got captured by a towering Green Man at Glimmerdark!

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Preview of Glimmerdark: A Brand New Dark Faerie Convention

What better way to dispel the midwinter blues than to disappear into a magical world of freaks and faeries for a weekend? Glimmerdark is a brand new convention run by Jeff Mach, who organizes cons throughout the northeast including the world’s largest steampunk event. My favorite Jeff Mach Event, the indoor Renaissance festival known as Wicked Faire, had its final run last year and Glimmerdark has sprung up in its place. The new con has been described as a “misfit faerie festival” and “a hotel party unparalleled in all space and time.” The multi-genre convention encourages people of all worlds and genres to venture into Faerie and enjoy a weekend of performances, workshops, and alluring crafts and creations for purchase. The convention takes place the first weekend of February in Princeton, NJ, and I’ve been invited to attend as press. I’ll be writing up a run-down after the convention, but I wanted to give you all a little taste of what I’m looking forward to most.

Glimmerdark promotional image by Encore Design
Glimmerdark promotional image by Encore Design

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Boston Teen Author Festival 2016

Last weekend, I ventured up to Boston to attend the Boston Teen Author Festival for the very first time. Young Adult literature is one of my passions, so I was excited to attend an entire book event dedicated to these authors. But what really motivated me to make the four-and-a-half hour trek was the opportunity to meet the author of the first vampire novel I ever read (and thus the author responsible for changing the course of my literary life)—Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. I was also excited to see a couple of authors that I met last summer at the Brooklyn Book Festival and to discover new authors whose books I might like.

"Create-Your-Own-Family Adventure" panel, with Amelia Atwater-Rhodes on the far left.
“Create-Your-Own-Family Adventure” panel, with Amelia Atwater-Rhodes on the far left.

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Boroughs of the Dead–Discovering NYC’s Dark Side

Last weekend I went on my first ghost tour of New York City! Reading about ghosts and ghouls is all well and good, but sometimes you just have to get out there and experience their haunts and historical sites for yourself. Ghost tours are a great way to not only get some fresh air with your scares, but also to learn about some local history. And no one does this better than Boroughs of the Dead. Boroughs of the Dead is a local, independent, woman-owned boutique walking tour business that specializes in the darker side of New York history. They offer tours across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and are looking to expand into the other two boroughs as well. Many of their tour guides are writers and are skilled in both research and storytelling. In fact, I first heard of the company because Gaslamp fantasy author Leanna Renee Hieber is one of their tour guides.

boroughs-of-the-dead-logo-1

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Bloggiesta To Do List: Fall 2016

This is a little last minute, but I’m hoping to hop on the Bloggiesta train once again. Bloggiesta is a regularly occurring blogging marathon in which a bunch of bloggers band together to challenge and support each other as we each work on improving our blogs, and it’s starting RIGHT NOW! The Fall Bloggiesta 2016 runs from today (Thursday, September 15th) until Sunday, September 18th. You can learn more on the Bloggiesta website.

bloggiesta-button-fall-2016
I’ve participated in two Bloggiesta events since starting this blog—the Winter 2016 Mini Bloggiesta and the Spring 2016 Bloggiesta (I missed the Summer Mini Bloggiesta)—and I’ve found these events to be very helpful for accomplishing long-term blogging goals as well as for connecting with other bloggers.
Since I didn’t get the chance to do any planning in advance this time around, and since I’m also going to be out of town this weekend without my computer, I’m going to be kind of loose about my timeline for accomplishing my Bloggiesta goals and probably won’t get the chance to participate in any mini-challenges. But I figured I would lay out some objectives and see how many I can accomplish over the coming weeks.
To Do List
  • Post reviews since last Bloggiesta on Goodreads and Amazon with links back to the blog
  • Revisit the Bookish Mastermind Group I joined last time and try to get that going again.
  • Plan out some Halloween posts
  • Comment on at least one other blog participating in Bloggiesta
  • Update my spreadsheet of book review requests

Are you participating in Bloggiesta? What are your goals? How is it going so far? Let me know in the comments!

World Goth Day 2016 and Some Reflections on Goth

This coming Sunday, May 22, is World Goth Day. Yes, you read that right—there’s a whole international holiday all about goths! World Goth Day was created to celebrate the gothic subculture and promote visibility and acceptance of goths—a group who are often feared, maligned, and misunderstood by the general public. The event originated in the UK in 2009, but quickly grew into an international affair. On Sunday, groups all around the world will host local goth events under the World Goth Day banner. You can look around online for events near you, start your own, or just take the day to indulge your inner goth in solitude or with friends. Here at The Gothic Library, I’m celebrating World Goth Day by sharing some of my thoughts on what the subculture means to me and how I got into it.

The official World Goth Day logo. Learn more at worldgothday.com
The official World Goth Day logo. Learn more at worldgothday.com

I know on this blog I tend to mostly talk about Gothic (with a capital G) literature, or gothic works of derivative genres, but not so much about goths, themselves. However, I feel that all of these are intimately related. To me, goth is a mindset. It’s a philosophy and a way of looking at the world that involves seeing beauty in darkness and being fascinated by the taboo (especially the taboo of death). This dark and morbid mindset has existed throughout history, but was especially indulged and brought into the limelight by the Gothic writers of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Separate from, but related to, the gothic mindset is the gothic subculture. The gothic subculture is a music and fashion scene that arose out of punk in the late ’70s and ’80s. The defining feature of a subculture is that it is a community. You can have a gothic mindset all by yourself, but you’re not part of the gothic subculture until you engage with other goths in some way—whether that’s by consuming gothic media, wearing gothic clothing, going to goth clubs, or just sharing your spooky interests with some dark-minded friends. Though goth, in this sense, is expressed largely through music and fashion, even these elements have been heavily influenced by cinema and literature, including by the Gothic novels from which this subculture takes its name.

In my experience, one generally recognizes one’s own gothic mindset first, then discovers the gothic subculture when looking to find others with similar interests. For me, it started (as it always does) with books. I’d been reading horror and mystery for as long as I could read chapter books, but my life-changing moment came when I picked my first vampire romance novel up off the shelf in fifth grade. From that moment on, I was captivated by these creatures of the night and propelled along a path that led to me reading both Anne Rice and Stoker before graduating middle school. It was around the same time that I also began taking on a darker aesthetic (though I’m not sure the two are related). It took me a while to come around to the label of “goth,” but I’ve come to embrace it with open arms. So if you see me next Sunday, I’ll be flying my goth flag high!

What are you doing to celebrate World Goth day? Know of any good gothic events going on in New York City (I’ve actually been having trouble finding some)? What aspects of goth are you celebrating this week? Let me know in the comments!

Bloggiesta To Do List: Spring 2016

Earlier this year, I participated in my very first Bloggiesta event—the Winter 2016 Mini-Bloggiesta. For those who don’t know, Bloggiesta is blogging marathon in which a bunch of bloggers band together to challenge and support each other as we each work on improving our blogs. This whole week, starting today and going until Sunday, March 27, is a week-long Bloggiesta event. You can learn more at the Bloggiesta website.

Bloggiesta-Spring 2016

Last Bloggiesta I got a lot done: I got to know a  bunch of other bloggers, participated in some twitter chats and mini challenges, linked to my reviews on other websites, rearranged parts of my blog design, and started to actually plan out my blog posts in advance! I’m not going to be particularly ambitious with this Bloggiesta because it’s hard to do blog things during the week when I work full time, and I’ve been really struggling with time management lately. That said, I’m going to try to set myself a few reasonable goals.

To Do List:

Are you participating in Bloggiesta? Have you done it in the past? What are your goals? Let me know in the comments!

Bloggiesta To Do List: Winter 2016

I’m very excited to be participating in a Bloggiesta event for the first time! For those who don’t know, Bloggiesta is blogging marathon in which a bunch of bloggers band together to challenge and support each other as we each work on improving our blogs. This coming weekend (Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th) is the yearly winter mini Bloggiesta! You can find out more at the Bloggiesta website.

Bloggiesta-Mini 16

On New Year’s Day, I posed a list of broad goals I’d like to accomplish with this blog over the coming year. But today I’d like to share my to do list of concrete tasks to accomplish this weekend in order to get going down the right path.

To Do List:
  • Leave at least 5 comments on posts by other bloggers
  • Participate in the Bloggiesta twitter chat on Sunday at 2pm Eastern
  • Do a Bloggiesta mini challenge
  • Post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon with links back to the blog
  • Sort through my genre categories
  • Plan out my next 3-5 posts
  • Evaluate my sidebar, and rearrange if necessary

Are you participating in Bloggiesta? Have you done it in the past? Let me know in the comments!