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.
Melissa Marr—the author solely responsible for inspiring my interest in all things fae—will be the Author Guest of Honor! I first picked up Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely sometime early in high school, and it led me down a whole new reading path. The book introduced me to the Seelie and Unseelie courts and to a number of traditional creatures from Celtic mythology. You may also remember that I reviewed her YA thriller Made for You way back when the blog was new. Melissa Marr is a particularly appropriate guest for this convention, since her Wicked Lovely series is known for its sympathetic and nuanced depiction of the dark side of Faerie. I can’t wait to meet her, and to tell her in person how much I really love her books.
The big draw for many of Jeff Mach’s other events are the musical performances. Wicked Faire used to partner every year with well-known dark cabaret artist Aurelio Voltaire, while Steampunk World’s Fair is still the best place to experience a wide collection of steampunk bands. For Glimmerdark, music is not the central attraction and there doesn’t appear to be one prominent big-name band intended to draw out fans. However, there is still an impressive variety of theme-appropriate musicians, including several of my old favorites. Psyche Corporation is a local cyberpunk band that I first discovered and fell in love with through Wicked Faire many years ago. Psyche Corporation’s music ranges from complex narratives about robots in a dystopian future or anthropomorphic buildings to musical renditions of Edgar Allan Poe poems. Other performers that I am familiar with from past events include the enchantingly operatic Katie Kat and an energetic folk punk cabaret band called Frenchy and the Punk. On top of these, there are a quite a few unfamiliar artists that I am excited to discover.
The most unique aspect of Glimmerdark, in my opinion, is the variety of panels and workshops on offer. These seem to be the core of the event, and they give Glimmerdark a more interactive and hands-on feel than the average convention. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of the program has an overtly literary bent. Three authors I greatly admire—Arthur Conan Doyle, Gabriel Dante Rossetti, and Lewis Carroll—each have a panel dedicated to their works, history, and possible connection to Faerie. For any writers in the crowd, there are panels on how to create convincing villains or how to plot using tarot cards, and the Green Fairy Literary Society offers an opportunity for con-goers to share their creative works and learn about publishing. On top of these, there are also workshops on practical crafts and skills from floral wreath making to contact juggling, and a particularly intriguing panel on Consent-Based Flirting. With such a great mix of fun and informative, I expect to be spending much of the weekend sitting in on these panels and workshops. I’ll be sure to report back about what I learn!
Will you be going to Glimmerdark this year? What performances or panels are you hoping to attend? Let me know in the comments!