Waking the Old Ones: NecronomiCon Providence 2013
Over a long, humid weekend, the fourth edition of the H.P. convention known as the NecronomiCon Providence welcomed hundreds of guests, some which came from such far away places as the U.K., California, Toronto, and Abu Dhabi. Organized by the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council with support from the City of Providence and Dark Dunes Productions, the event spanned four days, two hotels, two theaters, the Providence Athenaeum, two art galleries, a restaurant, a rock club, and not one, but two hotels. The conference itself boasted several panels, gaming events, walking tours, dozens of vendors, a concert, Cthulu prayer breakfast, gala, and special WaterFire event—a celebratory Providence phenomenon consisting of over 80 permanent bonfires rising from the river—with live music, and lots of monstrous cosplay.
The events kicked off in full force with an unveiling of the H.P. Lovecraft bronze bust at the historic Providence Athenaeum, which houses a staggering amount of rare first volumes of American literature greats, rare works of art, and is said to be the place where Edgar Allan Poe hung out when he was courting fellow poet Sarah Helen Whitman. The bronze Lovecraft bust was crafted by sculptor Bryan Moore with the assistance of fellow Lovecraft devotee, author, and filmmaker Jovanka Vuckovic. Made possible by crowd funding to the tune of over $58,000—the gleaming bronze bust was also funded by genre luminaries like filmmakers Guillermo del Toro, Frank Darabont, and Stuart Gordon, writers Dan O’Bannon (RIP) and Peter Straub, and comics artist extraordinaire Mike Mignola.
The weekend was packed with a veritable maelstrom of activity. In the vendor rooms, convention-goers could purchase embryonic Cthulu necklaces, steampunk earrings decorated with gears and eyeballs, rubber prosthetics for Halloween (or everyday wear, of course), DVDs, music, books, original artwork, posters, shirts, tote bags, or even bibs and onesies for the little monsters. Literature lovers had the opportunity to attend panels with scholarly topics, such as “Forbidden Knowledge in 19th & 20th Century Modernism,” “Poe, Lovecraft, and The Uncanny: The Horror of the Self,” and “Xenophobia, Atheism, and Tentacles: The Slender Man Myth as Communal Lovecraftian Tale.”
Film fans were in for a real treat with notorious Lovecraft adapter, director Stuart Gordon, who brought in and hosted a handful of 35mm screenings of DAGON, which played with Vuckovic’s award-winning short, THE CAPTURED BIRD. Another special event was a rare screening of Dan O’ Bannon’s THE ANCESTOR, based on the Lovecraft story, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.” Other screenings included a short film block, THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS, the animated DREAM QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH, THE CALL OF CTHULHU, THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP and CTHULHU MANSION.
And if one was so inspired to start making Lovecraft-inspired films, there were workshops and panels on how to do just that. For the aurally inclined, the convention included the Neurosis/Lustmord concert at Lupo’s, live music from at the Lovecraft-esque band BIG NAZO at the midnight WaterFire event, as well as live music, dancing, and cosplay at the Friday night’s Eldritch Ball, in which attendees were encouraged to don Victorian garb or masquerade dress. Two women dressed as two very dazzling Cthulhus, complete with sparkling tentacle headdresses. A very scary Baphomet was involved. Photographers roamed the crowd, much drink was imbibed, and at the end of the event, some serious circling, rising, and chanting to invoke the Old Ones rose above the din of the band.
One has to ask: what would Lovecraft—who was notoriously anti-social and xenophobic—have thought of the enormity of the event? Would he be disgusted, confused, or proud? Answer that question for yourself at the next Necronomicon.
Top Photo: Jovanka Vuckovic and Bryan Moore stand proudly beside their Lovecraft Bust.