Late summer/early fall is my absolute least favorite time of year. There’s something so…I want to say “dysphoric” about it. The mind has already rocketed full-steam into Halloween!space, but the matter is slow to follow. All I want is a huge sweater and a cauldron full of squash. Is that so much to ask?
Despite the punishing temperatures, though, my beloved Nightmare Vermont is holding auditions tonight, so I had to dress for the occasion. It’s so strange that the Halloween season is just beginning for the general public, while my cohorts and I have been working since, oh, April.
I’m not auditioning for an acting role, though. Not this year. I’m already doing costumes for both Nightmare and its new sister production, Spookyville, plus helping write the script for the latter. This year I’d like all my work to be done ahead of time, so on show night I can actually maybe relax a little. And not get the flu like last year.
The last of my camp photos, taken in that nebulous neverwhere between one responsibility and the next. At least I looked really adorable. I like to think my tiny self would’ve enjoyed having a counselor like me.
But I’ll soon be transitioning out of twee!cute and into creepy!cute, because…
My haunt is expanding! As of 2015, Nightmare Vermont will officially launch Spookywood, a little sister production aimed at a younger audience, and I’ve been selected for the writing staff. I could not be more thrilled about that. Getting in on the ground floor of a brand-new haunt puts me that much closer to running my own one day. And I will officially be a ~credited writer~ on an ~official playbill~. While still doing costumes for NV, of course. Because you can’t ask me to make that kind of choice.
I may be just as insufferable as I was last year, but dammit, I think I produced some pretty good art in 2014. If 2013 was the year I “actually took on some semblance of a recognizable style“, then 2014 was about figuring out how to work my goddamn camera.
These are my favorite posts of the year. This isn’t just a “hey give me a lots of clicks” attention grab; I have slightly more integrity than that. I just really enjoy seeing where I am artistically. And, y’know, getting lots of clicks. I’m only human.
bloody snow & my tacky manifesto
garden of earthly delights & something is terribly wrong with the princess
loonette’s heyday & girl on the burning tightrope
my precious & by the sea (mr. t)
steam for a day & curvy girls with floral curls
curious little beastie & decadent decades
mad as a hattrix & rockabilly religion major
the traveling yellow skirt freak show & the other holy grail
For part II of my Halloweek series, Danica and I blatantly ripped off my favorite living artist, Courtney Brooke of lightwitch. I almost don’t want to link her here because my work is so shoddy in comparison, but there you go. I was tempted to go full plagiarist and get naked in the river, but Vermont is cold, dammit.
Photos of me by Danica. Photos of Danica, as well as all editing, by me.
I have been performing for fifteen years. Cabarets and madrigal choirs and bucktoothed middle-school plays. I love it all. I’ve got comedy/tragedy masks tattooed on my shoulder blades, for crying out loud. And haunted houses are still my favorite medium of all.
Every show looks the same behind the scenes. No matter how niche or cutting edge or avant-fucking-garde the performance, the crew is having the exact same squabbles over making the lights work and where to put the giant spider. (Maybe that last one’s just me.) After ten-hour workdays, after shoveling sawdust and spattering blood on everything in sight, it’s easy to stop caring. The magic goes out and the mundane rises to take its place.
Opening night announces itself. You pull all the levers and deliver all the costumes and hope for the best. And then you hear your first screams of the night. You toss a little blood in just the right places and hear breath drawing sharply in. Someone faints. Twice. True story. When the last stragglers run away screaming, you find your graying, zombified lover. And you scream together, because the screaming – the screaming is what makes all this worth it.
One night down, five to go. This is what I am actually wearing today. I pitted ghoulish against cozy, and cozy won.
I love ugly appliqued sweaters and other such monstrosities usually found on six- or sixty-year-olds, nothing in between. I love garish prints and clashing accessories. I love head-to-toe matching, I love it when my hair and my lipstick almost go together, and I love wearing ten shades of the same color. I love looking simultaneously like an eccentric matron and her prissy kindergarten granddaughter, and I especially love the private knowledge of my tattoos and slutty underwear beneath the Peter Pan collars. The assumption of reticence and sexual repression dogs twee femmes wherever we go, but I can hoot and holler with the best of ’em.
I love red lipstick and Disney villain eyebrows with every. single. outfit.
I love bright tights that make my thick legs thicker and shoes that broaden my broad feet. Where others see lumps and stumpiness, I see bursts of triumphant color. I love bombshell vintage kitted out with gaudy Halloween-store jewelry. I love ratty flats peeking from under my petticoats, and I love it when they don’t even pretend to match. I am learning to love that I am more cute than sexy, that my round face is cheerful and droll. That my hair makes it only rounder, that my church-lady hats do not tamp it down. I love never having enough church-lady hats.
I am everything I am not supposed to be. I am Fashion’s worst and loudest nightmare, because I refuse to flatter my body at the expense of my soul.
So this weekend Holly and I attended Ghostacular: Paranormal Convention. The event specified “costumes encouraged” – not that we need explicit encouragement to wear costumes. Not that we actually called these outfits “costumes”, either – they’re more or less our typical weekend ensembles.
ParaCon was fun. I bought some cute pumpkin soaps. Sometimes it scares me to be in the presence of so many people who all believe the same thing, though. I attended three talks at the con, and while they were all interesting, only one bothered to address the skeptical side of things. Regardless of my love for the supernatural, I am, at heart, a skeptic. I don’t think paranormal experiences exist outside of one’s brain. That doesn’t mean they aren’t valid experiences – romantic love is just chemicals, after all, and look how much of our society is devoted to its pursuit.
Maybe I wasn’t the demographic ParaCon was courting. I don’t want to impose my preferences on a group I don’t necessarily consider myself part of. But it does unnerve me on a visceral level to see people accept anything without questioning it.
All that said, though, I do love suspending my disbelief, and I do love soaking up lore. The con certainly wasn’t short on that. Methinks I need another Queen City Ghostwalk one of these nights.
Photos of me taken by Holly. Photos of Holly taken by me.
My new soaps!
This was seriously one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while. On Saturday I did makeup for a local zombie-themed fun run; on Sunday (Josh’s 26th birthday) I tabled for Nightmare at a pumpkin festival up in the mountains. Silly costumes, foliage, a huge-ass birthday cake that we’re still working on – oh, and getting to pop someone’s eye out, as seen above. This post is not for the squeamish, but if you’re squeamish, then why are you even here.
My beloved steamfreak – and Nightmare’s monster mascot, Janey, whom Josh helped build.
Cake cred to my mom, who I’ve mentioned before is a professional baker. Nutella outside, pumpkin/carrot inside.
Holly asked for “zombie rock star”.
Nightmare went to lunch in full makeup.