NecronomiCon 2015 begins…

The NecronomiCon 2015 should be beginning to buzz about now, as people arrive on the Thursday evening.

lightsprovidencePhotograph: A Providence hillside: some lamps lit, the western windows of homes reflecting a fading sunset. By Spencer Grant (1944-), Boston Public Library.

… its ancient vanes and steeples, ridgepoles and chimney-pots, wharves and small bridges, willow-trees and graveyards; endless labyrinths of steep, narrow, crooked streets, and dizzy church-crowned central peak that time durst not touch; ceaseless mazes of colonial houses piled and scattered at all angles and levels like a child’s disordered blocks; antiquity hovering on grey wings over winter-whitened gables and gambrel roofs; fanlights and small-paned windows one by one gleaming out in the cold dusk to join Orion and the archaic stars. And against the rotting wharves the sea pounded; the secretive, immemorial sea out of which the people had come in the elder time.” — H.P. Lovecraft, “The Festival”.

Sunsets arouse in me vague feelings of pseudo-memory, mystical revelation, and adventurous expectancy, which nothing else can even begin to conjure up. They always seem to me to be about to unveil supernal vistas of other (yet half-familiar) worlds and other dimensions.” — Letter from Lovecraft to R.E. Howard, 7th May 1932.

It looks like it’s sunset for Tentaclii too. My thanks to the five people who have pledged a total of $16 to my Patreon campaign so far, which much appreciated. But I’m unsure that the Patreon call is going anywhere, sadly — I don’t see anyone even bothering to share the Patreon page on Facebook, Twitter or blogs. No comments on the Tentaclii blog, either. Just two on three likes on my various Facebook posts about it. I suspect that I will be pulling it at the end of the month.


Lovecraft’s 125th Birthday presents and parties – the big parcel

Here’s my quick round-up of the celebratory free items and events and doings in celebration of H.P. Lovecraft’s 125th birthday, on 20th August 2015…

* I’ve made a large map of some Providence locations the living Lovecraft would have been familiar with…

lovecraft_providence_final_hires_2015-thHigh resolution version here (11Mb, 300dpi .JPG).

The map omits the Athenaeum — I can find very little evidence of his connection with it. It also omits the schools/YMCA and buildings/places variously said to have inspired his stories, except for “The Call of Cthulhu”‘s ‘Fleur-de-Lys’ building (hard to avoid as it’s alongside the Providence Art Club his aunt and other relatives were connected with). But the map does add cafes, of which he was so fond — one he is known to have frequented near the public library. The other is a general indication of the dock-front cafes for sailors and watermen, which he used at various times (possibly initially discovered at dawn after his early pre-NYC all-night walks?) because they were so cheap and served large portions.

* MalakiaLaGatta has a fine 125th Birthday poster


* The Trunk Space has a night of Lovecraft performance art in Phoenix, AZ, tonight.

* Cambridge, Mass. has an “In the Mouth of Madness” Lovecraft film festival from the 20th – 24th August 2015, showing Lovecraft and Lovecraft-influenced movies on the big screen.

* There’s a big costumed H.P. Lovecraft Birthday Party in the East Village, New York City, with proceeds going help the homelessness in the city. Over in the West Village, NYC, there’s a The Weird West Village walking tour: H.P. Lovecraft Birthday Edition walk. The Lovecraft Bar in NYC is also hosting a party on the 21st August.

* The public library in Jacksonville, IL is holding its own Lovecraft Festival today.

* Buffalo, NY has a Love, Light & Magick evening of Lovecraft readings.

* There’s a “Celebrate H.P. Lovecraft’s 125th birthday at the Love Fest in Second Life“, Second Life being the well-known virtual world.

* South San Francisco Main Library has a “Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft!” event this evening, 20th August from 5pm to 7pm… “Join us in celebrating H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday with board games, a film screening, and treats!” Sounds like it might be aimed at young teens?

* The book launch of Satanic Panic: Pop Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s — at the Carlton Cinema, Toronto, August 20th — will happen alongside “a screening of animated shorts that celebrates H.P. Lovecraft’s 125th birthday”.

* Willits Kinetic Carnivale is a big steampunk kinetika gathering based around the Mendocino County Museum in California. They’re certainly aware that the event co-incides with HPL’s birthday, but the extent of HPL art and costume theming may be limited — their art gets prepared and planned for months in advance.

* A superbly stinky and rare giant Corpse Flower is about to blossom in Denver, just in time for HPL’s birthday…


* Pasedena’s Mountain View Mausoleum is holding an October production of Lovecraft’s “The Unnamable” in October, and they’ve having a Birthday preview reading at the Huntington on 22nd August 2015. “Wicked Lit” at the Huntington in Pasedena starts 7pm, and also includes readings from the Scottish Victorian novelist Margaret Oliphant.

* And, of course, there are a variety of Birthday related events in Providence, based around NecronomiCon 2015. Including a new Lovecraft plaque/post sited at 454 Angell Street. Designed, created, and installed by Gage Prentiss, “with placement help by Donovan and Pam Loucks”.


There was also a Hiding Under The Covers Birthday event in Providence, but it was on the 19th. However, as this post is being published midnight on 19th/20th UK time, there might still be time to rush down there if you read this quick enough.

I guess one might also consider the cool appearance by a likeness of Lovecraft in a recent film by the great director Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Midnight in Paris) to be a sort of birthday present, as the movie is released about now…

“Woody Allen deployed [the Providence Athenaeum’s] bronze bust of Lovecraft while filming Irrational Man in the Athenaeum. He positioned the impossible-to-ignore, overlarge head right between the lead actors during a pivotal exchange. The goofy image did suggest irrationality of some sort.”

Although the new movie is “set in Newport” rather than Providence, it seems that a variety of New England locations were melanged into Allen’s vision of Newport. Which I suspect looks rather unlike Innsmouth when viewed through Allen’s lens (gosh, wouldn’t that be a film — “The Shadow over Innsmouth” as filmed by Woody Allen, in his Shadows and Fog mode).

Irrational Man is apparently a small-scale intimate summer story with a few Hitchcockian twists, and is premiering in cinemas/theaters about now. I don’t hold much store by movie reviewers after the dim-witted parroting reviews that destroyed Tomorrowland, but a quick glance at the Google Search snippets for Irrational Man reviews suggests the reviewers have had moderately good things to say.


* TIME magazine and the Wall Street Journal note Lovecraft’s birthday.

* Cake, apparently at an event at Calgary Public Library…


Please support my work through Patreon

This post is rather important! Today I’ve launched my new Patreon donations campaign. I can’t continue to work on Lovecraft without your help. To guarantee the future production of new work, please consider pledging $1 a month or more through my page at the popular Patreon crowdfunder service. Your support will help to keep Tentaclii thriving, keep my new discoveries flowing, and (if enough patrons are found) will even make my books free to all.


I’m also offering some small-but-nice Rewards to my new patrons. Please take a look.

The principle of Patreon is simple — be patron of the arts. It’s safe to sign up at Patreon, and it then only takes a few seconds to plug in your PayPal ID.

If you can’t donate then you can still help. For instance, by sharing my Patreon page on Facebook. Or by showing it to others in person at the NecronomiCon 2015 convention — perhaps via your tablet/phone, at your vendor table, or by mentioning it during a panel. I also welcome reader suggestions for new or improved Patreon Rewards. Thanks!

NecronomiCon 2015: Art in Providence

The “Ars Necronomica” art show is open now at the Providence Art Club, for the very-early arrivals at NecronomiCon 2015.

Picture: Thomas Street at the Beginning of the End by FatherStone (Metteo Bocci). The original is on show as part of the Ars Necronomica 2015 show.

There are also some photographs of the “Ars Necronomica” exhibits online at The Art of Skinner.

The Dodge House Gallery at the Providence Art Club also has a complementary show called “Rhode Island Eerie”

“featuring Rhode Island motifs, themes, and landscapes [that were] portrayed through the lens of the life and work of H. P. Lovecraft”.

Note that the Dodge House Gallery page has a Flash-tasitic 360-degree VR tour online. Didn’t work for me, since I’ve long since uninstalled Flash (it’s a massive security risk), but it may work for you.

Also on now in Providence is a restaurant wall show of contemporary Lovecraftian prints, “The Legacy & Future of H.P. Lovecraft in the Print” at Julians on Broadway, Providence.


Some original correspondence / notebook sketches by members of Lovecraft’s circle will be on show from Wednesday 19th at Brown University, in “The Influence of Anxiety: Lovecraft, Bloch, Barlow, et al.”.

Picture: Robert Bloch, “IÄA. Shub-Niggurath Y’A”, circa 1933. Brown University Library.

There are no other related gallery shows nearby in New England it seems, mostly chocolate-box landscapes and seascapes for the mainstream tourist.

The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales

The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales book of essays is now slated as due in hardback in October 2015. The R.E. Howard blog Two-Gun Raconteur has an interview with co-editor Jeffrey Shanks.



Introduction: Weird Tales — Discourse Community and Genre Nexus


Chapter 1: “Something that swayed as if in unison”: The Artistic Authenticity of Weird Tales in the Interwar Periodical Culture of Modernism – Jason Ray Carney

Chapter 2: Weird Modernism: Literary Modernism in the First Decade of Weird Tales – Jonas Prida

Chapter 3: “Against the Complacency of an Orthodox Sun-Dweller”: The Lovecraft Circle and the “Weird Class” – Daniel Nyikos

Chapter 4: Strange Collaborations: Shared Authorship and Weird Tales – Nicole Emmelhainz

Chapter 5: Gothic to Cosmic: Sword and Sorcery Fiction in Weird Tales – Morgan Holmes


Chapter 6: A Nameless Horror: Madness and Metamorphosis in H.P. Lovecraft and Post-modernism – Clancy Smith

Chapter 7: Great Phallic Monoliths: Lovecraft and Sexuality – Bobby Derie

Chapter 8: Evolutionary Otherness: Anthropological Anxiety in Robert E. Howard’s “Worms of the Earth” – Jeffrey Shanks

Chapter 9: Eugenic Thought in the Works of Robert E. Howard – Justin Everett


Chapter 10: Pegasus Unbridled: Clark Ashton Smith and the Ghettoization of the Fantastic – Scott Connors

Chapter 11: “A Round Cipher”: Word-Building and World-Building in the Weird Works of Clark Ashton Smith – Geoffrey Reiter

Chapter 12: C. L. Moore and M. Brundage: Competing Femininities in the October, 1934 Issue of Weird Tales – Jonathan Helland

Chapter 13: Psycho-ology 101: Incipient Madness in the Weird Tales of Robert Bloch – Paul Shovlin

Chapter 14: “To Hell and Gone”: Harold Lawlor’s Self-Effacing Pulp Metafiction – Sidney Sondergard

Sonia H. Davis papers now open at Brown

Brown University Library News has announced that the Sonia H. and Nathaniel A. Davis papers (MS.2012.003) are now available for research at the John Hay Library. Perhaps this is actually a re-announcement, I’m not sure, but it seems worth noting. There’s a PDF guide to the collection.

Sonia-and-NathanielSonia and Nathaniel circa 1936.

Interestingly, Sonia’s new husband (after Lovecraft)…

“Nathaniel [A. Davis] founded Planetaryan, a humanitarian organization devoted to world peace, for which Sonia was the chief administrator.”

Planetaryan was incorporated 14th June 1938, a little over a year after Lovecraft’s death, and its formal incorporated name was the “American Defense Society, of The United States”.

Co-founded with a Luther Burbank apparently. Could this be the ‘plant wizard’ Burbank, who so usefully genetically modified over 800 useful plants including our now-standard potato, and thus saved the world from hunger? Perhaps not, since he had died in 1926 shortly after being hounded by a national firestorm of hatred whipped up by evangelical Christians. Though I’d guess that it is possible that Planetaryan might have been founded a little before Burbank’s 1926 death, and only incorporated in 1938? Neither Google, Google Books nor Hathi can provide a quick answer to that question. One item that did turn up was a 1st Nov. 1937 letter from M.H. McIntyre, Secretary to the U.S. President, referring to Planetaryan as “a world-wide inter-racial organization”, which suggests it existed before its 1938 incorporation. Much later the Enciclopedia Judaica Resumida refers to it as “pacifist” organisation. The Jewish Yearbook 1945-46 calls it a “peace society”.

Researchers should note that Planetaryan appears to have been different from its namesake the American Defense Society, which had been founded in 1915. This namesake appears to have been a sort of ultra-patriotic anti-socialist organisation involved in lobbying and pamphleteering — I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually discover the ultra-conservative Lovecraft to have once been a member of that one. So I wonder why Planetaryan was so named? Calling an organisation Planetaryan (which in the 1930s might be mis-understood as implying “Planet-Aryan”) and the American Defense Society could certainly have led to unfortunate political confusions in an era of rabid communism and socialism. Perhaps it was simply a political tactic, meant to forestall any possible re-use of the American Defense Society name for conservative purposes? Or had Nathaniel A. Davis perhaps been involved as an officer in the American Defense Society c.1915-, and then found himself in effective possession of the name at its demise — but with his political views changed? In this respect it is suggestive to find that the Brown guide to the Sonia H. and Nathaniel A. Davis papers states that he wrote unpublished patriotic poetry, poetry that was only published (by Sonia) after his death.


I’ve found out why Burbank might have been keen to promote a campaign group based around inter-racial marriage. He theoretically extended his very successful plant-breeding principles to hybridisation between races. In his child-rearing book The Training of the Human Plant (1907)…

“he argues for an extensive crossing of different races [in the hope that evolution and environment will eventually act to] combine the best traits in a single individual.” — Chris White, “Eugenics in the 20th Century”.

So we can probably assume that the group was indeed co-founded by the Luther Burbank.