This weekend Peter and I went over to New Haven, CT for Blacksun Festival. I have lots of pictures, many of which involve me being wrangled into modeling (I showed up to photograph, and to meet people, but at first no models showed up and I was the best they had).
Overall the convention was a ton of fun. I’m already looking forward to going to next year’s! New Haven is a great city, and after visiting it I can see why they chose it as the annual Blacksun location. Never have I seen so much beautiful neo-gothic architecture as on the Yale campus. It really makes me feel like a second class citizen for being affiliated with ugly old Cornell. Over the course of the weekend I had to continually charge my camera, and by the end I had completely filled my memory card (one of the reasons I skipped the cemetery this year :( ). Also, New Haven is home to the lovely Variant 13 shop, where I found several pleasant accoutrements and developed a bit of disdain for Ithaca’s Evolution 102, which is the closest thing we have to such a shop locally. Though I admit it IS nice to have a local place to buy stripey tights and fishnets year round, now that I’ve seen how great alternative fashion stores can be, I’ll never be able to look back. Luckily, Variant 13 also has an online store, though it’s really not the same, is it?
The performers were great, for the most part. Voltaire and Anders Manga were as entertaining as I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised by Gothminister, The Birthday Massacre, Decoded Feedback and The Gothsicles (despite any technical difficulties they suffered). Though the performers were mostly of the “00ntZ, 00ntZ”, metal, or projekt varieties, the DJs did a pretty good job of spinning a variety of stuff between sets; especially on Sunday night when quite a bit of old school gothic rock was played.
Throughout the course of the weekend they really packed in all the events very tightly- we were always running from one thing to the next, and sometimes had to choose between events, or between events and necessities (like food or sleep). For instance, I only got a chance to check out one of the panels (“Promotion in the age of the subgenre”), before having to run over to Projektfest (the panel was amazingly insightful, btw, and I think I might have retained some information that the local promoters up in Syracuse might find useful).
My main problem with the convention is that parts of it seemed to either be poorly planned or forgotten about. The photo sessions, for instance, were listed in the schedule as meeting in one place, but in the program description as meeting in an entirely different place. And the art show and survivor’s breakfast both started late and found a handful of us standing around in the diner looking confused. Even worse, the picnic was a complete no-show; plenty of goths showed up, but with no one to lead or organize us (or to provide us with the promised music, kites, or frisbees!) we started to disperse after about a half hour of waiting. As we milled about, one goth lamented, “This is just like the mall, only everyone is older and can drive,” which I thought was wonderfully ironically apropos.
Still, as a mostly volunteer event still going through growing pains, I think everything went over pretty smoothly. Better than I could do, certainly! And the really important stuff- the musical performances and such, seemed to go on without major or enduring issue.
In the future, I think the convention would benefit from more hands-on stuff; panels and workshops and the like. I don’t really have an easy time meeting new people, and all of the people I met at Blacksun were either through a friend from college I randomly met there (probably not that random actually, we seem to run into each other out of the blue every few years), or at the photo safari and survivor’s breakfast. That left a whole lot of other convention with Peter and I feeling a bit lonely, but hopefully next year we’ll be less so- I really want to head over there with a whole contingent of people!