Q: What is Death Equinox?
A: Death Equinox is, simply, a convention. It is also one that we hope won't be as institutionally dry as the standard industry conventions. Is it an industry convention? Yes. Professional net-working can be done as usual, we simply prefer to throw in some entertainment and brain food amidst the usual sitting-in-the-bar-getting-drunk-and-schmoozing that we've all been partaking in for far too long.
Q: Whence came the name?
A: Death Equinox is a celebration of the cycles of life, and of the purification of the death cycles. At this time of year the leaves drop from the trees to become nutrients in the ground and offer space for the fresh beauty of new leaves in the spring (the Birth Equinox). For many people this is considered to be a depressing time. Break out of hibernation, shake the depression, and join in for the festivities that celebrate that continuum of cycles. Death Equinox takes esoteric and psychological trance-steps into focusing on the myriad aspects of life and death. Our fears, hopes, crutches, the ways we soothe the unknown and painful with creations in the arts. Transition, though hurtful and confusing, is ever necessary for the cycles of life and begs to be given meaning.
Q: Which genres does this convention focus on?
A: As the name would imply, the main focus is on the darker and more thought-provocative side of the industry. Horror, non-standard Science Fiction, Avant-Pop, Noir, Cyber Punk, Gothic, experimental. Bizarre technology, dark philosophy, human weakness and endurance. The functions likely won't appeal to the squeamish. And, while we might be able to give basic genre examples, don't expect too much pigeon-holing at the convention.
Q: Can non-professionals attend?
A: Of course. Every artist needs someone to share their art with. Creation is nothing without being experienced. Fans can attend to see and hear their preferred authors do readings or get involved in panels. They can go to other panels, workshops, and demonstrations, to see how exactly it is that we accomplish writing, editing, publishing, creating film, etc. Who knows, maybe you'll decide to join in with your own creations. You can sit alongside the "professionals" (harrumph, I've always said that the main difference between industry conventions and fan conventions is that, at fan cons, you see people attending panels and partaking in activities. At the more "professional" ones, you see the editors, publishers, and novelists, holed up in a bar with cartons of cigarettes and sky high bar tabs. And don't even call me professional at these things until you find out exactly why I always seem to be wrestling my way out of tower windows or rolling across a bar table doing obscene things to the salt and pepper shakers) as they watch the bands play, get... er... inspired creatively by the fetish and bizarre gadget demonstrations, or catch a few films in the video room. You can also browse the dealers' room for hard-to-find goodies to purchase, or pull the pretentious critic routine in the art room. And, of course, the programming is so varied that if you happen to know a lot about drugs, alien abductions, or ritualistic sex practices you're every bit as qualified for programming as that novelist over there.
Q: How can I become involved with programming at this
A: Multiple tracks of programming run simultaneously so the ways to become involved are many. Fiction authors and "journalists" may want to do readings or join in on workshops. Musicians can check into performing live. Film-makers and animators can show their work, and join demonstrations, in the video room. The panels aren't only for editors, publishers, writers, musicians, artists, and label owners. Other people who can be included on relevant panels are gurus of spiritual or drug natures, techo- geeks, complex fetishists, and even "experts" in the theories of the paranormal and dark psychology. There are multi-media exhibits to get involved in, mad scientist events, and even features for people who build and/or play theremins. If you think you have any qualifications for programming, simply check off the appropriate sections on your registration form, list your related activities and knowledge, note that you wish to be involved in programming, and send your membership in. If your specialties aren't already known by the staff you will be contacted for follow-up and programming inclusion.
Q: Why should I attend Death Equinox?
A: That would really depend on who you are, and where your interests lie. Here are a few of the specialized reasons:
1. Net-working: Net-working is crucial to anyone who works in the industries, and often the best way to do that is at conventions. Writers search for editors, publishers, and agents, to schmooze. Musicians seek labels and distributors. Magazines seek contributors. Mad scientists seek people to set their impressive new critters and gadgets after. Everyone seeks more people to show off their work to.
2. Entertainment: This is about as packed with entertainment as you can get for a 4 day weekend. Once you are in the door you get to choose between readings, panels, movies, live music, workshops, esoterra, erotica, tles, or even just the general BSing with other attendees.
3. Information: This takes multiple tracks as well. You can find out about arts projects that might have previously escaped your attention. You can actually see the small press and independent goodies that tend to hide. You can learn about everything that goes into working in the various involved industries (including learning how to build strange gadgets and robots). You will also be able to glean a variety of information about politics, psychology, philosophy, the paranormal, etc, from the wide range of planned panels.
Q: How can you put so much focus on psychology, technology, and
spiritualism, when this is actually an arts convention?
A: These are the initial ingredients of art. Throughout history, art forms have been used for psychological and religious reasons. Gods were danced to for hunts and harvests, comedies and tragedies were played out as a form of catharsis. In modern times, people often purge their fears and sorrows through their art. That can come in the form of bleakly emotional music, fiction with political/societal forbodings of the future, or even just straight-forward ranting. A lot of music is done in styles that evoke the old feelings of an equinox, or with lyrics that summon the aligned powers of the performers. Many writers cope with their own horrors and traumas by purging them through their stories. Gonzo journalists throw themselves into any news story (be it war in other countries or slights in the art industries) so they can experience it first- hand and give a personal recounting. To look at art without examining its reasons for existing is to label it as hollow commodity. The in-depth focus of Death Equinox lets the creators expose their reasons for their involvements in the arts. It only makes sense to take things one step further and actually explain what these things are while we are purging our souls about them. The exploration of the creating psyche can entail personal religion and paranormal belief systems, psycho-sexual trauma, the drugs that created you, your deepest fears for the future, your feelings of persecution and belief in conspiracy, etc. Technology, though often over-looked, is another legitimate art form. It takes a great deal of creativity to sculpt, and give life to, mechanical devices. Science fiction has been giving the most credence to technology as art (or at least some areas of the genre have been), though horror sometimes melds into that general direction as well. Even if you don't have any excrutiatingly dark aspects to your psyche, hopefully you at least have some more interesting reasons than makin' bucks and scorin' chicks behind your creative endeavors and can share them at the convergence.
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