The Curse of Frankenstein, Updates, and Other Frankenphilia

Wandering Spirits shrine
Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Tallhat Press) now available for purchase at Amazon.

Last Thursday, my good friend, vintage movie expert, bomb writer, and teratologist Orrin Grey inducted me into the wiles of the Hammer Frankenstein films. I’ve never seen them, and so what a better way to celebrate #Frankenstein200 than live-tweeting the experience. It was loads of fun, and we storified the experience here.

In addition to celebrating the Villa Diodati bicentennial, we were also marking a few other related events:

The release of Orrin’s first non-fiction collection, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, which collects over five years worth of his regular vintage horror flick column, VAULT OF SECRETS, that runs over at INNSMOUTH FREE PRESS. And speaking of, his latest column there delves into more territory with a look at IT! (1967). Check it out here.

Word Horde did a cover reveal of its Frankenstein tribute anthology, ETERNAL FRANKENSTEIN, out in October, and boy, it is a beauty!

And, of course, my own little chapbook from Tallhat Press, WANDERING SPIRITS, which has been doing really well since its release last week. In the past few days, it premiered as #1 New Release in its category, even hit #5 at one point, has been spotted in the wild via book pics, become the focus of a really fun giveaway at the Frankenstein200 Facebook page, and has garnered five stars in its first review!  I am really excited about the response it has been getting, and I know it wouldn’t have been done without the help of friends and colleagues who have helped spread the information, and to the readers who shelled out to buy this book. To each and every one of you:  Thank you!

Oktoberfest in NYC, Concord, and Salem; Halloween in T-town


NYC skyline from a top Green-Wood Cemetery.
NYC skyline from a top Green-Wood Cemetery.

October flew by faster than a mini-pumpkin in a cannon. My husband and I visited New York City to be with dear friends Nicole Caputo and Jonathan Campo, and we had a blast. Trying to account for all the places we dined and drank and reveled in is folly, but folly has never stopped me before. My friends live in Park Slope, and we are all die hard Jonathan Ames fans. So, natch, our sauntering would turn into inadvertent Bored to Death tours. We crossed the Gowanus river and took in a show at the Slipper Room, which we realized later was the scene where Jonathan is dumped by his hippie girlfriend. There was always the possibility of running into the man himself at one of the beer gardens, but alas our paths did not cross. Which is good, because I tend to melt in front of these gents.

The Slipper Room may have been my favorite happening of this trip because the performances were beyond any Burlesque stuff I’ve seen (not that I have seen much). Thursday nights are Glitter Gutter, and every act was really whimsical, funny, and kind of geeky. The M.C. was Walt Whitman (James Habacker) in a hobo-version of Oscar Wlide’s sunflower suit, and pretty much had me in stitches the whole time. The performers were great and added a lot of humor to their acts. One performer, Tiger Bay, did a Mallory Archer performance set to Danzig’s “Mother,” and it was….just…only the words “danger zone” come to me right now. EDIT: I just found out this is a phenomenon going on for a long while, under the hashtag “nerdlesque.”

I also had a really lovely cocktail called London After Dark at Analogue, while trying to get out of the rain on the west side.

J. Mascis continues to own.
J. Mascis continues to own.

There were also the quiet times that were the best. Like going on cheese runs at Fleisher’s, dining on Nicole’s heavenly meals, and having coffee with her in the morning–a tradition that spanned the four years of our college lives together–visiting Green-Wood cemetery, where apparently I missed visiting Rufus Griswold, and catching up with Diana over dosas, and talking about James Tiptree over burgers with Aleks and Pete. One major quiet highlight was getting to sit in on a recording for Jonathan’s sketch animations with Gravy Boat Regatta. I’ve always been fascinated by voice acting, so getting to see how weird it looks in person vs. what the final outcome of it becomes was really cool.

Oh, crap, right–and we saw J. Mascis at The Bowery!

After NYC, we drove to Concord, where we spent the next morning wandering Walden, then the afternoon and evening stomping around Salem. Salem ended up being a little bit of a professional excursion, as I am working on my She Walks In Shadows submission [which, hey, will be open to general submission Nov. 15th!], which deals with Eunice Babson from “The Thing On The Doorstep.” Arkham is based on Salem, and the Crowinsheild house is supposedly modeled on the same mansion found on Essex Street. Supposedly, Asanath and Derby did their expiraments on the third floor, but that floor does not look very conducive to alchemy….

The only way I’ve been able to describe Salem, during Halloween at least, is like New Orleans and St. Augustine had a baby that looked like Elizabeth Montgomery. It was beautiful and corny and borderline “in approps.” The weirdest thing was hearing a group of high school girls hunt down specific victims of the witch trials in the graveyard and get really giddy when they found them. Martha Corey fan clubs abound, evidently.

Where mysterious sobbing could be heard coming from the top floor.
Where mysterious sobbing could be heard coming from the top floor.

The night, and the whole trip, was topped off by burgers in the old Salem jail with friend and Poe scholar extraordinare, Rob Vellela, who told us all about the recent unveiling of the new Poe memorial in Boston. Alas, I did not get to see it. We were too citied out by the time we arrived in Massachusetts. Next time.

When we came back home, it was non-stop Halloween times. I attended a neat Fright Film Fest in Railroad Square, but on by the Cultural Alliance at Railroad Square, a new non-profit gallery and organization that has been putting on killer, free festivals and activities for the community. And because it was Halloween, some spooky love was given to “Dive In Me,” Jesse Bullington and my haunting story in The New Gothic. It was included in this awesome, best haunted houses list that ran over at Quirk Books. Many thanks to Carrie Jo Tucker for finding Suicide Sinks so creepy. I know I wouldn’t want to be caught diving around there.