Midwest Gothic Costume Ball

The Midwest Gothic Costume Ball happened back in October, but it would be a shame for that to stop us from talking about this wonderful event. Better late than never, right? Here we go.

The costume ball was hosted by the fantastic people over at Quiddity, which is based at Benedictine University in Springfield, IL. Thanks to all of them and especially Joanna Beth Tweedy and Amy Sayre-Roberts.

As a reader of this blog you know location is fundamental to the Midwest Gothic experience and we had an appropriately Gothic one in the (allegedly haunted) Brinkerhoff Home.

We had a great turn out and we were thrilled to see everyone embracing the costume aspect of the event.

The main event was Jodee’s presentation, Midwest Gothic: The Darkness Beneath. She killed it. I wish I had remembered to bring some type of recording device, so I could post audio of the discussion here. Next time. Anyways, a quick recap will have to suffice for now. She started with an introduction on how Midwest Gothic fits into the the larger Gothic tradition as well as stands apart from it. Midwest Gothic didn’t just appear in the last couple of decades. Rather it’s been brewing for quite sometime, so Jodee read excerpts from Ray Bradbury’s “The Whole Town is Sleeping” as an earlier example and Dan Chaon’s “Big Me” a more contemporary one. After a brief discussion of those stories, Jodee ended her presentation with Neil Gaiman’s “October in the Chair.” The very creepy story engrossed the entire audience. If you haven’t read the story, go do so right now. It’s chilling. Once the audience took a second to recover, they asked questions and we had a wonderful discussion about the various aspects of Midwest Gothic, including the possibility that there are or will be movies that could be classified as such.

The gorgeous painting in the picture above is by Felicia Olin. Her paintings were also featured at the costume ball. You can check out her work here.

Finally, we handed out the postcard below at the end of the presentation.

On the back, it asked people to “share something spooky, weird or mysterious about the Midwest.” We were treated to a few ghost stories, including a couple about the Brinkeroff Home. Again, we have to thank our hosts and the all those who came out for making the event so special.

Now we invite you, dear blog readers, to share your own experiences of something spooky, weird or mysterious about the Midwest in the comments.


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