This weekend, several local artists and performers will voyage down to the Stygian depths (The Trunk Space, in this case) to summon archaic gods and demons, and to "resurrect" legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.
The night, dubbed "H.P. Lovecraft: Exhumed, Roasted" is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek exploration of the cult-like influence of Lovecraft's worlds and characters. Lovecraft, author of such classics as The Dunwich Horror, Necronomicon, and The Cthulu Mythos, died in 1937, but somehow influenced just about every modern major horror writer you can think of. Stephen King called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."
Trunk Space co-owner JRC says he hasn't read any direct Lovecraft works, but he's familiar with the ideas and characters. "It's a cultural phenomenon. A lot of people know at least a little about it, so it's accessible," he says. "The event will feature a wide variety of things, from poetry to comedy to a slide show. It's something everyone has a tendril attached to."Featured players in the Lovecraft roast include Archbishop Jason Polland (an expert on Lovecraft's works); poets Richard Bledsoe, Neil Gearns, and The Klute; and The Cult of The Yellow Sign. JRC's particularly looking forward to seeing the latter group perform again, as the last time he saw them, "they called forth a demon."
"They're really insightful and really funny," JRC says. "They're a secret group that purports to be based on Lovecraft's works and philosophies. Their lord is...an accessible death dealer."
Also on the bill is the Arcana Collective, an interdisciplinary theater group described as "absurdist theatre meets slapstick" by member Kevin Patterson. The group will be presenting something called "Ceremony of the 9 ½ Angles," which Arcana Collective leader Ernesto Moncada says is "an adaptation of The Ceremony of the Nine Angles as described by Anton Szandor LaVey in The Satanic Rituals."
Moncada says the ceremony will be "dedicated to the main Lovecraftian deities, including Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth and Azathoth. Instead of typical Satanic aesthetic, we will use music, poetry and improvisation to convey the ritual's intended catharsis."
Patterson says the group will be attempting to summon Cthulu, a giant, tentacled, and powerful deity (not necessarily a benevolent one). "I don't think we'll be successful," Patterson says. "Summoning Cthulu would be bad for [Trunk Space owners] Steph and JRC. But like I said, we're incompetent, so everything should be okay."
But perhaps the biggest enigma of the night will be the "expected appearance" of Lovecraft himself. No one's sure how exactly this is going to happen, but when you live in a Lovecraftian world of horror, perhaps it doesn't matter. As Lovecraft himself wrote in his story "The Tomb": "Men of broader intellect know there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal."
"H.P. Lovecraft: Exhumed, Roasted" takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 20, at The Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue. Visit www.thetrunkspace.com for more information.