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Bands | Performers & Guests | Panels | Events | DJs

Afro-Gothic: The Contributions of African Americans to Horror Films
This panel will discuss the representation of African Americans in horror films and how our unique experiences have influenced the genre from past to present.
Speaker: Makare Saunders

 

The Art of Sigil Witchery
Sigils are magical symbols that are designed to influence ourselves and the world around us. Explore a fresh, innovative and intuitive approach to crafting your own designs with the author of the COVR gold award-winning book “Sigil Witchery.” Tracing through history, art, and culture, we’ll look at the basic elements that make up all symbols, consider meanings, and see how to safely and respectfully incorporate them into your own personal practice. Bring a writing implement and notebook.
Speaker: Laura Tempest Zakroff

 

Bringing Down the Moon Outdoor Ritual (10+ w/parent 16+ w/out)
Join us outdoors under the pale moonlit sky for an inspired pagan ceremony for personal empowerment. Bring your scene name and your cloak, then breathe in the night, gather the powers of the waxing moon, commune with the ancient gods, and a consult our oracle.
Presented by Madame X; Eddie Massey; George Drabinsky; and Jennifer Bobbe

 

Club Dance Moves Workshop
Structured dance class open to all levels to work on your club dancing! Get in sync with the beat, learn some new moves, and feel comfortable to get out there and dance tonight!
Presented by BreAna Mutz

 

Con 101: Maneuvering Conventions
A run down on do’s and don’ts for cons, how to avoid getting into uncomfortable situations at cons, along with consent rules, important rules of thumb no matter the con, goth and beyond!
Speakers: Kassim Efthymious; Caitlin Strachan; Cerberus; and Raven

 

Consent and Goth Culture: A Roundtable Discussion
How does the goth subculture compare to the mainstream in terms of addressing consent and dismantling rape culture? How do these topics apply specifically to our scene, and how can we make the scene safer for everyone? Con-goers are invited to join in this moderated discussion.
Moderators: Sydney Clifford; Julia O’Connell; Jade Luna

 

Cosplay and Gender Expression
A guide and open discussion on gender expression through the creative medium of cosplay. Gender expression and finding your identity can be a scary thing, but through the exciting and creative world of cosplay, anything is possible. All LGBT+ communities and allies are welcome to the inclusivity of cosplay. Whether you’re a crossplayer, transgender, nonbinary or somewhere in between there is a cosplay for everyone!
Speakers: Kyla J. Lynch and Katie Lynch

 

Cosplay Joins the Darkside: We Have Cookies!
Move over Sailor Moon, these cosplayers have joined the dark side. Join a panel of award-winning cosplayers as we demonstrate how the familiar world of cosplay has embraced the macabre, spooky, and after-hours kooky. Discover how Gothic subculture and media can inspire your next costume, makeup, and quick-change to stomp the night away.
Speakers: Katie Lynch; Jaime Lynne; Michelle Perl

 

Dancing Darkly: THE Introduction to the Art of Gothic Bellydance
Gothic Belly Dance is the union of Middle Eastern Dance with the aesthetic, sound, and emotion of the Gothic subculture. More than just a look or a sojourn into alternative music, discover the theatrical elegance and drama that truly gives “Raks Gothique” its soul essence, from Tempest–creator of the Gothic Belly Dance Resource (www.gothicbellydance.com). We’ll discuss and illustrate the concepts that create the necessary foundation for this dance, and focus on key technical elements for performance, including movement, attitude, aesthetic, and presentation. No experience needed.
Presented by Laura Tempest Zakroff

 

Dark Argentine Tango Workshop
Learn how to dance the Argentine tango–sultry, romantic, and dark! Partner encouraged but not required. Beginner level class.
Presented by BreAna Mutz

 

Dark Crystals and Their Superpowers
Spiritual Elevation, Self-mastery, Healing, Protection, Grounding and Focus; journey to the center of the Earth with us and access the superpowers of these dark stones: Tourmaline, Onyx, Obsidian, Opal & more. Come feel the beauty and mystical properties of these semiprecious stones as you get to know and touch them.
Speakers: Kevin Lindahl; David Whitman; Allison Goldfine; and Linda Marciniak

 

Dark Side Awakens – Morning Yoga (Hangover Relief)
You made it to the last day of the con! Start it off right with some conscious breathing & stretches. After the session you’ll feel rejuvenated, clear headed and ready to rage the day away. Dress to stretch and impress.
Presented by: Valerie Abbey of Abbey Death

 

Divination and The Divine
This panel would be an informative dive into different forms of divination, spirituality, and connectedness to the divine.
Speakers: Chahar Rogers; Fin Lumino; Kwa Senbo; and Aliza Cohen

 

Electronic Saviors: Killing Cancer Cells at 150 BPM
Electronic Saviors: Industrial Music to Cure Cancer is a project created by scene promoter, DJ, and musician Jim Semonik in which he partners with other artists to produce compilations of new and exclusive music. The sales are used to raise funds for cancer research. At this panel, join Jim along with other ES artists while they discuss the upcoming Vol. 6 and the origins of the project.
Speakers: Jim Semonik and guests

 

Emergency Costume Hacks and Solutions
Come learn about solutions and hacks that can be implemented when you are already at the Con and something goes wrong with your costume. Don’t panic! Amber O’Boyle will show you how to fix tears, breaks, and clothes that just won’t stay put when you can’t get to the craft store and have to use whatever you can find onsite.
Speaker: Amber O’Boyle

 

Exquisite Corpse Writing Workshop
In the summer of 1816, Lord Byron invited Percy Bysshe Shelley, his fiancee Mary, Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont, and Byron’s friend John Polidori to the Villa Diodati in Switzerland. By the haunting night’s end, they not only devised Exquisite Corpse, but Mary Shelley found the inspiration to write “Frankenstein”, and Polidori crafted “The Vampyre”. In this writing exercise each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed. Tonight, we invite your creative souls to join us and try your hand at Exquisite Corpse to see what kind of macabre storytelling results from this unique Workshop experience!
Speakers: Madame X; Herr Wulfsunus; Kevin Lindahl; and John Bardy

 

Feedback Session
This is the end of the road! Give us your feedback and suggestions on Dark Side Of The Con! Tell us how we can improve for future events!
Speakers: Jet; Chloe Alexis; Julia O’Connell; Jade Luna; and hotel staff

 

Fetish 301
For the 3rd year in a row, Xris SMack! and a group of fetish performers, designers, event producers and more discuss all aspects of the fetish lifestyle from the public to the private.
Speakers: Xris SMack! and guests

 

“Fun” & Games Podcast Presents: Representations of Goth Culture in Video Games
The hosts of the “Fun” and Games Podcast will provide an in-depth chat about the variety of ways goth culture has been presented in video games with both excellent and terrible results.
Speakers: Stormageddon and Geoff Moonen

 

Ghouls, Grave Robbers, and Resurrection Men
In the nineteenth century, the study of medicine was growing at a rapid pace. But, doctors couldn’t learn from text alone, they needed hands on experience, they needed raw materials, they needed corpses. Enter the body snatchers or “Resurrection Men” as they were often called, if you needed a body, they could get you one as long as you had the money and promised not to ask too many questions where it came from. This presentation, hosted by Dr. J.R. Whitcomb and Gypsy of Karnevil, will educate you on the ins and outs of this ghoulish profession.
Speakers: Karnevil

 

Goth Fashion and Feminism: Controlling the Gaze through Dark Narrative
Kathleen Landy, founder of the Feminist Institute and Miss E, self-proclaimed Satan’s Seamstress, come together to bring you a focused discussion on the furtherance of sex-positive Goth fashion and the evolution of its presentation based on herstorical boundary-crushing innovations and depictions that have given voice to female designers, artists, musicians and social pioneers to shape today’s understanding of what it is to present the Goth aesthetic. With Kathy’s intimate knowledge of where we’ve come from and Miss E’s unconventional views on where we have yet to go, participants will gain unique perspective and insights into Goth apparel and attributes that will empower you to “Be Bold, Be Badass and Be Unapologetic” with your own one-of-a-kind take on what it means to authentically live the Goth lifestyle based on your own ideas rather than what the already limited media tells you to do. Don’t miss it!
Speakers: Kathleen Landy and Miss E

 

Goths of Color: Exploring Race in the Alternative Scene
In a subculture that tends to uplift paleness as its prototypical beauty standard, what is it like to be a person of color? On one side, you might encounter prejudice and erasure within the goth scene. On the other side, you may face disapproval and misunderstanding from your family and community. Join us for an open dialogue as the panelists discuss their experiences, both good and bad, and how race intersects with alternative subcultures.
Speakers: Savvie Ruthless; Olivia Trotman; Luna Minuit; Niara Noctyrna

 

Haus of Schreck: The Real-Life Addams Family
Rick and Kate Schreck, along with their three kids, have been called the Addams Family of New Jersey. They collect Ouija boards and creepy dolls and drive a hearse to pick up the kids from school. They may get a few odd looks and are definitely the spookiest parents at the PTO meetings, but Rick and Kate have seen no reason why parenting should mean compromising their aesthetics and interests. Come learn what it’s like to raise a family while still embracing your dark side.
Speakers: Schreck family

 

Health Goth: Embrace Your Inner Jock!
A love of all things macabre doesn’t have to mean you can’t love health and fitness too! Black is slimming but it only does so much. Join fitness enthusiasts Rupa DasGupta and Lizz V for this panel about health goth–what it is, what it isn’t, and how you can kickstart your journey to your most healthy and devastatingly attractive you. (p.s. There may or may not also be a pushup contest, with prizes!)
Speakers: Rupa DasGupta and Lizz V.

 

Horror Punk Q&A with The Mary Lous
Matt Pathetic, organizer of America’s premier horror punk event Ghouls Night Out Fest, will be conducting a Q&A with the band members of The Mary Lous. Come learn all about what horror punk means to them and how they got involved in the scene!
Speakers: The Mary Lous; moderated by Matt Pathetic

 

How to Put Spikes on Anything
You can put an edgy, alternative twist on almost any piece of clothing, accessory, or other item just by adding a few spikes. Amber O’Boyle of Kiss Designs will walk you through how to engineer spikes onto all sorts of new and upcycled items and not have them fall out or sag at weird angles.
Speaker: Amber O’Boyle

 

Identifying the Gothic in Literature and Film
When talking about literature and film, the term Gothic may conjure a vague image in your mind: dark stormy nights; creaky old houses; monsters lurking in the shadows; women in nightgowns fleeing into the night. But what exactly is the Gothic and how do you know if you’re reading, watching, or even writing an example of it? Julia O’Connell, the Gothic Librarian, will walk you through how to identify the Gothic in literature and film and go over some of its most common traits and tropes.
Speaker: Julia O’Connell, The Gothic Librarian

 

Iron Garden Special Gathering
The Iron Garden is a New Jersey based organization providing a safe haven for gathering, socialization, education, promotion of the arts, charity-work and fun for the New Jersey Nightkind Community. This 2-hour gathering will focus on the question: What is fear? Why do we secretly crave the thrill of fear? What is to be gained from thrusting ourselves into a fearful situation? Is it about danger or conquest? Explore the fear barrier, and if all true growth lays on the far side of fear. What are you afraid of: Extraterrestrials? Parallel Dimensions? or just fear itself? Come discover what is on the other side. Featuring presenters Kevin Lindahl and George Drabinsky; ceremony leader Lady D; artist Ariana Materai; psychic Raven Halliwell; author Madame X; merchant Eddie Massey; and host Jabbar al Jabbar.
Presenters: Iron Garden
The Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe–drunk, drug-addled madman, maniac … or was he? Much of what we know today about the Master of the Macabre is based in misinformation and falsehood. Poe’s literary legacy and reputation was hijacked by his greatest nemesis, Rufus Wilmot Griswold. Griswold laid the foundation for many of the popular impressions of Poe and those legends linger to this day. Although Edgar Allan Poe’s life was riddled with tragedy, his contribution to literature is immense and often overlooked. This presentation will refute the common myths about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, and also explore the unsolved mystery of his death.
Speaker: Genevieve Andrews-Kelly

 

Live Bats Lecture
For over 20 years, a dark shadow has been educating the people of NJ and the tri-state area on the importance of nature’s most maligned and misunderstood mammal, the bat. And now, NJ’s bat-man is bringing his family friendly LIVE bat exhibit for the first time to Dark Side of the Con. Joseph D’Angeli is a State and Federally licensed bat specialist, educator, and exhibitor. His “Bat-Cave,” the Wildlife Conservation and Education Center, is the only facility specializing in, and centering on, bats and bat conservation in the NY/NJ area.
Presented by NJ Bat-man, Joe D’Angeli

 

Matt Pathetic Presents: Ghouls Night Out Fest
Since 2001, Ghouls Night Out Fest has been America’s premier horror punk event predating similar events. This March GNO will be coming to Dark Side Of the Con to give a full reveal of the date, location, and full band line up of the first GNO event in 5 years. We will have guests on hand, field any questions that might be had, and give you the fans a chance to get to know us a little bit better. We’re coming Dark Side Of The Con, and we are bringing the dead with us.
Speakers: Matt Pathetic and guests

 

Mental Health for Goths
First thing in the morning, we will sit on the floor comfy and cozy together and connect. Dealing with mental health is hard, but you’re not alone. Struggles with life and mental health are human and universal, but especially prevalent in the goth scene. Alternative culture tends to have reason or cost, and is often attractive to us because it heals something in us and helps us find community. Panelists will guide you through a relaxing time where we speak openly about some healthy coping mechanisms, finding your support system, when and how to get help, coming to terms with your struggles and more. *Note: We are not professionals and cannot diagnose or treat mental illness. *
Speakers: Chloe Alexis; Chloe Moxx; Lauren de Mew

 

Poison Botanicals and Magic Medicinals: A Dark History of Plants
Did you know that tomato was feared in Europe for over 200 years because of its close relationship to deadly nightshade? What’s the real story behind Wolfsbane, and does it deserve its dark and sinister reputation? What plants did our ancestors use for medicinal or psychoactive properties that could be growing in our backyards? Join Julia and Suzy as they guide you through the strange and sometimes frightening story of common (and not so common) plants used for poison, magic rituals, and just plain weird purposes.
Speakers: Julia Corrice and Suzy Strickler

 

Rope Bondage Workshop (18+)
Do you have an interest in rope bondage but don’t know where to start? Teacher Raina Sinclair will show you how to tie cuffs, limb restraints, and a basic body harness to set you off on your rope explorations. All participants will be provided with their own 30-ft piece of rope from Agreeable Agony.
*This event requires a separate ticket. The $25 Rope Bondage Workshop add-on can be purchased at checkout (see Tickets tab). Tickets are limited and may not be available at the door.*
Presented by Raina Sinclair

 

Space Couch Presents: The Gothsicles in Conversation with Red Lokust
Space Couch is the live show dynamo that’s filter sweeping the internet! Now the stellar divan alights on the land and is proud to announce that the very first live audience episode will be recorded at Dark Side of the Con 4! The guy from The Gothsicles conducts weekly live interviews from a couch in space with magnates and luminaries of industrial music, including Attrition, iVardensphere, Angelspit, Iszoloscope, Caustic and many more. Special guest for this episode: Dark Side’s own Red Lokust. Call the spaceships to davenport!
Speakers: Brian (The Gothsicles) and Red Lokust

 

To Drink Coffee with a Ghost: Q&A with Poet Amanda Lovelace
Amanda Lovelace rocked the world of contemporary poetry when she published her debut collection, The Princess Saves Herself in This One, in 2016. In the short time since then, she’s come out with four more collections and won two Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Poetry. The books in her Women Are Some Kind of Magic series use female archetypes from fairytales to candidly discuss trauma, healing, and empowerment. More recently, Amanda explores toxic and complicated relationships through spooky imagery in her Things that H(a)unt duology. In this panel, Amanda will read from her newest collection, To Drink Coffee with a Ghost and answer questions about writing and publishing poetry.
Speaker: Amanda Lovelace; Moderated by Julia O’Connell

 

Tragic Doll Talks: Chronic Illness in the Goth Scene
Since 2000, Shirley Alvarez has battled a monstrous disease called Scleroderma which attacks her skin; hardening her body from the inside out. Diagnosed at 9 years old, she endured trauma throughout her childhood, but her resilience and lust for life gave her the strength to climb out of the hell hole as a strong yet sensitized woman. From a dancer to a wheelchair user, Shirley adapted to change, converteing her fear into fuel for her inner fire. She joined the goth scene in 2011 and is a familiar face at countless parties and concerts. She is a music enthusiast, a dancer in wheels with a fervor for dark glamour, the creepy and the grotesque. Shirley self directs her own photoshoot concepts and video content, and recently had the opportunity to share her story with Barcroft TV and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. But this panel at Dark Side of the Con will be her first public speech. Shirley will provide insight on coping mechanisms, how to transform pain into art, and ultimately how she became the Tragic Doll–an identity she birthed to communicate awareness, liberate her self-expression, and provide spiritual expansion within her physical entrapment. She will also discuss her adjustment into the adult world after childhood trauma and the positive effects the goth culture and lifestyle have had on her mental health. Come celebrate diversity and being a professional badass with Shirley, the Tragic Doll!
Speaker: Shirley Alvarez, The Tragic Doll

 

Victorian Parlour Games
How did the Victorians entertain their party guests after high tea? Come to this interactive activity and find out! Gypsy of Karnevil will present to you a wide variety of simple and fun parlour games from the traditional to the whimsical.
Presented by Karnevil

 

Write A Song With Bella Morte
The audience gives suggestions on song styles, lyrics and more as you collectively write a song with Bella Morte.
Speakers: Bella Morte

 

Your Gothic Getaway
If you had free time, where would your dark desires lead you? What dark tourism would you embark on? Join us as we share our best gothic travel experiences: cruises, festivals, underground cities, ghost towns, castles, palaces, churches, temples, burial grounds and more all across the world. Bring your dreams and your personal recommendations.
Speakers: Herr Wulfsunus; Madame X; Louisa Ashe; and Genoveva Rossi

 

Your Spark Within: Using Your Creative Spirit to Overcome Obstacles
Are you struggling with self-doubt or other obstacles that are holding you back from who you really want to be? As a musician and writer, who also happens to be physically challenged, Joe Melluzzo of Night Spirit knows this feeling well. After a long and difficult fight, Joe realized that his greatest strength was inside himself all along: his spark of creativity could outshine the darkness. In this panel, Joe will discuss his experiences and what led to creating his album/comic book crossover. He will also give tips on how to find your own “spark,” use your own talents to improve your life, and make others inspired by what you do.
Speaker: Joe Melluzzo