On January 20th, the Poe Museum in Richmond, VA celebrated what would have been Poe’s 209th birthday. There were events all day and night at the Old Stone House which preserves the author’s history, leading up to a champagne toast at midnight, in front of the Poe shrine in the museum’s garden.
In the garden behind the museum, bands played under a tent and art was on display in the upstairs gallery. One of the bands was League of Space Pirates, organized by Skull A Day artist Noah Scalin. They had their audience tapping along to original music and an extra peppy version of Love My Way by the Psychedelic Furs. With alien costuming and a dancing robot-thingy, they brought a lot of fun to the birthday celebration.
More appropriately, perhaps, a musical duo named Charming Disaster played later on into the night. These lovely, talented people from Brooklyn, NY performed quirky, gothic-inspired pieces with dark, catchy tunes and witty, often humorous lyrics. For example, one song begs what to do with a body after committing murder — but only in as light and entertaining a way as one might never guess could be done.
In the upstairs gallery, Nicole Pisaniello showed her Poe-inspired illustrations in an exhibit titled “Ligeia: Death, Resurrection, and the Female Ideal.” This co-founder of the annual RVA Krampus walk is a multi-faceted artist who illustrates, designs and performs. More info is available about her and her work at NicolePisaniello.com.
Of course, it’s a bit strange to have a birthday party for someone who is dead. However, especially because that’s strange, I like to thing that Poe would have appreciated it.