The Grand Guignol--posters from which you see above--was a Parisian theatre infamous in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for theatrical productions merging horror and elegance, sex and death, fear and humor. To celebrate my 40th birthday, my very talented friend John Del Gaudio and I are putting together a Grand Guignol-inspired variety show and masquerade after-party on December 10th of this year that will be co-presented by Atlas Obscura and The Coney Island Museum and will take place at the latter.
We have just launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for the production, with which we hope to pay participants a modest honorarium for their materials and labor. If you are interested in helping support this laudable endeavor, you can visit our campaign online (and contribute!) by clicking here.
To get inspired, check out our image- and video-rich Grand Guignol mood board (be sure to scroll down and click on thumbnails to see larger images) by clicking here. To learn more about The Grand Guignol, make sure to attend Mel Gordon's absinthe-sponsored lecture on the topic at Observatory next Friday, November 11th! More on that can be found here.
Also, if anyone is interested in pitching a short piece for inclusion, or volunteering their time for costumes, props, acting, etc, please email me at morbidanatomy [at] gmail.com.
Thanks! And whether you can contribute or not, mark your calendars! I promise this will be a great party; more on that as it develops.
Full text for the call-for-funds follows:
Join our band of curios and support the Grand Guignol Variety Hour at Coney Island Museum on Saturday, December 10th.To find out more and to contribute (thank you!), please click here.
From its beginnings in turn-of-the-century Paris and through its decline in the 1960s, the Theatre of the Grand Guignol gleefully celebrated horror, sex, and fear. Its infamous productions featured innocent victims, mangled beauty, insanity, mutilation, humour, sex, and monstrous depravity in a heady mix that attracted throngs of thrill-seekers from all echelons of society. By dissecting primal taboos in an unprecedentedly graphic manner, the Grand Guignol became the progenitor of all the blood-spilling, eye-gouging, and limb-hacking “splatter” movies of today.
Presented by Atlas Obscura, Coney Island Museum, and Morbid Anatomy, our event will be a one-night-only ode to The Grand Guignol and its legacy. Our evening of variety theatre will be dedicated to such Guignol-esque and fin de siècle pleasures as the uncanny; spectacular illusions; sex and death, elegance and horror; tableau vivants; occult tinged magic shows; phantasmagoria; hysteria; contortionists; toy theatre; puppets; optical tricks and much more!
Participating artists include Lord Whimsy, Jonny Clockworks, Ronni Thomas, Doll Parts, GF Newland, Sarah Shoerman, Angela Di Carlo and Kathleen Kennedy Tobin, with a special set to be designed by NYU’s Chris Muller. Projects include a toy theater version of Bryusov’s “The Sisters,” a harmonious and creepy rendition of “Dry Bones,” an installation of classic Grand Guignol posters, magic lanterns, horrific film montages, and stagings of classic French and London Grand Guignol plays, all followed by an after-party with records on the victrola and cocktails courtesy of Hendrick’s Gin.
Your donation will go directly to the artists involved, providing them with a small honorarium and production budget for their piece. All donors will receive advance word about buying tickets to the event. There’s a limited capacity so to guarantee yourself a ticket, consider giving at least $100.
Listing in program with your fellow horror afficionados, advance word on ticket sales to the event.
One ticket to the event on December 10th, listing in program
Two tickets to the event on December 10th with reserved seats, an old-timey shout out during the show and listing in program
Pledge your support now and get ready to geek out with us.
Joanna Ebenstein & John Del Gaudio