The Morbid Anatomy Museum is one of those institutions that makes Brooklyn, well, Brooklyn. Where else can you catch a lecture about psychedelics, get your hands dirty picking at corpses, and mingle with other brooding singles? We’re guessing nowhere, at least not in this dimension. That’s why it’s fitting the institution of esoteric knowledge, that has amassed a loyal community of followers who share a gothy disposition and twisted curiosities, plans to celebrate the first year inside the Gowanus home where it’s been pumping out creepy programming and hosting deathly exhibitions almost nonstop. Care to party with them? Step right up to the Festival of Arcane Knowledge and ensuing Devil’s Masquerade happening Saturday, July 18.
We spoke with Creative Director Joanna Ebenstein to get the deets on what festival-goers can expect to see. “It’s going to be a day-long celebration showing the kinds of things we’ve been doing here in the last year and the kinds of things I think we do really well, which are parties and really provocative, interesting, engaging programming,” she explained. “It’ll be kind of like a Morbid Anatomy greatest hits, a bunch of our really popular lectures in shortened, digestible form.”
Lecturers who’ve led some of the most popular presentations at the museum will make mini-appearances throughout the day, including Karen Bachmann, whose presentation on spontaneous human combustion was a huge hit, as well as Dr. Neal Goldsmith, who we know from Psychedelics & Death. “We wanted to make those lectures available to people who haven’t seen them yet, because some of them sold out really quickly and multiple times,” Joanna said.
A bunch of other events are lined up for the day, which Joanna described as “a multimedia extravaganza.” These include devil-themed vintage films curated by David Cory, magic lantern projections, and demonstrations by the taxidermist-in-residence. “It looks like we’ll probably have a mini-exhibition of photographs by William Mortensen who did these really incredible staged photos of witch covens. They are not real, but they were made in the 1920s and ’30s,” Joanna said. The exhibitions located on the second floor of the building will be open for themed tours.
Beer will be served all day “until supplies last,” Joanna confirmed. But stick around for the real party when the Devil’s Masquerade takes over the building, complete with costume contests, DJs, a special cocktail, and hopefully dancing, unless of course everyone’s dead tired from the day’s lectures.
“It’s about showcasing our community which is a really important part of what we are and what we do as well,” Joanna explained of the festival, expected to be an annual romp.
The Festival of Arcane Knowledge is happening Saturday, July 18 at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Gowanus, 11 am to 7:30 pm and is follow by the Devil’s Masquerade from 8 pm to late.