Tag Archives: shadow society

Upcoming Shows and Weekend Plans

Another week, another run of projects. As if the ongoing torrential rains in North Texas weren’t already starting the Age of Sarracenia in the back growing pools, the past week belonged to a much-needed road trip to Glen Rose for Cretaceous-era petrified wood, setting up a new enclosure for Brocchinia reducta pups, and several experiments in enclosure construction. This is in addition to getting ready for a major announcement involving T-shirts and Larry Carey Art that should make everyone VERY happy.

Anyway, in the interim, it’s time for short summer shows, preferably involving goth clubs and temporal anomalies, which is why the Triffid Ranch will be with the Shadow Society at The Church this Sunday, June 5 for The Time Traveler, featuring the one and only Voltaire. Naturally, this also involves a lot of Medusa Head euphorbias, a fresh batch of Sarracenia from last year’s bumper seed crop, and a large shipment of lab glassware. As to what that/i> entails, it’s time to come out to see for sure. And speaking of goth clubs and time travel:

Things To Do In Dallas When You’re Dead

Here we are, coming up on the last weekend of August. Next Monday, most elementary, middle, and high schools open up across Texas, along with a significant number of universities. A couple of days of orientation, a few days of interim assignments, and then back to the linen mines until December. For those of us out of school, it’s even worse: streets blocked by helicopter parents terrified that their precious snowflakes might be snatched off the sidewalk by a pterodactyl, so they’re all jockeying to make sure that they’re right in front of the school door. More blockages due to kids who have to be driven to school, because there’s nothing more shameful and horrifying than having to take a bus or (gasp) walk. (I can say with absolute honesty that I walked nearly five miles to school every day while in high school. That, though, was because school policy was that students couldn’t leave the campus once they’d set foot on it, so walking was means toward stopping by the grocery store and digging through the latest issue of OMNI to bolster myself for a day of algebra.) I won’t even start with the road rage parents getting tagged by police for blasting through school zones, screaming “Do you KNOW who I AM? I have to get my CHILD to SCHOOL!” Yeah, it’s going to be fun.

Now, you have three options this weekend. You can stay in bed, listening to the clock ticking away like a potential suicide listening for an oncoming train. You can do more of the same, filling your days with television and work and sleep until you go to bed on Sunday night and realize that you’ve just lost that summer forever. Or, or, you can make plans this weekend to do something so blasted interesting that you immediately have something to talk about on Monday morning. As a high school chemistry teacher of mine was fond of joking, having all ten of your fingers and no interesting scars means that you didn’t live.

With that in mind, you have two serious options in the Dallas area. Both aren’t safe. Both aren’t orthodox. However, both will give you plenty of conversation material when you’re in the cafeteria, realizing that you’re going to get really, really bored with tuna fish sandwiches and canned pudding by the beginning of October.

The first, the latest Shadow Society event at the Crown & Harp on Greenville Avenue, sadly is one to which the Triffid Ranch won’t be a participant. Don’t let that stop you from heading out for its Nineties flashback show to dress up, catch music, and peruse the offerings of the various vendors in the back. If the Czarina and I didn’t already have commitments on Saturday, oh HELLS yes we’d be out there.

And speaking of commitments, as mentioned a while back, the North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington is trying a little experiment. Traditionally, the Arlington NARBC show is held in February, but this year, we get an additional show in August. This weekend, in fact. Again, the Triffid Ranch won’t be out there in an official capacity, but the idea is to do one more dry run before becoming a vendor at next year’s August show. I also have a very determined niece who wants to look at poison dart frogs, two friends who plan to shop for rat snakes (well, one who wants to buy one, and her adoring husband who needs help in keeping her from filling the house with reptiles), and two equally dear friends who are using this as the opportunity to bring their own kids to their first reptile show. The Czarina and I will be out there on Sunday, between noon and 2 p.m., so look for the white hair and listen for the nonstop commentary. Like the Shadow Society, you’ll kick yourself on Monday morning if you don’t come out and you realize that your whole summer, to quote the late Van Garrett, was spent eating Ding Dongs and watching Thundercats.

Show aftermath: July with the Shadow Society

Triffid Ranch booth at the Shadow Society

Four years ago this week, the Triffid Ranch debuted at Convergence 14, a goth convention held that year in Tampa. Last weekend, the latest Triffid Ranch show ran at The Shadow Society, a monthly gathering at the Crown & Harp here in Dallas. Back then, the Czarina and I were traveling by car across the continent, so this wasn’t much of a show. Last weekend, the available space was at a premium, so the idea was to come out with a sampler. A selection of beginner carnivores, a few loss-leaders to demonstrate that carnivorous plants consist of more than Venus flytraps, one flytrap globe so nobody asks “Hey, where are the flytraps?”, and stickers and buttons. Between this and a very pared-down setup for the Czarina, we barely squeezed in everything into the car, just like four years ago.

You know what else was just like 2008? No matter how much or how well the organizers promoted the show, the opening of the Olympics kicked our butts.

Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t a complaint. Yes, the show was a bit sparse on attendees, but the both of us have done shows where vendors outnumbered attendees by two to one. The July Shadow Society event still featured a lot of interesting folks, this gave a field test of a new lighting system for the new display shelves, we vendors had a great time comparing notes on upcoming events, and pretty much everyone made plans for Convergence XIX in Austin next spring. We also used this time to plot and scheme on plans for the Shadow Society event at the end of August. Between this and the North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Arlington that weekend, who says that Dallas and Fort Worth are lacking in odd attractions?

Detail: Triffid Ranch booth at the Shadow Society

And with that, here’s a gentle reminder that the next Triffid Ranch show will be at the Discovery Days: Discover Going Green family event at the Museum of Nature & Science on August 11 and 12. As I keep telling people, come for the biodiesel, and stay for the carnivorous plants.

Things To Do In Dallas When You’re Dead

As a friendly heads-up, the Triffid Ranch 2012 tour continues, with a July 28 show at the Shadow Society at the Crown & Harp in Dallas. Since this Shadow Society gathering features live music, the cover is $5 after 10:00 p.m. Come for the music and the good company, stay for the carnivorous plants, and head home knowing that you’ve seen the garden and fashion show that Dallas desperately needs.

Past shows, present events: the Shadow Society

Tawanda Jewelry at the Shadow Society

In the past few months, several interested bystanders have bemoaned a lack of Triffid Ranch shows in the summer. After all, the Triffid Ranch has several in spring and several in the autumn (including the upcoming FenCon IX in September and very likely the Funky Finds Experience in Fort Worth in November.”But what about events in the summer?”, they ask. “Why don’t you have anything going on in June, July, and August?”

These are valid questions, and one best answered by going outside in the afternoon and waiting until the yellow hurty thing in the sky blasts the skin and the first four layers of flesh and muscle off your face. Out here, one gains wisdom by impersonating the scorpion and Gila monster and remaining in shelter until the sun goes down. When it comes down to plantselling, strangely enough, this works well also: yes, you have to bring artificial light to show the merits of carnivorous flora, but the night also means that customers can put new acquisitions into cars for safekeeping without their being cooked in the sun.

The only problem with this concept is that while Dallas should be very nocturnal-friendly in the summer, most events are still planned and organized for day-dwellers. This isn’t always the case, though. Last weekend, the Czarina and I attended the latest Shadow Society event, a regular goth music and vendor event held on the last Saturday of every month at the Crown and Harp on lowest Greenville Avenue in Dallas. While advertising DJs as its major draw, the Shadow Society nights also feature a vendors’ space in the back of the ground floor, and that’s where we found ourselves last Saturday.

Vendor at Shadow Society

Now, I could go on about the general mellow attitude among attendees and passersby, or how this was the first one-night show I’ve done in years that made me wish we could have gone on for longer. The highest compliment I can pay, though, comes down to the DJing. Most vendors of smaller events dread the words “Live DJ” for one big reason: the volume. While most clubs and bars prefer to have their DJs crank music as loudly as possible to encourage customers to shut up and buy more, the volume increases the difficulty of vendors being able to talk to those customers. Worse, for every DJ whose only concern is to get attendees up to dance, you get four or five mediocre ones who are determined to bombard the captive audience with their choice of music, no matter how cliched or annoying. As they keep playing, customers and vendors get louder, and the DJ retaliates by cranking up the music further. Before you know it, the music is loud enough to cause heart palpitations, communication is only possible with semaphore flags and telepathy, and the bozo playing Beck’s “Loser” for its irony value gets people screaming at him “If that’s an offer, I can take you out right now!”

(Two years ago, I was contacted by the manager of a club who was having an event where he wanted interesting vendors. Said event was a “battle of the bands,” where the vendor’s booth fee was more for one day than at most Dallas/Fort Worth three-day shows. I was very glad to bow out by noting that most of my temperate carnivores were already dormant for the winter.)

That high compliment I wanted to pay? The DJs on the ground floor, Tammy and Toby of Azrael’s Accomplice Designs, were also the show organizers, and they Understood. The music was loud enough for dancers and low enough for vendors, and we all had a great time. I also have nothing but compliments for anybody playing David Bowie’s “Scary Monsters”, because that’s a pre-goth classic that pretty much summed up the whole night.

Because of how this show turned out, the Czarina had a blast, and we’ll be out together on July 28 for the next Shadow Society gathering. Oh, and expect some surprises in plants, just for this event.

Vendors and attendees at Shadow Society