Party with H.P. Lovecraft at Cabinet of Curiosities

Thursday's fundraiser is a carnival for grown-up weirdos. Think: wax figures, spooky tunes, silent film and literary face-painting.


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The Lovecraft statue by Gage Prentiss.

Photograph by Todd Chicoine

If H.P. Lovecraft was still lurking around, he'd feel right at home at Thursday's Cabinet of Curiosities fundraiser.

As guest of honor, the father of weird fiction would be treated to music by the deathly good Vudu Sister; a live piano scoring of the 2005 silent film Call of Cthulhu, based on his short story of the same name; and Lovecraft-themed face-painting (there's sure to be a whole lot of tentacled monsters roaming about). He'd also have first dibs on snacks from modern-day Providence eateries Pizza J, Julians and KNEAD Doughnuts.

In a sense, Lovecraft will watch over the event held at the Providence Athenæum, one of the writer's favorite Providence haunts. Not in ghost form  although, maybe? but in wax.

Cabinet of Curiosities serves as a fundraiser for the Lovecraft Providence Statue Project, a five-year effort to design, build and install a public bronze sculpture of the writer in the city where he lived and died (1890–1937). A wax work-in-progress by Rhode Island sculptor Gage Prentiss will be on view during the March 16 event.

Funds raised at Cabinet of Curiosities will support the bronze casting of the sculpture, which, in its final form, will also feature a time capsule. C.J. Opperthauser, who is handling the marketing for the project, says he suspects the statue will cost $140,000 in total. The Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council, a nonprofit that also operates a store in the Arcade in Providence, has raised about a third of the money thus far. 

"There’s a weirdly perfect spot at the confluence of the two rivers downtown, on Steeple Street between Memorial Boulevard and Canal Street," says Opperthauser about the statue's eventual resting place. "There's this little circle of stones and a semicircle cut into the ground, like someone set it up for a future statue and never made one."

Opperthauser says the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council will also launch a Kickstarter campaign in spring to help fund the statue project.

"Everyday there are at least a handful of people who visit Providence to visit Lovecraft haunts," Opperthauser says, adding that many are surprised to learn there isn't already a statue in place. "A lot of people assume that because it aught to happen, it will happen. But we need a lot of money to make that happen."

Tickets to Thursday's Cabinet of Curiosities event are $40 (two free drinks) and $100 (four free drinks, a T-shirt and program recognition). Both ticket levels include complimentary food. Visit eventbrite.com for tickets or weirdprovidence.org for information on the project.



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