CINE-WEEN 2020: Welcome One and All

Friends, it is my great honor and distinct pleasure to welcome you to this year’s Cine-Ween celebration, our annual October event honoring Halloween in all its many forms and influences. Of course, it is difficult to call this a celebration, when simply looking around us at the world yields few things worth celebrating. I don’t need to say much to remind you of the horror of this moment; the deep sense many of us have, especially in the United States, that the ship is going down. We are facing a right-wing, white supremacist dictatorship here in this country, the staggering loss of life worldwide from COVID-19 is astounding, and the obvious, drastic changes climate change is causing worldwide are simply cataclysmic. We all basically know things are not going well.

So you will understand that this year we at Cinepunx have decided to do our annual Cine-Ween event, well, considerably LOW KEY. Yes, we will still feature not only our own talented and intelligent writers speculating and considering all manner of spooky content, but a whole host of guests willing to take time out of their October to lend their voices to our site. You may or may not know this, but right now Cinepunx is entirely volunteer-based. Writers and podcasters and editors behind the scenes, around 45 people in total, all doing this for free. Thus, to make Cine-Ween happen each year is an immense expenditure of the economy of passion, that is, we have to inspire folks to do it. That happens every year, and we get 30-40 great pieces up including contests and video essays and all manner of stuff. It is an immense load of work, and this year I just gotta say, much like you, we are all very tired.

So why not cancel it all together? I thought about it. Running a website like this which is fueled entirely by people’s interest and passions with basically no resources on the table is not easy. I am not here referring, as I was previously, to the work load. It is not easy to platform people’s writing and podcasting and other talents knowing that, if the world is just and right these folks will find someplace to get paid to do this same work. The world though is not just and right, and so many of these folks do this work as an escape or as a platform to reach higher, and that is wonderful, but it doesn’t feel great to demand creativity in a time where we are all so exhausted.

Still, doing this does give each of us a sense of joy. I have a number of theories why, but it is still mostly a mystery to me that for many of us, HORROR and FEAR and TERROR, in the form of art of course, well these bring us joy as well. This year is no different. It can feel insufficient to focus on the horror of our fantasies when the horror of reality seems so stark and severe, like the monsters of our nightmares are slight and insignificant. Nothing about that keeps us away though. The reality is that we have always turned toward this pantomime of these fears and horrors as some way to exorcise or explore or explain them. Plus, it is a ton of fun to pretend fight monsters.

This year we may leave some, if not all, of the frenetic hype behind. Doing something the biggest and the loudest you can do it is extremely satisfying. It isn’t always possible though. In the midst of a pandemic, hoping that our fraught political reality will not turn to civil strife, but will still somehow deliver an end to an unjust punishment system; in the middle of all of this we just want to create for us, in whatever way we can. So we won’t probably have enough submissions to post EVERY DAY like we usually do. Many of our podcasts will do special episodes focused on the darker side of life, but not all. Some shows are still on pandemic hiatus, and that is ok. This is all ok. We might give away some stuff, especially from my own company ROUGH/CUT, and we are hoping to feature conversations with some special guests and even some Patreon-exclusive content. All of that. Still, whatever we do will be OK, as long as it is infused with love and it gives us more than it costs us.

All we ask of you, dear reader, is for you to stick with us. Read and listen and enjoy, and maybe tell a friend or two. Like any party, this party will be better with more people, friends of good will, and if you wanna participate that is even better. Email or contact us on social media, and let us know how you can join in the dance. The beat is a little softer, a little less frenetic, but trust we are still cavorting toward that light in the woods, where we can just see the rest of dark cadre waiting for us.

Liam O'Donnell
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