Actors, artists, scholars, merchants, and fans of Edgar Allan Poe will converge on Baltimore the first weekend in October to celebrate the legacy of the famed American writer in commemoration of the 172nd anniversary of his death. Organized by Poe Baltimore and the Poe House and Museum, this year’s 4th Annual International Edgar Allan Poe Festival can be enjoyed virtually as well as in person.
The weekend offers a free, daytime lineup of events in Poe Park on the grounds of the house and museum dedicated to the pioneering author of the macabre, with a few supplemental offerings off-site requiring ticket purchase. The latter includes a week-long “Poe Film & Fashion Exhibit,” which explores the mysteries surrounding his death as well as the fashion and costumes from recent film and TV programs about his life and works, such as Netflix’s Altered Carbon and the forthcoming movie 3 Days Rising starring Peter Greene, Ice-T, and Mickey Rourke. Also offsite is the festival’s official Black Cat Ball on Saturday, Oct. 2, a “Hollywood Gothic” masquerade and costume party at the elegant 1840s Plaza, followed by an After Party at Poe’s Magic Theatre at the Holiday Inn Baltimore Downtown.
Tim Beasley, a Las Vegas-based celebrity impersonator, will serve as Master of Ceremonies in character as Poe for the events at the museum. Highlights on Saturday, Oct. 2, include POE-etry in the Parlour, a new production from the Half Light Theatre featuring adaptations of classic Poe stories and poems alongside original music; selections from Edgar Allan & Eddie Poe, a musical inspired by Poe’s youth and writing from Coldharts; a dance adaptation of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart by Ballet Embody; a show featuring Master Hypnotist/Mystery Performer Vince Wilson of Poe’s Magic Theatre; and a concert by The Embalmers, a four-piece band who focus on playing “spooky tunes.”
Representatives from the Poe Museum in Richmond, Va., and the Poe Cottage in The Bronx will give a “special mystery presentation” to kick things off on Sunday, Oct. 3, which includes a dramatic reading of Poe’s Tamerlane & Other Poems from the Evening Crane Theater; a live radio drama performed by players from the National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre; and concerts by Poehemia, a local Celtic rock-rooted band, and the Baltimore City Pipe Band, dedicated to the preservation of Scottish Bagpipe music.
Poe Fest is Saturday, Oct. 2, and Sunday, Oct. 3. In-person, daytime events are free, with donations to the Poe House and Museum encouraged and adherence to COVID-19 protocols required. A Virtual Festival Pass for streaming content is $25. Visit www.poeinbaltimore.org.
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