For the first time on Vamp Jenn’s Corner, I’m doing a “Year in Review,” sharing highlights and thoughts on my most memorable experiences. I decided to write a reflection piece on what went on with my blog during 2021 because I’m a very nostalgic individual who frequently revisits the past (for better or worse), and I thought this retrospective could show me how I’ve grown. It’s also a wonderful way to connect with my audience and reminisce with readers. So, let’s proceed down this odd and macabre memory lane.
Spooky Adventures & Beyond
At the start of the year, situations concerning the pandemic in Los Angeles weren’t as strict, but many limitations were still enforced that affected events. Some in-person gatherings were happening with restrictions in place, while other activities continued to be held virtually. When I published my annual Odd & Macabre calendar, it looked a bit bare, and I hoped that things would pop up as the months progressed. Despite circumstances, 2021 delivered a plethora of happenings, and I couldn’t be more pleased and grateful for them.
I unveiled my custom-made fangs crafted by Father Sebastiaan in February. Although I received them last December, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I had the chance to wear and model them on my blog. It was a special moment for me because of my connection to vampires, and I was enthusiastic to share details about the process. I was able to finally check out the “Stranger Things” Drive-Into Experience, which was the first non-virtual event I attended. Even though my party and I had to remain inside our vehicle, it was a pleasant change of scenery that offered a good dose of immersive action.
In March, I launched a project that had been on my mind for several months—the Vamp Jenn’s Corner podcast! I began listening to podcasts in 2020 because it was another way for me to fill my time during lockdown. Then I started to wonder, “Dare I take the leap into that medium?” I’m confident about writing because I’m behind the scenes where no one can see or hear me as I create, but podcasting meant speaking and exposing myself to the public in a way I hadn’t before. To my relief, I established a steady production flow and discovered my voice. I repurpose existing blog content and transform it into a script that is suited to the audio platform. The feedback has been so positive and has encouraged me to continue. I never fathomed people would enjoy listening to me talk. The show is evolving, and I look forward to expanding and experimenting with it.
On World Burlesque Day (April 26th), I debuted “The Burlesque Series” on my blog to commemorate not just the holiday, but my appreciation for this performing art form too. I’ve been a burlesque fan since learning about Dita Von Teese during the early 2000s and love attending shows. I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the industry’s most talented performers, such as Jessabelle Thunder and Ruby Champagne, and I have a long list of other entertainers I plan to feature, so stay tuned! The series is only going to get steamier.
One of the most enriching and exciting experiences blogging has given me is the chance to connect with amazing creatives, from artists to musicians. I was put in touch with Chet Zar who is a central figure in the dark art scene. He founded the Dark Art Society and produces incredible cryptic paintings. It was an honor to interview him, plus I was able to meet Zar and see his works in the flesh when I went to his exhibit “Chaos” in October.
Speaking of dark art, the first in-person exhibition I attended in over a year was David Van Gough’s show “Infernal-The Denouement” at Dark Art Emporium this past August. I deeply missed visiting art galleries, especially on opening nights, and the last one I went to was in February 2020 at Dark Art Emporium. Suffice it to say, it was quite fitting to come full circle and revisit this gallery.
I must admit that the gradual return of in-person events was a welcome occurrence for me. Major ones, including the horror con Midsummer Scream and Universal Studios: Halloween Horror Nights, resurrected, much to my delight. Getting to see live performances again has been amazing as well. There’s always an energy I sense when I attend these affairs, and although I’m an introvert, I’ve missed connecting with others.
Features & More
I also had the fortune of being featured on other media outlets. Dark artist Shane Izykowski was kind enough to have me as a guest on his podcast Drawing From Experience where we talked about my creative endeavors and spirituality, among other topics. He also invited me to host a virtual artist talk with him earlier this year discussing vulnerabilities. Since it was going to be a conversation with people watching, I was extremely nervous, but it turned out to be such a positive experience for everyone who took part. I was ecstatic when HipLatina published a piece I wrote on how my Mexican heritage and the goth subculture have empowered me and helped me grow as an individual. I’m beyond thankful for these opportunities and that people show interest in what I do and want to collaborate.
Before I conclude this piece, I do want to mention something that recently happened, which left me speechless—the passing of Anne Rice. The author departed from the mortal world on December 11th, 2021. For those who’ve been following my blog for a while, you’re aware of how much she means to me. I not only have a deep appreciation for her work, but she’s inspired so much of what I do. It’s because of her I discovered my purpose when I was a teenager, to write and make stories. Through her novels, she created realms that I could escape into when I felt alone. She showed me the beautiful power of imagination. Her son Christopher announced that private services for her will happen soon in New Orleans where she was born. He’s also mentioned that they plan to arrange an event there in 2022 so that the public can pay respects. I really have my heart set on attending, and if I can make it happen, you’ll be reading all about it here. May Anne Rice rest in peace for eternity with her beloved vampire coven.
The past 12 months delivered an abundance of fantastic adventures and thrills, and I love that I was able to give you all an inside look into them. The fact that I managed to also network with and interview such gifted individuals makes my heart swell. One of my initiatives with this blog is to introduce the amazing creations of others to an audience that isn’t familiar with them. People are making all sorts of incredible art, whether it’s dark theatre, surreal paintings, songs or books, and I want to shed the spotlight on as much of it as I can. Although 2021 had its ups and downs for all of us, and we’re continuing to navigate this changing world, it was special. Thank you for joining me, and I look forward to delivering another year of odd and macabre content on Vamp Jenn’s Corner.