Note: This Event was part of my “Secret Experimental Event Series” for Big Weekend Calendars and The Austin Events Wall Calendar. You can read more about the event series in this post.
Where The Idea Came From
As I’ve written elsewhere, the events were developed by first coming up with a catchy high-concept name, then later figuring out what the name implied.
One of the dates that I was considering for an event was also the winter solstice. So I started thinking of solstice themes and motifs and found the only event idea that made sense: a human sacrifice.
Holding a Human Sacrifice in Austin might get people’s attention. I mean, when’s the last time Austin had a Human Sacrifice event? I don’t know. It’s been a while, at least. It’s overdue.
I wasn’t sure if we would be able to find a human to sacrifice and I wasn’t really sure if people were going to be into it or grossed out or what.
I also wasn’t sure exactly how it would work if I did get a volunteer to sacrifice themselves and a bunch of people showed up who were excited about watching it. I’m not sure those are my kinds of people.
It started to seem like a bad idea.
But I liked the name a lot and didn’t want to give up on it. After kicking the idea around for a week, I came up with a compromise.
I changed the name to “Human Sacrifice (of comfort)”.
Problem solved. But what am I talking about?
It means you, the attendee, would come to the event and be very uncomfortable at the event. You would *sacrifice* your comfort.
Yes! This was good stuff.
The title removed the promise of a human sacrifice but without totally closing the door of possibility of one should I find a volunteer.
Plus, it was an event that promised to make people uncomfortable which would keep them from coming which was the main strategy in putting these events together.
When I say “uncomfortable” I’m not saying physical uncomfort. I mean the sort of cringey feeling you get sometimes where your mind screams “OMG get me out of here. This is awful.”
THAT was the kind of event I wanted to create.
How would I make that happen?
I had lots of ideas but narrowed it down to three: dad jokes, bad karaoke singing, and lame icebreakers. These are the exact things that make a lot of people say “OMG get me out of here.”
And, if I was really lucky somebody would think “OMG. Kill me now”.
And then we could do the real sacrifice!
Just kidding. I didn’t want real sacrifices. I already covered that.
To give the event some legitimacy I decided to ask people to bring a can of food for the food bank.
Here’s the full event posting:
Human Sacrifice (of comfort)
The mainstream media hasn’t said much about this, but the sun has slowly been leaving the earth over the last 6 months.
And this coming solstice is the last chance we have to convince it to reverse its course.
As usual, moving celestial bodies around requires human sacrifice.
Let’s, as humans, sacrifice… our comfort.
Participate in awkward and cringe-worthy rituals of semi-suffering so that we can change the course of this celestial giant 93 million miles away from us.
Also, bring a can of food for the food bank.
Rituals may include but are not be limited to: dad jokes, lame ice breakers and terrible karaoke singers.
Things to know: This is real. Those not bringing a can of food may be held responsible for plunging us all into eternal darkness.
Human Sacrifice Video Teaser
I thought if I promised that we could move the sun that might increase attendance. (Yes, I have an ongoing internal battle between please don’t attend and please attend, I know…)
The video needed to set the tone of the event. It needed to be really hard to watch and when you finished watching it you would feel like “OMG I’m getting away from this computer now.”
Here it is:
This event got pretty far into the development stage, but ultimately it did not make the final cut. I was a little worried I might attract the wrong crowd (one that had a sincere interest in attending a human sacrifice) and I don’t think people with that kind of interest are going to be influenced to buy a wall calendar that tells you when a bunch of fun happy events happen.
Plus if they showed up and realized they were misled about there being an actual sacrifice and INSTEAD I was just going to try to make them feel uncomfortable then I was concerned that I might be the one that got sacrificed.
In the end, the only thing that got sacrificed was this event idea.