Stuffed animals rule at this creepy competition.
Mon Nov 9 2009
Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown
Gawk at kitty skulls!
Be prepared: There will be dead animals here. “I wish I could say people get squeamish,” laughs Margaret Mittelbach, cofounder of geeky lecture series Secret Science Club, the group responsible for organizing the fourth annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest, which will take over the Bell House this weekend. “But really, the people who come are extremely eager to see stuff.” Participants aren’t as weird as they sound, though: Mittelbach says that entrants range from antiques collectors to artists, and even include some “rogue taxidermists,” who are oddity enthusiasts. Though the centerpiece of the show is the contest, the evening includes a lecture by Melissa Milgrom, who writes about her love of stuffing in a new book, Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy (Harcourt).
WTF will I see?
Mittelbach recommends peeping the website of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists (roguetaxidermy.com) for examples of creative stuffing—its cofounder, Robert Marbury, is one of this event’s judges. To really win over the crowd, participants need a “combination of artistry, creativity and humor... and [they] need a story behind the piece.” Submissions are expected to include old taxidermied pieces or new, weird creations (Mittelbach enthusiastically describes a stuffed pigeon that was mounted on a wooden wall hanging, like a deer’s head), but there are some limitations. “Human remains are a no-no,” she says. “One time, someone brought in a medical piece of a woman’s pelvis. We’re not so keen on that.” —Amy Plitt