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Apocalypse NOLA

Whether the 12-21-12 Hype is Real or Just a Sign of the Times, New Orleanians are Going to Party Like It's Armageddon

As you may have heard, the world is expected to end on December 21, or so the prediction based on a misinterpretation of ancient Mesoamerican calendars goes. 


The scientific community is adamantly debunking this claim and encouraging people to shift their focus to the true looming danger: degradation of earth to unlivable conditions due to the effects of the modern industrial system. 


Meanwhile, New Orleans is set for a big party. As a city that has already experienced several apocalypses in the form of hurricanes and enviornmental disasters, New Orleans is set to fearlessly mark the day with a wide range of events. Regardless of whether or not you believe the hype, there is plenty to be said for the mass subscription to rumors of approaching doom.


December 21, 2012 is in fact a very significant date to the Mayan people. Their holy book, the Propol Vuh, describes three worlds having failed before the gods created a fourth, which included humanity. According to the Mayan Long Count calendar, the last world ended after 13 b’ak’tuns, or periods of approximately 394 years. December 21 concludes another period of 13 b’ak’tuns, implying the end of the fourth world as well. This central thought has been conflated with the nearby Aztec peoples’ cultural obsession with cataclysm to spur the paranoia, excitement and fear that has become the 2012 apocalypse phenomenon.


Of course, the idea of the world ending was never predicted by the Mayans, whose understanding of time is based on an acute knowledge of the cosmos and earth’s relationship to other planets making it necessarily cyclical. This has not stopped people from inventing other hypothetical doomsday scenarios, however. Some claim that Niburu, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward earth and a collision is likely to ensue on Friday. Others believe our entire planet will be usurped by a black hole on that date, or a sudden rotational shift will occur causing irreparable damage in its wake.


Nasa and the rest of the scientific community maintain that there is no evidence that any spectacular event is likely to occur the Friday after next and urge people to shift their focus to more tangible threats. Earth’s currently rising temperature is most likely human induced and increasing at a rate that has been unprecedented in the past 1300 years. This warming has caused a depletion of groundwater reserves as well as an increase in draught and forest fires, NASA warns. Greenhouse gases are being emitted twice as fast as oceans and forests are capable of absorbing them. Food per capita is decreasing and energy sources are becoming scarce. Essentially, the impact of industrialization is disastrous and likely to have a catastrophic affect on the entire planet in the coming decadesm, the federal agency says.


As a coastal city with an average elevation of a foot or two below sea level, New Orleans is especially vulnerable, as global warming will inevitably cause ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise. Indeed our city has already experienced plenty of devastation.


So, naturally, the end of the world is being recognized with fervor throughout town. Festivals and dance parties are to take place, celebrating the morbid premonition with the same melancholy ecstasy used in our approach to jazz funerals in addition to more somber dinners and dialogues.  


In light of the failures of the modern industrial system, it seems fitting that society at large is embracing non-western, pre-colonial knowledge albeit entirely misinterpreted. Furthermore, it seems these very real threats are behind the widespread sensationalism of the 21st. It’s a common notion in apocalyptic anticipation, from the rapture to nuclear threat, that we like to imagine instant death rather than gradual demise. Perhaps the tendency to embrace the idea of an end implies a collective yearning for change. Rather than planning for the final day, should we be striving for a paradigm shift?


As the answers to these questions loom in the uncertain future, New Orleanians are finding ways to cope. This weekend, people will poke fun at Armegeddon and the Mayans with a long list of parties.


The Cosmic Convergence Festival is an all day affair, taking place at the Sugar Mill. Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, Star of The History Channel’s Ancient Aliens hosts the Apocalypse prevention festival along with The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus. The party will feature DJ’s and a long list of musicians including the Hot 8 Brass Band, electronic psy-rockers Ghostland Observatory, Alex McMurry and the Interstellar All-Stars, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Rotary Downs, James Singleton and Sun Domingo. Food trucks and other vendors will be there as well to keep you drunk, fed and happy.


Krewe of Chewbacchus leader and Cosmic Fest organizer Ryan Ballard said that the spectacular affair will cause the galactic-dwelling Mayans to rethink their predictions on the apocalypse.


“Our plan is in full effect at this point. We are going to throw a party so epic and amazing at the Sugar Mill that the Mayan Space gods will look down upon our creation and our revelry and the glory of humanity and they will cancel the apocalypse because it’s so awesome,” said Ballard.


The festival will be a charitable affair as Tsoukalos and the Krewe have partnered with Peter Mayhew, the actor who plays Chewbacca and are donating a portion of the party’s proceeds to his foundation, which aids Children’s hospitals, Wounded Warrier Centers and Special Needs or at-risk children. Begins at noon tickets available for $55 here.


The lineup is out of this world. Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Alex McMurray, and the Interstellar All Stars a just a few of the 20-plus acts that will grace the space stage.


“Alex has put together a one-time only special project to perform all of the greatest classic rock songs about outer space of all time,” said Ballard. “It is going to be the greatest 2012 party in New Orleans, if not the world.”


Ballard also created an “authentic” space ship that will rise and lower “at its own accord.” The apparatus took three fog machines, and the space gods will emerge from the craft at midnight.


Here's some more December 21 events to help you party like it's your last:


At 6:30 a pot luck supper and dialogue will take place at the healing center. Attendees are encouraged to bring a dish that their ancestor’s would have made as a sign of reverence to those who came before us. The discussion will center around what we can do to make the twenty-first a day of transformation rather than destruction. A small portion of each dish will be set aside as an offering which will be used in the after meal ceremony. Call (504) 940-1130 or email: to R.S.V.P.


Armegeddon, a Goth/Industrial/EDM party will take place at Siberia on Thursday the 20 at 10pm. Admission is free.


Sludge metal band Crowbar makes their debut and Crotchbreaker plays their last show ever at Siberia alongside The Devil’s Rain and Ashes to Dust at 9pm. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.


Silent Disco Presents: Doomsday Disco at the Wolf Den (907 S. Peters St.), 10 p.m.


The End and the Beginning at Michalopoulos Studio (527 Elysian Fields Avenue) at 6:30pm. Live performances from Helen Gillet, GENS, DJ Matty, Tony Skratchere, Joey Buttons DJ Set, YRSTRLY, Billsbery Flowboy, Summer, and more. 


Galactic Alignment Party at the Maple Leaf, 10pm. Performance from Galactic to usher in the apocalypse. 


Apocalypse: An End of The World Bang-Out featuring Star DJ Beverly Skillz takes place at Ampersand at 10pm. Admission is $15

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