Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
It was an hour before the doors opened for Cthulhu Con, and I was talking to a few new friends when who but H.P. Lovecraft walked in to the room. Well not Lovecraft himself but Leeman Kessler, Canada’s self-proclaimed premier Lovecraft impressionist.
Actually I hadn’t heard of Kessler’s act until I got the pre com info. But after watching a few of his videos I was hooked. His shtick is that by unknown ways the late pulp writer H.P. Lovecraft was brought back from the dead. Unable to find employment he has become a video advice columnist. This is a niche act for a niche crowd, but it is my niche.
Kessler is as charming behind the scenes as he is in front of them. He brought doughnuts for the volunteer staff as well as just come up to people and join their conversations. He reminds me of some of favorite friends back in high school drama class.
Chatting with him I discovered that he played The old Man from Providence in a pay and got the idea from that experience. He has also had access to many of Lovecraft’s private letters to help prepare for the roll.
In addition to doing two hour long shows, during the con he also sat in on several panels. Including one where Lovecraft’s racist nature was address. I asked the question. “Could you shed any light on how Lovecraft was an anti-Semite but at the same time married to a Jewish woman?”
Kessler and Lovecraft annotator Leslie S Killenger both chimed in on how. Racist are very good at finding “The Good One.” Tht racists tend to find someone who they can point at her and say hey look I am not so bad. And that to Lovecraft not assimilating was the worst sin. That as long as a Jew acted like a WASP he had little problem with them.
This was not the answer that was suspecting I’d get. Most Lovecraft apologist fall back into one of two defenses. The first is that Lovecraft was a reflection of his time and should not be judged by modern values. The other was as Lovecraft grew older his horrible opinions began to lessen and if he had lived longer they might have disappeared.
But Kessler attacks the subject head on. To the actor HPL is even more interesting with his flaws, and should not be just brushed off. His in characters excuse for not portraying Lovecraft as a racist SOB, is that he listen to the Wu-Tang Clan and decided to reconsider his previous notions. He also has a perky clone PH Lovecraft and the youngest Kessler also gets in on the act as Sweet Pea Lovecraft.
In the wake of some terrible racist event in recent news, Kessler post the following, on his wife’s blog.
To me the compelling part is how Kessler merges not only a on spot Lovecraft impersonation, but also geek cultures from Night ranger shout outs, to Star Wars to the Computer from The game Paranoia So if you like your Lovecraft Comedy with a dose order of Canadian bacon check these examples out.