Meet Mr. Fox
He is, depending on the day, the king or the familiar of the Cincinnati steampunk scene. You may know him better as Aloysius Fox. He works hard as the man behind the curtain, but it’s his role on-stage we’re here to discuss.
Next month, Aloysius will be heading the festivities of the Voodoo Carnival as our MC, and he took some time off from ruling the kingdom to answer a few questions. So sit back, relax, and meet Mr. Fox.
Me: After playing so many roles in so many events – what keeps bringing you back to being an MC?
Aloysius Fox: I very much enjoy being up on stage, it’s the whole extrovert thing about enjoying the energy that is created by a crowd, and unlike theatrical work that I have done in the past, this is a totally interactive experience with the audience. As MC, I get to play host to what are essentially amazing parties, and I want to make sure that everyone feels included in the fun.
Me: Besides your fantastic accent, how did you know you’d do well at the head of an event? When did you first work as an MC?
Aloysius Fox: Why thank you, yes indeed the accent and my foppish hair are the secret to my success, aside from that I have nothing . . . no, there is actually a lot more going on. During my teenage years I always thought that I’d take to the stage and did a lot of theatre throughout high school and college, but then boring reality turned me into an English teacher, but I did get to direct many high school productions. Teaching is a noble profession, and is not an easy one despite what naysayers may preach, but I was not comfortable being an “authoritarian figure,” so when new opportunities presented themselves I seized them and ran with it . . . or rather skipped with it. At first I was doing both jobs, my first MC gig in Cincinnati was “The Secret Cabaret” back on May 15th, 2010, which was essentially the birth of The Pandora Society, but back then we were Queen City Cabaret.
Me: Fox masks have become signature pieces in your masquerade wardrobe. Is there a story behind that first mask, or was the allusion to your name just too perfect an opportunity to ignore?
Aloysius Fox: I currently have three leather fox masks and they currently hang in my living room. The most recent one was custom made for me by Goblin Road as I wanted a white fox mask to go with my white outfit that I wore for the 2014 Voodoo Carnival . . . funnily enough the red fox mask that Goblin Road sells has become known to many as the “Aloysius Fox” mask. Foxes are portrayed in fables and myths as cunning tricksters, so it is most apropos for the energy that I try to give the audience when I MC.
Me: The Voodoo Carnival is a lot of events in one – masquerade, Mardi Gras fling, Valentine’s party, and even a Day of the Dead celebration. Do you have a favorite aspect? Is it possible to even choose?
Aloysius Fox: Initially the Voodoo Carnival was conceived as a “goth” Mardi Gras, which is why the Day of the Dead imagery is so prominent; a huge inspiration was drawn from the idea of New Orleans voodoo, the dark carnival in the shadows of Mardi Gras. My favorite aspect of the event is without a doubt the costumes of the audience. We produce a show, find the venue, line up some great acts, but it is the level of costuming participation of the audience that really brings the finishing touch to the show, and I love having our best dressed men and women up on the stage for the costume contests.
This year because the show falls on Valentine’s Day we are placing more emphasis on romance and making it an “alt-valentines” event with a great discount for couples on advance tickets.
Me: You’ve been part of the Voodoo Carnival since its inception. How has it grown since those early days?
Aloysius Fox: The first Voodoo Carnival was February 5th, 2011 and was the first “major” show we had done. I am indeed guilty of the concept and naming of the event, and was fortunate enough to get us into the old Southgate House in Newport. It had been a goal of mine since 2008 to do a show there; I recall first entering the ballroom, standing on that balcony and thinking, “Yep, I’m going to put on an event here one day.” The first Voodoo Carnival drew about 350 people from all over the tri-state and was actually the first major “steampunk” event for Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana, but by that time plans were already in the works for the Steampunk Symposium in April 2012.
Disaster almost struck the Voodoo Carnival in December of 2011 when the Southgate House suddenly declared that they were closing at the end of 2011. Fortunately for February 2012 I was able to secure The Redmoor in Mt. Lookout which, although much smaller, is a great space and they treated us very well. By February 2013 the Southgate House Revival had opened its doors and now this will be the third year that we’ve held the event at that venue.
For 2013 and 2014 we just had the Sanctuary, the main performance hall, but for 2015 the Voodoo Carnival has grown and is going to be a whole house event. We will have a packed program on the main stage with bands, burlesque, sideshow, and comedy, but in the Lounge the will be vendors and PoleKittens performing pole dances, while upstairs at the Revival Room it’s a lot naughtier with House of Aphrodesia hosting fetish burlesque performances and demos.
Me: Imagine an endless budget – and suspend the laws of physics. What would the Voodoo Carnival of your dreams look like?
Aloysius Fox: That’s easy . . . Labyrinth! The masquerade scene in that film has been a HUGE inspiration behind a lot of the events that are hosted by The Pandora Society. If I could find a big castle and decorate in a magic peach induced haze then that would be fantastic . . . and seeing as we have unlimited budget here, David Bowie would be the headline act 🙂