2014 was fantastic for Salem and I figured the best way to commemorate the year was to compile my favorite moments using photos rather than a crappy top ten list! I know everyone hates reading and "has ADD" these days so lets get right to it!
Salem in the Media!
The promotional posters for WGN's SALEM are cooler than the actual show
The most prominent mention of Salem in the media for the year was related to the new show on WGN, which was by most accounts a huge letdown. Honestly, my Salem witch friends and I like the show because we weren't expecting it to be historically accurate. I love the campiness. If you know it's all in fun and know what you're getting yourself into it's a decent show.
Why do animators always make the Puritans so adorable?
The second most popular mention of Salem in the media this year was definitely the cult game hit "Town of Salem". It's based on the "mafia" style game genre, which is reminiscent of Clue or other murder mystery games. To be honest, the setting of the game is completely incidental and irrelevant, but it's still cool that it's set in Salem. There are two other video games set in Salem that people were playing in 2014, and neither of them were particularly popular or groundbreaking, Murdered: Soul Suspect by Square-Enix was a terrible letdown.
Why so serious?
And the most viral news story of 2014 was the sensationalist headline of a grave digger in Salem's oldest cemetery. In this picture from the cover of The Salem News you can see by his expression that dude thinks all the media attention was hilarious. His story was that he was only trying to perform amateur archaeological excavation on two gravestone submerged beneath the soil that he alleged are his ancestors. "Yep, he's probably just insane" we all said. Well, it turns out we should all feel bad for laughing at the guy, his mother said in an interview that he's literally schizophrenic and she had been trying to get him involuntarily committed for years because he wouldn't take his medication. Yikes.
What's been banished and what's sacred space?
The end of an era
Everyone loved the big stacks and piles of books in Derby Square Bookstore, but anyone that spent any time in there could tell it was long overdue for an update - some of those stacks of books were kind of gross and smelly... To fill the void Wicked Good Books opened, and I have only heard good things about them.
Coven's Cottage opening day.
Pagan Moon opening day.
Here are two of the new witch shops that opened on Essex street this year, The Coven's Cottage and Pagan Moon. I think that makes 7 authentic witchcraft stores within about a quarter mile. They're all doing very well and, if you ask me, the success of the stores on Essex street can be attributed not just to a general rise in tourism during the off-season, but a rising trend of interest in western paganism.
Another place locals are very sad is closing.
Penelope's Pet Boutique is closing which is disappointing because they have the largest selection of dog Halloween costumes in the city. Sure there are other pet shops in town, but this one has become a staple.
This year, as always, we had lots of celebrities visiting Salem, here are just a few of my favorite!
Katy Perry came to Salem to take The Salem Witch Walk! Here she is with Salem witches Lorelei, Leanne, and Jody Cabot! (also the dogs Dolly, Chico, and Lucky!) She also went to The Salem Witch Museum.
Scottish actor Graham McTavish. He was in the area filming Disney's "The Finest Hour" with Chris Pine.
Ben Vereen was spotted on Essex street this September!
If you're not a fan of musical theatre and dance, you might not understand why us drama geeks got so excited that Ben Vereen graced Salem with his almighty presence.
Renee Zellweger with the guy fromthe cafe, Jaho. I couldn't figure out why she was in town, most likely just relaxing.
OMG OMG IS IT REALLY HER!
And my favorite celebrity appearance in Salem this year was Elizabeth Warren, my champion. Obviously. Yes, this is me fanboying with her taking a selfie. Luckily, John from Creative Salem got a photo of the photo so I could create this meta collage. This is how the conversation went
ME: "Hello, have you ever met a Salem witch before?"
HER: (Smiling and noddling excitedly) "Well, no, I have not!"
ME: "Well now you have, let's take a selfie!"
It was basically the highlight of my life even though I was slightly disappointed she was here to endorse the old Democrat guy rather than the new progressive guy, but it's cool because he won anyways.
My Favorite Police Logs
Presented without comment, here are my three favorite police log entries from Salem this year!
Vampire Steve and the Street Preachers
Vampire Steve being fucking badass.
Most local's favorite story of the year was the turf feud between the street preachers and street performers. The basic gist of the feud is that street performers have to pay the city for licensing and have always been good about developing good relationships with the residents and business owners in the area, whereas the street preachers don't need to pay, and constantly harass people and cause problems. It's not a matter of free speech, the street preachers can say whatever they want, the issue is that they are rude, loud, offensive, and they create an atmosphere of anarchy in the already busy streets.
Vampire Steve became somewhat of a hero of Essex street by standing his ground and telling them off multiple times. He's not a hero though, he's just out there trying to live his life and be a fucking awesome vampire smoking cigarettes and making witty remarks. Also worth noting, he has gotten many nicknames in town and there seems to be some confusion about his costume - which is his own take on Mr. Barlow from Salem's Lot.
Anyways, this one guy who likes to create videos got a couple of really good moments that are worth mentioning. Here is his video of Vampire Steve righteously telling off a preacher, for more check out his Youtube channel.
Many of the important historical sites around the city have been getting repairs this year, too many to document.
Working on Salem's City Hall
The city wanted to get rid of it, but people raised their voices and the town square fountain sculpture was instead fixed up and made smaller so it wouldn't keep getting in the way of emergency and delivery vehicles. Locals are worried it's just another step towards Essex street becoming less pedestrian.
Other Noteworthy Moments
Salem witch trials historian Marilynne Roach was on The Daily Show and when the Salem Witch Museum posted about it look what picture came up. LOL Sorry, I'm wicked immature sometimes.
I asked Vampire Steve to pose next to an antique car during the show on Essex street.
Motorcycles completely taking over Derby street during this October's Halloween Witch Ride for the MDA.
Lorelei, Christian Day and his new husband Brian looking wicked cool posing for a photographer from The Boston Globe this October. Moments after this picture was taken oneof the dogs started barking and freaking out, gotta love chihuahuas!
A decent turnout for a march and candlelight vigil in honor of Mike Brown and other black lives lost to police violence.
So what did I miss? Too much has been happening for me to even keep track. It's been a great year for the city and 2015 is looking to be even better!