We Don’t Know; Therefore, Party: Crossing our Fingers with the Cosmic Convergence Festival

Fire? Floods? Earthquakes? Asteroids? What does December 21st, 2012 really mean? Surprisingly, for Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, the answer is not aliens. If you don’t recognize Tsoukalos’ name from his show Ancient Aliens or sensationalistic History Channel specials, you may recognize his Internet meme, a GIF of Tsoukalos’ tanned face which recently went viral. In the picture, the text “I DON’T KNOW; THEREFORE ALIENS” stands in front of his squinting brown eyes, blindingly white teeth and trademark porcupine hair. The meme derives its humor from Tsoukalos’ absurd ventures into open-mindedness by stating that we really just can’t know if (insert ancient civilization, artifact and building here) was made by aliens or not. He personally thinks that the memes are pretty funny.

For Tsoukalous, the last day of the Mayan Long Count calendar means a giant party: Cosmic Convergence Festival. The end-of-the-world themed bash will feature headliners Ghostland Observatory and local acts like Alex McMurray and the Interstellar All-Stars, Quintron and the Hot 8 Brass Band.

“Everybody’s freaking out about December 21st, 2012, the alleged end of the world. Which, by the way, it isn’t,” says Tsoukalos during my conversation with him. He states, “The Maya never predicted the end of the world. They merely calculated the end of their calendar. It just so happens to end on that day. They never said that the world was going to end that day.”

Tsoukalos has decided to take a different approach from his gloomy colleagues by organizing this fest. Tsoukalos’s party will nod to its Mayan origins by featuring a stepped pyramid created by the Supreme Overlord of the InterGalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus. Rumor has it that Tsoukalos will land on the pyramid via spaceship.

“I heard that they’re going to have a very interesting stage set up for this one,” hints Thomas Ross Turner, of Ghostland Observatory. Turner is the percussionist and director of Ghostland’s electrifying sets, which are known for intense laser shows. Turner commands the beat from a station of synths, drum kits and keyboards. He always wears a cape onstage, which his wife sews for him. “I’m obviously excited to play the show but I’m also looking forward to seeing how they set up the stage and pull it off. When it was described to me, my reaction was like, ‘Are you kidding?’”

“What better way to look at that date than to throw a big, giant party?” says Tsoukalos, who is also the director of Erich von Däniken’s Center for Ancient Astronaut Research. “We can then claim that we were the ones that prevented the end of the world. That’s the whole shtick.”

While Mayan intellectuals and prayer-makers point to this date as an encouragement to reflect, New Orleanians will take this day as an opportunity for yet another party. New Orleans hasn’t been without our own sufferings from population loss and climate change. However, as a culture, we tend to parade more than reflect. “It’s a good time in New Orleans. [December 22nd] rings in a new era of a new period of time,” says Tsoukalos. “And what better place than New Orleans to ring in that new era?”

The Cosmic Convergence Festival takes place on December 21st at the Sugar Mill, featuring Ghostland Observatory, Alex McMurray and the Interstellar All-Stars, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Hot 8 Brass Band, Rotary Downs, the Local Skank, DJ Brice Nice, Ratty Scurvics, Clockwork Elvis, the Green Demons and others. For more information, check out cosmicfestnola.com