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A festival of science and song. Join us on December 9th to celebrate humanity and contemplate the values that we receive and pass down.
A festival of science and song. Join us on December 9th to celebrate humanity and contemplate the values that we receive and pass down.
85 backers pledged $5,295 to help bring this project to life.

About

NYC Secular Solstice 2017: Generations project video thumbnail
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I. What's Going On This Year?

This year's Solstice will be held on December 9th from 5pm to 8pm at the Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023.

To make sure we can offer cheaper tickets to newcomers, longtime Solsticegoers are encouraged to pledge at a sustainable level, that they'd be happy to continue donating at in future years. 

The Story of Generations

This year, the tales that we tell will focus on one of the most universal themes of human experience: the passing down of culture and knowledge from teacher to student, from master to apprentice, from parent to child. Each generation builds upon the successes of their predecessors, and learns from their failures. We'll explore the methods by which this knowledge has been preserved, and how we can continue to do so for future generations.

Singing Our Way Through Darkness

Adrianna Mateo


Adrianna has been hailed as a “rising artist” by The New York Times. Time Out New York praised her solo debut at the Bang On A Can Marathon as being “triumphant.” Adrianna’s live appearance highlights include The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performing at Carnegie Hall, simultaneous performances on stage at the Met Museum and the Met Opera (in an acting role), and many international tours, including dates in Europe, South Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Eden Atencio

 A former America Swing Dance champion, aerialist, jazz singer, producer and all around showgirl, she adds jazzy flair to any event. She sings regularly with the band "$1.25 Quartet", and current hosts a fabulous cabaret show on the first Tuesday of the month at Sid Gold's Request room.

Nelson Lugo

Nelson Lugo, The Charming Trickster, is a magician, raconteur, former ringmaster, retired burlesque impresario and burgeoning grifter. Known for heartfelt illusions and wry vaudevillian honesty he is a noted and celebrated performer in the underground New York City cabaret scene.

A Place for All

As in previous years, we will be partnering with the Society for Ethical Culture, who provides a dedicated secular space in their Upper West Side location. The building is landmarked on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Our event will take place in the grand auditorium, which seats over 700.

II. What Is the Solstice?

A Night of Lights. A Moment of Darkness

Solstice was founded here in New York City. Since then, Solstices have been held across the United States, Australia, the UK, and Germany. Some are huge community events with hundreds of people, others are intimate gatherings of friends. Here's how it tends to go:

 

 

 

 

Year after year, participants have gone away from this ceremony feeling inspired, motivated, and more connected to humanity. We've created a living tradition that speaks to what matters most to us: our communities, the truth we seek, and the ways in which we can shape the world.

III. Reaching Sustainability

This will mark our seventh annual Secular Solstice celebration. NYC Solstice has a reputation for high musical production value, and is co-sponsored by the New York Society for Ethical Culture, located at one of the oldest and most beautiful humanist buildings in the country.

In recent years, we asked $25 for admission, which was pricey for newcomers yet always required a few generous donors to underwrite the losses. This year, we're hoping to shift to a more sustainable, distributed load, while designing the event around the sustainable annual budget we have.

So. Our hope is for you to donate this year the amount that you'd be happy to donate each year, to ensure the NYC Solstice continues to thrive.

  • $15 - Newcomer / Affordable option: If you're new, or you're not sure how much Solstice is worth to you, or finances are tight, you're welcome to come with a donation of $15. 
  • $35 - Sponsorship option: You attend Solstice, and you contribute a bit towards subsidizing others using the newcomer/affordable option. 
  • $25 Volunteering Option - If you're willing to put in roughly 3 hours of work (enough to do a shopping-spree for the afterparty, or show up early to set up, or help run the ticketstand, help clean up, etc)
  • $50 and higher - Higher levels of sponsorship for those who are able. There are some backer rewards consisting of Solstice paraphernalia and chances to interact with / solicit advice from organizers. In addition, all pledge levels $70 and up get you two tickets.

Update: Did we mention that we have stickers for backers at higher levels? Check out these cuties, designed by Mulan Fu :)

IV. Stretch Goals

$7500 total - Full Band

Much of the cost of the event is hiring a full band to perform the music. This isn't trivial - this is one of the few opportunities in the world to hear (and join in) a beautiful, professional performance of music celebrating humanity's greatest accomplishments, our capacity for reason and goodness, looking towards the future we can build together.

If we don't reach the stretch goal, we'll need to curb this back a bit (probably to one or two performers with a guitar or piano)

Past that - Cooler Reception

Additional funding will go towards the reception following the event - more food, alcohol and decorations (in roughly that order). 

Risks and challenges

After eight years of Solstices, we've built stable connections with our venue and our performers. Nevertheless, in the unlikely event that either is unable to participate, we have contingency plans. Even in the worst case scenario, all that is truly necessary to run this event is a sound system, a projector to display song lyrics, and people with whom to share this festival.

This year, in fitting with our theme, is a year of handing off, allowing one leader to step back and others to take a larger role in carrying on this tradition. Raymond is still heavily involved, and we are working to make this as smooth a transition as possible, and to ensure that the festival remains up to the standard of quality set in previous years.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Token of Support

    Thank you! Any donation helps. We'll credit you on our program, and you'll receive a neat Humanist Culture digital wallpaper.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    First Time / Affordable Ticket

    Welcome! If this is your first time coming, or finances are tight, you're encouraged to join us with the affordable ticket option.

    If you're a longtime solsticegoer, we hope you'll look into the Sponsorship tickets.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Volunteer Ticket

    Want to help make Solstice happen? Choose this option if you're willing to put in about 3 hours of labor (such as setting up, running the reception, and cleaning up).

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Music Digital Download

    A download of solstice music, recorded live from the 2013 - 2015 festivals.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Book of Traditions (2013 Edition)

    A 125 book of lyrics, stories and commentary on Secular Solstice.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    Sponsorship Ticket

    Your contribution enables other people to join our festival. They, and we, thank you. This provides one ticket to you, while ensuring we have the funds to keep Solstice sustainable and offer affordable tickets to newcomers.

    In the past, a few generous donors have put in around $500 each to fund Solstice. This year, we're trying to share that so that longterm solstice-goers each sponsor at whatever level they'd be happy to donate each year.

    Each sponsor will receive a sticker of the corresponding level.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Stone Age Sponsorship

    Five thousand years ago, humans with nothing more than logs, rope and mud dragged 8000 pound stones across 150 miles to erect Stonehenge: a massive astronomical calendar.

    A sponsorship to honor their legacy. You'll receive a ticket, credit, and eternal gratitude.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Bring a Friend

    Includes two tickets. (All subsequent reward tiers allow you to bring a +1 if you'd like. We recommend choosing the sponsorship tier that you and your friend would collectively like to donate at each year)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Rosetta Sponsorship

    The invention of writing allowed knowledge to be accumulated. Ideas could spread from culture to culture.

    A sponsorship in honor of the shoulders of giants.

    (If you choose this sponsorship or above, you may receive your choice of the Complete Digital Music Download, or the Book of Traditions)

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Bacon Sponsorship

    500 years apart from each other, Roger Bacon and Francis Bacon (no relation), independently made significant contributions to the scientific method. Slowly, instead of making things up, humans started to go out and *look* at the world to find out what was true.

    This would turn out to be a big deal.

    (If you choose this reward, you may choose to receive both the Digital Download AND the Book of Traditions)

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Industrial Age Sponsorship

    For ten thousand years, despite advances such as fire, the wheel, agriculture, writing, and science... day-to-day human experience remained surprisingly similar.

    Then, suddenly, the industrial revolution happened, and human wealth, health, and political freedom all increased a dozen-fold.

    This was also a big deal.

    (At this level of sponsorship and above, if you want to make sure you get to talk to any particular Solstice organizer(s) over the weekend, we'll make sure you get the opportunity to meet for coffee/tea/beverage-of-choice)

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Green Revolution Sponsorship

    In the early 20th century, scientists developed new breeds of wheat and fertilizer that saved roughly 3 billion people from starving to death. And then it turned out that when people are food secure they stop having so many children and the world is less of a Malthusian hellhole.

    So, go team!

    A sponsorship in honor of Norman Borlaug saving a bajillion people and then changing his mind about overpopulation *twice*.

    (includes sticker, music and book)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Nuclear Age Sponsorship

    In the mid 20th century, other scientists invented nuclear fission. This... could have been pretty bad. But, fortunately, a couple times when someone almost pushed a button that destroyed civilization, instead, some other person said "Hey, maybe let's not do that!?"

    A sponsorship in honor of us not obliterating everything.

    (includes sticker, music and book)

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Digital Age Sponsorship

    Then the Internet happened and people started spending most of their day looking at glowing rectangles. This was... mostly good? for a lot of reasons, although it had some weird drawbacks.

    In addition the stickers/music/book, Zvi Mowshowitz (longtime solsticegoer, MTG champion and strategist), will offer the first 5 people at this tier a 2-hour strategy consultation, for any project of theirs that Zvi deems is non-Evil.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    ??? Age

    Then hopefully something else happened, and hopefully it was good?

    A sponsorship in honor of something.

    (includes sticker, music and book)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Gift We Give to Tomorrow

    5000 years from now, maybe humanity or its children will still exist.

    If so, maybe there will still be people celebrating something sort of like the Secular Solstice. (If not, hopefully it's because they came up with an even cooler idea and not because they made faustian bargains that sacrificed our capacity for joy and wonder)

    A sponsorship in honor of a distant child that might or might not be born, who might or might not think to ask their parents "where does love come from?"

    Someone, somewhere in the world, will name a baby after you. Or at least with your name. Probably.

    (also includes sticker, music and book)

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Funding period

- (10 days)