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For one night only, Somerville will be saddest city in Mass.

The Saddest Parade on Earth was held in Beverly last year.Greg Cook

When life gets tough, some people pull on their sweatpants, grab a gallon of ice cream, and curl up on the couch to feel sorry for themselves.

But artist and freelance writer Greg Cook believes people should experience sadness together in one place, instead of wallowing alone in a pit of despair.

On Sept. 17, Cook and the Somerville Arts Council will throw the community's first-ever "Pity Party" in Union Square.

Cook put a call out to artists, performers, and musicians last week who might fit well with the event's depressing theme. Details for the party are still being worked out, but the melancholy celebration will likely include an eclectic mix of sorrowful musical acts, somber ice cream-eating, and widespread self-pity.


“Our culture doesn’t like talking about sadness and depression; it’s always sort of discouraged. I think a lot of people have been struggling with these issues, but it gets kind of buried,” said Cook, the organizer behind the “Saddest Parade on Earth,” which took place in Beverly last year.

Cook's idea for both the Pity Party and the gloomy parade was derived from a series of personal struggles that he has been dealing with the last few years, including a death in the family.

He said he feels that the best way to deal with sadness is to mock it, rather than let it fester inside.

"I deal with my problems by making fun of them," he said. "I did that parade, and when I finished it, it actually made me feel really good."

He's hoping that the Pity Party has a similar impact on attendees.

Rachel Strutt, cultural director for the Somerville Arts Council, said the event will be more humorous than maudlin, but will be a place where people can meet and feel sorry for themselves.

"Maybe there will be a sofa with a pseudo-shrink, so people can lay down and share their problems," she said. "We are still in the ideas phase, and we will met again soon and start getting more specific about the programming."

The Pity Party will take place at night, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., to match the darkness that will emanate from Union Square that evening.


"There will be a lot of work to do as the party gets closer," Cook said. "But I have a venue, and I have sadness."

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.