"If you came here to save me, you're walking too slow.
There is nothing left but burned remains of what I was two years ago."
-- Imperative Reaction, Diminish Me
I almost let this slip by unnoticed! SFGothic.net is now two years old!
I started it up in April of 2011 on a whim after realizing that there were no updated sources for the types of events I was interested in attending. In fact, it was Death Guild's 18th Anniversary week that inspired it all, as I had gone to DG on a whim the week before, with the woman I was involved with at the time, and learned that there was a pair of shows that I wanted to attend as part of the celebration. Shows that, conveniently, were occurring in line with the anniversary of that relationship.It is fitting, in more ways than one, that I selected this particular line from Imperative Reaction for this post's quote. First, that performance at the DNA for the DG-18 celebrations was my first time seeing Imperative Reaction (and Ayria) perform and my very first blog post on SFGothic.net concerned that show. Second, the quote itself is particularly apropos of the changes that have taken place in my life since that first post.The reason I mention this is because this site is one of the things that helped me survive those changes. The death of two family members, the end of a twelve-year relationship, losing many of my friends, being single again, suffering from extreme depression, even falling in love again and losing it for a second time... all in two years. And working on this site helped get me back into the world and kept me going despite these setbacks -- it gave me highlights on which to focus that brought me immense joy despite the intense sorrow I was living through. Specifically, it resulted in me hearing a lot of new music, seeing a number of amazing performances, doing a great deal of dancing, and allowed me to meet some very awesome and interesting people.And recent unexpected, but delightful, encounters with fans of the site have only reinforced my interest in maintaining SFGothic.net going forward.
Seriously, I am always pleasantly surprised when I learn that anyone
is actually paying attention to my blithering here. I welcome all of you to offer input by commenting on blog posts or shooting compliments or criticisms via the "Comment Section" on the Contact Us
page.I guess what I am ultimately attempting to convey is this: Thank you. Thank you for reading SFGothic.net. Thank you for supporting the scene in San Francisco and Sacramento and Oakland and San Jose and Santa Cruz and all those places in between. Thank you all for giving me your time and your energy and your attention as I go searching for new and delightful distractions to add to the calendar. Thank you to the promoters and DJs and performers that have kept me in the loop and talked to me about their events and the events of others.
Thank you to the artists that have given me your time and created such wonderful music and art and literature and film for me (and others) to consume.I'd also like to give special thanks to the following folks for being extra supportive: DJ Persephone (of Solace and Vintage Invasion), DJ Burning Skies (of Club Nocturne), DJ Daniel Skellington
(of Dark Shadows
and Witching Hour
), DJ Necromos (of Apparition and Batcave SF), Draeden Wren (of Songs of the Goddess), Unsinkable Molly Mitchell, Tesla Dethray, Alexis Berger, Ruth Sears, Emory Marler
, Deidre Anaid
, and Madame Vaughan
, and probably a whole bunch of other people that I'll remember an hour after I post this.At this point, I'd usually put a list of awesome events/clubs/performances for you to see in the next few weeks, but, seriously, there's just SO MANY THINGS!! So I suggest heading over to the Calendar of Events and figuring out what you want to get to. Personally, I'm really looking forward to the Psyclon 9 and Hanzel und Gretyl shows coming up at the DNA Lounge in May.
See you out in the shadows, my darklings!!-- Mr. M.
"I walk the line between good and evil.
My business is a little cloak-and-dagger.
I drink so much, I don't walk -- I merely stagger."
-- Alien Sex Fiend, I Walk the LineDeath Guild's 20th Anniversary was quite "the bomb" (as the kids say... or said ten years ago, anyway). It got just crowded enough, in my opinion, to feel like an important event -- which it was.I think I would have enjoyed it significantly more in the company of someone I'm no longer involved with, though, which is unfortunate. Yes, even a goth super-villain occasionally "haz a sad" (understatement of the year).Mostly, though, I was really excited to have an opportunity to check out some changes to the DNA Lounge that I've been putting off seeing for entirely too long (as some of you may remember, I missed the Halloween bash that was the "opening night" of those changes -- and I hadn't managed to make it out there since, either). Now that they have those extra two dance floors (and bars to accompany them), it just further diversifies the number of choices available for music to dance to and people to dance with when going out on a Monday night. Also, it means DNA can fit more people in, across the board. So win-win.Also, a lot of excellent people were there -- some I hadn't seen in some time, others I got to meet for the first time, along with a not-insignificant portion of the Sacramento Contingent, who are awesome folks.In fact, I even got some positive feedback concerning SFGothic, which warmed my filthy, black little heart.
As a reminder, darklings, I'm always open to hearing your thoughts, ideas, about your favorite club or some event I've missed on the listings, and even the odd compliment or two via the Comment Box in the Contact Us
portion of the site.In other news:
I'd apologize for my latest lapse of bloggery, if I wasn't fairly certain that most of you had not become accustomed to (if not entirely tolerant of) my bouts of unwarranted silence.In explanation, though, I've been spending a lot of time focusing on other projects.The first is, unfortunately, looking for a "real job" so that I can afford to go to all these awesome events that I keep advertising. It's gotten to be an issue in the last couple of months that financial concerns have stopped me from enjoying clubs and shows that I'd otherwise not think twice about attending.
Needless to say, this is an unpleasant and laborious process which has, so far, availed me of little but further frustration with the world around me.The second is that I'm preparing, sometime in the near future, to begin another website devoted almost solely to the scribblings of my slightly less-villainous (but still freakishly handsome) alter-ego. When that happens, my fellow darklings, I'll be sure to post a link here on the site (and probably in a blog entry, too). The centerpiece is intended to be a serialized tale of grim fantasy, but I'll probably punish the world with three decades'-worth of accumulated bad poetry and other bits of fiction as well, in addition to talking about all those silly authorial things like process and inspiration and art and whatnot.Obviously, my intention is to keep SFGothic running as well. I am, of course, willing to consider taking on evil minions who would be up to helping me keep track of all the awesome that the Bay Area's Goth-Industrial scene has to offer.Upcoming Events:3/22 - Double Feature of REPO! The Genetic Opera and The Devil's Carnival in Sacramento!3/23 - Dangerous Beauties Bellydance in San Francisco (this might already be sold out if you don't have your ticket yet).3/27 - Mindless Self Indulgence at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento.3/29 - Dancing Ghosts' 6 Year Anniversary in San Francisco!3/30 - Sevendust, Coal Chamber, and Lacuna Coil at the Regency Ballroom in SF.4/05 - The start of Lumen Obscura III
in San Jose. Runs until the 7th and yours truly will be MCing at least one of the performances.4/06 - PEERS' Paris at Midnight Ball in San Mateo (for you social dancers)
.4/12 - SOLACE!!! at the Prop Box Studio in Oakland
.4/15 - Dead Can Dance at Davies Hall in San Francisco
Hope to see you out there in the shadows, meine Lieben!-- Mr. M.
"That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons, even death may die."
-- H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of CthulhuI have
returned from what appears to be manifesting as an annual cloistering from the end of November through most of January. It's mostly an "overwhelmed by holidays and forced socialization" thing, though I wouldn't be entirely surprised if there was some seasonal affective disorder in there somewhere, too.
Either way, though, I have returned from the worlds beyond!I spent most of today trying to catch up with data from the usual haunts, though I still have much to do and will be filling the event pages and calendar out further as time goes on. Missed a God Module show the other week, though, which was disappointing to me.
But that's what I get for being a hermit, I suppose.In more positive news, Emily Autumn's shows in Oakland and Sacramento are next week! I'll be at the Oakland one while my buddy Draeden from Songs of the Goddess will be at the Sacramento performance. Let me know if you'd like to connect with either of us!
We also have a decent number of other
concerts happening throughout February and March (including Velvet Acid Christ
, Cradle of Filth
, and Marilyn Manson
- quite a range of musical styles for the darkling community to choose from).And don't forget Club Nocturne in Oakland on February 16th.I'm also currently hoping to make time for the Uncultivated Vulgarity II art show in March.Speaking of which: I've also managed to do some updating in the Gothic Media portion of the site (and will hopefully find the energy to add some more bits and pieces as time goes on - especially the currently blank "Game" and "Art" sections), so feel free to take a look around and make suggestions, comments, or even the odd complaint. If anything, it let's us (by which I mean: me) know that you're reading!Also, if you would like your art featured in that currently blank "Art" area of the aforementioned Gothic Media, shoot me some images of work that you're willing to let me post/show and an address for your website (or at least a Facebook page). If I like what I see, I'll happily share it with the community. I've already got one artist committed (locked in a padded cell and everything) and I've got one or two more in mind to accompany her when I finally do get something together, but, really, the more the merrier.-- Mr. M.
"Boys and girls of every age,
would you like to see something strange?
Come with us and you will see
this, our town of Halloween!"
-- Danny Elfman, "This is Halloween"
October was excellent. So much to do! Only one month to do it all in!
I should have written something sooner, of course. But STUFF!!!!
So, here's my thoughts on some of the highlights:
PEERS Steampunktoberfest Ball:
This was delightful. Everyone was dressed excellently (including, if the ladies are to be believed, yours truly). Bangers&Mash provided amazingly good music (as they usually do). The drinks and snacks were fabulous (seriously, the people who were constantly bringing out more and more tasty vittles deserve to be lauded!).
And the waltzing was exquisite! I even got to try out a few "scripted" dances with some friends. All-in-all, a truly wonderful evening!
Being in San Mateo, it was a little further away from home than is ideal for me, though Oakland and SF folks shouldn't have nearly as much of a problem with that.
Steamstock was, to put it bluntly, fucking amazing
<== And, seriously, look how awesome I looked!!!The vendors were really neat and the music was pretty damn epic across the board. They really packed the musical acts in, but Brian Gardner and the SwingGoth folks had the ingenious idea of having two stages, so that the crowd could run to one stage to watch a performance while the
next band was setting up and sound-checking on the other stage.Abney Park and Thomas Dolby were quite excellent (as was to be expected), and I enjoyed being able to see Vernian Process live. But for me, the highlight was in getting to hear some really excellent acts I hadn't before. Lee Presson & the Nails
were the biggest newly-discovered treat for me. Seriously, a goth swing band? FUCK YES!
And Lee was just... excellent. Super high energy, amazing voice, and he looked really god-damned dapper in that all-black zoot suit with his slicked-back hair and pencil-moustache. Now I really wish I knew how to swing dance!Other delightful discoveries included Hydrogen Skyline and Victoria & the Vaudevillains (Victoria Victrola is fucking adorable, by the by); though, to be fair, all the acts were fun to hear and watch.Good news is: they're already planning the Steamstock for next year! Personally, I hope they can use the same venue. The Craneway Pavilion was a really cool place; lots of room with an excellent view of San Francisco from the water.My only complaint (I've always got at least one) -- I wish more of the vendors had more stuff. A lot of the stalls seemed really sparse on what they were offering. Even though what most of them were offering was pretty cool, there just didn't seem to be much of it. The exception was the Holzer & Combe Haberdashery stall -- they were positively bursting with crazy-awesome stuff to buy.
You should seriously visit their website.And a little more seating and maybe an extra food truck would have been nice.Club Elysium:
I managed to make it out to the opening of the Club Elysium goth night at the new Purgatory Club in Sacramento (on the arm of a very, very
lovely lady, I might add).While the opening night suffered a few hiccups (like the top floor not being open yet and there not being enough bar staff on hand for the crowd)
, Club Elysium was quite a hit.The venue is actually kind of swanky. Purgatory is clearly still in some kind of state of renovation, unfortunately, but the underground "Hell" floor was in excellent repair and was packed to the gills with gothling folks.
Lots of nice booth seating with tables all around the perimeter. Clean bathrooms. A huge dance cage AND a stripper pole. All on just the bottom floor... I'm actually a little excited as to what the top floor will be bringing to the table when it opens up.And the music was pretty damn awesome. It's the first time I've had the pleasure of listening to DJs Blixx and Keyz spin, and, I must say, I was impressed.I do wish that there had been a little more "swirly goth" though, since the single floor issue crimped the whole "two floors - one for stompy/one for swirly" plan. More for others than for me, of course, since I'm a stomp-monkey. But a few breathers wouldn't have gone awry.Good news is that it seems that Elysium blew the venue owners away as much as it did the Sac-Goth crowd. With only the one floor, the place quickly reached capacity by about 11 p.m. and the venue owners did manage to call in some back-up on the bar.
For those that don't know the background, Club Elysium is a goth night constructed by
members of the Sacramento goth scene specifically to fill the wants and desires of their local scene as a whole. And while it's certain that they won't please everyone, they're definitely approaching the whole thing with arms (if not always eyes) wide open and really trying to meet as much of the community half-way as they can. There's an energy, a drive and passion, that really fuels this thing. Hell, they even had folks walking around with clipboards, taking notes
on what people liked and didn't and jotting down suggestions their fellow darklings had.My final summation is that Elysium is off to a really grand start. The only thing I see holding them back now is the venue itself getting fully up-and-running (in other words: more bar staff, opening the top floor, cleaning up some of the place's "rough edges", and making sure the bouncers stop letting people jump past the line ahead of people that have been waiting twenty minutes to get in)
. I can't see the future, but Elysium certainly felt like a solid heir to the Sunday-night scene in Sacramento.Other stuff:There were other things I made it out to, but I don't really have the energy to go into all of it now. And a lot that I wished I could have made it out to but didn't: like Ariellah's ShadowDance and DNA's Halloween Bash... Lack of cash and an overabundance of depression leads to all sorts of stupid missing-stuff-I-like
Don't forget, my darklings -- Friday:
- Strangelove's Dia de los Muertos in San Francisco
- Le Bal des Vampires in Alameda
- Subkulture's DeathWake in San Francisco
- Club Elysium in Sacramento
- Komor Kommando at the DNA in San Francisco
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Goth,-- Mr. M.
"Far over the misty mountains cold,
to dungeons deep and caverns old.
We must away ere break of day,
to seek the pale, enchanted gold."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien, the HobbitMade it out to the Uptown Nightclub for the first time this week... then ended up there a second time for another dose of delightful depravity.The Uptown Nightclub, for those that haven't been, is a fairly nice venue. When you first enter, you get a long view of the bar which is fairly well-stocked. Parallel to the bar, but with a wall between, is the "theater" which is as big as the barroom is, but just has a few tables mounted against the walls and mostly empty space for standing with a nice little stage at the end.The bathrooms are clean and well-lit (this is a much rarer "plus" than one would like to think). The smoking area is enclosed and out back, with plenty of seating and space - and can easily hear what's going on in the theater area.Most drinks are about as expensive as they are in SF-proper, which was a little bit of a disappointment - but not heart-breakingly so.
Bottled water is about half price, though. So that's like a win, right?The first show I went out for was Unwoman's CD release and Birthday party back on Wednesday, 9/19.
She played most of her new album, with a couple of songs from previous albums to fill out her repertoire for the evening. I personally found her enchanting - her music was, of course, excellent (it was, in fact, the reason I was there to begin with) and it was more than a bit fascinating watching her use the looping pedal to turn herself into a one-Unwoman string quartet. But she was also very charming up on stage, flirting and bantering back and forth with her crowd, and more than a little bit lovely.I suspect that I have something of a schoolboy crush on her at the moment. But I see no reason why I shouldn't, honestly.The second show
I went to was the final Cabaret Perilous!
of 2012 on 9/22. An all-round enjoyable show, truly. With swing music by Mari Mac & the Monitors
, magic by Mysterium
, beautiful burlesque by Jay Siren
's... well... Sirens, violated Disney tunes by Princess Creampie
, and, last but not at all the least
, a pair of numbers by the unreasonably
beautiful Standfire Collective
(with my personal favorite: Unsinkable Molly
).To give you an idea of how good Standfire is, I overheard (and am ruthlessly stealing... and probably misquoting a little, but the point is the same) someone's comment from last night: "It says something that, in a show that included beautiful women taking off their clothes, that the act that got the loudest cheers by far was the trio of women that didn't take anything off."
I think Shutterpunk Neil Girling
was the one that said this... so credit where credit is due.If you haven't seen Unwoman perform or heard her music or you have not seen the Standfire Collective or Unsinkable Molly dance, these are oversights that you absolutely must work to rectify as soon as is humanly possible! The truth is, if you are unwilling to repair these failings on your part, I must only assume that it is because you were dropped frequently as a child or that perhaps your mother drank an inordinate amount while you were in the womb - as such, you are beyond my help, but I can look askance at your sorry life in pity and thank the stars that I am not forced to live an empty life devoid of music or pleasure.
In other news:
We've got Amanda Palmer
(accompanied by the above-mentioned Unwoman
) coming to San Francisco on Wednesday 9/26; the Days of Terror Horrorfest
in Sacramento on 9/28 and 9/29; Unit77's Allegiance
in SF on 9/29; Steampunktoberfest
on 10/6 and 10/7; and a whole mess of other shows, concerts, performances, and other madness.
Tremble in fear and joy, oh gothlings, for October and the Fall cometh!
Keep checking the calendar and the event pages so that you don't miss anything awesome!!-- Mr. M.
"No, nobody can own me.
This is my only authority.
My, my body is mine - to poison.
It is my gift for the killers to cut open."
-- Unwoman, "For the Killers"Artist(s): Unwoman
Album: The Fires I Started
The recently released album by the Bay Area's own Unwoman, cellist and vocalist extraordinaire. My Thoughts:
A little dark cabaret, a little steampunk, a little political, a little electro, a little mythic, a little academic, a little war-torn, a little romantic, and a whole lot of wit, Unwoman
(a.k.a. Erica Mulkey) can only be described as an entity of innumerable and far-reaching talents.I actually regret to
say that I only recently
allowed myself to fall prey to her musical charms. To think of all the time I've clearly wasted!For those who haven't heard Unwoman's music before... well, she's fairly difficult to pigeon-hole, to be honest (see above). Obviously, there's all that cello, sometimes with languid electro-synth tracks and other times with harsh heavy beats mixed in to add to the other-worldliness... Or perhaps "other-timeliness" is a better description. Meanwhile, her vocal stylings occasionally remind me of Miranda Sex Garden's Katharine Blake
, but with less ethereal, fairy-tale subject matter and more heavy-breathed, film-noir allure
.Ultimately, this inability to pin her down is one of the things I like best about Unwoman's work
so far. To call her fascinatingly anachronistic would be fitting - if only one could tell which direction
and how far
she has been displaced in time, so that we knew whether to mourn for a past forever lost or to yearn for a future we shall never see.Highlights: The Fires I Started
is a rich tapestry of aural delights. Picking out a few individual pieces on other albums is usually a good way to get a feel for the artist. But, in this case, each piece is a thing unto itself - highlighting one or another feels almost counterproductive, misrepresenting the immense range that is the complete album.Of course, that is unacceptable; thus I shall endeavor to represent some of my particular favorites well and, hopefully, entice you, dear readers, as I have been enticed.
"The Future, the Boot" - Drawing its inspiration (and its chorus) from Orwell's infamous quote about the future involving "a boot stamping on a human face - forever", this jaunty tune plays with the idea of turning the other cheek and making beauty from horror in an attempt to subvert the assumed inevitability of such a future - "when life throws you sarin, you sing a sweet serenade
", she trills wittily. Of course, even our singer seems to question whether this will really be all that effective in changing anything, asking "is there something bigger to believe in - to unite us under
- A poignant song of disappointment, it tells the tale of a war-time performer awaiting her beau/belle to appear at her underground performance in a locked-down city (I always imagine somewhere in WWII Nazi-occupied France in my own mind's eye, though the actual location is never said). The desired, though, never arrives, leaving our heartbroken performer to recognize that her beloved is either "a coward or could never love me or you have fallen to the enemy
" - none of which, understandably, console her. All the other guests have appeared - but not her lover, who has, in one fashion or another, failed her."Siren Ship"
- This piece, ostensibly about a defenseless treasure ship inviting pirates in order to entrap them, strikes me as a witty and pretty sea shanty. Of course, its elegant and cunning innuendos suggest a devious and extremely sensual (no, really, this song seriously turns me on
) metaphor concerning a seductive and supposedly vulnerable beauty who lures her lovers to their emotional ruin. "Your type can never resist my call. I have been so many conquerors' downfall...
"Star-Crossed" - This is one of the pieces where Unwoman's vocals seem most reminiscent of Katharine Blake. Elegant and slightly static-y, it has a fuzzy, unreal quality - as if playing from a dirty disc on an overused Victrola. I'm still not entirely sure what the song is about - or if it's about anything at all, really. But there's something about it's lilting, dream-like ambiance and soldierly drum-beat that really flows through the listener.Final Thoughts: The Fires I Started
is a mix of so many different elements that it defies any true classification and certainly anything resembling convention. A gem of independent music-making, it is atmospheric, alluring, and highly addicting (I suggest that Unwoman be forced to put warning labels on it).If you don't believe me, go to Unwoman's website and listen to this or any of her other albums she has there for free.
She also subscribes to the "pay what you want" model of music-vending, meaning that if you want to own some of her music and are a little strapped, she'll generally accept what you think is fair for most of her albums (and she doesn't skimp, either - other than the "singles", most of her albums seem to sit at a solid 15 or 16 songs).I, of course, recommend throwing as much money at her as you can manage, either for one of her albums or during one of her crowd-funding endeavors.I also recommend attending the CD-release party for the Fires I Started on Wednesday, Sept. 19th, 2012 (that's in two days, my darklings)
, so that you can see this siren perform in person. Details to be found HERE
.-- Mr. M.
"And I find it kind of funny.
I find it kind of sad.
The dreams in which I'm dying
are the best I've ever had."
-- Tears For Fears, "Mad World"This post is going to be short and to the point. Just a heads up.It may not be terribly surprising that, as an often-all-too-archetypal goth kid, I've spent a lot of time struggling with depression
. For those of you that haven't had the dubious
luxury of knowing me well enough to get the details, this has been especially
true over the past year and a half (though the depression itself began much earlier than that).For those fortunate enough not to know: depression saps your very will to live your own life. And, in particularly bad moments, it can cause you to choose to stop living entirely. Anyone that tells you to "buck up" or "get over it" has no idea how insidious, vicious, and debilitating depression is - how it undermines your faith in yourself, in everything you do, in the love that other people bear you, and even in your own worth as a human being.
So, it's more than a bit uplifting to see someone I hold in fairly high esteem, Mr. Wil Wheaton
, come forward and admit to similar feelings and give his opinion on the topic. As the man says: "Depression Lies
."I'm not going to pretend that I'm anywhere near as relevant to the world-stage, or even to the Bay Area stage, as Mr. Wheaton is. And he really does say it more eloquently than I ever could - so you should just check out his post, as I'm not interested in further retreading the ground that he's covered so much better.Also, you should consider supporting a friend of mine, Jasmine Boardman, who's been working so hard to put herself through school, specifically to combat this psychological dis-ease and one of the most unfortunate results common to it. She's attempting to complete her grad degree in Psychology and get certification specifically in suicide intervention and prevention.
I know money is tight right now - but even $5 or $10 could help her go forth and save lives.If it were not for her and her family, I am certain that I would not be here today.
That may not matter much to some folks, but it matters a fuck of a lot to me.(P.S. I also want to thank Ms. Tara D. for sharing Mr. Wheaton's post on FB so that I saw it.)-- Mr. M.
"Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
-- Emily Dickinson, "Because I Could Not Stop For Death"So, as of this last Sunday (9/2/2012), Asylum, one of the longest running goth clubs
in Northern California (nearly 19 years, I'm told - just shy of our beloved Death Guild), has ended its existence.It was a lovely and grand going-out party, and I was pleased to see more than a few attendees from the San Francisco scene
there. In fact, things got so full that they had to open part of the other half of the club just to make room for the flood of human bodies. One hell of a send off for the ol' girl, as they say.Personally, I had an excellent time meeting some very awesome folks and dancing with some exceptional ladies (my thanks to Ms. Aly and particularly Ms. J.).The big announcement that DJ Bryan Hawk promised?That, yes, Asylum really is closing down for good. But that he would only be taking a few weeks off before opening a new club at a new venue
-- all the details to be announced when things are squared and ready to go. This new club is going to be ages 18 and up, which is a huge plus (especially as Sacramento seems to have a disproportionate number of 18-20 year-old darklings compared to the San Francisco crowd). And they'll be having a fetish night once per month, and it also sounds like several other theme nights throughout the year. And, finally, it will be filling Asylum's old Sunday night slot in the Sacramento scene.(I'll make sure to put the details of the new club up as soon as I have them!)So, yes Asylum is, sadly, dead and gone. But she is not forgotten and, in a month or so (maybe less), there will be a new weekly club arising to take her place; bigger and bolder.Furthermore, on the topic of Sacramento:I want to extend my gratitude to the Sacramento goth crowd, especially those in the SacGoths group on FB (and extra especially Emory, Aly, RC, and Aaron). You are an excellent bunch of people, and I thank you for welcoming me so warmly among you these last few weeks.
It's almost enough to thaw this frozen dead heart of mine right back into life. Almost
. I can only say that I am sorry we met under the circumstances of Asylum's passing, and I wish that I had made it out to Sacramento more often in the past. But I suspect I'll be managing to get myself out that way significantly more in the future.So, with that, my darklings, I bid you an unpleasant night and dark and dreary dreams.-- Mr. M.
"The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it... I can resist everything but temptation."
-- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian GrayBusy! Busy! Busy!(That's my pretend excuse for this latest bout of blog silence.
Last night was spent waltzing my weasely little black guts out with the likes of the exceptional Alexis Berger
, under the careful ministrations of DJ goddess Persephone
and amazing guest DJ Joan Walton
. A delightful evening, across the board, and useful practice as we get closer to PEERS' le Bal des Vampires
. Speaking of le Bal des Vampires, I purchased my ticket this week. As I've mentioned elsewhere,
ticket prices go up on September 1st and are likely to run out as we get closer to the date (November 3rd
, for those who don't know), so I cannot recommend strongly enough the purchasing of your tickets ASAP. Having gone last year, I know that this ball is extremely awesome
. With the Nightfall Club downstairs, spinning Goth-y and New Wave tracks for those who like their vampires a little more like Lost Boys
and the Hunger
, and an amazingly large ballroom upstairs for those that prefer the grace and charm of a lost age. Go to the One-Time Events
page for a link and more details!
In more scene info: last week I got a chance to hit the opening night of the Witching Hour
out at the Cat Club. Going forward, it will be filling the 3rd Friday slot left open at the Cat with the departure of Dancing Ghosts. The latest brainchild of DJs Melting Girl
, Daniel Skellington
, and Sage
, the Witching Hour sets out to embrace a two-fold goal:1) Fade to Grey: playing older club favorites that don't really get much time in many other
venues anymore; and2) The New Black
: exposing club-goers to new dark music that isn't exactly getting much play elsewhere and doesn't always fit exactly into the expected for a goth and/or industrial club.I'm going to admit that I do somewhat agree with some of the criticism I've heard leveled concerning the former goal - nothing really stops the DJs (especially these DJs, who have a standing in the scene community that grants them a great deal of freedom, dare I say immunity, in their music choices) from playing some of these older "lost" hits at the other clubs that they're part of (specifically Death Guild and Dark Shadows)
. That said, it was nice hearing and dancing to some music that I haven't heard on the turntables in a while.Regardless of all of that, though, I find the latter goal highly laudable.
As much as I like to hear songs I know and love, it is a refreshing change of pace to hear something totally
new (to me, anyway). I like getting some exposure to the direction that "goth" (that fuzzy word that many of us define in so many different ways) may be heading in the future... And even if it isn't, my tastes are wide enough that I can appreciate some of the truly amazing directions these acts are exploring. So, bravo for the so-called "New Black".In further news: the week before that I was able to get out to the return of the Cell, that salon of dark dance and performance art.The dark, ritualistic dance performance by Vulgaire (whom I'd never had the privilege of seeing before) and the light-hearted technical elegance of Shondell (whom I have seen and enjoyed in the past) was certainly what I'd come to expect of the Cell based upon previous experiences.
Nor was I disappointed in the least.Artistic performances
by experimental cellist Angela Roberts
, spine-chilling contortionist Michael Curran
, and the sensual ululations and ritual chanting of Irretitus Fesol
were stunning, disturbing, intense, and, in one case, more than a bit erotic. And, in this regard, this was the Cell truly embodying its highest
form - that of a venue for performance art of a nature strange and sensual, deviant and delightful, haunting and perhaps a bit horrifying.This is where we get to what some might consider to be "bad news" - due to the nature of its content, the Cell is choosing to become an invitation-only salon for the time being. Word is that invitees will be able to bring a single guest and that only by being brought a few times will said guest become a potential invitee to future Cell events.In some ways this concerns me, for fear that this mostly-closed circle may result in the Cell losing a portion of its audience (some of whom are just "friends and family" of the performers). In others, though, I agree with Madame Anaid's reasoning and decision - as I suggested above, this last installment really waded into some fairly intense territory that may not really be palatable to those unused to or unprepared for the types of performance that the Cell seeks to make available.
Also, the comfort of the performers is absolutely paramount and, in many ways, this is as much for them as it is for unintended audience members. Ultimately,
I applaud Madame Anaid's daring, extend my support, and hope for the best.That said, I will be removing information about the locations and times of installments of the Cell.
This will not preclude me from mentioning the artists or even offering my experiences on this blog, of course, but really, that can only wet the tongue to see that actual performances in person (at least, that is, if I'm doing my job correctly).
If you are interested in attending future Cell performances, I recommend finding an acquaintance among the invitees who is willing to initiate you into this lovely mystery cult that seems to be in the making.For something in that actual "bad news" category: it sounds like Sacramento's Asylum, one of the longest running goth clubs in the area (
running nearly as long as Death Guild), may
be closing up shop within a few weeks. There hasn't been an actual "official" confirmation yet (supposedly that's set for this Sunday), but DJ Bryan Hawk
and a few people "in the know" have made statements suggesting that this is definitely the case - at least at its current venue.As we've seen, the club scene for us goth and industrial kids is often fluctuating and shifting as time goes on. Many good clubs and bad have vanished even in the short nearly-year-and-a-half that SFGothic has been around, and others have come into existence to replace them (and some have even been reborn).But Asylum was Sacramento's "Death Guild". It was the weekly club out on the eastern end of California.
So it carries a bit more of a "holy fuck" element to it.Some folks have already begun casting aspersions about the local darklings "not supporting" Asylum enough, which I do feel is more than a bit unfair. Especially since what might actually be at issue is the venue choosing to drop them or even the resident DJs just being tired of managing it any longer.
Or, gods forbid, maybe the economy is still just doing its damage to the things we love (partly due to it stripping us, the clientele, of the finances that make hitting a favored event viable).Unfortunately, this is, at thi
s point, all just idle speculation. I may try to head out there myself tomorrow night to see if I can get the low-down.Ultimately, I hope for the best for my fellow darklings in the capitol
. And, with time and if Asylum is truly down for the count, perhaps another "central" club will arise from the ashes... and there's a good chance that Asylum itself will be reborn like the proverbial phoenix to re-take its own place.But, until that time, it's a bit depressing.-- Mr. M.
"Some are born mad.
Some achieve madness.
Others have madness thrust upon them."
-- Emilie Autumn, "Girls! Girls! Girls!"Artist(s): Emilie AutumnAlbum: Fight Like a Girl
That glorious goth-pop deviant diva strikes again with her latest album release.My Thoughts:
I was first acquainted with the music of Emilie Autumn sometime back in 2010 with her Opheliac
album that sort of took the goth-pop world by storm.The best way I've been able to describe
her singing is: "she's what you'd get if Tori Amos and Annie Lennox had a mad-science love-child who would occasionally forget everything she'd ever been taught about singing and musical theory from her mothers."And once I got to see her perform live, I realized I needed to add in the codicil of: "Oh, and she studied performance and art at the University of GaGa."
While you might think
that these sound like criticisms, they're really not. I honestly consider them to be some amazing endorsements (especially considering that I put so much time and thought into trying to conceptualize that whole origin story in my head... I don't spend this much time thinking about things I don't really enjoy).
So with the release of Fight Like a Girl
, I was pleased to see that Ms. Autumn kept enough of what attracted me and so many others in the first place to maintain a sense of musical continuity. But I was also pleased to see that she delved into even deeper and darker territory than she did in Opheliac
. She's embraced the "Victorian mad-woman" persona, and, while the extremity of the topic might appear
dated, much of it is actually quite a timely criticism concerning the still-rampant stigmatization of women and the mentally ill despite our supposedly "modern sensibilities".Though that might be me reading entirely too much into the motives of someone who just likes to make beautifully dark and disturbing music.Highlights: Fight Like a Girl strikes me as almost a concept album, in the vein of Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime and Styx's Kilroy Was Here. There's a distinct sense of there being an underlying story to the progression of the music throughout the album - though the actual story itself isn't entirely clear. Of course, that sort of makes sense when we're talking about madness and insane asylums, so maybe it really is a concept album in the true sense and I just haven't listened enough to really pick it out yet.
My favorite selections from the album consist of:
"Take the Pill" - a slightly industrial piece channeling the most "Annie Lennox" elements of Ms. Autumn's musical persona. Some pretty intense targeting of the modern "pill culture", highlighting the growing "take this mind-altering pill to treat the side-effects of this other
psychotropic pill" and the lack of questioning of the so-called "experts" who just keep prescribing more medications."Girls! Girls! Girls!" - No, this isn't a cover of the classic Motley Crue song of the same name (though, I'll admit to hoping for that a little). More of a carnival-esque ditty mocking of the
old "circus freakshows" with the "freaks" being women committed to an asylum for things ranging from actual mental illness to such troublesome issues as free thinking and sexual desire (the deviants!
).Final Thoughts: A fine album taking
a darkly sarcastic poke at a lot of truly disturbing topics. As I mentioned before, there seems to be a highlighting of some still extremely
archaic views in modern culture concerning women and mental illness.That being said, Ms. Autumn doesn't let the subject matter interfere with the wit and elegance (and sometimes shock) of her presentation.
So if you really enjoyed Opheliac
but wanted a little more coherence, Fight Like a Girl
delivers a much more solid and still darker presentation than the previous album. Which, being me, is exactly what I was glad to hear.P.S. Emilie Autumn is performing in both Oakland and Sacramento in October (the 17th and 18th, respectively). It looks like the regular pre-sale tickets are sold out, but it seems some of the VIP packages are still available for those with unnatural urges (and enough spare cash). Check out the One-Time Events page
for a link to get the most updated details.-- Mr. M.