-- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Busy! 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; and
2) 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 this 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.