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.
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.
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 --
- 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.