doktorjohn.com

New Dark Age – Feb 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn February 5, 2020 @ 3:17 pm

Aenthology 2010 – 2020
Aeon Sable

Assembled to celebrate the somewhat chaotic ten years during which Aeon Sable has risen to international renown, Aenthology 2010-2020 contains nine of their best-loved works – re-mastered with the latest technology — plus a new, unreleased track. I.e., the opening track, “Oblivion,” is a 10-minute, apocalyptic dirge – deliriously melodious with an hypnotic and increasingly compelling rhythm that seems to rise, like a growing threat, out of the chaotic ambient and spoken word that initiates the track.

This is followed by nine tracks drawn from their spectacular body of work , self- and best- described as “a soundtrack for dark souls.” It’s nearly impossible to single any one or two tracks as standing out from this consistently treasure-worthy collection. The second track, “Follow the Light,” the third, “Burn For Salvation” and the sixth, “Visions,” exquisitely embody Aeon Sable’s special gift for creating the uneasy pleasure that compels dark souls to either reverie or dancefloor abandon. If I were to choose one track for instant appeal it would perhaps be the seventh, “Dancefloor Satellite,” a six-minute dose of dark energy that will prove irresistible when played in goth nightclubs and events. On the other hand, the final track, “Praying Mantis,” accomplishes the same but in a totally distinct fashion.

Did I mention the intelligent, challenging and poetic lyrics? There’s so much to be said about the entrancing music – vocal, instrumental and structural ¬– that it’s possible to overlook the profound thoughts – philosophical – and multi-lingual – expressed in virtually each and every track. Aenthology 2010 – 2020 provides over an hour of gloomy rapture, featuring hypnotic rhythms, wide-ranging vocals and creative instrumental styles that capture the magic of goth rock. The album provides a deep, dark ambience for dance or simply for listening pleasure.

This album is available as CD or digital download Bandcamp or through Aeon Sable’s website/Facebook page. So is Aeon Sable’s entire discography, a treasure-trove of goth rock.


Jan 10 2020

Damian and Erik Aengel’s dual birthday Celebrations

Friday Jan 10 marked a special night at QXT’s, Newark NJ’s classic goth/punk/industrial dance club. Both Entertainment manager Damian Plague and noted DJ Erik Aengel were celebrating birthdays.
Both received canvas prints from Doktor John’s Studio, shown below, receiving their birthday presents directly from New Dark Age itself.

Portrait of Robert Smith looking over birthday boy Damian’s shoulder

Damian Plague is of course the entertainment manager and events promoter for the notorious and unique underground club, QXTs. In addition, he serves as one of the top staff deejays at that legendary institution. His history with Q’s goes back a long way in fact into the 90s. His relationship with the club is so integral to Damian’s identity that he can boast having actually lived inside the multilevel venue during his professional development. More interesting places Damian has inhabited include the Netherlands, Belgium and the German city of Bayreuth, epicenter of Wagnerian Opera from Wagner’s time up to today.

His travels and years-long residence in these countries served him well when he was called upon by German “death art” band, Das Ich to serve as a keyboardist. That relationship has continued over the years, and as a result you may note from time to time that Damian is absent from the scene. In that situation it is likely that he is on tour with Das Ich either in Europe or here in the USA.

Damian was also associated with the long gone and sadly missed record fan store, Cafe Soundz, in Montclair NJ. This gave him exposure to and coaching from some of the top DJs in NYC who relied on the Soundz to find the latest and best music, whether vinyl or CD. With all this on his resumé, its no wonder that Damian is the top level contact for such international acts as Covenant, Assemblage 23, Hocico and the like. Belated Happy Birthday, Damian!

DJ Erik Aengel beholding a portrait of Ian Curtis


Also honored the night, DJ Erik Angel was observing his 40th birthday. Brooklyn-born and much sought-after for his curator skills as a knowledgable DJ , Angel started immersing himself in the scene as early as age 14. He’s extra tall, and at 14 he might well have passed for 16 or 18. He spent the 90s soaking up the post punk music scene. At first he got a position as a promoter for the Bank and later the Batcave where he started guest-doing for Patrick in Oct 2000.
By now a regular among the four top DJs who provide the dance-scape at Necropolis, having been part of that venerable party night since it was called Necromantic. Aengel has deejayed over a hundred parties in 8 states and two countries. He’s thinking of doing a 20th anniversary celebratory tour this year.
As is customary, cake was served alongside the hard and soft drinks at QXT’s bar, and music from both these two celebrants and their deejay colleagues continued to pour into the festive ambience of all three dance-spaces of the club.

It’s not that far off, and it’s time to clear your calendars March 27 – March 29 for

Past years’ experience with darekside has been nothing short of spectacular. More about Darkside will be forthcoming in future issues of New Dark Age.

New Dark Age January 2020 (continued)

Filed under: live music,Movies,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 22, 2020 @ 3:04 am


Dracula 2020 – the BBC and Netflix Series

The BBC miniseries – actually trilogy – that debuted on Netflix this January is a worthy retelling of the classic Bram Stoker gothic novel for a myriad of reasons. Without going into actual spoilers, it is possible – and my intention – to examine this “nth” reiteration of one of the best loved and most disturbing stories that set the standard for gothic tales, looking for unique contributions it makes to the vast output of Dracula cinema.

Like all movie versions of Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, from the 1931 Bela Lugosi Universal Studios classic to the nearly one hundred motion picture versions, it derives its story from the original novel, while taking liberties to satisfy the filmmakers’ urge for creativity or to express poetic license or merely to lay a claim to some elements of originality. The trick has been – and many have succeeded at it – to stay true to the core elements of Bram Stoker’s book while paying respect to the character that Bela Lugosi created without being imitative to the point of caricature. To do otherwise – and some have done so – is to invite scorn, ridicule and failure. This involves walking a tightrope between the book’s portrayal of a demonic cadaver dwelling in a coffin in Transylvania and Lugosi’s suave, Central European aristocrat. The Netflix series succeeds at this.

A praiseworthy feature of this trilogy is that it honors Bram Stoker’s format of retelling the story in “epistolary” form, i.e. in broken-up narratives derived from diaries, letters, ship‘s log, memoranda and the like, but it does so in cinematic form.
The first episode “Rules of the Beast” provides an utterly dismal yet fascinating narrative of poor Jonathan Harker’s encounter, imprisonment, victimization and eventual destruction by Dracula. A sort of connecting thread, or recurring character introduced is that of a fly, whose unpleasant presence appears again and again – on window panes, on people, and – most disturbingly – on Harker’s eye as he is being interviewed by a Catholic nun named Van Helsing, who will prove to be Dracula’s nemesis and situational companion. Elements of Catholicism have always been a part of the Dracula story, and this trilogy is true to the tradition. Also introduced is Harker’s fiancée, Mina, who – as in the book and the countless retellings – becomes a particular target for Dracula’s bloodlust. Harker’s character – an undead victim of Dracula’s contagion- lays out the prototype for the state of being undead in a way that is uniquely explicit in this series.

This first episode goes a long way to creating an expansion of the Dracula world by way of introducing a whole population of box-contained “undead” in varying degrees of decomposition – begging for release. Thus the zombie trope is added to the vampire story, while intersecting with the terrible predicament of premature burial, popularized in writings of Poe. In so doing, the series has contributed another dimension to the lore of vampirism.

Yet another contribution that this series makes is to expound the effecting in which Dracula’s drinking of blood results in his absorbing the knowledge, experience and – if he chooses – personal qualities of his victims, something not included in other Dracula tales. I.e. he learns to act like a fine Englishman by drinking Harker’s blood. Thus, the subtitle “Blood is Lives.”
The second episode, “Blood Vessel,” tells a previously unexplored story of Dracula’s voyage on the sailing ship the Demeter to be transported from Transylvania to England along with a coffin containing his native soil, an essential ingredient in the folklore of vampires. Most other stories have skipped over this period, simply reporting the mysterious deaths of the crew at the end of the ship’s passage. In this second entry in the trilogy, the ending of the passage is quite different and unique. No spoilers will be disclosed here.

Without apologies or detailed explanation, it can be reported that the third episode, “Dark Compass,” brings Dracula – and a niece of Sister Van Helsing – into the 21st Century. There and then he pursues the fearless-of-death Lucy Westenra, as in previous retellings. As disconcerting as it might seem to purists, the 21st Century action works to expound much about the icon that may have been overlooked. He is explained to be a hedonist – whose pursuit of immortality has been in order to prolong his pleasures and epicurean delights is expressed and explained quite explicitly. He longs to see the sun after centuries of avoiding it. He has (irrational?) fears of the cross and of light and – above all – death, an obsessive fear he shares with most of mankind. And he has been – ironically and paradoxically ¬– shackled, for ages, by the superstitious peasant folklore which he has imbibed from countless Transylvanian victims, at least some of which proves to be totally false.

The series succeeds because it meets fans’ desires to see consistency and continuity with the essential features contained in the book and the classic cinema, elaborating them creatively and adding interesting tangential elements without detracting from the traditional and venerated story.

Peter Murphy

Jan 20, 2020
Le Poisson Rouge

Goth rock icon Peter Murphy reprised his famed residency at Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge on Monday, January 20, picking up the thread with a “Greatest Hits” night that ran a little over an hour and half, performing 17 songs from his vast repertoire.

Peter Murphy on stage at Le Poisson Rouge

First up was a torch singer, Vinsantos,
self-described “New Orleans-based
Drag Musician, Performance Artist and Queer Witch,” with a remarkable voice, a creative keyboard style and over-the-top drag-queen costume and make-up.


Peter Murphy came on around 9 p.m. and opened with an extended, electronically-enhanced and slightly discordant version of “Cascade” off the album of the same name – his fifth studio album and thus legitimately considered to be the epochal mid-point of his solo career. He then went on to “All Night Long,” with its unmistakable introductory, persistent wooden xylophone riff, from his second album, “Love Hysteria.”

He continued with “Marlene Dietrich’s Favorite Poem” and then a funky, almost unrecognizable version of “Deep Ocean Vast Sea” both from the third album Deep (1989). Then it was on into the Holy Smoke (1992) album for “The Sweetest Drop.”
“Lion,” from his last album of the same name isn’t heard very often. That album was the only one passed over during the August residency. It was followed by the much more popular “Socrates the Python,” with its undulant, leisurely pace and mysterious mantra, “Bennett, Gurdjieff, Jesus.”

The eight song – the halfway point in the set – “Gaslit” is from the Secret Bees, an EP that was a spin-off of – but not included in – the Ninth album (2011). Next came the much loved ”The Prince and Old Lady Shade” which was, however, included in Ninth.
Peter continued his well-established practice of joshing with the audience during several noteworthy exchanges. Early on he assured the crowd that he was “definitely NOT an icon,” while implicitly assuming the role of icon. There’s common and frequent speculation regarding just how big this “icon’s” ego is, and he teased a bit when he expressed the opinion that “these lyrics are brilliant” in reference to, I believe it was “Deep Oceans.”

Whether it was intentional or thoughtless, Peter let the microphone stand far away from his mouth during talks with the audience, rendering much of the patter inaudible to all but the front two or three rows of spectators. When heckled about it by farther away audience members – those unable to hear what he was saying – he continued speaking in low, intimate tones that perhaps only the closest five or ten people could hear. The heckling continued but to no avail.

“Subway” from Cascade was a most welcome return to Peter’s beloved, melodious oeuvre and was sung in a faithful-to-the-original style.This was followed by “Disappearing” from he same album and “A Strange Kind of Love” from Deep. “His Circle Meets Hers” and the raucous “Low Room” drew up to the final song of the main set, his all-time favorite and most requested song, “Cuts You Up.”

After a short break he returned with the lullaby, “Huuvola,” accompanied by his silver-voiced daughter, Hurihan. The concluding song of the night was “Hangup” from Lion, during which he repeatedly implored the listener to “hang up the phone! ” while echoing the name of Turkey’s most famous ancient edifice, the magnificent cathedral-museum “Hagia Sofia.”

This night was billed a night of “Greatest Hits,” but I would prefer to see it as Peter Murphy’s own personal favorites. Entries from Lion and “Secret Bees of the Ninth” hardly qualify as having “Greatest Hits” status among fans in terms of sales or requests. But they might have special meaning to Peter himself. For those fans who love the melodious, rhythmic selections like “Indigo Eyes” and “Hit Song” this set was a disappointment, since the emphasis was on funky, discordant, Bauhaus-like dissonance – not only the songs chosen, but in the manner of delivery ¬– of even the most romantic selections in the set. A
He had a cold to start off with, and all the chatter in which he engaged revealed that his voice had become quite hoarse and gravelly. His singing however, suffered little if at all, and his commitment to putting maximum effort into every note continues to be fulfilled, even after having suffered a heart attack late last year during the residency that he is now completing.

NEW DARK AGE Early January 2020

Filed under: Live Music,Movie Reviews,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 13, 2020 @ 3:39 am

Wozzeck

We attended a “live-from-the-Met” cinematic broadcast of the much acclaimed Metropolitan Opera production of Wozzeck with music and libretto by Alban Berg on January 11. It was also scheduled to be repeated in local theaters that carry such events on January 16. It is an extraordinary operatic work by one of the most modern of 20th century composers, famed representative of the “Second Viennese School” an early 20th century musical movement noted for atonality with elements of late Romantic Influence. Think: Beethoven off-key.

It is based on a play that was itself based upon real life events that took place in 1821 and were publicized when a despondent and exploited war veteran, (real name Woyzeck) murdered his unfaithful girlfriend and was executed, leaving their child orphaned. In Berg’s opera, Wozzeck dies by drowning himself as he seeks to flee accusations and to destroy evidence.

This woeful mess is rendered dismal and pitiful not just by way of the lyrics and the somber music, but by an hallucinatory production by South African animation-film artist William Kentridge. The dismal and apocalyptic sets and scenery are continuously worked, enhanced, altered and heightened by projected images of loosely drawn, illustrations and suggestive figures, usually but not only black and white – sometimes still and sometimes animated. At times the projected image creates the entire backdrop as, e.g. a cityscape. Other times it takes the form of a screen or an ever-changing poster. The effect is phantasmagorical.

One advantage of the live-from-the-Met, HD transmitted version, is that the viewer benefits from camera cinematography that zooms in on singers and follows action when appropriate.

Even if one has not had the opportunity to see this spectacular production either live or in cinema, it would be well to take note of the elements contained in this report and to keep an eye and an ear open for other works by these gifted artists for future reference.

May 2019 NEW DARK AGE

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 5, 2019 @ 2:13 pm

New Dark Age March 2019

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 20, 2019 @ 11:24 pm

Necropolis Attendees

M Banshie and Sean Templar with portrait

Ashley Bad enjoying sitting with Chloe Alexis at Necropolis

Adorns on stage at the Red Party

DJ Glenn Maryansky and host DJ Sean Templar at the Red Party

Wave Gotik Treffen (WGT 2018) Handbrotzeit

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 27, 2018 @ 3:13 am

This was a scene in a courtyard outside Taubchental in Leipzig during Wave Gotik Treffen

Oil on canvas 16″ X 20″

NEW DARK AGE – July 2018

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,live music,Movies,New Dark Age Monthly,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn July 3, 2018 @ 9:00 am


Das Ich Besucht Amerika

STIMULATE
at St. Vitus/ QXT’s
Brooklyn/Newark

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Satanik Germanic
Hanzel und Gretyl

New Dark Age – June 2018

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn June 27, 2018 @ 10:06 pm

2018

General Information

The world’s greatest festival of Goth culture takes place in Leipzig, Germany, during 5 days leading up to the Monday of Pentecost that follows Easter by 40 days. Wave Gotik Treffen begins on the Thursday and concludes on that Monday, which is an official holiday In Germany. Leipzig is an ancient city, a traditional commercial center since the Middle Ages, rich in European history, art, music and architecture, boasting famous medieval churches, two grand opera houses, ancient and modern town squares, the oldest restaurant in Europe and countless museums, music halls, cafes and entertainment establishments.

Attendees at WGT have to resign themselves to the fact that they will only be able to catch and enjoy a tiny fraction of the vast array of entertaining and educational experiences that the festival offers. This report is based upon our hectic experience in trying to see and do as much as humanly possible during the five-day festival.

The central theme of WGT is music. Although Post Punk, Goth and Industrial are the main agenda, dark electro, experimental, classical, baroque, opera, chamber music, church organ, folk, world, variety, modern dance, ballet and cabaret are all presented. Performances number in the hundreds. There are around thirty music venues, big and small, some of which have multiple spaces within, such as the fortress-like multilevel stronghold, Moritzbastei or the cavernous Agra. In addition to the massive music hall, Agra also contains a huge shopping mall where items of clothing, costumes, fetish accessories, footwear helmets, headdresses and the like are for sale. One of the great delights of the festival is to stroll through this section browsing and occasionally succumbing to make purchases of unique items. It also contains an ongoing exhibition featuring grotesque works of explicit art.

Besides standard music venues, there are churches, parks, theaters, restaurants, cemeteries, hotels, monuments, and even ancient ruins that serve as attractions and performance spaces, hosting exhibitions, lectures, films, shows and presentations. There are around ten participating museums to which there is free access for attendees ranging from fine art to Egyptian to a museum documenting the activities of the secret police, the Stasi, during the Cold War era of Communist domination of East Germany, the DDR. Even the main train station hosts opening events and concerts.

In addition to brochures outlining the many venues and participating institutions, and an exquisitely illuminated hardcover program book, there is an extremely helpful smartphone app that presents the entire schedule, lists the artists and the performances, providing samples of the music at each event and directions on how to get to each venue. Public transportation is free to WGT attendees wearing their identifying wrist bands.
Festivities began with welcoming parties at Moritzbastei, the multilevel complex very near the town center and other venues on Thursday May 17, the night before official opening of the festival. Free entry to the various museums also became available that day.

A nice place to ease into the WGT scene is the Absintheria Sixtina, a friendly bar that is open 24 hours a day and features a small menu of beers and wines, but over 250 types of absinthe and a near infinite variety of cocktails derived from them. One afternoon we sampled some absinthe while a rock band, Nietzsche and the Wagners, performed on the small indoor stage. Outdoors, in back of the bar is a yard where beverages bratwursts and similar fare are served at tent-covered picnic tables.

Performances and Events

Victorian picnic

On Friday things got serious. That afternoon we attended a massive gathering of thousands of festival-goers, with a sprinkling of tourists and local gawkers gathered at the Clara Zetkin Park for the annual Victorian Picnic. Participants wearing their finest appropriately-themed attire settle in groups on blankets to socialize and dine in highly civilized fashion from picnic baskets while around them is a promenade of costumed strollers wearing Gothic styles ranging from Victorian, Steampunk and Baroque to the most outlandish sci-fi, fantasy and fetish outfits.

By the time we found our way to Taubchenthal, a large music hall with a resort-like courtyard and surrounding food stands, the Beauty of Gemina, a Swiss gothic rock band was underway and sounded fantastic. The venue was so packed, however, that the crowd couldn’t enter, blocked the entrances and milled about outside, unable to get in and see the stage. We met up and socialized with our New York celebrities, Sean Templar, Matt V Christ and glamorous Serena Goss while sampling the local fare.

Boy Harsher

From there we headed over to see dark electro duo Boy Harsher at the Stadtbad, a large building that had once been an enclosed official public swimming pool now paved over and serving as a music hall. This dark electronic duo, with roots in the US South mesmerized us with Augustus Muller’s minimal dance beats and grinding synths and with Jae Matthews’s eerie, ethereal vocals.

At 11 pm we caught the avant-garde, neofolk (or “apocalyptic folk”) combo, Rome, out of Luxembourg. Singer-songwriter Jerome Reuter plays acoustic guitar while crooning deliciously morose, and poignantly poetic, English-language lyrics in his emotionally-wrenching baritone, supported by emphatic percussion and occasional industrial samples.

Oomph! on stage at Agra

Things really got rolling on Saturday down at Agra. Having taken the twenty-minute tram ride it takes to get from Leipzig town center down to Agra, we were treated to the onstage performance of German industrial hard rockers, Oomph! whose bombastic style enthralled the crowd with high-energy, Rammstein-style rock. The audience revealed their devotion to Oomph! by knowing and lip-syncing the lyrics to most of Oomph!’s songs, while frontman Dero Goi energetically led the crowd like a conductor as he sang in clear, perfectly enunciated German and in English.

Oomph! was followed by Canadian electro-industrial originals, Front Line Assembly, whose underplayed performance fell below our expectations.

The reward for the night came with Norse ceremonious, traditionalist ensemble, Wardruna, whose grandiose use of ancient instruments and solemn chanting enraptured listeners with ominous percussion and pompous horns that are recognizable to those who are familiar with their soundtrack contributions to the series “Vikings.” Great music by which to burn witches!

Arcana at Kirchenruine performing at Wave Gotik Treffen

On Sunday we took the 12.5 km (a 25 Euro cab ride) to an event at Kirchenruine Wachau, the magnificent, still-standing ruins of a gothic-style church, the interior of which has been entirely gutted to serve as a meeting place and music venue. Tall, ivy-overgrown stone walls bearing the remaining framework of pointed-arch cathedral windows towered over the crowd and the Swedish neo-classical, darkwave band, Arcana. The audience was tightly crowded into the capacious space under a blistering sun. Peter and Cecilia Bjärgö, supported by guitar, percussion, keyboards and backup singers, took turns thrilling those within and those gathered in gardens and cemetery grounds outside the walls of the church ruins. Medieval, ecclesiastical and oriental style songs were sung – mainly in English – creating a transcendent, otherworldly atmosphere that was both somber and uplifting.

Afterwards, back at the Stadtbad we caught three great EBM/industrial acts back to back. Spark!, from Sweden featured a lovably clownish duo whose irresistible, compelling music caused a wild mosh pit to form. Next, Sturm Café continued in the same style, but darker and even more furious. The third was an original industrial pioneer, Belgium’s Vomito Negro, whose delightfully nasty, deep bass beats and vicious, repetitive lyrics were perfectly matched by creepy, projected video images.

De/Vision at Agra

On Sunday evening, the next to last day of the festival, German 2-man synthpop group De/Vision took the stage at Agra, and it was a welcome experience to hear Steffen Keth’s smooth and pleasing vocals as he belted out songs with inspirational and positive lyrics.

During late mornings and early afternoons we took the opportunity to visit museums and galleries. The Egyptian Museum (Aegyptisches Museum) had extraordinary pieces, grand and small. The most remarkable of these was a perfect cast of a Mesopotamian stone column bearing the text of the legendary Code of Hammurabi, carved into the stone in cuneiform script.

On Monday the last day we toured a local gallery where one section featured acrylic paintings with mildly transgressive imagery and another, more secluded section, displayed small, life-size and larger sculptures representing female genitalia, some crafted in metal to serve as costume jewelry such as pendants and brooches.

Composer Felix Mendelssohn’s Leipzig home has been preserved as a museum of his life and work. It is not an official, free-admission item in the WGT festival, but was well worth the small charge for a visit that shed light upon this remarkably gifted human being. Mendelssohn’s masterful paintings and drawings came as an unexpected surprise to those of us who only knew of his great musical compositions. In previous years we have toured Leipzig’s spectacular Johann Sebastian Bach Museum, which likewise is a non-participant, therefore , requires a small admission fee.

The last night at Agra provided a sensational experience which included Dutch band Grendel, whose thunderous EBM style was electrifying, highlighted by superb, savage vocals. They were followed by Floridians, God Module, whose pitch-dark, demonic growling vocals, grim themes and pounding rhythms were occasionally spiced with cinematic samples and grisly backdrop videos. For lovers of this kind of entertainment, this provided the perfect conclusion to the five day festival.

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera
The Majestic Theater
NYC 2018

Although Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” premiered in the U.K. in 1986, it made its Broadway debut in 1988, making this year its 30th anniversary in the States and the 30th anniversary of winning the Tony Award for Best Musical. It is arguably the most successful work of gothic-themed-mainstream-crossover performance art ever, as it continues to extend the longest run of any show on Broadway.

It is based on the long out-of-print, Gaston Leroux novel (1909). It shares, with other stories of the gothic genre, the theme of a flawed, demonic-yet-sympathetic villain who threatens to corrupt an innocent woman. The time setting places the action in the turn-of-the-century world of Steampunk. The gothic status of the work is established early when in a parody of a scene from the opera “Hannibal,” a diva strides to the front of the stage displaying a decapitated head with simulated blood dangling from it. As in most gothic drama, there is a suspicion of the villain’s having supernatural powers, but his ability to appear and disappear is explainable as theater tricks and pranks of a deranged but focused mind. A piano plays by itself. He employs his “Punjab lasso” to ensnare and kill with lightening agility. The final resolution of the love triangle that constitutes the plot is both touching and tragic.

This musical leads – and has eclipsed – a long list of works of literature and drama that are definitely categorized as horror. The vast scope and depth of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation goes farther than any prior versions, including Lon Chaney Sr’s famous silent movie; the 1943 Technicolor motion picture with Claude Rains; the Hammer production from 1962; Dario Argento’s Italian movie; as well as a musical by Ken Hill who wrote English lyrics to the music of classical and opera composers. Some have suggested that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score can be classed as rock music, and at least one aria, “Point of No Return” has a rhythm that fits the description. But not all goth is rock and not all rock is goth. Certainly the heavy, minor key melodies place the score of “Phantom” music into the category of gloom and melancholy.

Thus, despite the overwhelming mainstream success and acceptance of “Phantom of the Opera,” it seems appropriate to place it squarely in the pantheon of Goth Icons.

Disorder at the Red Party

On Saturday, May 12th , The Red Party presented the 10th Annual Joy Division party at Mercury Lounge! Called The Atrocity Exhibition, there was live music at Midnight, Back on stage was Disorder, “A Tribute to the Sounds of Joy Division.” This edition of the Red Party served as a pre-Wave Gotik- Treffen warm up party!
As usual the Red Party was hosted by the Red Queen, M Banshie Templar. As always it featured Goth, Post-Punk and DeathRock with special attention given to the music of Joy Division and wasserved up by DJs for the evening, Sean Templar, Jarek Zelazny and special annual guest, Frank Deserto, aka teardrop (The Harrow).

Excitement occurred when a disorderly (no pun intended) patron began to mess with the stage equipment, specifically the stand and cables serving the keyboard. Vocalist Mike Strollo proved up to the task of neutralizing the would-be vandal with one hand while still manning the microphone with one hand. Stage manager Pete Mele quickly removed the stage crasher, and with the assistance of yours truly, had him escorted from the premises.

The show went on without interruption and concluded with enthusiastic approval by the audience.

Florence Bullock of Glitbiter

Plague Productions
and NewRetrowave presented the second, two-day Human Music festival on Saturday may 26 and Sunday May 27 (the night before Memorial day) at QXT’s Nightclub in Newark, featuring line-ups of top listed, international artists who are prominent in the Synthwave scene.

Synthwave is the relatively new and post-millenial genre of music that distinguishes itself by emphasizing electronic, mechanistic, and computer-based sound, drawing heavily from the aesthetics of the 1980s and the sonance of popular music during that era. Thus analog synthesizer instruments and samples from video games, synthpop recordings and sci-fi film soundtracks are reintroduced, but updated to the 21st century sensibilities. Thus, the term “retrofuturistic” is applied. The emphasis is on rhythmic, danceable cadence with a fabricated, computer basis, in which the human participation is cyborg-like, almost a mere option, in support of the over-arching electronic entity. Calling it “human” seems to me to be ironic use of the term.

The opening performer on the first night was Glitbiter, a one-woman project of gifted vocalist Florence Bullock from L.A. Those who arrived early were treated to original and mesmerizing beats, ethereal melodies and operatically-trained vocals as well as the appealing stage presence of a stunningly attractive young woman. This set the stage for one spectacular band after another.

Korine’s androgynous look brought a New Romantic flavor to the Synthwave style and the Encounter was admirable in their mastery of the electronic instrumentals. Brooklyn-based Aeon Rings, just back from conquest of Wave Gotik Treffen, brought ferocious energy and dance-burner intensity to their performance. Protector enhanced the theatrical aspect by wearing a flying saucer-like helmet with laser light adornment that went further in emphasizing the predominance of sci-fi and computer electronics over flesh-and-blood participation.

[caption id="attachment_2763" align="alignnone" width="520"] Protector


Over the course of the evening, Neoslave, Betamaxx and headliner Timecop1983 turned in mind-blowing and energizing performances of equally enjoyable sight, sound and rhythm.

Time constraints made it impossible to attend the second day of Human Music 2, but reports are that the nine-band line-up of groups from the US, France and Mexico met with equal success and were as well received as those of the first night.

Goth Icons

Filed under: Goth Stuff,My Art,Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 23, 2018 @ 1:30 pm

The 2017 Series “Goth Icons” – a rogue’s gallery of fine characters who are admired in the Goth scene.

CAN YOU NAME THEM ALL?


April 2018 New Dark Age

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 18, 2018 @ 12:55 pm



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