doktorjohn.com

New Dark Age — August 2018

Filed under: Goth Stuff,live music,Movies,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 6, 2018 @ 4:01 pm



Necropolis

This month’s edition of Father Jeff’s Necropolis truly lived up to its name by hosting an official book launch of Hippocampus Press’s “New York State of Fright,” an anthology of horror stories by NY authors featuring stories set mainly in and around NY.

Before the first music began , there were readings, book signings and trivia discussions. Then, after the first set of dance tracks, Windfall manager Chris Savo called a pause. Brooklyn horror author, Teel James Glenn, attired in tuxedo, manned the temporary podium and read a creepy, humorous vampire short story with an unexpected twist to great approval by the necropolis crowd.

Also in attendance was film director Jonathan Berman, visiting NYC for the premiere of his documentary about the UFO-cults of the 20th century, “Calling All Earthlings.”

Despite the heat, the humidity and the absence of numerous scene sustainers who were away in Ireland, Father Jeff and Patrick pulled off a rockingly successful episode of Necropolis with the assistance of DJs Joe Hart and TJ Lepore.

QXT’s Aug 3, 2018

Newark dance club, QXT’s nightclub hosted a free admission night called “2080” dedicated to 80s New Wave, Synthpop and Synthwave, at which DJs Ash and Damian Plague served up the requisite fare from 10 pm to 3 am the following morning. Heard was the softer stuff on which the crowd grew up like Depeche Mode, The Cure, Duran Duran plus Synthwave giants Lazerhawk and Dance with the Dead. About midway into the night, Damian concocted a beautiful mashup of Filter’s “Hey man, Nice Shot” and NIN’s “Closer” which set the dance floor into ecstatic frenzy.

Cabaret Voltaire


Cabaret Voltaire
Industrial Demos 1974 – 1976
Mataram Music (2018)

Cabaret Voltaire, the English industrial music pioneer group, formed back in 1973 before the era of digital media. Experimenting with cut-up technique, using audio tapes, sound samples, loops and the like, they introduced the world to a radical alternative to the conventional music based on rhythm and melody and helped create the industrial genre.

Still active in both performance and recording (although the personnel members have evolved) they just released a collection of their do-it-yourself works from the mid-70s entitled “Industrial Demos 1974-1976,” containing ten tracks from the era when they were musical icons of the Dada art movement. As far as I can tell, each of these have been released before amidst the myriad studio, live, remix, and compilation albums and numerous singles and EPs.

This album starts with “The Dada Man,” an erratically cadenced series of speeded up tape squeaks, metallic banging and sci-fi noises. The next track,“Ooraseal” has no recognizable rhythm and plays with vocal samples run backwards while an electronic chirp drones on. “A Sunday Night in Biot” features distorted, tinny vocals that pierce the waves of synthetic roars, beeps and burbles. The sound of a kazoo breaks in now and then.

“In Quest of the Unusual” is a brief piece that produces a chaotic wall of sound with clicks and snaps occurring without any regularity. Echoic roaring sounds and vocals are heard through the rhythmic, percussive “Do the Snake.”

“Fade Crisis” utilizes echoic, foghorn-like samples to create a spacy, faraway feel without anything resembling rhythm. “Doubled Delivery” is characterized by a double-speed marching cadence that is relentless, over which are layered synthetic burps and buzzes.

“Venusian Animals” is the track that most resembles the soundtrack of an early sci-fi thriller with loopy mournful electronica and sweeping wind-like noises. “The Outer Limits” falls into the same category but employs a painfully high-pitched drone behind the repetitive sound of a machine sloshing through an electronic swamp toward some remote destination.

The album concludes with “She Loved You,” an eight-minute largely empty track with sparse pounding sounds, backwards recorded voices and quiet blasts of synthetic growls and horns.

Credit where it’s due – this group took what limited technology was available and put it through every conceivable operation, thus helping open our minds to a new auditory experience that led to where we are now. It was more noise than music, but it served its historic purpose, and from it has flowed industrial, techno, electronic, EBM and more.
All these tracks can be accessed on Youtube.

Panic Lift


Panic Lift “End Process” 10 tracks
Metropolis Records

This is Panic Lift’s fourth album, released this Aug 24, two years after, “Skeleton Key.” There are ten tracks of essentially industrial electronic rock with elements of symphonic, synthwave and Linkin Park-like rap. It opens with an electro-industrial track that has interjected spoken word, The next several tracks contain some nice, melodious singing that alternates with harsh, hissing vocals, always to a compelling, rapid beat. Several tracks are at a slower, more moderately pace and feature eerie strings and hypnotic, synthetic arpeggios. Staticky voice samples make an occasional appearance setting a post-apocalyptic mood. Some of the electronica has a pseudo-aquatic, New Age feel even as it leads into a mechanized cadence and pleasant full vocal singing. Belching guitars form a frequent element that places the overall category of the album into hard, symphonic rock.

Sometimes the lyrics (all of which can be read on the included cover art) have an angry, accusatory sense, issued in a gravelly voice, but James Francis’s versatility is that he can switch to mellow crooning within the same track. The music is always inviting, pleasing to the ear as well as conducive to the dance floor. The appeal of this album was such that on first listening I was able to find each track immediately satisfying.

Panic Lift is on their “End Process” tour in support of this album.

Rated A
Beautifully brutal

The Ink Bats


The Ink Bats
“Loss”

The Oakland, CA-based Ink Bats are touring the West Coast in support of their nine-track 2017 disc,“Loss” and to promote the Youtube-accessible video of the album’s sixth track, “Caves.” The album starts right off with a rocking number with a driving beat and mournful, high-pitched wailing vocals. The pace slows a bit with the second track, but the beat is still compelling and vocals more controlled, though no less anguished. The third cut features a drawn-out, elongated electronic guitar droning and plaintive masculine vocals that evoke Fields of the Nephilim over a snappy cadence, The fourth track opens with an eerie, eloquent sample of a British patrician that contrast with the long instrumental intro and beautiful choral vocals supported by prominent drumming with – again – a driving rhythm.

By the fifth track begin to wonder if the Ink Bats are going to keep up the irresistible verve you have been listening to, and they succeed admirably. Luscious female vocals of rhythm guitarist Josie Dot have an operatic quality as they rise above accompanying mean-sounding instrumentation and male backup. Judge the deliciously dark sixth track, “Caves” yourself, by checking it out on Youtube. Rather than stand out above the other tracks, it rather epitomizes the richly textured gothic, PostPunk style of the rest of the album, which itself is a stellar entry into that beloved genre.

The last three tracks are three, four and five minutes long, respectively, and each presents a unique, work, consistent and well-situated within the traditions and conventions of the Goth Rock style. Except for the percussive elements, any of these ten tracks would make suitable soundtrack entries to mystery or horror cinema.
Find the album which is available via Bandcamp in digital download, on CD or even in vinyl edition, and don’t fail to check the “Caves” video on Youtube.

Cyborgs Among Us


Cyborgs Among Us (2017) 1:45 documentary

This film takes a serious look at the increasing interaction of humans with technology, with particular emphasis on implanted electro-magnetic and mechanical devices. The opening sequence seems, at first, to be a fantasy in which a young man with an antenna arising from the back of his head narrates his bizarre perception of the sights, sounds and aromas he experiences in a natural as well as urban environments. Shockingly, and amazingly, it becomes apparent as the narrative progresses, that he is in fact a real person, not an actor. Born without any color perception at all, he lived – prior to the implant – in a world of grays, blacks and whites. He had a real antenna surgically connected to his brain that allows him to experience the colors of the world – as well as electromagnetic wavelengths such as ultraviolet and infrared – in the form of sounds of different pitch and timbre. The implant collects colored light information and converts it to sound perception in his brain.

This is only one astounding example presented in this real-life documentary. A worker who lost his right arm in an accident is shown having had a high-tech, incredibly versatile arm connected to not only the remaining bone of his arm’s stump, but the actual nerves that allow him to control the movements, – some of them quite complex – of his elbow, wrist, hand and fingers – and to actually feel the touch and weight of objects he is handling!

Shown is a sort of Olympics of paralyzed and amputated individuals with devices that replace and/or augment their ability to ambulate, control artificial limbs and perform tasks.

A deaf gentleman who has had cochlear implants to restore hearing directly to the auditory area of his brain discusses the versatility of his sound perception, and the options it provides him to focus on various sounds, to filter out unwanted noise so that he can understand conversation in loud environments and to shut out sound completely when he chooses to do so.

The film turns to a workshop run by a small group of piercings-adorned cyberpunks who are engaged in high-tech body modification: the surgical implant of electronic devices into their hands and fingers that enable them to operate electrical sensors and devices and to perceive electromagnetic fields.

Finally the film calls attention to the growing political movement and in particular Mr. Zoltan Istvan, sometime-presidential candidate of the Cyborg Party, who expounds on his belief that immortality in some form or other will be coming soon as advances in technology make replacement parts and computer storage of brain functions a reality. The future – this film reveals – is now!
This film can be accessed on Amazon Prime and other sources.

Nico, 1988

“Nico,1988” (2017)
Written and directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli

Manhattan’s Film Forum held the US theatrical premiere of “Nico, 1988” – an unsentimental docudrama about the last years of punk-cultural icon, Christa “Nico” Päffgen. Model, singer, actress and Andy Warhol-designated celebrity, Nico gained recognizable status singing with the Velvet Underground on their 1967 debut album, “The Velvet Underground & Nico.” Prior to that she had been a model and had acted in Fellini’s classic “La Dolce Vita” and Warhol’s experimental film “Chelsea Girls,” roles earned in no small measure by her lanky 5’10” supermodel frame and exquisite, chiseled features. Musically, she is credited with a role in initiating both the punk and Goth-rock scene.

This movie is not about those joyful years of celebrity and triumph, but the sordid last couple of years, when Nico expressed violent objection to nostalgic attempts by interviewers and fans to reawaken those memories. Sometimes she even tried to reject the stage name Nico and demanded to be called by original name, Christa. Except when the need to finance her costly heroin addiction forced her to revive her chanteuse performances before rock music-thirsting fans in Italy and in Eastern Europe.

Danish actress Trine Dyrholm masterfully portrays Nico – aging, dissipated, hoarse from chain-smoking and booze, numbed with Methadone and hard stuff, reviving the stage persona that was Nico again.

We get a view inside her bitter decline during interviews and when she is interacting with her tour crew and her devoted, late-career manager, Rick, convincingly portrayed by Scottish actor John Gordon Sinclair.

The plot includes bizarre experiences touring in Italy and in dilapidated, police-state Eastern Europe. It shows her causing disillusionment of naive, nostalgic fans and making quick, necessary getaways from the law. It peers into the pathetic relationship she had with her estranged son. Thrown in are a couple of kick-ass, out-of-control and drug-infused band performances. Altogether it is a lurid story line that serves as a vehicle for spectacular, stirring acting and brilliant cinematic direction.

“Nico, 1988” acquaints the post-Millenial generation with an historic cornerstone personality from the countercultural 60s, as she coasts twenty years later into her final demise.

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 – APRIL 2018

Filed under: Art Reviews,Goth Stuff,Live Music,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn April 4, 2018 @ 10:54 pm

Annual Festival

Darkside of the Con 2

Billed as “North America’s 3-Day Dark Alternative Convention” and sponsored Jet Berelson’s online community and event-hosting network, Vampire Freaks, the second iteration of Darkside of the Con took place at – and took full control of – the Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, NJ, about midway between NYC and Philadelphia.

Many, if not most of the attendees at this three day, multi-event extravaganza took overnight rooms at the hotel, and wisely so, because there was an available swimming pool, late night activities, dance club events and unofficial parties late into the night. Impresario Jet was joined by famous deejays including Mike Saga, Aengl, V Christ , Annabell Evil, Swabby, End:The DJ, Sean Templar and Xris Smack in providing late night dance ambience.

The widely diverse agenda included six bands Friday the first night, nine bands Saturday the second night and six bands on Sunday morning. Such popular regulars of the scene as the Long Losts, The Rain Within, Ego Likeness, Disorder, Xentrifuge and Panzie were joined by others, equally popular, but too numerous to mention.

Panel discussions featured celebrity discussants as Sean Templar and Xris Smack among others. Topics discussed included every field of interest and inquiry pertinent to this community, including cosplay, gender issues, oddities, Wicca, vampirism, and “What the Hell is Goth?” Madame X hosted two meetings of the Iron Garden community discussing paranormal experiences and strange sightings. Bella Morte’s lead vocalist, Andy Deane succeeded in conducting group participation in extemporaneously writing a song that turned out with a sci-fi theme.

Fetish and handicraft workshops and ticketed, open-bar socializing parties were among the many activities in which attendees participated. A pool party took place on Saturday night. Vendors hawking corsets, masks, costume jewelry, accessories, toys and eccentric, crafted items contributed to the grotesque atmosphere.

Among the crazy entertainments there was a vampirish ballet in Victorian costumes called “The Burlesque Revue,” and a screening of “Little Shop of Horrors” simulcast alongside a live performance of the scripted action complete with life-size actors and hand puppets.

Xentrifuge on stage at Darkside of the Con 2

By far and away, the major attraction was the attendees themselves whose contribution was to provide the most gorgeous and extravagant outfits, costumes and make-up depicting every conceivable identity and persona that fit into the diverse agenda of the Gothic, punk and industrial world. Whether heavily armored in fishnets and leather or scantily exposed in bikinis and boots, the predominantly black-clad population of the dark underground community attained the heights of glamour, beauty and bizarre style. Photographers and mere onlookers stood in the corridors gaping in awe and admiration at the endless parade of beauty and outré fashion.

Darkside of the Con has achieved status as a convention on a scale similar and comparable to some of the major events that take place overseas. When I attend music and cultural gatherings in Europe, I am sometimes asked if there are like events in the States. It has been a long time coming, but now I can answer “yes.”

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Nights Out

Clan of Xymox
Brooklyn Bazaar and St. Vitus
Brooklyn NY
March 25 & 26, 2018

Metropolis Recording artists and Dutch dark wavers, Clan of Xymox performed at Brooklyn Bazaar on Sunday night, March 25 and again on Monday March 26 at St. Vitus, both Brooklyn venues. Tracing their origin to 1981, Xymox is famous for being early pioneers of the quintessential Goth sound. Their origin with iconic 4AD Records adds to their “cred.” presented by Mandana Banshee and Sean Templar’s Red Party they performed identical set list at both places.

We missed the first opening band but caught the dazzling keyboard-centered Decoded Feedback and the Skinny-Puppy-sound-alike Static Bloom, both of which bands would be well worth going to hear live just on their own.

Xymox started with the eerie, instrumental intro, “Days of Black,” then went into “Stranger” off their first, eponymous 1985 album. The eighteen song show included mainly entries representing depressing – seemingly intentionally depressing – tracks from their numerous recordings, e.g. the languid “Leave Me Be,” and the morose “Louise.”

They also performed the utterly secular “Hail Mary,” which is not to be confused with the well-known Catholic prayer, although both touch upon the issue of redemption. The relatively recent “In Love We Trust,” title track off a 2009 album of the same name, was the ninth and midway-through-the-set song. The decidedly industrial “A Day,” integrates a melodious minor key melody and plaintive vocal callings of Ronny Moorings with bursts of mechanized and rapid rhythm. It was followed by “Back Door” from the “Medusa” album just before the first break.

Encores included “Obsession” from Twist of Shadow the third full album and “Cry in the Wind” and “Farewell” from the post-millennial album of the same name. “Muscoviet Musquito” off the 1st, eponymous album 1985 opened the second set of encores. They concluded the final set of encores with the much-covered 60s mega-hit “Venus.”

Throughout the show there was an unconventional and fascinating use of handheld bright diode lights of various colors.

COX, founded by Ronny Moorings, Pieter Nooten and Anka Wolbert in the Netherlands in 1981, is now mainly Ronny Moorings. He is joined by Mojca, Mario, Sean & Daniel. Nooten and Wolbert are no longer associated with the band. Despite superficial similarities, COX is not to be mistaken for a cultural spin-off of the immensely more successful band, the Cure. While the Cure is known for dark, introspective music, they have stretched their repertoire to poppy, even jolly, major-key entries, experimenting with brass instrument accompaniment, Latin rhythms and more. The Clan sticks pretty much to the mission of providing reliably gloomy, minor-key and somber electronic works to please the fiercest adherents to Goth orthodoxy – whether rapid for dance or slow paced for a funeral. Ronny Moorings’s plaintive vocals express better than almost anyone else – the wounded feelings and existential complaints of Goths around the world.

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Stimulate

March 31, 2018


The premiere monthly music event Stimulate celebrated the birthday of its founder and chief promoter, Xris Smack to close out the month of March with a special edition featuring three live bands at Drom on Avenue A.

Panzie at Stimulate

The opening band was the Manson-esque group from NYC’s Lower East Side, Panzie, supporting their new album “The Joke’s on You,” and came complete with masks, make-up, balloons and a ferocious sound that contained elements reminiscent of Rage Against the machine as well as Rob Zombie. This certainly established a festive atmosphere for Xris’s birthday celebration.

The next two bands were from our home state of NJ. Metropolis Records hard rockers Panic Lift, supporting their recent releases, “The Poison Remains” and “From Blue to Black,” provided a welcome change to melodious, but heavy, guitar-based sounds with an industrial edge. Coming on late – very late – was the Cleopatra Records’ electro-industrial duo, Xentrifuge, whose harsh, mechanized and highly synthesized sound – drawn mainly from their new album, “Desensitized Parallels” – was a perfect apocalypse to put a top on Xris’s birthday event.

As is usual, there were gorgeous and exotic dancers joined by the even more gorgeous Ashley Bad whose green vinyl outfit riveted the gaze of onlookers and dance floor participants during between-the-acts sets provided by the stellar cast of deejays, including Father Jeff, Paradox, Joe Hart, Siren and the host, himself Xris Smack.

Beautifully under-dressed Nola Star shocked the audience with an act of self-inflicted piercing to provide Xris with some artfully-placed birthday candles to blow out.

DJ Paradox

Once again, Stimulate provided a night of over-the-top entertainment filled with great music and glamorous guests, both onstage and off.

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Lost in Echoes at

BerlinNYC @ The Pyramid
Manhattan
March 30, 2018

Lost In Echoes

Berlin is a “Goth, Industrial, Alternative NuWave (sic) Underground” music event held on select nights of the month at the popular Pyramid Club on Avenue A in the East Village. We attended on Friday March 30 both to investigate the dance club event and to see a performance by a new cover band, Lost In Echoes. To add incentive, Berlin was also hosting a quickly arranged art exhibit.

Painting by Victor Auton

Upon our early arrival in the famous downstairs basement space of the Pyramid – entry through the upstairs had cost us $8 each – we were greeted by host and deejay, Alex von Nihil, longtime veteran of the lower Manhattan scene. While he and his colleagues spun danceable tunes, we meandered about in the dim light, augmenting it with our phones’ flashlights, to inspect the remarkable paintings that had been -spontaneously and on short notice – churned out by Victor Auton in the preceding seven hours. Full of energy, frenzy and with highly suggestive imagery, they had both the feel of punk and that of a confident and accomplished artist.

When performance time came, the same Victor served as lead guitarist of Lost In Echoes. He was joined by vocalist Jorge Enriquez Obando, Diego on bass and Dyanne on drums.

What followed was a thoroughly entertaining set of new pieces and covers drawn from the tradition of goth and punk, starting with “Human Fly” by the Cramps. Obando imbued each lyric, each note with a mix of furor and punkish rage while still adhering to the most appealing qualities of the originals. “Alice” by Sisters of Mercy got exactly that treatment as did LIE’s original piece “Visions.”

A particular treat came when drummer Dyanne, a statuesque brunette, pulled a microphone close so she could take over lead vocals for a cover of Concrete Blond’s best song, “Bloodletting,” although I believe it caused her to break a drum pedal. This only enhanced the raw feel of the high energy show. A heated version of Bauhaus’s “Stigmata” and Peter Murphy’s “Final Solution” concluded the show.

Lost in Echoes at this point has a short-list repertoire but more than makes up for it in energy and dramatic delivery. In many ways, this cover band put on a show that was more entertaining than some highly polished and carefully rehearsed tribute bands. What Lost in Echoes showed above all else is the love and passion they have for the material and the tradition behind the music.

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Museums

David Bowie Is

Brooklyn Museum

March 2 – July 15, 2018

This exhibit has been on tour for 5 years and its last stop is here at the Brooklyn Museum. The exposition makes – and ultimately proves – the argument that David Bowie is the greatest rock star of all time. It also makes clear that throughout his career and certainly in the couple of years since he passed, David Bowie is a cultural icon whose persona serves as a symbol for our age.

Entry will cost you $25 on a weekend unless you’re a student with I.D. It’s a timed entry-situation, and we had to make it through 3 lengthy and long duration lines, the first to get tickets (50 minutes), the second to line up on the floor where the exhibit is housed (15 minutes) and the last one brief, to get into the spectacle itself. Bowie’s show is housed on the fifth floor, accessible by an elevator ride (after another line). I wouldn’t advise using the stairs because each floor is separated by two flights of steps, so your climb is 10 flights! No photos are allowed and cell phones must be in airplane mode.
And well worth all the trouble!

This is one of the most spectacular museum displays of all time, featuring almost countless items, artworks, costumes, video clips, giant-screen shows and historical artifacts and references. All the while the visitor is listening to narratives and to Bowie’s music via headphones that pick up the location-appropriate audio as one moves from station to station and room to room.

It isn’t possible to touch upon the myriad topics and presentations here. The unguided tour starts with his life history, from when he was born David Robert Jones in South London to his youthful interest in Beat poetry and Jazz. The situation in Britain at the time of his early artistic developments is outlined – from the economic disaster of post-World War II – to the socialist government that was supposed to remedy it – to young David’s exposure to Elvis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. The Beatles and the British Invasion paved the way for him as he began to explore song and dance and musical instruments. He was also drawing and painting, something he would dabble with all his life. One wall displays numerous line drawings he did in collaboration with Laurie Anderson. A tarot card deck of his design is on view.

In the early days first Bowie knocked around with unsuccessful blues and jazz groups before exploding on to the scene with Space Oddity in 1969, released five days ahead of the Apollo 11 space launch. While a visitor is reading about this, the music is pouring in through his or her headphones. The character of Major Tom is introduced, said to be both heroic and vulnerable, not to say sexually ambiguous. He is to reappear in “Ashes to Ashes,” “Hallo Spaceboy” and in “Blackstar.” The mock astronaut suit Bowie wore for the video is there on display.

What this exhibition reveals is Bowie as a unique entertainer who saw himself as a “One Man Revolution,” determined to define a signature style that underlies all the superficial variations of appearance and persona. Along with this, he maintained an interest in Buddhism, in mime and in literature. His bookcase is displayed, filled with exemplary titles of books that defined our modern world: “1984,” “A Clockwork Orange,” James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time” and “The Hidden Persuades,” etc.

There’s much display and explanation of Bowie’s costumes, make-up and personae. The iconic facial lightning bolt appears on the “Aladdin Sane” album and on a mask, but was never – we learn – worn in performance. Its zigzag design also appears on a costume coat, modifying the stripes of the British flag.

The outlandish, sometimes androgynous, and bizarre costumes are shown to be central to his personal style. Among them one will see the giant plastic tux that Bowie wore on an historic 1979 Saturday Night Live appearance with bizarre Bavarian performance artist Klaus Nomi. At that viewing area one will be simultaneously watching a video of the actual SNL TV show. This occasion marked a turning point in both his career and that of Nomi. Bowie was now mainstream. And Nomi subsequently appropriated that tux for his own future stage appearances.

Posters, kabuki and extravagant fashion magazine covers that influenced the aesthetics of Ziggy Stardust are framed for viewing, and notably included images without regard to any particular gender. Bowie allowed there to be confusion of his identity with that of Ziggy. In 1973 he temporarily retired Ziggy but revived him in his final threnody, “Blackstar,” which was released on his 69th birthday, two days before his death. Bowie took in influences from around the world, and chose from broader, more exotic sources than most.

There’s a “Periodic Table” of Bowie showing the hundred-plus influences, musical and otherwise, laid out like the familiar Periodic Table of the Elements. The exhibition gives due credit is to artists and designers who helped Bowie realize his artistic expression with album covers, costumes and the like.

Astonished attendees stand and gape, fascinated by the many high-tech audio-visual experiences at the exhibition. One of these is a large, mirrored alcove that puts on a dazzling pastiche of video art with accompanying, matching music, fragmentary yet unified. There are many opportunities to just stand and watch movie and TV clips sampling Bowie’s musical and acting careers. And there’s more – much more – to the exhibit than this report.

Do we have to say it? Bowie’s influence spreads farther and deeper than just the entertainment world. His fabulous good looks allowed him to juxtapose weird costumes and makeup while remaining irresistibly attractive and at the same time promoting gender ambiguity, preposterous appearance and implicit iconoclasm. It’s hard to imagine the individualistic appearances of today’s world of style, fashion and gender identity without recognizing the spin put on our world by David Bowie.

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Morbid Anatomy Library

Green-Wood Cemetery
Brooklyn NY

Goths and other denizens of the dark cultural scene can rejoice at the resurrection of one of – if not THE most beloved institution in the greater NY/NJ area, the Morbid Anatomy Library. After an all too brief and glorious two year run in Brooklyn’s Park Slope from 2014 to 2016, the Morbid Anatomy Museum closed its doors amidst much grieving by its devoted members and enchanted visitors.

It’s important to remember that the Museum had its origins in a smaller, less ambitious establishment called the Morbid Anatomy Library, which was founded in 2008 in Proteus Gowanus, and before that in 2007 in the Morbid Anatomy blog of founder Joanna Ebenstein.

The mission of examining and celebrating the intersection of “art, medicine, death and culture” goes on – and never really ceased. It is now headquartered in the historic and fitting edifice that is the Fort Hamilton Gate House of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

An open house at the new digs was held on Easter weekend March 31 and April 1. The dedicated core of Morbid Anatomy, namely artistic director Joanna Ebenstein and events coordinator and librarian Laetitia Barbier greeted guests and well-wishers on the second floor where recognizable artifacts from the original collection were on view and members of the press and other media were taking notes both days.

Downstairs on the first floor was an exhibit area, the centerpiece of which was the marvelous miniature diorama model of the fabled museum, lovingly and painstakingly built by Joel Schlemowitz. It shows both the iconic black exterior and the two main floors complete with breath-taking, detailed reproductions of furniture, architectural details and display articles. A video of the diorama can be viewed on Youtube under “Miniature Diorama of Morbid Anatomy Museum.”

The events-schedule of Morbid Anatomy continues. There is an ongoing Morbid Anatomy exhibition on artworks created with human hair at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. One can learn about and plan to attend or visit upcoming local lectures, exhibits and activities of the Morbid Anatomy community by following their page on Facebook or going to the Morbid Anatomy blogspot.

Congratulations and best wishes from New Dark Age!

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Recordings

The January Sessions – 1998
The Empire Hideous
Hideous Productions

Gothic metal band The Empire Hideous was active mainly between 1988 and 1998, although there were a few spurts of activity and a couple of CDs released in the post-millennium decade. Just before and in anticipation of the official breakup of the band in early 1998, EH went into the studio with their best-ever lineup of musicians and recorded their then-current set list, in a series of sessions. Early this year, on the 20th anniversary, the recording of those January sessions has been released, consisting of fourteen tracks, some of which had appeared on earlier albums, some that had only been heard live, and some that would find their way onto CDs released after the band had gone into hibernation.

In a sense, this collection represents the band at its mature peak of artistic achievement. The Empire Hideous’s signature sound, combining howling, sorrowful guitar lines, ultra deep, bass guitar fulmination and compelling, urgent rhythms combines with mournful minor key melodies and Myke’s legendary voice. Fans of EH will feast their ears upon Myke’s unique vocal style, heavy with vibrato and echoic effects as he presents his poetic narratives that range from melancholy to demonic, delivered with an anguished intensity.

Four of these tracks were included in the sold out and no-longer-available CD, “Victim Destroys Assailant.” These include the funereal “God and I,” the rapidly paced “Talk Is Cheap,” the surprisingly folksy “Dead Season” and the hypnotic “Otherside.”

Live versions of “Kissing Your Poison” and “Parasite’s Bible,” with its recognizable harmonics riff, are resurrected from the first full length album, “Only Time Will Tell.” Covers in this collection include a driving, speeded up version of “All I Want” by the Cure and a version of “God of Thunder” that is more serious, less facetious than the original by KISS. “Girl at the End of My Gun” by Alien Sex Fiend gets the EH treatment in a frantically paced, faithful tribute to the original.

As this collection basically represents the concluding achievement and final culmination of the Empire Hideous, it was fitting that it should end with Paul Anka’s “My Way,” famously made into a mega-hit by Frank Sinatra and later the Sex Pistols. Here it starts ballad-like, highlighting Myke’s native and unaltered vocal qualities. About a third of the way through it accelerates and transforms into a goth rock anthem, serving as a perfectly apt conclusion to an album, a collection and a career.

This album is available only in mp3 version from various Hideous websites that can be found via the Internet, Facebook, Spotify, etc.

February 2018 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,New Dark Age Monthly,Recorded Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn February 21, 2018 @ 11:01 pm

First, the actual pages as they appear in the Aquarian, probably too small to read here, but text will appear below:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Nights Out

Late January and early February offered nightclub goers plenty of events to attend. Those within striking distance of Brooklyn attended DJ Cyclonus‘s night, Arkham and saw a return of DJ Jose Francis. The setlists which covered everything from Ian Hunter to Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails to Covenant and Project Pitchfork while classic horror movies played on the main screen as well as the brick wall including “The Shining” and “Devil Takes Five.”

DJ, writer and historian Andi Harriman¹s Synthicide, a monthly Thursday EBM night at Bossa Nova Civic Club in Brooklyn, was held Feb 1, hosting ­ as is the mission of this project – a group of deejays that might not always have a platform to spin their magic, namely Squarewav, Rexx Arkana, Zvetschka along with the erudite promoter herself.

QXT’s So80’s

Jan 26, 2018

Newark NJ

Every 2nd and last Friday of the month QXT¹s, the metro-area¹s singularly dedicated alternative dance club holds an 80s night called “So80¹s” following their weekly Happy Hour Karaoke. DJs Ash and Damian Plague play every danceable genre of music from the 1980s in the upstairs, main floor. On this “So80’s” night the theme was nostalgia, with hours of such iconic remnants of that era as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” and Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.” Also heard were “Old” Ministry’s “Everyday is Halloween,” Gary Numan’s “Cars” and Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran.”

The moving image of Molly Ringwold in cinema classic ³Pretty in Pink² played silently on the big screen and was conducive to transporting the dancers on the utterly packed floor back to three decades ago, when the whole world of music seemed to have moved in a new direction. VJ TM5 curated the nostalgic visuals.

Meanwhile, down in Area 51, special guest DJ Stalagmike of Defcon at the famous Pyramid alternated with DJ Mykill Plague playing industrial powerhouse tracks such a Combichrist’s “This S— Will F— You Up” to a crowd of serious pavement pounders. Eerie electronic wall designs in unworldly hues outlined their animated silhouettes as fabulous beams of laser light cut wildly through the darkness of this post-apocalyptic vault. DJ Victrola in the Crypt – the other downstairs hall – played classic goth, darkwave and alternative tracks.

Iron Garden 3rd Anniversary

QXT’s ­ Iron Garden

Jan 26, 2018

Newark NJ

Iron Garden held a celebration of its third anniversary earlier in the evening, just prior to opening Area 51 to dancers. This is a NJ-based organization providing a social setting for discrete, mature denizens of the dark demimond calling themselves “Nightkind,” and their various allies in the pagan, vampire, witch, and other esoteric communities. The idea is to promote and provide conducive haven for those pursuing creative lifestyles which include metaphysics, philosophy, arts, poetry and scholarship of various sorts.

Iron Garden¹s founder – Primus and Matriarch ­ Madame X, of the House of Dreaming, is a major figure in all aspects of nightlife and related culture in the Greater NY/NJ dark scene, and she opened the meeting with a discussion aimed at orienting participants to the terminology of covens, houses and guilds that they may encounter in this subculture. This was followed by invocation and triumphant celebration of the anniversary led by host Jabbar Martin in his role as Trismegistus Aga Khan, a title signifying his literacy in sacred texts.

The walls were decorated with the artistically designed announcement flyers from the past three years’ Iron Garden events. Various consecrating ceremonies and the yearly renewals of citizenship in Iron Garden took place. Entertainment was provided by violin virtuoso Liz Gonzalez who treated those in attendance to masterful performance of pieces by Bach, Irish reels and original compositions.

Ward 6

January 27 saw another iteration of the long-standing, recurring, Fr. Jeff Ward dance party, Ward 6. As ever of late, it was held at the upscale bar/dance hall Windfall on east 39th St in NYC.

Besides Jeff’s and collaborator Patrick¹s providing the very best selection of New Wave, Dark Wave and Industrial tracks to which to dance, this night they hosted a solo performance of Caroline Blind of the band Sunshine Blind. Starting around midnight, she took the stage and performed her set of folksy acoustic Goth rock, relying on guitar strumming as the only accompaniment to her extraordinarily beautiful voice. Opening with a blues-inflected version of “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Caroline proceeded into a number of original songs from back when Sunshine Blind performed regularly as a group which included Caroline’s then-husband, now occasional collaborator, Charlie as well as members of Faith and the Muse. To wrap up the well-received set, Caroline concluded with the late Dolores Riordan’s tour de force, the Cranberries hit “Zombie,” that left the crowd satisfied.

The rest of the night was spent dancing to the likes of the Cure and Cold Cave, whose little-played “Confetti” was a welcome rarity. The party was just heating up with Apoptyma Berserk when we left a little after 1:30, with a who¹s who of NYC night scene celebrities still pouring in. Among the notables in attendance were (in no particular order) Sean Templar, his lovely wife Mandana Banshee at the booth, Erik Aengel, Sir William Welles, Matt V Christ, Joe Hart, Jane “Paradox” Smith, reliable clubber Jorge Obando, DJ Arsenal, Annabelle Evil and Photographer Dario Valdivia, accompanied by lovely veteran of the music scene, Roe Paolino. Coat check girl Hilda was looking as beautiful as we¹ve ever seen her.

Some strikingly beautiful “Goth girls” (“girl” is not a put down!) remain unfortunately nameless at the time of this report. Likewise there were some well-groomed and smooth dancing Goths of the male persuasion whom we never get to know by name. Bill, beret-and-pony-tail wearing, perpetual and omnipresent pencil artist Bill, sat drawing images of the participants of Ward 6 by the illumination provided by his small flashlight. Gerard and Julia saw to it that everyone¹s thirst was quenched, and Chris Sabo saw to the details of running things and house hospitality.


Necropolis Feb 3

Jeff Ward¹s other long-standing dark dance event was packed almost to Windfall¹s capacity on Saturday night Feb 3. The same staff and many of the same attendees as Ward 6 from the preceding Saturday, one week earlier. First-up DJ Sean Templar, had earlier that evening attended the Town Hall appearance of Norwegian group Wardruna whose music would seem to resurrect the medieval, runic sounds of ancient Scandinavia with ribcage-rattling, vibrating percussion and ominous, vocal duets.

Never one to get stuck with musical cliches, Sean enriched the setlist with “Helvegen” by Wardruna and with an early play of “Hate Us and See If We Mind,” a seriously powerful piece by brilliant experimental neofolk group, Rome. Both Wardruna and Rome have met with spectacular success at Castle Party in Poland, I can attest first-hand.

Host DJ Jeff and regular DJ Erik Angel made their contributions to keep the dance floor activated with the likes of Wolfsheim, Chameleons UK, Sisters of Mercy and the Psychedelic Furs.

High-powered intellectuals huddled at the bar were overheard discussing the philosophical controversies of Nietzsche and Hegel as the music played on.

The Red Party Feb 10

A special edition of the monthly Red Party took place Feb 10 at NYC’s Mercury Lounge to celebrate the weekend closest to St. Valentine’s Day, called the 10th Annual “Love Will Tear Us Apart” St. Valentine’s Ball. Featured were a night of tragic love songs mainly in the dance category.
DJs Annabelle Evil and Sean shared the booth with an assist by Matt V Christ. DJ Jarek was scheduled but hadn’t appeared by the time we left at around 2 a.m. Hospitality hostess Mandana Banshee circulated and took photos of the attendees, among whom were such celebrities as gorgeously decked out Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect and Ana Vice of Memento Mori. Xris Smack and the stunning-in-pink Ashley Bad made a late appearance.
Remorseful, romantic tunes such as “I Was Wrong” by the Sisters of Mercy played and the exceptionally dark dance floor was illuminated by a large, rotating, reflective disco ball that showered dim purple spots around the room creating an atmosphere of festive gloom.

Recordings

“Akkretion”

Trisol Music

Project Pitchfork

The just-released new album by Project Pitchfork bodes well for the Goth/Industrial music scene in that this iconic band, no entering its 28th year and with sixteen prior albums under their belt has the creativity and ingenuity to produce yet another major work. Frontman and creator Peter Spilles has apparently taken inspiration from modern scientific concepts and applied that inspiration to the dark, rhythmic style of synthpop for which his group is famous.

“Akkretion” is presented as a 2-CD set with 15 tracks. The last four,- the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th – are remixes of four tracks earlier in the album. The eleventh is listed as a bonus track.

Science and science fiction as well as morbid philosophy play a role in setting the themes of this opus. The term “akkretion” in German ­ or “accretion” in English ­ is used to describe “the coming together and cohesion of matter under the influence of gravitation to form larger bodies,” i.e. the process of forming stars and planets.

Other tracks with suggestive titles include ³Gravity Waves² (just discovered in 2017), “The Collision,” “And the Sun Was Blue.”

The musical features are of course similar to what fans of Project Pitchfork have come to love and expect, namely well-defined, mesmerizing cadences, minor-key melodies and occasional, spacey, ethereal elements. On most tracks there is an intriguing introduction, followed by slowly accumulating beats until complex rhythms are formed, then Spilles’ hoarse, growling vocals, sometimes broached by spoken word narratives. The second track, “Good Night Death,” offers a peaceful, resolute acceptance of mortality.

“Akkretion” is a must-have set for fans of Germanic darkwave and represents the continuing growth and accomplishment of this exemplary representative of the genre.

Goth/Rock Art, Fashion & Culture

The Salons- “Dressing the Underground: Fashion for Subculture”

The Beauty Bar, NYC

January 25, 2018

Goth scene luminary and subculture historian Andi Harriman participated in a panel discussion hosted by Lady Aye of The Salons at Beauty Bar just off Union Square, “a series of learning and networking events dedicated to the history of beauty and fashion,” aimed largely at beauty-industry professionals. The topic of this night’s discussion was “Dressing for Subculture.”

Other panelists included Sonya Abrego, visiting assistant professor at The New School for design, who, in classic 40s pin-up style hairdo shed light upon hybrid rockabilly and mid-century fashion culture. Fashion designer and NYC nightlife legend Tobell von Cartier spoke about the evolving club scene styles that came and went, from grunge to the ascent of increasingly glamorous evening wear and over-the-top cosmetic application.

New Dark Age’s attention was focused on Ms. Harriman¹s presentation. Asked to define Goth culture, she offered the insightful “Three Ds,” namely Drama, Darkness and Death as foundational. She went on to point out the origin of Goth style in the era of British rockers and the punk scene. When questioned about the “cannibalization” of Goth style by mainstream entities such as Hot Topic, she further emphasized commitment to the dark music of 80s New Wave and paying homage to the creators of the scene to distinguish authenticity from poseur appropriation.

In tracing her roots, Ms. Harriman pointed out that she had emerged from a rather stultified, Southern background, but had become enraptured by the music of Depeche Mode and the discovery of the look of Goth on music videos. Her personal bio proved to be the most interesting topic covered that event.

There was much talk about the value of do-it-yourself attire in establishing the individual style in order to counteract the sameness imposed by mass production of clothes and accessories as available in mall outlets. The panel¹s overriding conclusion gleaned was that the underground fashion evolves by building upon rather than abandonment of preceding style.

Milestones-

January 25, 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of Joy Division’s debut performance under that name. Prior to that date, the quartet of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris had performed under the name Warsaw. JD formed in 1976 by Sumner and Morris in a clumsy effort at emulating the Sex Pistols. Instead of continuing in the punk style of the Sex Pistols, with the drafting of vocalist Ian Curtis and bass player Peter Hook, the group launched the post-punk musical movement with its unconventional, slowed-down rhythms, amateurish command of the instruments and home-made synthesizers.

Joy Division is credited by many authorities on the subject as having been one of the two essential, post-punk bands to have spawned the genre of Goth Rock, the other being Bauhaus. Curtis – influenced by Jim Morrison of the Doors – gave voice to themes of darkness, pressure and crisis. Characterized by sparse, baritonal vocals, gloomy lyrics and a melodious bass line, Joy Division, is distinguished from the punk style by their use of electronics and by their emphasis on mood and expression rather than anger and energy.

Critically acclaimed – potentially the next Beatles – Joy Division was to tour the U.S. in 1980 when Curtis committed suicide on the eve departure.

The poignant sadness surrounding the brief life and untimely death of the band and its frontman mysteriously crystallized at that moment into a new musical genre and a new subculture built around darkness, introspection and death – that comes to us now, four decades later – and that we presently recognize as Goth.

Obituaries


Mark E. Smith
, singer and the only consistent member of Manchester based post-punk band The Fall, has died Jan 24, 2018 at the age of 60. One of the earliest and most influential British post-punk bands, noted for retaining the repetitive, guitar-driven feel of original, confrontational punk while expanding the musical and lyrical armamentarium with challenging topics and literate lyrics as well as creative musical originality.

The Fall released thirty-two studio albums, most recently, “The Fall Live in Manchester,” in January 2018 on Cherry Red. Sadly, they were set to tour the US for the first time in twelve years.

Jeremy Inkel, keyboardist and programmer of Front Line Assembly passed away on January 13th 2018 at the age of 34 due to complications from asthma. Inkel joined FLA in 2005 along with Jared Slingerland, and is credited with co-writing and producing the full length album Artificial Soldier.

January 2017 New Dark Age

Filed under: Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,live music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 17, 2017 @ 8:58 pm

The Godfather of Goth

Peter Murphy at City Winery NY
Dec. 11, 2016

Peter Murphy Sings Bela Lugosi’s Dead


Peter Murphy is overwhelmingly popular, not just with the worldwide Goth community, but with many whose musical puberty occurred during the 80s and early 90s. The first show at the intimate City Winery in lower Manhattan’s West Village sold out immediately upon being announced. Thus a second performance was mandated, even though it meant scheduling it around 10:30 pm on a Sunday night.

This event represented part of the tail end of his “Stripped” tour which began in California in April of this year, crossed the country, then crossed the Atlantic, and drew to a close on the East Coast. “Stripped” refers to the mainly acoustic, minimal electronic sound, provided by Murphy himself and two string instrumentalists/backup vocalists. Make no mistake, though, there was plenty of amplification and digital audio as needed to authenticate the mood and feeling of the cherished selections performed nor was there any lack of his showmanship and stage antics.

As on virtually all previous stops on the tour, PM started off the set with “Cascade,” off the 1995 album of the same name, recognizable by its melodious Morse code-like series of high-pitched, introductory tones that elide into arpeggios which grow into a luscious, percussion-driven melody. A consummate showman, Murphy Strutted about the stage, bowing and waving his stretched out arms like a bird in flight.

Following that, he reached back into the 80s with “All Night Long,” “Indigo Eyes” and “Marlene Dietrich’s Favourite Poem in true acoustic style, seated and strumming his 12-string guitar. He continued the “stripped down” style but strode out from the stage to hover over the front rows as he announced and paid tribute to the late David Bowie with “The Bewlay Brothers.”

PM’s voice showed signs of strain, and his spoken words were decidedly hoarse, but his notes were perfectly steady and on key, and he never held back from bellowing out, full-throated, whenever it was called for. “A Strange Kind of Love” afforded the opportunity for a brief solo by the violin accompanist.

Murphy picked up, first a tambourine, then drumsticks for the three Bauhaus favorites that followed: “King Volcano,” “Kingdom’s Coming” and “Silent Hedges.” He briefly disappeared from the stage, then returned to perform “Gaslit” and the bass-and-drum-heavy cover of Dead Can Dance’s “Severance.”

There was a pause signaling the final encore, the beloved and iconic anthem “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” – rarely performed on this tour. Murphy called for the lights to go down. His face was dramatically lit from below in cinematic horror fashion as he sung the repetitive mantra “undead, undead, undead” to conclude the show and leave the latenight crowd satisfied beyond their expectations.

Titans of Tribute XXVII

The Nimrods cover Green Day

Starland Ballroom hosted a blockbuster event to a sell-out crowd Dec 9 featuring three separate tribute bands covering three true titans of the post-punk/grange era. An additional, and unexpectedly pleasing experience was provided by the opening band, Eli, who performed a set of their original music with skill, style and the gusto associated with the early, pioneering days of the 90s music explosion. ELI (or ELI the Band if you are searching them on social media) is a trio of utterly sincere and committed young adults who have played and written music together since their not-to-distant highschool days, channeling the spirit of grunge into their original compositions with skill and devotion. No matter that the era of grunge peaked shortly before these budding musicians were born! This was their first big venue appearance and they brought the house down.

We got to speak to the youthful members backstage after enjoying their set of eight songs which included only one cover, “She Hates Me,” by Puddle of Mud, during which they introduced the band members to the audience. We learned that the “old man” of the group, 22 year-old Conor Schaar, who played bass and sang most of the vocals, likes to do much of the writing in collaboration with guitarist and sometimes-vocal lead Paul Machado. Drummer Mike Sliker provides the essential rhythms during inventive sessions in which the trio regularly engages. Their story begins with winning acclaim at a school talent show six long years ago. That duration of cooperation and dedication goes a long way toward explaining their tight, highly accomplished performance.

Next up came the Green Day tribute band, the Nimrods who take their name from a 1997 album, slammed enthusiastically through twelve of their recognizable hits from “Brain Stew” to “When I Come Around” to “American Idiot” and more. Vocalist/guitarist Fred Zoeller captured frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s dark, cynical and frenetic style, and he received professionally polished instrumental accompaniment from three Dans: Dan Esser, Dan Callas lead guitar and Dan DiLiberto on drums.

Nicole Scorsone with The Nimrods

A special treat was had when renowned violinist Nicole Scorsone joined in for “Minority,” “Good Riddance” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”.

Following both outstanding performances Lady Picture Show took the stage with their impeccable covers of the cherished Stone Temple Pilots repertoire including “Interstate Love Song,” “Plush” and “Creep.” As far as faithful reproduction of the original sound of STP, I cannot imagine a more authentic experience.

Finally – can I call them headliners? – Nirvana tribute band, Lounge Act came on stage and performed meticulous, loving and faithful tribute versions of the revered Nirvana repertoire. A mosh pit formed and became increasingly enthusiastic throughout their set, which included ”Aneurysm,” “Heart Shaped Box” and the creepy “Rape Me” and “Lithium.” I counted around 12 or 13 songs.

Lounge Act covering Nirvana


Who needs time travel? These guys made it happen!

World Goth

The Berlin Dungeon

Facade of The Berlin Dingeon

No! Kiddies, the Berlin Dungeon is not an S & M club. It’s an expensive tour of a historically educational, slightly creepy attempt at recreating sets and scenarios of medieval “justice” under the Hohenzollern rulers of Medieval Prussia. Actors in period costumes alternately try to scare and inform tour-goers with frightful scenarios and tongue-in-cheek narratives regarding the somewhat deranged secular and ecclesiastical court system, which usually ended up with defendants subjected to devices of torture and execution. You know, “the good old days.”

There are various special effects, walks through mirrored mazes, moments spent in unbearable suspense in pitch-dark chambers, interrupted by terrifying ghastly action; as well as some corny court-room set-ups where tour-goers stand accused and are sentenced to penalties that are escaped at the last minute. The tour ends in an amusement park-like ride that lifts seated riders up before (safely and comfortably) dropping them two stories of height.

Poster Ads for the Berlin Dungeon


It’s all in good fun, but unfortunately, no photos are allowed, so all I can show are images of the outside of the building, but that should be enough to direct you to this semi-interesting, semi-entertaining venue if and when you visit Berlin.

Forever Young

Dubious characters host the Red Party

Under the auspices of DJ Sean Templar and hostess Mandana Banshie , The Red Party held a New Year’s Eve Bash from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m. on January 1, 2017 at the Mercury Lounge, allowing party-goers to spend the actual NYE in traditional celebration with friends or family before heading over to the East Houston digs for an all night Goth event to the dee-jay efforts of DJ Ash, Xris Smack and Matt V Christ.


Necropolis and QXT’s celebration of Damien Hrunka’s 40th birthday were held on January 7, but we were unable to attend and therefore unable to report on either due to a winter storm that discouraged travel by all but the most courageous.

December 2016 New Dark Age

Filed under: Goth Stuff,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn December 8, 2016 @ 3:50 am

Layout 1

Ghost

Swedish Shock-rockers Ghost performed a 15 song set at the King’s Theater in Brooklyn on Saturday night Nov 12, which served as unofficial “pre-party” to The Red Party in Manhattan, inasmuch as a large contingent on NYC Goths were in attendance at the former concert before heading over to the latter dance club (More about this below).

This horror metal group is characterized by two features. First, they affect a Satanic routine, dressed in devil masks or monks’ hooded robes, except the frontman who is attired as a kind of anti-Pope, wearing a bishop’s headdress and vestments, topped with skull-face make-up. The band members maintain personal anonymity, but the frontman calls himself Papa Emeritus III, and the tour, of which this was the final stop, is termed “Popestar.” The other outstanding feature of this band is the exceptionally melodious quality of the music, a break with the metal tradition of minimizing melody among the progeny of Black Sabbath.

Photo by Dan Ambrose

Photo by Dan Ambrose


They started their set with some mournful chants creating a creepy, church-like atmosphere. They moved then to a rapidly-paced traditional rock piece called “Square Hammer” featuring a driving beat. The group has been around since 2008, but tonight’s selections were mainly off their 2015 album “Meliora.” Many of their songs have Latin names in dubious imitation of Roman Catholic liturgy. Much of their set is as melodious and beautiful as something by Boston or Foreigner in the 70s, but with decidedly minor key, power chord accents. They stepped out of the rock formula many times with eerie, ghostly pieces, or during bridges within heavy metal hymns. At the end of highly varied, wide-ranging musical set, they encored an “audience join in” choral anthem called “Monstrrance Clocks.” Those with transportation and freedom to do so, headed over to The Mercury lounge in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for the monthly Red Party.

The Red Party

The monthly event was lifted to new heights on Saturday Nov. 12 by the appearance of The Sedona Effect, electro-industrial project of exotic diva Kai Irina Hahn. Deejays Sean Templar, host, and Joe Hart, guest, warmed the audience from 11 pm to midnight with a connoisseurs’s mix of goth and darkwave, which included, besides the usual Sisters of Mercy standards, but a respectful inclusion of several tracks by Leonard Cohen, closing the night with his “Chelsea Hotel #2.”

Even watching Kai arrange the stage for her quintet was riveting as the statuesque diva flitted from one musician’s station to another in her feathered headdress and gorgeous outfit like a force of nature or a regal presence establishing her realm. The set began with a “Evolve Devolve” a slow, ponderous ode, heavy on percussion and bass. It was then we noticed that Kai was performing while entwined by her faithful and sometime restless, live boa, Loki who twisted frequently to gaze lovingly at his mistress.The pace changed to rapid with the second number, rousing anthem, “Cross the Line,” off her introductory CD.

Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect

Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect

“Delicate Silence” followed, featuring hissing, whispered vocals paired with those of keyboardist Nicole Eres. In the middle of her set, Kai gave us the theatrical “Gloomy Sunday,” in which inverted arpeggios on synthesizer and a plodding,, relentless cadence created a feeling of madness and anguish. With the 6th selection, “Ghost,” Kai took to the keyboard herself and showcased her wide-ranging and melodious vocal command, as she paired in duet, this time with guitarist Phyzal Alhammdani.

Twice during the performance, Kai graciously called attention to her accompanists, introducing each by name. Eventually she passes off the boa, Loki whose weight must surely have been somewhat of a strain, even for Kai’s distinctly stacked, feminine physique.

The last two songs, “I Burn” and “I Lose Control” were both heavy-duty, industrial rock numbers as well as recognized standards in The Sedona Effect repertoire, concluding a notably theatrical and musically impressive set that had some in the crowd calling for more.

red-party-101

The party went on well into the morning and was crowded with celebrants and with celebrities of the Goth Scene including fangmaster Fr. Sebastiaan; DJ Raven; Xris Smack of Stimulate and dazzling beauty Ashley Bad; DJ Patrick of Salvation; Chris Savo, friendly host and manager of Windfall; and noted music patrician, George Grant. The bar was congested, but never too crowded to get service. Those in the back were able to place orders that were relayed to the bar without having to leave the dance hall. The Mercury Lounge once again proved to be an ideal spot for gatherings of this type. Announcements were handed out promoting a New Year’s after-party at the Mercury lounge courtesy of The Red Party, scheduled to commence at 1 am on January 1st,, where party-goers could spend the morning after having celebrated The Eve elsewhere. See you there!

Disorder
A Tribute to the Sounds of Joy Division

Joy Division tribute band Disorder continues to be highly in demand in this the greater NYC metropolitan area. Dingbatz is famous for its exceptional sound system and for hosting well-known as well as up-and-coming bands ranging from punk to metal to Goth.

Photo by E. Palazzo

Photo by E. Palazzo


A crowd of about 30 filled the small SRO space and included some of the most fanatical and enthusiastic Joy Division buffs I have ever noted at these events. Two young ladies, known only as Gabby and Eva appeared to know the lyrics of every song and to respond with squeals of joy and recognition as the band struck up the first notes of each piece. Notables in the audience included multi-instrumentalist Christian Dryden, front man of The Ritualists and participant in numerous other music projects; Deejay Lily-Stephanie Horreur; and ubiquitous scene veteran, Torrin Krrell.

NJ-based Disorder reprised their renditions of some of Joy Division’s most beloved repertoire, coming on about 11:30 pm, after the Dingbatz staff attended to every last detail of audio perfection. Disorder’s set list that night, like much else about Joy Division, really merits close scrutiny.

The show opened with snippets of crackly, historical radio commentary and early recognition of Joy Division as an exceptional and potentially scene-changing band. Twelve songs followed, starting with the eponymous “Disorder,” the first track off of the debut album, “Unknown Pleasures.” Next came “Digital.” originally recorded on a 7” LP called “A Factory Sample,” and later included in the compilation “Still.”

The next song “Warsaw” is a mystery to most listeners. It was intended for an album of the same name, which never got released until 1994, although it appeared on the compilation, “Substance,” and tells the peculiar story of Hitler confidante, Rudolf Hess, who defected to the U.K but was taken as a prisoner of war by the British. The numbers one hears recited refer to Hess’ assigned P.O.W. number.

“Atmosphere,” was originally a single released in 1980 with “Dead Souls,” (the song that followed in the set) as the flip side, then later included in the “Substance” compilation. Next up, “Twenty-Four Hours” and “Means to an End” both came off the second album, “Closer.” “Dead Souls” is perhaps Joy Division’s most mesmerizing song. It is an outstandingly eerie and haunting piece with nightmarish lyrics and a polyrhythmic tribal beat that has captivated generations. It was covered just as dutifully by Nine Inch Nails for the soundtrack to “The Crow.”

“She’s Lost Control” comes from “Unknown Pleasures,” and seems connected with a scene in the movie “Control,” in which Ian Curtis witnesses a seizure by a client while he was interviewing her in his capacity as an employment clerk. Curtis, himself – it is well known – was subject to seizures.

“Shadowplay” off the debut album followed and then Joy Division’s more recognizable hit, “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” a hit single from 1979, which is considered significant of Ian Curtis’ deteriorating marital situation that may have led to his suicide in 1980. It made its way onto the “Substance” compilation.

When the crowd demanded an encore, Disorder complied with the tragic “Ceremony,” a song Joy Division only recorded live, but never as a studio track. It was subsequently recorded by the surviving members as the sequel band, New Order.

Contemplating Ian Curtis’ esoteric poetry and listening to the scrupulously faithful covers by Disorder, one has the revelation that Joy Division was much more than just another post-punk band, but a significant entry into the post-modern movement that continues to permeate our culture today. Which explains why this group of musicians draws such intense inspiration and sense of commitment to their tribute project. It also explains their phenomenal popularity within the greater metropolitan music scene.

The Black Lodge at Arkham

Arkham is a Brooklyn Gothic Party that takes place in the dark bowels of Brooklyn on the last Saturday of every month since 2012 at Don Pedro on Manhattan Avenue since 2012. The theme on Nov 26 was “The Black Lodge a Tribute to David Lynch.”
Besides the customary darkwave/deathrock served up by hosts and resident deejays Cyclonus and Jose Frances there were live performances by openers Canter, a moody trio from Chicago and headliner, Metropolis Records artists, Noir performing their first area show in over a year.

Photo by Eric Thorpe-Moscon

Photo by Eric Thorpe-Moscon


This was the fourth David Lynch tribute edition of Arkham, and everything from his Mulholland Drive to episodes of Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet was shown on a giant flat screen over the bar or on the projector screen in the dance hall. DJ sets following the live performances included the Smiths, Wumpscut, Ministry and Lords of Acid as well as many more standards as well as rarities.

Ward 6

Nov 26 2016
Famous deejay and impresario Jeff Ward hosted guest deejays Negrarose, Jaycee (Shadow Nightz) Cannon and D.J. Arsenal for the late November installation of recurring Ward 6, an event of “dark dance, Industrial, New Wave, Synth and Goth” music at midtown’s Windfall. Ward 6 takes its name, not only from the host Jeff Ward, but from a short story about a lunatic asylum in Russia by Chekhov. The atmosphere at the event, while not quite lunatic, runs to the extreme of enthusiasm, owing to the over-the-top feeling of closeness among long-time, faithful attendees and the gala atmosphere produced by the dark and rhythmic musical dance selections. Careful attention to hospitality issues by Windfall manager Chris Savo, plays no small part in making Ward 6 a must-attend event.

Necropolis

The Fr. Jeff Ward’s three resident deejays, Patrick, Sean and Angel were in rare form, Dec 3, putting dancers through non-stop sets of New Wave, dark wave, Goth and industrial that kept the floor crowded and animated the entire night. Annabel Fagan maintained a stand selling delectable cupcakes until they were sold out, just behind gate-keeper Mandana Banshee’s post. Windfall manager Chris Savo floated both behind and in front of the bar to assure a comfortable and conducive atmosphere as seems to prevail at all Necropolis events. Scene regulars Carmel Carmel, Sir William Welles and Diana Cannone were, of course in attendance, but Shirley Alvarez and her entourage were notably absent and missed this time.

Record Reviews

Three artists/albums deserving special mention came to our attention this month.

Trees of Eternity
Hour of the Nightingale

Svart Records
trees-of-eternity

Scandinavian doom-metal quintet Trees of Eternity, organized 2009, has just this November released their first full album called “Hour of the Nightingale” on Svart Records and totally available for listening on Youtube and for purchase on Amazon. It features ten tracks with titles like “My Requiem” and “A Million Tears.” These are songs of sorrow and loss. The lilting, echoing female vocals, the baleful tolling bells and the dark, symphonic guitar accompaniment place Trees of Eternity into the company of such successful bands as Evanescence, Lacuna Coil and Nightwish, but with sufficient distinction to stand alone.

The songs are notably slower, more melodious, more mournful and to some extent, more reliant of instrumental accompaniment than others mentioned above. On the last cut, “Gallows Bird,” an ominous baritone male voice takes over for a slow-paced and menacing dirge. With that sound fresh in mind, I would say Trees would be perfect to tour with another Scandinavian band – Ghost. Another match would be Antimatter.

She Past Away

Volume I – II
On Bandcamp

she-past-away

Also just out this year comes an interesting darkwave release out of Istanbul, Turkey. Yes, they sing in Turkish, which doesn’t seem the least inconvenient because of the rapid rhythm anthems, sung in deep baritonal vocals. The mesmerizing cadences and the dark vocals keep the listener fascinated and every so often forgetful of the language barrier, half-grasping to understand the mysterious Turkish lyrics. The peculiarities of Turkish language diction actually suit this type of gothic synthpop very well, especially sounded through an echo-chamber setting.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to buy the CD at this time, but it’s available as download and can also be enjoyed on Youtube. She Past Away provides a deliciously gloomy musical experience. It is easy to compare them with those masters of the Dutch DarkWave, Clan of Xymox, whose sound She Past Away closely resembles – or even to The Cure at their most somber.

Untitled Art

The End
Line2 Records

untitled-art
Among the most irresistible music I’ve run into in years comes from an indie/goth project called Untitled Art which appears to be a resurrected 90s indie/alt rock band gone electro-industrial. Brainchild of singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Dave Sempier and engineer James Linton on their label, known for the moment, as Line2 Records.

I was first taken in by the wild, psychedelic video art accompanying an equally mind-blowing trip-hop piece called “Philly To Long Branch.” Equally infectious was “A Fighter’s Heart,” the vocals of which have a belligerent edge, and rhythm of which was already captivating in the original version, but even more so in the EDM remix. “Shutdown” was more melodious and more symphonic, once again featuring Sempier’s signature aggressive vocals. “Darker Days” with its a growling, minor-key instrumental accompaniment fit his accusatory lyrics and strident, gratifying alt rock tenor style which remains a constant through the wide ranging forms that his music takes. “Perfect” has a retro-90s quality that warmed my heart with nostalgia – the good kind – for the era that opened the gates to the musical age that some consider the fulfillment of New Wave.

These and more are presently coming together in an EP titled “The End” but most are already quite accessible for listening, and two of the tracks are able to be downloaded on SoundCloud where Untitled Art has a site with seven tracks. “Philly To Long Branch” will be on iTunes as of Dec 12 and official electronic downloads become available in January. Do not fail to check the video out on Youtube! The CD will be available for sale around the same time through cdbaby or possibly a major label depending on pending negotiations.

September 2016 New Dark Age

Filed under: Art Reviews,Live Music,live music,New Dark Age Monthly,Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 20, 2016 @ 7:55 pm

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New Dark Age August – September 2016

Filed under: Art Reviews,Goth Stuff,Live Music,live music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn September 7, 2016 @ 12:48 am

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Nights Out

The Memory Pain at The Famished Frog

Aug 5, 2016
Morristown NJMemory Pain

We had the good fortune on this Friday night to catch a performance of top-notch cover band The Memory Pain while dining at Morristown’s The Famished Frog. This venue hosts a large, noisy and distracted crowd whose patrons are mostly 20-something imbibers who are there on dates or looking to pick-up or be picked up while ambling around the big rectangular bar in front of which The Memory Pain performed. A nice, recessed space provided adequate room for this 4-piece group to spread out comfortably. That’s important, because frontman Fred Zoeller performs in a remarkably active, excited and physically mobile fashion.

When TMP performs their flawless, live covers of hits from the past 20 or so years, it isn’t just a walk down memory lane, but rather a dynamic, faithful reprise of great music from the past that we all share. The repertoire is drawn largely, but not exclusively from standards from the heyday of MTV in the 90s when most of us acquired and refined our taste in rock. “Talented,” “tight” and “professional” are the words that come to mind in summing up the performance by this well-rehearsed quartet. Veterans Fred Zoeller (lead vocals/guitar) and Dan Esser (bass guitar) are joined by alternate lead vocalist Dan Callas on guitar and multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Adam Gruss on drums to create a rich, authentic and room-filling sound. This is essential to re-creating faithful reincarnations of well-known and beloved favorites of the audience’s shared musical history.

Despite the fact that dating and dining are their primary reasons for being present, some of the audience felt so compelled by the good music issuing forth from the band that they broke into dance although there was little spaced allocated for it. If hearing masterful, accurate covers of famous hits by Counting Crows or Third Eye Blind have that same effect on you, I suggest you follow The Memory Pain at various venues where they perform and where you can come as close as possible to being at live performances by the originals.

Lost Boys Beach Party at QXT’s

QXT'sCappello

Newark nightclub QXT’s held a theme night called “Lost Boys Beach Party.” The club was absolutely packed, both the upstairs main hall where DJ Ron Medina spun his usual masterful mix of 80s and Dark Wave; and the two lower spaces, where DJs Wintermute and Mykill Plague assaulted rivet-heads and their ilk in Area 51 with EBM and industrial; as well as The Crypt where DJ Helixx aired danceable, but horror-themed Goth and darkwave. Vendors were present offering horror and vampire themed merchandise as well as accessories of club attire. There were periodically announced giveaways.

A special treat was a live performance by singer/saxaphonist Tim Cappello, known and revered for his musical performance in the now-classic vampire movie “The Lost Boys.” Appearing youthful and muscular at 61 years of age, wearing little more than an elaborate set of chrome chains, a ponytail and a black wife-beater, Cappello absolutely enthralled the audience with his energetic show. The crowd pressed up to the stage to get the most out of his performance. Excitement was heightened further when Cappello jumped off-stage, singing and wailing from his sax right into the midst of the crowd who responded with enthusiasm and a flurry of camera-phone flashes. Despite the love showered upon him, Cappello limited his performance to the single “I Still Believe,” modestly admitting it to be his one and only hit. But what a hit!

Necropolis at Windfall
5th Anniversary

Necropolis 5th Anniversary

On Sept. 3, veteran DJ and club organizer Fr. Jeff Ward celebrated the 5th anniversary of his over-the-top, successful monthly dance club night, Necropolis, at midtown Manhattans’ Windfall. Jeff managed to rescue from oblivion a dance night called Necromantik that he had co-hosted at the Knitting Factory some 9 years ago. The Knitting Factory has long since moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. He recruited 3 top deejays, Patrick Cusack, Sean Templar and Erik Aengel who now serve as consistent resident DJs to the renamed, monthly Necropolis along with various guest spinners. Moving from the Knitting Factory to The Bowery Poetry Club, then later to Element (previously The Bank) Jeff finally settled on Windfall.

For this anniversary celebration, the guest was noted musicologist and published author Andi Harriman, as pleasing to the eyes as to the ears. Together, they created a festive and gala observance of the milestone event with a rhapsodic mix of classic post-punk and oft-forgotten gothic/industrial treasures, such that the floor was crowded with fervid and energetic dancers like rarely seen elsewhere.

Windfall is an elegant bar and dance hall smack in the middle of Manhattan’s midtown. Once the site of the Architects’ Guild, it boasts modern interior design in the Frank Lloyd Wright or Mission-style, with stately wood floor and paneling, to which a curved and lengthy polished-top bar has been added. It is the location where black-attired and finely groomed Goths and denizens of the NYC after-hours music crowd gather on the first Saturday of every month to attend Necropolis.

Doors open at 11:00 pm. Imbibers line up and socialize at the exquisitely designed and well-stocked bar, where knowledgeable and attentive mixologist Gerard serves up the concoctions of their choice. Attentive, pony-tailed manager Chris roams the space, ever watchful to assure everyone enjoys a perfectly comfortable time. The main reason for attending this particular night is the uncommonly astute musical selection served up by Father Jeff (Ward 6) and his cohort of similarly skilled DJs, to provide a the atmosphere for a night of New Wave and Goth-Industrial dance. Eminently danceable musical rarities are blended in with beloved favorites from the Depeche Mode/Sisters of Mercy/ Siouxsie repertory.

Celebrities of Gotham’s underground scene are noted to come and mingle, sometimes spreading word and flyers of upcoming social and musical events. Merging with the crowd of gorgeous and transgressively garbed patrons this night were DJs Arsenal and Ron Medina, Sir William Welles and Matt V Christ. Among the glitterati, Shirley Alvarez and Kai Irina Hahn of The Sedona Effect add glamour to a ravishing and splendid crowd of attendees.

Memento Mori 1st Anniversary

memento mori 1st anniversary

This monthly, Thursday night Deathrock-themed dance party celebrated its 1st Anniversary on August 25, drawing its largest crowd ever, culminating a success story beyond expectations, at the customary location, the appropriately decorated Bedlam in Alphabet City, NYC. Doors opened at 10 pm, and the turnout grew exponentially as the denizens of the Greater New York demimonde began showing up to enjoy the music and extend their congratulations to the principals involved. Returning briefly from the U.K. for the celebration was Ana Vice, long-time mainstay in the scene and mentor to the enterprising group consisting of two novice DJs, Valefar Malefic and Bela Lugosi Alex, and the established, seasoned DJ Mike Stalagmike, host of Defcon. Together they managed to pull off the difficult accomplishment of drawing a steady and satisfied crowd to a late-night, weekday night event.

Greeting guests at the door was the glamorous and beautiful Catgirl Morales who heaped praise on the organizers and was happy to disclose the details of the past year to interested attendees. A who’s who of famous celebrities of the Goth scene included Aurelio Voltaire, just back from an international tour; gorgeous and multi-talented Kai Irina Hahn; impresario William Welles; and DJs Mark Cage Knight and Joe Hart of Procession, which is yet another successful and on-going weekday night dark dance party. Goody bags with candy and Memento Mori buttons were among the giveaways.

The scene was appropriately lit with only scattered tea-light candles and draped with hanging shroud tatters. A pitch-black musical selection of classics and obscurities entertained a roomful of die-hard guests until 4 a.m.

Bodylab
at La Poisson Rouge

Bodylab

Extensive Facebook promotion of this new, free and thematic dance party paid off for the organizers , DJs Eisdriver and Arsenal who succeeded in drawing an staunch crowd of between 25 and 30 committed, rivet-headed industrial music enthusiasts on a Thursday night to the downstairs at La Poisson Rouge lounge. Starting around 10:00 pm, attendees were assaulted (in the favorable sense in which they understand it) with a blend of the hammering sounds of old-school industrial and mechanized Germanic EBM (electro-body music).
The classics of the 80s and 90s from Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and Ministry are now-largely neglected, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear these and more woven into a selection of Nordic/Germanic and highly danceable Neo Old School EBM.

The black-clad, booted crowd consisted of recognizable adherents of the genre by their attire, their bearing and their mastery of the dance style, which is characterized by muscular, decisive and resolute stepping to the insistent beat of this mode of music. Celebrities of the scene were in attendance, including the statuesque and talented beauty, Kai Irina Hahn (front vocalist of The Sedona Effect), renowned DJ Father Jeff Ward and noted Diesel-punk artist CharleSilas Garlette. The hosts and their spouses greeted and mingled with the special and somewhat exclusive in-crowd of devotees. Raffle drawings and giveaways of CDs and tickets livened the evening. The crowd seemed to be actually growing when I left around 1:30 am.

Local Music Festivals

A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows took place on August 12 and 13 at the Mercury Lounge, in coordination with The Red Party, billing itself a 2 Day Goth & Post Punk Festival hosted by DJ Patrick Cusack, Sean and Mandana Banshie Templar, Dave and Jenn Bats as well as Stefan Axell, Frank Vollman and Jaycee Cannon. Friday’s live musical lineup featured Ritual Howls, VOWWS, and the Memphis Morticians. Saturday saw The Exploding Boy, Frank The Baptist and Skeleton Hands. It is reported to have been a smashing success as revealed in the nearby photo.

nowhere to run

Nowhere To Run Post-Punk Festival

took place August 20 at The Paper Box in Brooklyn and also featured an all-day-and-night of bands and dance music. Music historian and DJ Andi Harriman opened the event at 2 pm and reports that the event was packed all night, estimating some 300 people, representing the whole spectrum of goth, punk, techno and industrial fans – came through the doors. Incidentally, Harriman succeeded in selling off the entire stock of her notorious book, “Some Wear Leather Some Wear Lace,” which covers the history of the Post Punk movement from the 80s onward, at the merchandise stand. Among the 11 or so live bands, Post-Punk group, The Pawns and industrial band Statiqbloom captured the audience with their on-stage presence and interesting sound.

Museums & Galleries

Taxidermy: Art, Science and Immortality
at Morbid Anatomy

taxidermy panorama

Brooklyn NY
Aug 12, 2016

Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum opened a new and dazzling exhibit with a champagne toast on a Friday evening. Attendees to the reception were guided through the multifaceted aspects of the art by the exhibit’s curator, J. D. Powe whose personal collection comprised the majority of the pieces. Mr. Powe, who is a co-founder of an educational software company, explained how his fascination with taxidermy began with his earliest visits to natural history museums. Small pieces and then large were added to his collection which by now boasts a staggering array of miniature as well as grand acquisitions, spanning the whole variety of specimens. These include wild and domestic; animal, fish and fowl; artistic arrangements; dramatic dioramas; furniture adornments; freakish abnormalities; and perfect, paradigmatic exemplars of the various species.

Thus we are treated to glass cases chock filled with vividly colorful birds, one serving as a fireplace screen. The right half of a sailfish in a regal pose floats high on a wall over a variety of his finny cohorts, while several toothed probosces of different sized sawfish lay disembodied and ready for inspection directly below. Two-headed cattle, a dwarfed calf, a walrus with duplicate tusks and other mistakes of nature are preserved for study and to evoke amazement at nature’s sometimes-slipshod processes of reproduction.
Elephant and rhinoceros feet drew attention in the case displaying functional items such as ashtrays, flower vases and bookends fashioned from animal parts. An entire wall was stacked high with glass cases housing the mortal remains of beloved, deceased pets, mainly dogs. Free-standing canines stood on the floor below them and were aesthetically beautiful representatives of man’s best friend, a large hound and a spotted Great Dane. Little dioramas housed theatrical tableaux, one of which posed a paternal frog administering an over-the-knee spanking of a young’un.

Enlightening, educational and at the same time mind-boggling, this exhibition brought a decidedly respectful – even loving – approach to a practice that might seem controversial to some. The emphasis here is on the beauty of the animal world and of each subject, the ingenuity and skill involved in the craft, and the fascination we appropriately feel when given opportunity to examine carefully prepared and maintained samples of the natural world.

The really good news is that this exhibit is being expanded starting in September with some anthropomorphic taxidermy, i.e. animals clothed and posed as if engaged in human activities. Look for it!

The Creeper Gallery
in New Hope, PA

IMG_1006Creepy monkey

No trip to the twin cities of Lambertville NJ and New Hope PA is complete without a long and leisurely tour of this extraordinary gallery where artist-owner D.L. Marian gave us a brief rundown on how and why she came, along with her partner and fellow-artist, Danielle Deveroux, to fill this tiny storefront with grotesque and gorgeous sculptures, paintings, mixed media constructions and rogue taxidermy specimens, all of museum quality. Definitely not for the squeamish or the easily offended, these works, self-described as “gothic,” are horrific, iconoclastic, charming, even while bordering on the sacrilegious, but seem to get away without offending by being so ingeniously conceived and artfully crafted. There are fabricated or altered effigies, dummies, heads, skulls, shrines, photos, paintings, constructions and assemblages to provide material for your nightmares as well as food for your thoughts on mortality, morbidity, aberrations and Hell.

You can learn more by checking out their website, but nothing can substitute for first-hand, up close and painfully personal viewing of the ever-changing exhibit of items for sale at the Creeper Gallery.

Manus x Machina
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

On exhibition from Fashion Institute of Technology at ”Manus x Machina,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art held a display of the wildest and most artistic and high tech examples of mainly dress designs produced by a combination of astounding and specialized manual skills and modern day mechanization, such as 3D printing. The range of styles and materials was overwhelming in diversity, but we zeroed in on the most sci-fi and gothic pieces.

MetMuseum goth coutureMetMuseum Leather

Which all goes to show how far and deep into the mainstream culture that gothic/punk/industrial taste has penetrated!

Meanwhile, on the roof of the Museum, the Met had erected the façade of everybody’s favorite creepy domicile: The house from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” which, set against the beautiful twilight cityscape of New York City’s skyline, appeared as a mischievously evil blot on the otherwise uplifting panorama. MetMuseum %22Psycho%22 House

Aunt Ange at Pianos – In the Aug. 8 Aquarian

Filed under: Live Music,live music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn August 23, 2016 @ 7:32 pm

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