doktorjohn.com

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.

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

New Dark Age in the April-May Issue of The Aquarian

Filed under: Art Reviews,Events,Goth Stuff,Live Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn May 18, 2016 @ 2:03 pm

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“House of Wax” at Morbid Anatomy museum

Filed under: Art Reviews,Events,Goth Stuff,Uncategorized — doktorjohn October 27, 2015 @ 9:33 pm

House of Wax: Anatomical, Pathological & Ethnographic Waxworks

This up and coming Brooklyn institution has hit the jackpot with its latest exhibit, titled “House of Wax” for which a well-attended opening night party was held on a late October Friday night at their 3rd Avenue establishment in the borough’s Park Slope section. Custom craftsman and bone collector Ryan Matthew Cohn served as curator of the exhibition which featured a collection of wax figures which he was fortunate enough to obtain from a long-defunct German “panopticum,” actually a 19th century museum of sorts. He spoke at length about the provenance and historical significance of his acquisition. He led the crowd of attendees in a champagne toast to kick things off. VIPs were also treated to cocktails provided courtesy of Hendricks Gin.Roy Matthew Cohn

Ryan Matthew Cohn

In the 19th century and early 20th century, before the advent of cinema and related media, entertainment-seekers and those in pursuit of knowledge outside their limited scope used to pay to attend waxwork venues where they could view highly realistic effigies representing everything about which they harbored morbid curiosity disguised as academic interest. This particular selection represents the assemblage from “Castan’s Panopticum” which was in business in Berlin from 1869 – 1922 and contains life-sized, anatomical abnormalities (with an emphasis on genitalia and private parts), exaggerated caricature busts of human ethnic examples, the death masks of famous historical figures (Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm I, Mary Queen of Scots, et al.), a few versions of the pregnant uterus with various obstetrical predicaments, as well as internal and external disease processes and more. Think Madame Tussaud’s crossed with the Mutter Museum.

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Two “Anatomical Venuses” in foreground, Ryan Matthew Cohn in background, left

Foremost, and occupying the center of the exhibition room are a couple of examples of what is termed “Anatomical Venus” — beautifully idealized, complete human female figures with their innards revealed, all lovingly rendered in wax sculpture. Professor Rebecca Messberger informed the listeners about the place of women, not just as the subjects of anatomical wax sculpture, but she also referred to the 18th century Italian sculptor, Anna Morandi, known as the “Lady Anatomist” who was a supreme artist in this medium. rebecca Messbarger

Professor Rebecca Messbarger

This exhibit represent the fifth such setup at this fledgling Morbid Anatomy Museum since its opening last June, each of which has been more elaborate, more organized and more fascinating than the one before it. By presenting “House of Wax,” the Museum has captured the very essence of what the institution is all about, its “core” mission, which from this perspective appears to be education, entertainment and bemusement of an audience of gutsy, curious and unconventional museum-goers.Layout 1

The Collector’s Cabinet – at Morbid Anatomy Museum

Filed under: Art Reviews,Events,Uncategorized — doktorjohn January 28, 2015 @ 8:24 pm

Exhibition Opening
Morbid Anatomy Museum

Brooklyn NY

A wine and cheese party was held at this uniquely eccentric Brooklyn museum to celebrate the opening of a new, mind-boggling exhibition, called The Collector’s Cabinet, the second at this institution since its opening last June.

The festivities began when curator and co-founder Joanna Ebenstein introduced the exhibitors, each a collector of oddly interesting items, and invited them to expound upon the items in their own display assemblage.

Joanna

Antique dealers, eccentrics and hoarders of unusual artworks plus a few medical professionals made up the list of contributors.

The range of things on display was eclectic to say the least, and included painted wooden religious figures, dental models representing the wide range of shapes of human teeth, séance props, a disarticulated skeleton and historic anatomical charts.

teeth

One wall was covered with an artistically-cheesy, carnival-type tent banner for a magician. Large glass cases in the middle of the room contained taxidermy specimens of squirrels dressed and posed in anthropomorphic situations: patrons imbibing at a bar and bikini clad, topless exotic dancers.

anthropomorphic squirrels

A pair of candlesticks was unique in that it was composed of actual, preserved baboon forearms. One wall display was a ViewMaster-like, 3-D, back-lit viewer with images of 19th century French miniature, sculpted diabolical tableaux. On display also was a series of cute little paired terra-cotta figurines of Death leading medieval characters to their doom, examples of what is called Danse Macabre or Totentanz.

One by one, each collector spoke briefly about the history and significance of the item or the array that they had lent to the Museum for this show. Art historians, antique enthusiasts and lovers of the off-beat crowded around and took obvious delight at each station.

Odd Man Items

Among the luminaries to present was Evan Michelson, co-star of TV’s long-running series, “Oddities” and co-owner of the NYC antiques boutique, “Obscura.” She demonstrated a pair of primitive artificial arms that once belonged to an unfortunate railway brake-man who lost his own arms in a terrible accident, but resumed his railroad career with these wooden replacements!Evan Michelson

The several taxidermy specimens included a kitten born with two faces, a two-faced calf-head, plus a seven-legged, two-bodied piglet.

Morbid Anatomy Museum co-founder and board chair Tracy Hurley Martin loaned one of the more serious and prestigious of the antiquities, a leather-bound first edition of the 18th Century Kuper-Bibel (Copper Bible), a compendium of art, mysticism, religion and science, containing exquisite copper engravings of cosmography, paleontology, zoology, botany and anatomy. This volume, along with various unclassifiable curiosities, articles of religious iconography, and tame, antiquated erotic images comprises representative sampling of the diverse spectrum of objects that embody the spirit of this museum of the forgotten but truly fascinating.

Copper Bible

QXT’s Art Series IX: Kaliyuga

Filed under: Art Reviews — doktorjohn March 25, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

QXT’s Art Series IX: Kaliyuga

March 21, 2014
Newark NJ
by Doktor John

Number nine in the series of art and media exhibitions held every other month at QXT’s, Newark’s iconic underground dance club featured a fascinating array of displays. Curated by multitalented impresario, Ben Faresich and his artist partner Nicole Zanetakos, who collectively conduct their operation under the title “Dactsaurylus,” this occurrence, as previously, featured around thirteen exhibits with displays of paintings, drawings, videos, electronic music and installations. An artist in her own right, Nicole comes up with a unique theme for each alternate-monthly exhibition based on her wide-ranging knowledge and interests. Ben, a remarkably accomplished photographer, works on developing Nicole’s ideas and helps bring them to fruition.

Many exhibitors were highly accomplished, i.e. attaining a professional level of proficiency. Other works were more raw and amateurish, rich with sincerity and honest ambition. The emphasis as always was on surreal, dark—even horrific—imagery. Training among the exhibitors always runs the gamut from those with graduate training in art through those who have never shown their works before to those currently enrolled in art schools.

Repeat exhibitor Charlie Garlette, who runs Bent Nail Studio, displayed some stunning, “DieselPunk” installation pieces impressive for their elaborate, electro-mechanical and mysterious nature. Flashing, multi-colored lights flickered around the base of a columnar array of metallic constructs, atop of which sat a fluid-filled, illuminated tank containing a biological specimen of god-knows-what creature. Behind and separate from this installation sat a diorama of sorts on a shelf, at its center a creepy bare tree upon which were arrayed true-to-life casts of Charlie’s fingers —eerily lit in dim blue light and set against a background of an electronic board.

Bent Nail blogBent Nail 2 Blog

Artists came from as far away as Long Island, spectators from as far as Brooklyn. A raffle was held that permitted lucky attendees to leave with artworks that had been generously offered as prizes by the artists.

raffle winner
Raffle winner and model Jessica Graves receiving prize from artist Celine Paz. Rob, DJ NueMatic in back. Curator Ben Faresich at far right

QXT’s was full like I’ve never seen it, although I wouldn’t say it was uncomfortably crowded. A great mix of goth, industrial and New Wave kept the dance floor packed with the frenzied and the enraptured.

Filmmaker Ryan Polukord showed his film, “Danger Zone,” a project he has been working on for two years. He took the time to film some of the artists at the show, and is working on a promo video for QXT’s Art Series. Rob Simscuk (AKA DJ NueMatic) performed his original electronic music, ranging from atmospheric and dark ambient to drum-and-bass for dance.

Look for a recurrence of this event at QXT’s in late May, or better still attend the Dactsaurylus-curated art show scheduled to take place at the easy-to-search Seed Gallery on Market Street in Newark on Saturday, April 26th.

Myke Hideous Photography Exhibition

Filed under: Art Reviews,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn December 17, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

Myke Hideous Photography Exhibition
Oakside Manor/Cultural Center Belleville NJ
Dec 11, 2013

by Doktor John

Multi-media artist and renowned local figure, Myke Hideous hosted a wine and cheese opening of his photography exhibition at the beautiful and historic Oakeside Cultural Center in Bloomfield NJ for the month of December. Widely known in the NY/NJ area and formerly prominent as a musician with a significant following, Myke left the music scene in 2008, devoting himself to the study of nature and photography.20131211_192651

His interest in photography and film development follows a family tradition which he has pursued since his teen years.

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Ever a bird and animal lover, he has extensively photographed the local population including eagles, owls, sea-birds and denizens of the meadowlands. Captured with his top quality and ultra-fast lenses, these were among the most strikingly beautiful pieces, whether the subjects were seen serenely perched or in graceful flight. Extreme close-ups of insects shot in “macro” mode were among the most fascinating.PHT01sml

Landscapes and architectural icons that make up the collective unconscious of us who inhabit north Jersey were rendered monumental and mystical when treated with Myke’s visionary style.PHT09sml

Practically everything shown at the exhibit was shot with Canon equipment, either a Rebel, a 7D or lately the 5D Mark III. As an active member of the Audubon Society and a volunteer at the William McDowell Observatory, he has access to the $150,000 telescope through which he shoots celestial objects. One such on view at the exhibit was a stunning, close-up of a quadrant of the moon.PHT29sml (1)
Myke’s involvement in the visual arts goes back at least as far as his career as a musician. Besides film, Myke has worked in drawing, painting, sculpture, furniture and clothing design, installation, found-art assemblage. This background serves his efforts with a camera very well, having developed his eye for composition, detail and novelty. To no one’s surprise, the enthusiastic crowd of attendees and collectors had Myke applying “sold” stickers on his framed works nonstop for much of the evening.20131211_19271720131211_192629

Sculpture of John DiTunno M.D.

Filed under: Art Reviews,Friends & Family — doktorjohn March 12, 2010 @ 11:10 am

I recently had the privilege to make the acquaintance of a true Renaissance Man, retired professor of Physiatry (that’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), John DiTunno, M.D.

Dr. DiTunno is an amateur sculptor who has, among his many artistic accomplishments, re-interpreted Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting, “Christina’s World”, bestowing upon it a higher-still level of immortality by actualizing the image in stone!

Here we see his sculpture,“Christina,” and below it, Wyeth’s masterpiece, “Christina’s World.”

As we know, Wyeth’s painting portrays a handicapped lady who was renowned in her small world for having borne and in significant measure surmounted a physical disability both courageously and with dignity.


Just as John DiTunno, a physician who spent his life helping the disabled to overcome their physical limitations was inspired by Wyeth, so too a colleague of his—another professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Margaret Stineman, M.D.—was inspired to pen this beautiful poem in homage to John’s creation!

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