“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.

anatomical venus

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

IAMX – Metanoia – Metropolis Records

Filed under: Goth Stuff,Recorded Music,Uncategorized — doktorjohn October 11, 2015 @ 11:22 am


Metanoia 2

Nothing is quite as effective —not love, not drugs —as emotional or mental breakdown to inspire artistic expression. It is particularly fortuitous when that kind of affliction befalls a really talented artist like Chris Corner, the composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and video artist fronting the synthpop group IAMX. His sixth album, titled “Metanoia,” meaning a profound, spiritual, transformation, reportedly represents his recovery from depression and insomnia. Indeed, the fervor and creative vigor of this eleven-track opus bespeaks just such a wrenching transformation.

Fans of IAMX need not fear, however, that Chris Corner has changed his style of vocal clarity as well as ferocity. On the contrary more than any prior work, this album captures the inimitable power and frank beauty of his androgynous, wide-ranging and confrontational singing, whether fashioning delicious hooks, operatic flourishes or delicate autobiographical narratives.

All of this is incorporated in the most mesmerizing, irresistible dance grooves and complex synthetic rhythms. Dance clubs will treasure this repertoire, whether playing galloping, unstoppable juggernauts like “No Maker Made Me,” or the plodding, slow-paced “Hello Melancholia.” Noteworthy are the bluesy, yet danceable eighth track, “Cruel Darkness Embrace Me” and the wild, wanton and relentless “Aphrodisiac.”

Every track is written in a minor key, which confirms the emotional depression that inspired the entire opus. Some tracks feature a mournful female chorus, others cadenced scraping industrial noises. Did I mention that this dark, really dark —even deliciously dark music?

At least ten tracks feature memorable, seductive melodies and compelling tempos. It lends itself to exceptional listening or dancing pleasure. Gloomy as the entire album seems, if it purports to represent actual recovery, I don’t want to know what that depression was like.

NOIR at Arkham at Don Pedro’s

Filed under: Goth Stuff,Live Music,Reviews,Uncategorized — doktorjohn October 5, 2015 @ 12:19 am

Arkham at Don Pedro’s

September 26, 2015
By Doktor John
Brooklyn, NY
Noir Arkham

Synthpop trio Noir made a late night appearance at the Brooklyn dive bar Don Pedro’s the last Saturday of September. Don Pedro’s is a suitable venue: long and narrow, with a bar in the entry area and a performance space occupying the back half, featuring a small, raised stage. Bare brick walls, one un-lockable toilet and another “out-of-order,” give it just the kind of broken-utilitarian atmosphere that suits the punk/Gothrock experience. Before, during and after the live music performance, a movie screen served as the backdrop to the stage. A continuous video loop was projected on the back wall of the stage and ran a grainy, black-&-white, silent flick from 1922 showing medieval peasants and sexually depraved monks engaged in witch-hunting, accompanied by subtitles in English and Danish. All the stuff that sets the proper mood.

Such was the milieu for Noir, fronted by vocalist Athan Maroulis, formerly of Spahn Ranch and Black Tape for a Blue Girl. He was accompanied by two keyboardists/back-up vocalists, Demetra Songs and Kai Irina Hahn, the latter a noted singer, song writer and performance artist in her own right, whose project, The Sedona Effect has taken NYC underground scene by storm of late.

Noir’s set consisted of nine songs, six of which were drawn from Noir’s 2013 album “Darkly Near.” The opening number, “The Bells” captures Noir’s style of catchy hooks and undulating melodies, sung over driving electronic rhythms. The next song, “My Dear” delved into even more serpentine, atonal progressions, rendered — like the entire set — hypnotic by the galloping, cadenced rhythms provided by the two synthesizers. The third piece provided an opportunity to introduce a decidedly industrial mood with the resurrection of the Spahn Ranch anthem “Breath and Taxes.” The crowd of thirty to fifty spectators responded with pleasure and recognition to this bit of musical nastiness.

The next several pieces “Time Phase,” “A Forest” and “When the Rains Came” were drawn from “Darkly Near,” and each again highlighted Maroulis’ unusual and undulant, sometimes discordantly melodious vocals. Before closing, there was a return to Spahn Ranch’s industrial-strength repertoire with “Vortex” and the concluding number, “Heretic’s Fork.”

The combination of originality in composition, vocal expertise and mastery of electronic musicianship held the crowd in thrall, and made it well worth it for us to have traveled out into the land of scarce parking spaces, the Brooklyn demimonde, for this highly enjoyable late night entertainment.