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New Dark Age for November 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn November 23, 2016 @ 4:14 pm

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22 ARTS WEEKLY NOVEMBER 16, 2016 www.theaquarian.com
PHOTOS BY DOKTOR JOHN

Endless Night Vampire Ball Metropolitan Edition

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Sabretooth’s Impresario and fang-maker Fr. Sebastiaan hosted the annual Endless Night Vampire Ball at Slake (formerly The Batcave) on Manhattan’s 30th St on Saturday October 15, 2016. The event was held in the two upstairs lounges of Slake, leaving dark and empty the large, high-ceiling hall where it was previously centered. The downstairs bar was left to straight, non-vampire-ball-attendees.

The long and narrow top-floor so-called Red Room served mainly as an entertainment space, and the smaller side room was entirely used as a dance floor. Both spaces had well-stocked bars and energetic bartenders.

Chief Operations Officer Victor Magnus greeted attendees upon entry to the venue and stamped Sabretooth’s emblematic ankh on the ticket-holder’s wrist after everybody’s favorite and most glamorous gatekeeper, Mandana Banshee checked each in. From thence we were directed upstairs to the Red Room where we hit the bar and were shortly accosted by a tall, handsome and ultra-suave gent who offered to give couples a lesson in dancing the waltz. We gratefully took that lesson to recorded music played on the house PA system, perhaps to the chagrin of attendees who were unsettled to hear the waltz’s ¾ time instead of the customary 4/4 rock beat that usually accompanies gothic, punk and industrial songs.

A few couples took a few lessons, and soon enough the welcome strains of the Sisters of Mercy filled the air, setting the dance floor alive with participation of the crowd at large. Fr. Sebastiaan appeared on a stage situated at the far end of the room and made his warm, welcoming greetings. He announced a moment of silence for those who have passed from the scene as he always does and he led the crowd in the traditional wolf-howl before introducing the entertainment. As at all Fr. Sebastiaan events, the entertainment was thematic, mildly raunchy and fully captivating. fr-sebastiaan

First up were a pair scantily white-clad baroque-wigged performers who enacted a stylized and R-rated, but tastefully-not-explicit ballet decrying the practice of onanism, “The Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution” inspired by a 1724 pamphlet denouncing the “frightful consequences in both sexes.”baroque
There was a breath-taking performance by vocalist Ariel De Menthe who sang the song “Diva,” in the wide-ranging operatic style termed “coloratura” while wearing a witch’s headdress. A fashion show took place featuring more than a dozen beautiful models who passed on stage and posed in original outfits that evoked harem ladies, belly dancers, or barbarian princesses and warriors.

A stunning ecdysiast performed a strip-tease act starting off wearing a black nun’s habit performing pantomime with props of booze, money and symbolic drug-use while undressing and ending up wearing a lot less – a real lot less – though still in black.nunstripper

The high point always comes with the Halloween costume contest. Because of the particular predilections of this crowd, the outfits are always fabulous, often horrific, and marked by a high level of accomplishment. Gory clowns and gorgeous ladies competed with Gothic warriors and characters from classic horror cinema. The winner (shown here) winnerwas a masterful portrayal of the silent movie-era Nosferatu, and he was followed closely by a faithful version of Lon Chaney Sr.’s vampire from the lost film “London After Midnight” (also shown)20161123_111833.

Dancing to classic darkwave went on into the wee hours, and was yet going strong in both rooms when we left around 2 a.m. Fr. Sebastiaan had once again provided a night of incomparable entertainment and musical pleasure at one of the iconic venues in the New York goth scene. The only thing that can possibly top it is to attend his similarly-themed but even more spectacular Endless Night Vampire Ball in New Orleans.

Corrado’s Hayride, Haunted House

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Mr. Haunt

On Sunday night Oct 16 I was recruited by a group calling itself Haunt Hunters to join them on a visit to Corrado’s Hayride of Horrors and Haunted House in Hackettstown NJ. Owner Joe Corrado transforms his hundred acre farm every Halloween season into one of the state’s great spooky amusements. The hayride, haunted house and haunted corn maze walk are open Oct.1 and then every Friday, Sat and Sunday through the month, ending the weekend of Halloween.The hayride costs $14, the House $14 and a walk through the Haunted Corn Maze $8. Refreshments are for sale at a concession stand.

Haunt Hunters is headed by Mr. Chuck Mound and his partner Mr. Haunt, both dedicated investigators. Mr. Haunt, a prodigious consumer of all things macabre, but especially Halloween-themed amusements, is an imposing figure whose six and a half foot height is further amplified by his goggle-adorned top-hat. Together, he and Mound travel the Northeast and beyond in search of horror-themed attractions to experience and evaluate. Their mission is to seek out haunted theme parks, houses and yard decorations, and to evaluate all their aspects: granting awards for best actors, best costumes, best sets & scenery, best scream queens and – the crowning award – The Annabelle Trophy for best haunted attraction.

Riding on the back of a tractor-drawn hay-strewn trailer alongside a twenty or so passengers, mostly, but not all teenagers, we got to view eerily illuminated displays of grisly scenes, guillotines, graveyards, creepy shacks and vehicle wrecks situated along the roadside.
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Costumed and masked or made-up actors jumped out of the dark to menace us with threats, fake weapons and loud noisemakers, startling us each time they popped out of the gloom. demonic-fire

Marching in a line through the dimly lit maze of paths through a field of eight-foot tall corn, we were assailed by similar horrific characters. This walk goes rather quickly because the terrified kids in back of the line keep pushing and urging those at the front of the line to move faster to escape the villains.20161016_212852

A flatbed truck shuttles patrons to a horribly decorated haunted house, the interior of which is furnished with grisly displays and manned by shrieking, wall-climbing and frighteningly-costumed monster-actors, male and female. The tour ends when one of the tormentor-actors chases the visitors, with a loudly buzzing chainsaw, out of the building and into the front walk where a full moon shone comforting light on to the scene and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We served ourselves consolation in the form of hotdogs, cider and doughnuts before making the long car ride back to civilization.

Halloween fell on a Monday this year, so celebrations and events started early, creating a four-day Halloweekend.

New York City

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Night Gallery at Lovecraft bar

NY-based gothic rock mega-ensemble Night Gallery stormed the stage at Lovecraft Bar at 11:30 on the Friday before Halloween, where a sleepy crowd of beatnik seniors had gathered to hear soothing hippy jazz-fusion bands from the 60s. Accompanied by no less than five gifted musicians, including recently added keyboardist Jennifer Bobbe, vocalists Mark Demon and singer-songwriter Kitty Hawk quickly turned the mood around with their brooding, yet bombastic repertoire. Although most of the Grateful Dead-leaning crowd made a quick exit, the few who stayed seemed genuinely impressed by the change of pace that Night Gallery provided. The management, however, wasn’t thrilled, and they cut NG’s set to four songs and whisked them off stage, replacing them with a sleep-inducing Jimmy Buffet-style duo, which was our cue to leave.

Memento Mori Halloween Party

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From there it was an easy walk across Alphabet City to Bedlam Bar, where Mike Stalagmike, Bela Lugosi Alex and Valefar Malefic were spinning a deathrock-based mix that had black-clad dancers gyrating and careening into the early morning hours in the Halloween edition of Memento Mori.memento-2memento-1
this side of the local graveyard.

Friday, Oct. 28

Madame X hosted “Lifting the Veil – A Sexy Halloween Bash” at QXT’s in Newark, attended by costume contestants from the greater NY/NJ area and beyond.

Saturday, Oct. 29

Fr. Jeff hosted the Halloween edition of Ward 6 at Windfall, a dance night complete with costume contest featuring a $100 first prize and $50 Gothic Renaissance store certificate second prize.

Amityville Horror All Hallow’s Eve

Club Revolution and Music Hall on Long Island hosted a musical extravaganza on Sunday night before Halloween with a variety of bands and musicians covering a spectrum of appropriately themed goth-industrial performers. Sandwiched between openers Night Gallery who reprised their act to a more receptive crowd (see above) and headliners, Disorder, whose tribute to Joy Division has become a staple of the NY/NJ goth scene, was star of the dark stage, Baron Misuraca who performed an impeccable cover of the Rammstein mega-hit “Du Hast” and also served as emcee.

Oklahoma-based Esoterik featured a darkwave , but less than melodious set with a gorgeous female vocalist and a single multi-instrumentalist on guitar, drums and keyboardist. Espermachine, hailing from Little Rock, AR looked and sounded a lot like Laeatherstrip.

disorderDisorder opened with an eerie track of historic newsreel commentary from the early days when Joy Division was first hailed. From there, they performed eight songs in all, including “Isolation,” “She’s Lost Control” and “Shadowplay,” before pushing through a medley including “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Transmission” and the tragic-sounding Joy Division/New Order transition piece, “Ceremony.” Each was performed with their now-to-be expected fine mastery of Joy Division’s repertoire. Mike Strollo’s vocals, have a carefully crafted sense of strain in faithful simulation of venerated idol, Ian Curtis, and have become increasingly indistinguishable from the original.

The night ended with a costume contest which was enlivened when the groom of a zombie couple of contestants suddenly produced an engagement ring and real-life proposed to the bride right on stage. Happily, she accepted, and the rest of the night was spent in celebratory dancing to deejay-selected sounds.

Dracula’s Ball at Trocadero, Philadelphia Monday Oct 31, Halloween

This was the first Dracula’s Ball in quite some time. In earlier days,it was held three or four times a year, mostly at the now-gone, multilevel Shampoo mega-nightclub. When impresario Patrick Rodgers was able to put together an entertainment bill featuring reunited industrial rock giants Stabbing Westward and secure the historic Trocadero music venue, Dracula’s Ball arose from the grave. Balancing the bill was an opening tribal/medieval trio, ashagalAshagal whose “songs of myth and legend”reminded us of Quintal or Dead Can Dance, and who warmed the crowd with music of ancient Scandinavia and Ireland.

Indeed, the evening did start early with doors at 9:00, Ashagal at 9:45 and Stabbing Westward at 10:40, so costumed revelers were able to dance the rest of the night to deejay sets by Chas Paris and Rich Russo. Those who preferred the intimacy of the upstairs lounge area had their own full bar and could dance to the spinning of DJ TK-421. Many of thegetups were stunning as well as creative, thus it was a little disappointing to see some attendees in sweatshirts, hoodies, jeans and sneakers. drac-ball-costumescostumedrac-ballCostumes were “encouraged, but not mandatory.” Segregated areas were available for those of drinking age and those not. Attendees under 21 years of age could not access the bar service areas.drac-ball-dancers

On the negative side, the Trocadero felt a little claustrophobic compared to Shampoo, but that’s nobody’s fault, just the laws of physics. To his credit, patrick-rogersPatrick Rodgers limited the sale of tickets to well below the fire regulations specified limit for the venue. On the plus side, there were beautiful, original and creative items for sale in the merchandise area as well as records, posters and tee-shirts for the bands and the event. stabbing-westward

Stabbing Westward put on a spectacular show, and lead singer Chris Hall seemed to be over-the-top with actual love and enthusiasm for the crowd as he exchanged jokes with the audience and belted out 10 great hits, ending the first set with “Save Yourself,” before taking a break, then returning with a three-song encore set that concluded with “Shame.”
We can only hope that having met with complete success with this sold-out the event that Patrick Rodgers is able to put another ball together again sooner than next Halloween.