Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Joys of Internet Radio

Have I ever mentioned how much I love internet radio? It's kind of a recent discovery for me, because I live in a cave, and I don't come out of it very often, so I'm generally late on stuff all the kids are doing. Which is why I dress like a Victorian/punk hobo from the 80's. Z has no concept of time. But yes, now I have discovered internet radio, and I love it.

My two favorites would have to be IHeartRadio and Last. FM. Especially Last. FM, because it gives more details about the various bands and songs you're listening to. I have discovered so many awesome bands through this thing...Oh, hold on. I can hear my iPod, Fluffy, crying softly in its docking station.
"Noooo, data overload! I am a mere 16 gig contraption! No more, please!"
 Poor thing. I'm going to have to replace it soon.
 "If you just liked movie soundtracks and Josh Groban like you used to, I'd be totally cool, but you just had to get into goth music and every other musical genre ever conceived by man!"
Shut up, you can retire when I have money.
"I thought you preferred CDs anyway!"
CDs are expensive, you little Steve Jobs spawn! Now be quiet!

Sorry about that. Fluffy is getting a little cranky these days since he barely has two free gigabytes to his name. Can't say that I blame him, but I would kind of like new music. Fortunately, my internet radio stations can sate my everlasting musical thirst for the time being.
Z's glorious art debut on this blog. So yeah, I actually own this one!

The only problem is, when I'm listening to some customized goth station, some odd things sneak in. Dangit, when I listen to goth music, I want to listen to goth music! Not Radiohead! Or when I want wumpity-thump oontz-oontz music, I do not want scream-o.

I do not like Radiohead. I'm sorry. *watches tiny readership shrink even further*

Blagh, in other news, I am sick. Allergies on top of a cold I'm getting over. Boo. But who cares? I don't. I'm boring myself. I'm going to go find food. What's your favorite kind of music? And if it's goth, what's your second favorite? I like metal (even Within Temptation!), classic rock, and random Britpop. And New Age. I really dig the hippie-dippy stuff. Peace out, dude.

Thanks for reading, lovelies and gents!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More Freaky Movies!

Sorry I disappeared for a while, guys. I've been known to do that. Danged space aliens.

I have another movie review for you all. Better yet, I have TWO reviews! And one of them is even from a recent movie! Yaaaaay!

First, we've got The Woman in Black, a ghost story set in Victorian England, and below that is a review of Bram Stoker's Dracula, the 1992 rendition of the classic vampire tale. 

The Woman in Black
In which Harry Potter may now boldly wear a mustache!
I was highly disappointed to find that this wasn't a biopic about my life, but at the same time I was relieved. That would have been one boring movie. 
As it was, I came very close to run screaming from the theater.
Woman in Black is a horror movie of the creepy haunting variety. It stars Daniel Radcliffe, or as you may know him, that guy who played Harry Potter. He's gotten very handsome, by the way. I know he's gained quite a few fan-girls from his Harry Potter days, but I never found him all that appealing. Maybe it's because in this movie, he's wearing late 1800's period clothing.

The story concerns Arthur (Radcliffe) going to an old house to put the deceased previous owner's papers in order...Or something. Due to my ADD or whatever it is, the details escaped me. Anyway, when he gets to the village close to the place, the townsfolk don't seem too keen on the idea of him going there.
Of course, in true horror movie tradition, he ignores their warnings and heads off to the suspiciously creepy, deserted(?) old manor, which sits out in the middle of a huge misty swamp. The scenery in this movie is absolutely gorgeous, for those of you inclined to like brooding, foggy landscapes. The whole film is beautifully shot.  
Once at the house, it doesn't take very long for things to get eerie. He first spies the eponymous woman standing out in the estate graveyard. He runs outside to see who she is, but he finds no one. From here, weirder and weirder things start happening, the creepiness escalates, children start dying all over the place, and Z gets a heart attack while consuming too much buttery popcorn.

If more men dressed like this, fewer of you would be single. Just sayin'.

Radcliffe is a competent, though not very interesting actor, and he does a competent, though not very interesting job in this movie. But let's face it, this is hardly a character piece, and he's not given much to work with. As usual, he's very good at looking sad and angsty. In Woman in Black, he's a young widower, still depressed about his wife who died in childbirth four years ago. He has a little boy, which is his main reason for going through with his scary assignment. If he doesn't, he'll lose his job. Good father + grieving widower x cute Daniel Radcliffe = Sympathetic protagonist, I s'pose.

This was a rather disappointing movie as far as creativity is concerned. All the things happening in this film, you've probably seen before. It employed just about every horror trope you can think of, including creepy children, said creepy children staring out windows, bloody writing on the wall, vengeful spirits, terrifying wind-up toys, a swamp boy, the doubting scoffer, possession, the haunted house with suspicious noises in the night, etc. It almost felt like an extended "Supernatural" episode, and I kept expecting Sam and Dean Winchester to show up. It only lacked the goofy humor, though it did seem to have a very subtle self-awareness that I found amusing.
Oh, and potential plot-hole! It looked to me like Arthur just had to go through a bunch of paperwork to do whatever his job entailed. Why didn't he just pick up all the paperwork in the house and work on it elsewhere? Instead of, you know, SPENDING THE NIGHT AT THE HAUNTED HOUSE? 
There also dadgum freaking jump-scares EVERYWHERE.

The Good Stuff
Like I mentioned before, this is a gorgeously shot movie. All the scenery, sets and costumes and camera work are wonderful. There ought to be more horror films set in the Victorian age, because it just works, and you can milk all the horror tropes for all they're worth. This movie certainly did so with relish. There was so much awesome gothic imagery, it's almost worth watching just for that.
It also relies more on psychological horror than nasty gross-out stuff. When not using the annoying-but-effective jump-scares, it utterly takes advantage of that heinous fear most of us have of seeing a ghostly face peering out of the darkness at us. You know, when you think you see something weird out of the corner of your eye, you turn around, and nothing is there? This movie knows. And it nearly sent me into cardiac arrest. It also feeds on parental instinct, because the plot involves kids dropping like flies. I'm glad I don't have kids, because otherwise I'd be having some freaky nightmares.

So despite not being very inventive, it was still pretty scary. It does what "Supernatural" does by taking all your typical horror elements and wallowing in them like a happy hippopotamus. It didn't really leave an emotional impact on me, though I've had a hard time going into a dark room for a few days. So it wasn't a great film, but it was worth the price of admission, and I would probably watch it again.

My Movie-snob Rating: ***
My Personal Rating ***

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
He's ashamed of his odd hairstyle choice.

Oh boy. This was a weird one.
The 90's brought us some good movies. Interview with The Vampire, Sense and Sensibility, Ed Wood, all those classic Disney animated films, etc.
But the 90's was also one of the most awkward decades ever. Looking back, it seems like, "durr...The 80's are over...Now what?"
Fittingly, this was a super-awkward vampire movie. Not like Twilight, heavens no. That's uncomfortable-silly-teenagers-plus-hideous-acting awkward. Bram Stoker's Dracula was more like an-epic-goth-parade-through-Wal-Mart awkward. You have to admit that it's awesome, but it is so incredibly bizarre.

OK, so the story is straightforward enough. Dracula wants to buy a house in England. Real-estate guy Jonathan Harker goes to his castle in Transylvania. Dracula sees picture of Jonathan's bride-to-be, Mina, and thinks she's a reincarnation of his tragically deceased wife from centuries ago. So while seducing his beloved, he decides to terrorize London while he's at it. Van Helsing and friends band together to put the undead creeper permanently back in his grave.

But what's weirder than "Zardoz", anyway?
Holy crap, where to begin? The camera work and editing were nuts and there was narm aplenty. Bizarre imagery was thrown in with little-to-no reason behind it. There were disconcertingly cheesy special effects. Weird stuff was constantly happening with no explanation, there was that somewhat infamous scene of gratuitous werewolf sex (yeah, eat your heart out, Team Jacob!), some more random erotica, and oddly-behaving characters. I got the sense that a lot of it was weird for the sake of weird. It wasn't necessarily scary, just weird. Not quite "Zardoz" weird, but in that same vein.
And as usual, Keanu Reeves is pretty muchly pointless except for being a plot-device. Maybe he was supposed to act as a dull contrast to Gary Oldman's Dracula, but "act" may be too strong a word, here.
...What was with Aged Dracula's hair?

Good Stuff
Fantastic cast. Oh my gosh, what a great cast. Winona Ryder as Mina, Gary Oldman as Dracula, Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, Cary Elwes as Lord Holmwood, Tom Waits as Renfield the crazy guy...The cast was definitely the saving grace of this movie, Keanu Reeves aside. Gary Oldman is utterly badass as Dracula. He hams it up, but only the the best way possible. He's everything a good Dracula should be: Grotesque, sexy, scary, powerful, tragic, and evil, all at the same time.
The sets and costumes are also magnificent. OH THE COSTUMES! This was costume porn at its finest, especially if you're a kook like me when it comes to gothic and steampunk fashion. The whole movie is just loaded with over-the-top gothic imagery, and like The Woman in Black, it happily wallows in it. As well it should! Everything is simply gorgeous and extravagant, and if it weren't for the crazy editing and camera, the visuals would be perfect.
Vampire makeup was terrific. Dracula as an old man was freaky-awesome. Creepy, creepy. Pale white, saggy skin, long fingernails, the works. Can't say as much for the werewolf/gorilla suit, but the vampire getups were very nicely done. Seriously, though, what was with that werewolf, and what was with Aged Dracula's hair?
The characters are interesting enough that you care about them, even though you probably know what's going to happen. Mina falls for Dracula, though the romance is written a bit shakily, and you really do want her to be with him. It may be only because you know her alternative is Keanu, but otherwise I found this movie to have a pretty good emotional strength. It was so artsy-fartsy, that it sure as heck ought to.

In the end, I'm still not sure if I liked this one. There were things that I loved about it, but it was just so danged weird and a little pretentious for all the narm and cheese it presented. It seemed confused, and didn't really blend the horror and romance as well as it wanted to. But I can see it becoming a film classic in years to come and I enjoyed it for sure. I would definitely watch it again.

My Movie-Snob Rating: ***1/2
My Personal Rating: ***1/2

One last note: The 1992 Dracula is the source of one of my favorite songs! "Love Song for a Vampire" by Annie Lennox has been on my iPod for years, and even though I knew it was from this movie, I'd never seen the movie until recently. So now I have! Go me. I'm sure you find that utterly not-fascinating, though, so I'll just leave you with the music video.

Thanks for reading, kids!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What is Goth? 2. The Music of the Goth Scene

This is the second part of a series I plan on doing about what the gothic subculture is. I'm writing this for other kids who, if you're like I was, are curious about the subculture, but didn't know how to go about looking into it. I'm also writing this for curious or concerned friends and family of said kids. Those of you who are already goths can read it with nostalgia and judge whether or not you want to take my Goth Card.

If you haven't seen it already, read this person's explanation of the goth scene. It's almost exactly how I feel about it, though expressed in a hilariously grumpy fashion. For the more sensitive of my readers, there is some language, so be warned.

Also be warned that this is going to be a loooooooooooooong post. But it's my 10th article, so BOOYAH FOR ME!
What is a goth? Put simply, it's a person who likes gothic music and dresses with a dark aesthetic. There have always been people who wear a lot of black and favor the gloomier side of art and expression, but a name was finally given to this species sometime in the late 70's or early 80's when a bunch of post-punk musical groups started dressing in black and writing songs with a super dark flavor. Most of them detested being slapped with the "goth" label, but they still remain the ultimate favorites of the subculture to this day, and seem incapable of escaping it. Too bad for them, people love them.

Rock on and completely ignore that
dude in the green shirt!
Goth music is a huge genre that is peppered liberally with many little sub-genres, not to mention other kinds of dark music which many goths are fond of. There are, however, a few main bands that you need to be aware of if you want to keep your Goth Card.
The Big Daddies of Goth Rock are probably Siouxsie and the Banshees, Clan of Xymox, the Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend, Christian Death, and Specimen, just to name a few. There is a highly irritating, raging debate going on within the scene over what constitutes a real modern goth band. Personally, I classify whatever "darkwave" is as goth music. If you are a goth music afficianado, you may disagree, but I'm keeping my Goth Card anyway, thank you very much. Like I said, there's a raging debate.

Everyone seems to agree about the previously-mentioned bands being the foundation of the musical genre, though, so let's get into the rest of it. What can you find in the wide world of goth music?

Medieval, Celtic, and inspired by the Old World
Acts like Dead Can Dance are pretty popular with goths because of the lamenting, haunting, ancient sound. We all like to secretly pretend we're 2000-year-old lovelorn vampires, so of course this kind of thing is going to be very much liked. Loreena McKennitt is another popular songstress of this type, (as well as one of my personal favorites!) who writes beautiful music based on morbid poetry, her world travels, and Celtic culture. This tends to be pretty parent-friendly stuff, though the Old Man has made a few snarky comments about my "Arab music." Siouxsie and the Banshees, though more of a punk-goth group, obviously get a lot of inspiration from Old World aesthetic, what with Budgie's tribal drumming and Siouxsie sometimes resembling an ancient Egyptian queen. A lot of goth bands in general fancy the Old World flavor. Check out Faith and the Muse for another classic.
On a similar note, (Note. Get it? Hahaha! ...Wut?) goth music also shows a lot of Classical influence. Artists like Emilie Autumn love their harpsichords and violins, Bachs and Beethovens. And who can blame them? Those guys were frigging geniuses and wrote music that doubtless spoke to many a melancholy soul.

Siouxsie Sioux, a goth music godess to be
worshipped at the Alter of Eyeliner
Punk is more or less the angry elder brother of goth, or possibly the parent. Most of the original goth bands were vomited straight out of the punk movement, but were too dark and too sad to fit within it. Besides, at the time, punk was sort of dying off, and goth was slowly gaining in popularity. The punk spinoffs, I think, are referred to as "deathrock" bands. You get things like Christian Death and Alien Sex Fiend that have the harsh, jangly punk sound, but they wax a little more lacrimosa.

Those groups that use a lot of bass and scary vocals
One might argue that this is what goth music basically is, but bands like Fields of the Nephilim and the Sisters of Mercy are some classic examples of this. Besides, a lot of goth music includes some very pretty voices, Loreena McKennitt being one. But it's true that many of these groups sound like they're being fronted by vampires who have spent too much time in their coffins. The effect can be quite sexy, if you're into that sort of thing. Bass guitar is another staple in the goth genre...And that's really all there is to say about it. 

Adrian Hates is creeping on you

Industrial plus all that electronic crap
Hey, I'm quite fond of oontz-oontz music! This seems to be the most common trend in goth music these days. You have the harsh and heavy throbbing beats of industrial, found in bands like Front Line Assembly, and the more fluid, contemplative sounds of electronic darkwave bands like and Covenant. Industrial is not necessarily goth and neither is electronica (do NOT mention Deadmau5, I will eat you) and some people would prefer to think that these genres don't exist at all, but they do. And my personal opinion is that some of these acts are quite gothic indeed. If you replace the beeps and boops with jangly guitars and synthesized ambient sounds, you get the same thing. The lyrics are often dark or introspective, and the tunes are low-key. Industrial is what you get if you blend metal and electronica with post-punk, so there's gonna be a lot of crossover. And if Diary of Dreams is not goth, I am a toad.
Poor Marilyn. Goths don't want him,
metalheads don't want him... But really,
I don't think he cares.
No, not really. As with industrial, there is crossover, but metal is not goth and it never will be. It has no similarity whatsoever to the original Big Daddy Bands, and it has its own gargantuan genre to deal with. That doesn't mean goths don't like metal, though. I am hugely fond of metal, as are many others. For metal bands often lumped in with darkwave and goth, take a look at Lacrimosa or Theatres Des Vampires. In the Book of Z, those are definitely goth bands. Again, you may disagree. Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper are not goth, though. They do not sound goth, they are not goth. Ick. I had to mention both of them in the same sentence. I'm sorry, Alice.

Emo kid would like to show
you his tongue, too.
No. Just no. Keep this in mind, guys: Emo is to goth what Twilight is to Dracula. There may be the occasional mutual fondness, but in general, goths want nothing to do with emo, and emos tend to be kind of ignorant about goth. Though emo music is descended from punk like goth is, it is an entirely different animal. The only similarity is the, err...sadness...of the genre and the extensive use of the color black.

Contemporary darkwave, or Goth Music Today
What has goth music evolved into? In many ways goth music has become even more over-the-top and gothy than ever. There are a lot of groups that still resemble the original bands, but they've been updated and blend the cantillions of sub-genres found within the scene. In general, the sound of goth music now is well represented by Cruxshadows, Blutengel, London After Midnight, Clan of Xymox, and many more.

Clan of Xymox
Is goth music safe for my child?!?!
Well, that really depends on the band. Some artists are clean, and others can be quite explicit, just as with every other musical genre. I would certainly rather my child listen to goth music than rap, or even Lady Gaga or Katy Perry, but it's still going to depend on the band. Industrial tends to be nastier, but not always. Most Siouxsie and the Banshees albums are clean, though I say MOST. Even then, they keep explicit language to a minimum. You're best off avoiding bands with names like Alien Sex Fiend, obviously, but the only way to know for sure is to do some research on it. It all boils down to the band, the maturity level of your child and your personal family values. Even though I believe totally in the power of music, I like to give kids more credit than to think they're going to go off on a mass killing-spree because they heard a Bauhaus song. If you think your child is that stupid and that easily swayed, by all means, keep them away from the stuff. Messages in the music vary, too. Cruxshadows is incredibly positive, while Blutengel can be kind of a downer. Nobody I know of actually promotes self-harm unless they're doing it in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. Use your own discernment and think for yourselves, folks.
Peter Murphy, former frontman of Bauhaus, now a fab solo act.
Also my husband. Yep.
In the end, what is goth music all about?
There is nothing necessarily "deep" about goth music as a whole, but it is different. Depending on the band, it usually covers a variety of topics, from love to death to ancient myth. It's certainly a more introspective and varied genre than most top-40 pop stuff, but like every other musical act, there can be moments of vapid silliness as well. Goth music is notorious from being melodramatic and over-the-top, and sometimes it's just downright strange. Can it be pretentious? At its worst, heck yes. Can it be totally awesome, though? Absolutely! There are so many different kinds of goth music that you're almost sure to find something you like, whether you're goth or not. You probably already have some gothy group on your iPod as we speak. Depeche Mode, the Cure, Gary Numan...Yep, all favorites in the scene. Again, the music follows the dark, romantic, and slightly twisted gothic aesthetic. For me, this was the first musical genre that really excited me and "spoke" to my heart, as nerdy as that sounds. It is truly my musical home.

Once again, I'm sending you off to Amy's Stripy Tights blog for better-informed reading on the subject, or if you're just sick of my blathering. Besides, this article doesn't even begin to cover the copius acts that could be called "goth."

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wuthering Heights Insanity

Yes, I know the title of this post is a bit redundant.

Dude, I LOVE Wuthering Heights. It's, like, my favorite book. One of my favorite books. It's so beautiful and horrible and twisted and tragic and...! And! And!
So this being the day after Valentine's, I'm going to devote this entire post to Emiy Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

What's it about?
Heathcliff is a wretched little foundling boy brought up by the rich-but-crazy Earnshaw family at Wuthering Heights. He and Cathy Earnshaw are soul-mates almost right off the bat, but stuff happens and they proceed to drive each other and everybody around them crazy.

Honestly I have no idea why I like this book. The protagonists are mostly horrible people. Heathcliff might very well be pure evil, and Cathy is just nuts. The only sane person in the story is Nellie, the housemaid and narrator of the book. Even the unfortunate "normal" neighbors of the Earnshaws, the Lintons, do dumb crap, like marry into the Wuthering Heights crowd.

Maybe that's why I like it. Like Interview With the Vampire, you get an unapologetic but sympathetic account of some nasty, pathetic people trying to figure out how to live their lives. Sure, it's romantic and fun, but it's also dark and twisted and it mirrors reality just enough to feel connection to the characters. There is lots of intrigue, everyone manipulating everyone else, and lots of sadistic mind-games going on here.

There's also a doozy of a love-triangle. Edgar Linton, classic Nice Guy, loves Cathy for some unearthly reason. Heathcliff is definitely NOT a nice guy, but he loves Cathy, too, and to be fair, he saw her first. Cathy loves Heathcliff with a burning passion of burningness, but she loves Edgar's money and affable temperament. The story consists mainly of Heathcliffe and Edgar duking it out over Cathy, Cathy being a nutjob, Heathcliff wreaking revenge upon everyone who ever got on his bad side (almost the whole cast of the story), and the children of the main characters having to suffer for their insane parents' wrongdoings.

The setting is most intriguing. Two big houses on the wild moors! Two screwed-up families! Passion and bodice-ripping abound! Ghosts and corpses! Tragic love! A Byronic hero! Oh my gosh, it's gothic fiction at its most gothic!

My favorite film adaption?
The happy couple
Actually, the only movie version I've seen so far is the 2009 Masterpiece Theater TV production with Tom Hardy, but it's most excellent. It may not follow the book exactly, but it completely and utterly captures the spirit of the original story, has some great acting and scenery, and it also goes into the second generation of characters, which really completes the saga. It has time to explore more than most film versions because it's a two-part show and runs a little bit under three hours.

Tom Hardy, though a lot paler than Heathcliff is described in the book, is fantastic in the role. Nasty but sympathetic, beautiful but vicious, he's just about perfect. He's a brooding, skulking manipulator. And he is very pretty. Oh yes.

Charlotte Riley is hotblooded and suitably neurotic as Cathy. She's got great chemistry with everyone, especially Hardy, and has a wonderfully kooky spark in her eye that is both charming and alarming.

Andrew Lincoln as Edgar is sweet and pathetic, and you can't help but feel for the guy. He wanders into a total mess of a family and gets himself tangled up in its sordid affairs. The actor has just enough backbone but is also just enough of a wimp to be an interesting rival. You're pretty sure Heath could eat him alive, but you have to give him credit for standing up to him.

My biggest problem with the Masterpiece version is the makeup. A lot of the characters age about 20 years in the story, but not much was done with makeup to make them look older. Heathcliff got some gray in his hair, but that was about it. Nellie especially should've had more wrinkles, white hair, or something, since she's around the longest.

But overall, it's a great example of how to adapt a book to the screen, and a good movie. The ending is highly satisfying, and there are several moments that make me cry buckets.
My movie-snob rating: ****
My personal rating: *****

I'd like to see the black and white verson with Laurence Olivier. The 1992 movie with Ralph Fiennes looks silly, though. Too bad, because I'm rather fond of Fiennes. Eh, I'll give it a shot sometime.

Then there's that...SONG...
Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush. I know a lot of people really love Kate Bush, and I know a lot of people love this song...Heck, I like the song...But...
Admit it, folks. Kate Bush sings like she's on helium. And that video of her in the red dress is just...Odd. Kate Bush herself is...Odd. A talented songwriter for sure, but weirder than Lady Gaga could ever dream of being. And she sounds like she's on helium. Tell me that voice didn't throw you off the first time you heard it. Go ahead and tell me!

Nevertheless, her Wuthering Heights song grew on me because I just love the story so much, and it's a catchy tune. I would wish for something a little more tragic and plaintive-sounding, but for what it is, it's a good song.

Kate Bush still sounds like she's on helium.

Wait, there's more!
Apparently, there is a Wuthering Heights opera that was written by the composer of classic creepy filmscores himself, Bernard Herrmann! If you don't know who he is, he did the music for a lot of Alfred Hitchcock's movies, like Vertigo, Psycho, and others. He also did the music for the original Day the Earth Stood Still (do not bother with the remake, it sucks toast) and another gothic classic, the Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I'll have to do reviews on those, sometime, because they are movies that any spooky movie buff (or any movie buff at all) should not live without!

I don't know much about this opera other than that I need to look into it, but now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
Thanks for reading, lovelies and gents!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Eureka! I Don't Have to Like Bauhaus!

Amy, awesome writer of what was formerly the Ultimate Goth Guide, has written an article about something that will allow uncomfortable gothlings everywhere to rejoice with happiness!

Nobody does goth like the Germans. 
Leave it to the Germans to come up with an all-encompassing term for dark culture. The Schwarze Szene is basically everything most goths like anyway, but it includes stuff that isn't necessarily "goth" on its own. Personally, I think we goths ought to get over ourselves and stop worrying about what fits in the scene and what doesn't. Sometimes I feel like giving people this litmus test: You like Siouxsie Sioux? You like wearing black? You like reading morbid poetry? Cool. You're goth.

Stop worrying. You're your own unique person and you're not going to be the "perfect goth," whatever that is. If you aren't a "real" goth, then who really cares? But worry not, not-real-goths! You have a scene name of your very own, now. You fit neatly into a subcultural box. Don't worry, it's human nature to want to fit under a label, and even the so-called counter-culture crowd wants one. Why would it cause so much debate in the goth scene if we honestly didn't care?

(BTW, I just noticed there is a spell-check feature on this thing. Hallelujah!)

So, the Schwarze Szene. What is it? In a nutshell, it's dark culture. It includes medieval, industrial, fetish, gothic, metal, and other lovely things of a delightfully dark and depressing nature. Booyah, you are now allowed to speak to metalheads! Thank goodness. My best friends are metalheads. I myself am a casual metalhead.

Glad that's all cleared up.

In the meantime, I will continue to make fun of posers and listen to Bauhaus. OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH BEEEELAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaa....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just so You're Aware...

Yikes, it's been nothing but vampires with me lately. It's like they're following me. First aliens, now vampires. Why me? Will I never have peace?

You've probably seen this story floating around the internet since it is rather eye-catching. I mean, when you read a headline like, "Nicolas Cage: I'm Not a Vampire," you kind of have to do a double-take. You mean there's nothing more pressing going on in the world? Don't worry about the American debt crisis, y'all. Nicolas Cage is not a vampire!

The mass hysteria is due to an old picture surfacing, featuring a man from the 1800's who bears a striking resemblence to Nick Cage. But don't photographers have trouble capturing vampires on flim?
So apparently Cage has a look-alike from the mid 1800's, and
believe or not, he actually looks goofier than the current one.
Jack Mord is apparently the individual who came up with this theory. With a name like Mord, I would be worried about my own living status. Mord sounds a lot like "Mort" which is close to "Morte" which means death! Am I the only one seeing this? This needs closer scrutiny!

This is what Jack Mord himself says about his hypothesis: "My theory is that he allows himself to age to a certain point, maybe 70, 80 or so, then the actor 'Nicolas Cage' will 'die,' But in reality, the undead vampire 'Nicolas Cage' will have rejuvenated." If I am correct, I think Cage did own a castle in Europe. Sadly he had to sell it because of money issues. Dude, who loses a castle?

I'm still not entirely sure if Mord was serious when he put forth his theory, but he must have been, because people are NEVER sarcastic on the internet.

If any actor was a vampire, though, it would probably be him. Nick just seems kinda vampirey to me. Must be the nose, or something. And if it's not Nicolas Cage, it has to be Tom Cruise or John Travolta. Don't you remember that part of vampire lore that talks about vampires all being scientologists? No? Maybe I just made that up. That was merely vicious slander on my part, guys, sorry.
But I am serious when I say that Nicolas Cage is NOT a vampire. You guys can rest easy.

Besides, wouldn't vampires be better actors? Geeze, people.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

1. So...What exactly IS Goth?

This is the first part of a series I plan on doing about what the gothic subculture is. I'm writing this for other kids who, if you're like I was, are curious about the subculture, but didn't know how to go about looking into it.  I'm also writing this for curious or concerned friends and family of said kids. Those of you who are already goths can read it with nostalgia and judge whether or not you want to take my Goth Card.

So what is goth? This is a question that I get asked on occasion, but not nearly as much as I would like. I really wish I could educate more people on what the gothic lifestyle entails, and more importantly, what it DOESN'T.

Goth: Whatever it is, ur doin it rong

Goth is not Marilyn Manson, Satanism, Hot Topic, devil-worship of any kind, the glorification of suicide or self-harm, emo, evil, a cult, the occult, a religion, sexual deviance, unhappiness, parent-hating, people-hating, or an ancient European people who sacked Rome.
You got that? Good. Now that we've got that out of the way, it's talk about what goth is.

Goth is a little bit hard to pin down since so many different kinds of people can be found within the subculture. You have people all up and down the spectrum from your goody-two-shoes Christian girls like me to the more wild'n'crazy types, to, yes, even Satanists. It's not about what we're like individually, though as much as what we have in common. What do goths have in common?
Big Frigging Rings is what we have in common, yo.
Show 'em how it's done, honey.

- A knowledge and love for the gothic musical genre which includes bands like Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees. These are the "real" goth bands that surfaced in the late 70's and 80's when the movement took shape and reared its spooky head from the ashes of the punk scene. The gothic music umbrella is...HUGE. There are the trad bands like I previously mentioned, but then there are a bazillion little subgenres of goth music. There is also a lot of arguing back and forth amongst goths over what makes a real goth band, but it is widely agreed that the foundation is with Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, The Cure, and the like.

-A love for the fashion and style. Victorian? Punk? Steampunk? Futuristic? Elizabethan? Lolita? Vampire? Faery? Fetish? Just lots and lots of black? Well, as long as it has a touch of the morbid, the Old World, or the eerie, it's all good. Whether we dress this way with tonuges in our cheeks, for shock effect, or merely to look our idea of beautiful, we do our best to do it well. With the exception of some newbie babybats (don't worry, chirruns, you'll get there) most real goths take their fashion seriously and put a LOT of effort into their outfits and makeup. A true goth will cringe in horror at badly-done whiteface, badly-worn Tripp pants, and your typical mallgoth fare that makes most people cringe anyway. However, when it's done right...
Yeah, look me in the eye and tell me that's the ugliest, most evil thing you've ever seen in your life.

-An appreciation for the spooky, the romantic, and morbid. Everything in the gothic subculture has to do with this aesthetic, from the art to the music to the clothting. Aaand...that's really all there is to it. Goths aren't afraid of the dark, but instead choose to either laugh at it or celebrate it. Or, just make a huge deal of mourning the tragedy of this vile world. Or all of the above. No matter how we do it, we have our spooky aesthetic in common and our love for creepy 80's music. (Yeah, yeah, it goes beyond the 80's. details, details.)

The Angst Flower. Never leave home
without one.
That's just the bare bones of what the Gothic Subculture is about, though. Without the music and the fashion, it's a lot of really eccentric (usually very artistic) people from different backgrounds and lives who like dark stuff. Goths are pretty normal in most respects, though. We just choose to be more open about what we like or how we feel. Since I tend wear my heart on my sleeve anyway, this is great for me. Unlike Lady Gaga, I have no poker face. Goths can be the most pretentious, obnoxious people you've ever known, or they can be the most fun-loving, accepting folks on the planet. It just depends on who they are as a person, and it's quite true that the subculture attracts both kinds of people. Just like there are a lot of people who like to scrapbook, there are a lot of people who like being "gothic". There are also gothic scrapbookers.

So that's more or less goth, for all you curious black-clad kids at the mall and for all you worried parents of said black-clad kids. Personally, I consider myself just out of my babybat phase, if out at all. I still have questionable makeup skills and I continue to fail at DIY. I'm still pretty young, but I love my gothy goodness.

For further well-informed reading on the subject, check out one the awesome Ultimate Goth Guide, if you haven't already. She's been doing this WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY longer than I have.

Thanks for reading!