Monday, December 8, 2008

Skull a Day

Are you sick of the lame skull motifs on every piece of lame merchandise these days? Enough of bad design. The Skull-A-Day website profiles true art inspired by the skull. Sculptures, paintings, installations, graphics and fashion, in a range you never knew existed. This site elevates and redeems the skull as a worth muse for true creatives. There are prints for sale for the connoisseur, otherwise, check it out for some beautiful work.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Macabre Travel: Goth Cruise for Thanksgiving...

Embarking this week over Thanksgiving, is what sounds to the Courtesan, like one of the biggest oxymorons of dark culture. Goth Cruise, sailing through the sunny, happy seas of the Mediterranean carries a bunch of dark lords and black-clad divas through the waters. A subject of a an IFC documentary, the Goth Cruise has characters like "Resident Evil" as perhaps a replacement for "Julie" or other perky cruise director. Sunscreen-devoid shipmates adorn corseted, high-heeled or other cruise-appropriate outfits to stroll through the casino or midnight buffets. Be careful not to catch your lace sleeve on the railings little buddy! For more information, see their website.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dia de Los Muertos

Decorated some sugar skulls, create an elaborate altar with flowers, bake some sweet bread inthe same of body parts, and honor your loved ones. Dia de los Muertos is a A holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Some of the beautiful crafts associated with the holiday are catrinas and the tiny dioramas featuring scenes of the dead. Oaxaca, Mexico is home to one of the biggest celebrations, you can learn more here.
Bakeries and restaurants around North American may host some special menus and baked goods tonight in honor of the day. Several children's museums are hosting activities this weekend to educate about the meaningof the holiday as well. Check your local listings.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Death by Chocolate: Mori Ex Cacao

A good lover brings his mate some exquisite bonbons to show his affection. For the Courtesan, a gentleman of taste would do very well with this collection of hand-crafted chocolate skulls from Valerie Confections. Each chocolate is filled with a different sensuous flavor, such as sexy scorched caramel, extra-spicy chili or brandied tart cherry. This set arrives in a beautiful satin box and ribbon. A good place to hide mysterious love letters after the treats are gone.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Brooklyn Indie's Steampunk Event

Steampunk, Goth's more industrial, lighter cousin has drawn inspiration from sources like Jules Verne, fashion designers like Jean Paul Gaultier (think the costumes from "The City of Lost Children"), Amelia Earhart, etc. The NY Times ran a great article on the fast-growing movement recently.

This Saturday, the fantastic Brooklyn Indie market is having a fashion show and selling the wares of the best independent designers. "Victorian refreshments" are promised, as well as themed music and tarot card readings. Admission is free!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

13th Hour at the Last Rites Gallery

How can you stay away from an exibit called the "13th Hour" from a gallery named "Last Rites?"
This deliciously dark art series features artists like H.R. Giger, Michael Hussar, Kris Kuksi, John John Jesse, Chet Zar, Inky Dreadfuls, Anthony Pontius, Lithium Picnic, Carrie Anne Baade, Molly Crabapple and more. This show sets the perfect mood for All Hallows Eve, running from October 18th to November 23rd.
511 W33rd Street in New York City.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eco-Friendly Gothic Chandelier Tote Bag

The Courtesan has cultivated a stable of talented artists and designers. In honor of enlightened Earth-friendly practices and Halloween glamour, one of the graphic designers has created this tote for this season. The bag is a 100% unbleached cotton, eco-friendly item. The graphic is an elegant chandelier of bats, 'blood' crystals and insects. Tres chic for All Hallows Eve or any other stylish occasion.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Halloween Dress-up - Tom Banwell Leather Masks

Forget the cheap, mass market costumes of your local discount store. Play dress-up with some sophisticated, wearable art. California artist Tom Banwell creates stunning handcrafted leather masks on his Etsy shop. There are beautiful leather filagree patterns, hand-painted butterfly and insects, intimidating steampunk masks, you name it. Each piece is one of a kind... and affordable! Get yours before other style-savvy ghouls get in your way...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gothic: Dark Glamor Exihibit at the Museum at F.I.T.

Gothic fashion, obviously there is a huge fan base out there, though until a few years ago, the mainstream still considered it fringe or club-kid attire. The Museum at F.I.T. has organized a stunning exhibit documenting all sorts of dark style. You can view everything from historical mourning outfits to recent couture collections of top fashion designers. Pictured above is a Victorian mourning dress, a period of major inspiration for Gothic style. On the right, an outfit by Rodarte for Fall 2008 inspired by Japanese horror films, with the look of blood in the water. The show is set up like a labyrinthe, with themes like Night, Ruined Castle and the Dark Ages. There are public programs associated with the exhibit which include a Tim Burton film series as well as readings of Bram Stoker and Edgar Allen Poe.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gothlicious Summer Recipe... Vampie (via

Ah, what does a dark hostess serve on bright summer days? member "Girlwithacurl" created a wonderful strawberry-filled dessert called a "Vampie". Inspired by the sexy 'Twilight' book series by Stephanie Meyer, the pie is visually striking as it is delicious... Click here for the recipe and directions.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fall Fashion to Die For...

Ah, it looks like the Courtesan is not the only lady who is seduced by dark fashion. Many of the upcoming fashion spreads for the Fall glossy mags have a deliciously moody tone as well. The models of Lanvin look like gorgeous vamps creeping their way through a cemetery, Linda Evangelista is a sexy mourning widow in Italian Vogue and hot new It-Girl Vika Kuropyatnikova is the chicest corpse on a slab for Dazed and Confused. I can't wait to go shopping

Friday, August 1, 2008

San Diego Comic-Con - Emily the Strange

This dark and strange little girl debuted in the 90's from the San Francisco Graphic arts community. She embodies intelligence, independence and an alternative view of the world. While her merchandise grew from cult following to huge fave with smart and artsy chicks, her big-time coming out is about to come.

If you fancy yourself any kind of alternative culture-seeker, you know all about the San Diego Comic-Con. Emily the Strange had a great presence there, being a favorite hangout of many dark-minded lady. They promised updates on a video game and news of the upcoming movie produced by Dark Horse/Hellboy 2 producer Mike Richardson.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Joker Style

If you don't live in a cave or comparable rock, you are perfectly aware that the summer's most anticipated move, The Dark Knight is opening at Midnight.
Christopher Nolan's stylish and gritty take are key, and of course, the most buzzed and tragic performance of Heath Ledger.
With so many different takes on the Batman comic, what inspired this particularly dark vision? The concept of this film was cited to be the Joker's first two appearances in the comics and one of my favorite all-time comic arc, Batman: The Long Halloween.
As for Gotham fashion? Renowned costume designer Lindy Hemming helmed this movie's threads. She set the look for all of the modern James Bond movies since Goldeneye, the Royal Shakespeare company as well as the previous Batman Begins. For the Joker's look in this film, she described him "he doesn't care about himself at all"; she avoided designing him as a vagrant but still made him appear to be "scruffier, grungier", so that "when you see him move, he's slightly twitchier or edgy. Hemming drew inspiration from artists like Pete Doherty, Iggy Pop, and Johnny Rotten.

Friday, July 11, 2008

For the Kitchen of the High End Witch

Designer Tord Boontje, known for his funky laser-cut home decor pieces for Artecnica has created an exquisite collection of kitchen tools for the wicked chef. This art set / cooking utensils features carved sustainable wood pieces with sinister-looking shapes and names like "Spoonchela" "Spork" and "Dagger". Also part of this collection, are carved, elegant mini-cauldrons and Claw-like salad tossers. While the designer price tag of $770 is steep for those without a fortune spell in their arsenal, it goes to support the Design With Conscience project. This organization promotes humane and environmentally friendly production and employs skilled artistans of undeveloped countries into self-sustaining communities.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's Showtime for Punk, Goth and Emo clothing at 3rd and 56th

UK-based online store, 3rd and 56th Street Clothing has a great-looking site. It has an old Grand Giugnol theater look to it and a tongue-in-cheek approach to their merchandise. It carries some of th familiar Goth labels to the U.S. like Hot Topic and Emily Strange, but what you really want to check out is their selections of great dark graphic tees and fun punk/goth dresses.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What's your 'Desir' ?

Before Moulin Rouge, before Folies Bergere, there was DESIR, the jewel of Paris...".

Down at Spiegeltent at the South Street Seaport in New York City, is a glittering and sexy show for the lusty patron. It is a dark and glamorous exhibition of burlesque, trapeze, vaudeville in retro-glam carnival glory. Last year, the same group presented show La Vie and Absinthe to much fanfare. This is a terrific show to put you in the mood, take a date, or meet a new lover. The setting, in a velvet draped tent gives a very intimate ambience, so canoodling is much-encouraged. Tickets are $59, but with the Courtesan's favors, you can purchase them for $25 via

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Eat Me Drink Me... Marilyn's Mansinthe

Ok, it doesn't exactly shock you that edgy Goth Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson has produced and marketed an absinthe liquor inspired by, well, himself. It seems to be the perfect gimmicky product for this artist to sell a libation that is supposed to induce hallucinations. What IS surprising, is the fact that this Switzerland-produced drink has impressed critics and won the gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The official site promises this is the real thing, not the tourists "sans wormwood" version. The label featues his ethereal nightmarish artwork (a painting imagining himself as an old man). You can't exactly pick up a bottle at your local store too easily yet, as it isn't quite legal in the U.S. but it IS available online.

Dances of Vice...

Now for a little glamour this summer... Gorgeous club Dances of Vice hosts parties and an upcoming festival described as "Rococo, Victorian and Jazz Age Time Travel" where the guests are dressed exquisitely in period/theme garb. Everything about the ambience, atmosphere, etiquette and makeup are sexy as hell. The festival, which has a "Baron Munchausen" them this year, will feature fantasy fashion shows, art exhibits, baroque and neo-classical music. Don't miss the short plays inspired by the quotes of the Marquis de Sade... Even their website is beautiful!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dark Shadows Coming to the Big Screen, Courtesy of Tim Burton

Yeah Baby! Tim Burton, one of my favorite film directors to bring stylish goth to the mainstream Hollywood is set to direct a film version of one of the best television series of the 1960's, Dark Shadows. This was a cult-hit soap opera that had romantic and sordid intrigue involving high society, vampires, monsters zombies AND werewolves. John August, (who wrote the screenplay for Tim Burton's fantastical 'Big Fish') will be the scribe for this film. While the project is set up by Johnny Depp's company, there are no confirmations that he'll star as the sexy Barnabus Collins... yet. Keep your fingers and fangs crossed!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Gothic Video Diva: Floria Sigismondi

How often in the overly commercial world of MTV are you awestruck by a piece of museum-quality video art?
Over the past few years, I have found that the most disturbing and stylish music clips I have watched all seem to be by the same director. Fabulously dark and Gothic, this amazing female director has created some of the best imagery that artists like Marilyn Manson (Tourniquet, The Beautiful People), The White Stripes (Blue Orchid), The Raconteurs (Broken Boy Soldier), David Bowie (Little Wonder) and Bjork could ever hope for.
A photographer and film artist, Floria Sigismondi's vision focuses on "hyper-surrealism" according to her biography, mixing photography with painterly aesthetics. She seems inspired by hallucinatory dream-states, the poetic and the macabre.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Get Your Corset and Cape Ready...

If you're in NYC before September 1, and looking for one of the most fabulous, fashionable and fun exhibits to land at the Met Museum in a long time, check out "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy".
Curator Andrew Bolton and movie set designer Nathan Crowley ("Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight") have put together a production that showcases "how the superhero is the overarching metaphor for fashion, because both share this obsession with the body, identity and transformation." according to Bolton.
The exhibits are organized into such themes as "The Graphic Body," "The Patriotic Body," "The Armored Body," and "The Mutantl Body," the mixes actual superheroes with the symbolism of their costumes with fashion designs of similar veins.
How often does the classic Metropolitan museum flaunt the fetishism of Catwoman with Dolce & Gabbana black corset gowns or Thierry Mugler PVC catsuits? How often do you get to see Spiderman couture with dresses by Jean Paul Gaultier, Julien Macdonald and John Galliano?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

What a delectable find for my boudoir. The sexy and independent Black Phoenix Apothecary Labs creates high quality perfume blends for the dark seductress. Intoxicating scents like Absinthe, Ars Moriendi, and Diabolis are blended for you.
The website itself is a treat. It features lovely Gothic artwork from a range of artists as well as some of my favorite classics. Along with such luscious perfumes, the alchemists of Black Phoenix offer luxe cosmetics, jewellery and accompanying accessories.
Available online, at specialty boutiques, and oddly, the Whole Foods in Roswell, Georgia

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Skull Print Toilet Paper

Now for the lowbrow... this one is just too funny. Now you can wipe your delicate hiney with Gothic distaste with this skull patterned toilet paper. A great conversation piece for your bathroom, (that is, if you hold conversations in the bathroom, either with others or yourself). If you are a VERY thorough entertainer at Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, or similarly morbid soiree, this would contribute nicely to the decor.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Maggie Gyllenhaal for Agent Provocateur

Seriously sexy, too-expensive-to-be-trashy designer lingerie line Agent Provocateur has a fabulous print campaign with some glorious vampy looks. Quirky, chic actress Maggie Gyllenhaal stars in the series of images, wearing some lust-worthy intimates of high-end lace and black satin. Ms. Gyllenhaal has some fetish cred from her fantastic turn as a BDSM-inclined administrative assistant in the indie film Secretary The campaign is shot as a series of stories, and she is portrayed as the character "Miss A.P." She is after my heart as a tempress seducing her victims to her web.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Armida Poizin - The Wine "To Die For"

The Armida Winery "Poizin" wine boasts one of the most gorgeous bottles I have seen in awhile. The detailed skull graphic is silkscreened onto the dark bottle. The 'reserve' edition arrives in a wood coffin!

Gimmicky? Yes. A few skeptical guests at my last soiree mocked me for falling prey to creative marketing, especially upon seeing the screw-top cap.

Fortunately, the wine is actually quite tasty. It is described as a blend of petite syrah/zinfandel (again, bad rep), but not as sweet as one would imagine. The dominant notes of plum, blackberries, vanilla made it a really nice compliment to the filet mignon with blackberry sauce I served. I finished with a ricotta cheesecake with more berries and spiced crust, and the wine was appropriate through dessert as well.

Granted, I am far from a wine expert, but quick checks online reveal many good reviews for this vintage from people much more knowledgable than myself.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Wylde About You...

Hello Lover, if you want to impress me with treats, you need to come up with more than a handful of Malomars. Luxury Punk/Goth fashion queen and head designer Paula Thomas has the perfect purse for ladies of edgy taste. This Thomas Wylde "Bag of Tricks" handbag is just the right accessory for the high-end vampiress and couture-minded witch. The generous textural grained black leather is exquisitely finished with detailed stitching. The weathered silver rivets are engraved with skulls, and the front of the bag is appliqued with a gothic gun metal cross. The lining of this handbag is the signature fun skull print. Carry this, and you will definitely be the most fashionable Mistress of Darkness at the next haunted soiree.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gothette in Training... Danae Pyle of Non Sequitur

Little Danae is one of my favorite comic strip characters. She is the most popular figure of award winning comic strip "Non-Sequitur". She is smart (and smart-ass) with a cynical view of the world that is mature beyond her years. When she is not trying to use her unique view of politics or authority to her own advantage, she likes to torture boys, her blonde perky sister or play with her imaginary dragon Lucy. Her quirky jet bob and signature skull-printed tunic show her Gothic fashionista stylings already... Lucy and Danae: Something Silly This Way Comes

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Academy Award for Gothic Fashion? Sweeney Todd and Oscar.

sweeney todd costume johnny depp stripes

Colleen Atwood is one of my favorite costume designers of all time. She already won the golden statue twice already for the slick, sexy outfits in "Chicago" and more innovative, Asian chic for "Memoirs of a Geisha". Her signature look has been the frequent styling collaborations with Goth film auteur, Tim Burton.

In Sweeney Todd, the designer has created a distressed, more-punk-than-Broadway look for the dark and bloody musical. Blacks, greys and deep wines, blood red, shredded silks and velvets. Corsets and tailored vests give a nice silhouette. Critics have already pegged her as the favorite to win the Academy Award this Sunday.

She has my vote, and if you are watching the Oscars this weekend, show this amazing artist some love!

Dinner Date with Death

Sometimes Death takes a holiday. Sometimes Mr. Grim just wants to sit down to a nice meal. What more elegant way to honour such the morbid prince as to serve supper on this fine set of dinnerware? Made of porcelain, this set features platinum screened skulls and crossbones of intricate detail. Quirky, sleek, and perfect for the rogue pirate or rebellious socialite too.

Hmm, what to serve? Bloody Mary, deviled eggs, Pain de Muertos from a Mexican bakery, or black truffled mac n' cheese? For dessert... dark dark chocolate please.

Available at Z Gallerie shops and online for about $40 for most pieces.

Monday, February 18, 2008

NY Bite Club... You're in for a Tasty Night

Ok, not exactly what you expected. You will find no wannabe vampires in polyester capes and plastic fangs. This is NYC’s premier underground dining club. You have to be a member to reserve a seat at one of their exclusive dining events each weekend. The multi-course banquets consist of decadent dish after dish paired with exquisitely paired cocktails or wines. While their menus are secret until the night of the event, sample menus and photos indicate delicacies like Lobster and Sweet Potato Napoleon, Red Beet Ravioli with Poppy Seed Butter and Burnt Caramel Pot de Creme with Roasted Banana Ice Cream. These delights are prepared by hot chefs of the city and cocktails are mixed by rotating mixologist of great bars like (love the name) the famed Death & Co.


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