Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

To all of the beautiful ladies and handsome gents out there, I wish you the most festive Hallow’s Eve. I trust all of you will celebrate in the most fabulous manner. The Courtesan here is entertaining her closest companions at the haunted castle.

In honor of the holiday, I leave you here with the memory of my first Halloween:

I was three years old. My father, in an afternoon of creative inspiration made the decision to make my first costume. I watched him with fascination, not knowing what he would make. I was in awe of his craft as he duct taped a construction paper cone to my head.

He created a witch’s cloak out of stereo speaker fabric with a hole cut out for my face. I wore it all without understanding what a witch actually was. As my parents normally did not permit me to have candy, the concept of strangers handing me sweets and being allowed to keep them was monumental.

By the time I yelled “Trick or Treat” to the second house we visited, I was emotionally overwhelmed and ended the night. My father was quite disappointed. He had waited three years for an excuse to have neighbors reciprocate free treats, and had expected to return with a bigger haul.

The next day, I got over the initial shock of free candy as a concept, and was properly motivated to collect bonbons again. I understood the 'witch' outfit was key. I was confused and saddened when my father informed me that we would not be going back out that night. I didn't understand why. However, I continued to wear the witch costume every day in the hopes that today would be the day that the quest would continue. I thought the costume was a candy-collecting uniform.

I wore my pointed hat each afternoon and played "trick or treat" alone with my teddy bear. I travelled from couch to couch, panhandling to stuffed animals for lollipops. Alas, this was probably the reason why neighbors thought I was an infant practitioner of the occult...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fur Fur's Shipwreck Goth Fashion show in Tokyo

Might this actually be a new genre of dark fashion aesthetic? Aya Furuhashi's collection for Fur Fur at Tokyo fashion week showed Victorian inspired pieces last week along a vintage clothing strewn runway. A dreamy live band played while models gave the impression of distressed damsels lost at sea. Bustles and bloomers met frayed edges, lace and rope trim.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Zombie Walk Around the World!

This weekend marks Toronto's big Zombie Walk. Whether you're old-school (George Romero) or new-school (Zombieland) you will find your peeps. If you are not in Toronto this weekend, Zombie Walks are a new movement doing events around the world. Find your peers at the big central forum on It's kind of a heavily-made up 'Flash Mob' of dead people. The forums post notices by country, by state, and urgent notices for those who just need to get their creep on ASAP.
A few countries: Germany, United States, France, Canada, Thailand, Brazil...

How to tell the Old-school from the New-school zombies? Old-school ones a la 'Night of the Living Dead,' crawled slowly from the grave, stumbling and walking at a more snail-like pace due to their status as re-animated corpses, possibly with some ancient voodoo history thrown in. New school, a la "28 Days Later" or " Zombieland" can run and attack victims aggressively.

The anticipated trend for this season's monsters? Expect lots of Thriller tributes to Michael Jackson.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mikio Sakabe's Manga Themed Fashion Show

Japan Fashion Week designer Mikio Sakabe staged a manga-inspired fashion show on Friday in Tokyo's Akihabara district, as part of the Akihabara Entertainment Festival. Not exactly Goth, but the looks did put an edgy spin to Kawaii and maid-inspired looks with tulle, candyland colors, and animal ears as accessories. Models were courtesy of the area's famous themed "Maid" cafes. The adorable ladies walked the runway in a tribute to anime, manga and other modern Japanese entertainment forms.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Steampunk Festival at Brooklyn Indie Market

Get out your goggles, your corsets and well-thumbed copies of Jules Verne. The Brooklyn Indie Market is gearing up for its Annual Steampunk festivities this weekend on the Saturday, October 24th.
Shop for beautiful, handmade items from New York's best independent designers. Everything the most fashionable retro-time traveler could ever hope for.
When you are all shopped out, head on over to New York's first Steampunk bar, the Waystation. Their website is a great blog of photographs, references and Steampunk events.

WHEN: Saturday, October 24, 2009
WHERE: The Big Red and White Tent
Smith St & Union St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
11:00 AM -7:00 PM
(718) 499-3105

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bram Stoker Film Festival - Whitby, England

There are horror film festivals galore in October. This weekend's Bram Stoker Festival however, has probably the best location for such an event as one could hope for. Whitby England served as the muse to many of Bram Stoker's writings, including of course, Dracula.
Many of the films are independent features making their world or UK premieres. The best directors of the genre from around the world are represented, including more well known auteurs like Sam Raimi showing Drag Me to Hell. Special guests include Ingrid Pitt, "Queen of Horror" from films like Countess Dracula, Vampire Lovers, The House That Dripped Blood and The Wicker Man.
On opening night, the performers of 666Gorefest and Sin City Girls welcome you with sexy fun. You can also be entertained be the rousing The Mocky Horror Tribute Show.

Need to stretch your legs? Sunday, October 18th marks the "Vampire Walk" where fans can walk the 199 steps towards St. Mary's church as described in "Dracula". In the book, Count Dracula walks these steps after being shipwrecked in a violent storm, taking refuge in the grave of a suicide victim.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dark and Gothic Beauty Trends for Fall Go Mainstream

You may have always done the "smoky eye" and have never been stingy with the eyeliner (ladies AND gents). The deathly violet or blood-red lipstick may have always been part of your repertoire. Your manicure was "vamp" long before a little company called Chanel tried to claim it as their own.

Beware my chic brethren, but the mainstream fashionistas have caught on, and are coming to join you in droves this season.

M.A.C. cosmetics created an entire night out of the dark aesthetic on Vogue's big "Fashion Night Out" event and a whole campaign of "Style it Black" complete with How-to videos.

Elle Magazine ran an entire article on Gothic hairstyles and makeup in response to Zac Posen's Fall show and many other runway presentations.

Will this trend go away when the snow melts in Spring 2010? Don't count on it yet... Makeup artist Lucia Pieroni said she made up the models at the Jonathan Saunders spring 2010 show to look like "beautiful, sexy vampires."

So, do you mourn your loss of individuality? (Well, you know you mourn so beautifully darling). At least you can take comfort in knowing you were a pioneer.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gareth Pugh 2010 Springtime for Male and Female Goths

What do dark, Gothic fashion designers create for a season where all other contemporaries are producing neutral, light and pastel colors? A talented designer adapts. For Gareth Pugh's Spring/Summer 2010 presentation in Paris last week, he featured light, androgynous male and female models Fairer Carpathian princes (Lestat, Prince Vigo from Ghostbusters 2) rather than your standard jet-haired, velvet clad noir types. He used all shades of grey in various textures, conveying a wind blown, ghostly look, or cold and demonic. The make-up was equally stark, the eyes were done to look piercing and cruel. The silhouettes were absolutely lovely, the sculpted jackets, artfully shredded gowns...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Haunted House Tour - Nightmare: Vampires in NYC

The month of October is upon us, and that special holiday of holidays is drawing near. I start the first of my haunted house tours with NYC's Nightare: Vampires attraction.

It is not so much of a house, as a two-story, two-phase interactive experience of horror, sights and sensations. The vampire theme is first introduced in part one, a tour through the MOVA, the "Museum of Vampire Artifacts". This is relatively uneventful (though I recommend pushing the red buttons on the exhibits). You can listen to the perky guide if you believe that a history of vampire lore will enhance your experience.

Suddenly, your tour is abruptly interrupted and your group is left to feel your way through the next two floors of disturbed and bloody characters. While you will not be touched or grabbed by these residents, you CAN expect them to fly out at you from every angle when you least expect it. One young woman in my group begged to be removed from the haunted house within 3 minutes of the first jump-out. The security/legal waiver clerk at the entry foyer firmly (and repeatedly) instructs that guests do NOT punch the performers, (leading me to believe that this happens often). The irony here is that the performers are the ones who have legitimate fears of danger, as opposed to the audience. This Halloween Youtube video sums up that workplace hazard...

The "Nightmare" NYC haunted house brand is in its sixth season this year. Timothy Haskell and his creative team of emerging artists and designers collaborated on different set pieces for your scaring pleasure. A dimly lit room filled with dismembered mannequins and a booth bursting with insects is quite disturbing. Rocking bridges in a hall of demonic girls hurling themselves at you (not in a good way), and a crawl through a pressurized tunnel is unnerving in its complete darkness. One of the big showpieces would be the Elizabeth Bathory tribute (remember the tour lecture?) Each scene was an homage to vampire culture in some form, but if you were not pondering their historical context at this moment, I'm sure they'll forgive you.

Occasionally, I had wished that the ghoulies would back down a bit, (being the remaining female in the group, they were ALL gunning for me...I guess they assumed I was less likely to assault). I would have liked more time to fully appreciate the effort that went into all of the sculptures and effects. Sometimes, it is just creepier when you let your eyes come into focus in the dark and discover the gory things for yourself.

But...that's...not...all! Check the website for bonus entertainment, giveaways and specials each night. Last evening, a psychic gave readings, there are 2 for 1 drink specials, and performances by the Frankenstein musical are coming up. Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro's new novel is up for grabs on special nights too.

$30 in advance, $35 at the door, $60 for VIP tickets (that let you skip the line and receive a goodie bag) can be purchased here.

*Courtesan's secret tip: You can also find limited half-price tickets for earlier dates via this link.


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