Tag Archives: goth

where is my training montage?

Paul and I are officially in training for Wave Gothik Treffen! We have just 19 weeks until we go to the largest goth festival in the world, in Leipzig Germany. We’re celebrating our 15 year anniversary, and what better way to do it than to spend a long weekend immersed in the subculture that brought us together?

However, we’ve been assured that WGT is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Four days with 200 bands, meetups, picnics and marketplaces spread out across an entire town is going to be exhausting. It’s going to require actual physical training for us to not only get through the days, but also be able to stay up late to go to shows. And everyone knows that when you’re in training, you need a montage, right?

Now that we no longer live in NYC, my step count is down significantly from where it was, even post-COVID. Pre-COVID, I’d do 10,000 steps a day without thinking twice. To/from work via subway plus an errand or meetup after the workday always meant four or five miles of walking over one day. Here in Suburbia, I barely eke out three thousand steps, even with a walk outside and a huge (okay huge to me) house that I am always wandering around. My endurance is way down. Combine my physical fitness deterioration with generally Being Old And Unable To Stay Up Past Midnight, and it is a bad combination to be taking on four days with fellow Children Of The Night.

I have therefore embarked on a multi-part training regiment to get ready for WGT. This consists of:

  • 10K steps per day, either outside or on my new awesome “treadmill desk”
  • Going out to clubs and staying until 1am. Break out the caffeinated drinks!
  • Enrolling with Weight Watchers so I am no longer carrying the equivalent of a fully loaded backpack all the time
Behold the glory of the treadmill desk!

Therefore, in the interest of Training for Treffen, we will be going out tomorrow night to a club in East Passayunk. Of course I am actually in an office tomorrow and will not be coming home between work and socializing, so this means I will have to wear an outfit suitable for the office that also works for the club. Which means that I’m going to have to look a little more authentic tomorrow at work. And while I have not exactly hidden my goth side from this set of co-workers (my corporate headshot is fairly Wednesday Addams down to the bat shaped circle pin on my collar) it still surprises people a bit when I show up in person in anything that goes beyond CorpGoth. But I keep getting messages to be more authentic when I read my Tarot cards, so authentic I shall plan to be authentic and just maybe keep the bat shaped necklace in my purse to put on during the train ride home.

It’s that need for authenticity that is really motivating me to become more comfortable bringing a more honest version of myself to multiple situations. It takes a little bit more vulnerability on my part to remain myself, instead of changing who I am to the environment. But one of the lessons I learned in NYC was that everyone is actually a little bit weird in their own way, and the city especially attracted people who had that extra-weird and often creative dimension. So even out here in the suburbs, I have to start acknowledging the potential for weirdness in others by being a bit more vulnerable and exposing my more quirky goth side.

Finally, I know this is the right track for me, not just because it keeps my sense of self intact, but because my subconscious keeps telling me so in the form of Tarot cards. When I did the full moon reading suggested by my Daily Tarot Planner, the final question was “What new approach can I take to support my emotional well-being”. The card I got for this? The Devil. Some people may choose to interpret this card with its usual meaning: hedonism, lack of restraint, short term pleasure at the expense of long term pain. I choose to interpret it as be more goth. It has a whole slew of the symbols that show up in goth culture: bat wings, pentagrams, performative fetish displays. The Devil card looks like it’s the inspiration for how filmmakers depict the “bad club” in every movie or TV show, including Quagmire’s in “San Junipero“. And the “evil club” always manages to look like Bar Sinister.

Ergo, the Devil card? Be more goth. Wear more bats and pentagrams. Lean into all that electro-industrial and post-punk and goth rock. And make that part of how I train for Treffen.

six year symbol:iron

Paul and I are celebrating our six year anniversary this month. While our real celebration is happening on the 22nd, our actual date was the 8th (For those of you who didn’t remember that, you should have checked your reusable shopping bag we gave out at the wedding). March is also special to us because it is the month we met. We met on the 18th, a date I only remember because it is the day after the St Patrick’s Day my sister met her husband.

So how do we celebrate our anniversary? This year, we are going to see Gary Numan! You know, the guy who sings that “Cars” song, which is actually really atypical of his work. His newer albums are all a mix of synth samples and filtered guitars, and the latest one is amazing. Some of it sounds so much like Nine Inch Nails. good Nine inch Nails, Downward Spiral era – that I had to check to see if they had the same producer. (They do not). But there’s a good reason I hear the similarity, in sound and tone: Trent Reznor loves Gary Numan, and actually had him guest performing at the “farewell” tour in L.A. Years ago. What happened there was all the old school fans – who were all goths – went crazy screaming and singing along with “Down In the Park”. The newer, KROQ era fans mostly seemed confused. But Pretty Hate machine is heavily built on Gary Numan and Skinny Puppy, and Gary Numan falls squarely into that dark, melodramatic sound I am hopelessly addicted to. (See also:Depeche Mode)

Paul was actually the one who picked this up and started working through the last ten years of Gary Numan tracks. So we have been listening to his newer work together. So when tour dates came out, I suggested it for our anniversary. Paul actually lit up and said he would like to go. And it just happens to be the same night as Salvation, who we may be able to make an actual night of it if we can stay awake past midnight.

But because the concert is still two weeks away, I wanted to do something this weekend. So I tweeted the host of Darkwave, the classic alternative and goth show that runs on SiriusXM:


Also, I added some background to explain why this song is significant. And then because I mentioned them, I was immediately retweeted by Bar Sinister:


The DJ responded right away!


To which I thought I would remind SiriusXM that the reason they get their money is because I greatly enjoy being able to listen to three hours of classic goth every week:


(Well, that, and I get the CBC on Sirius for when I’m driving to and from Pennsylvania. And I like listening to the Lithium station and reliving the good parts of the 1990s)

So on Sunday night, Paul and I actually tuned into the live stream at 10pm…only to find the show at its tail end. It was scheduled for 10. I checked the listings: 10pm EST. Why it was already over by 10:30, I have no idea. I had been looking forward to the romantic moment when the DJ would dedicate a song inspired by a swamp monster as a tribute to our love.

(It’s not really about a swamp monster:)

So tomorrow, we will listen to the Darkwave podcast on demand, once we get through work, the parent teacher conference, and our general existence as adults. And we will remember the two most important dances of our life to “Swamp Thing”. One: the night we met, eight years ago, when Paul FINALLY came over to ask me to dance. And two: the day of our wedding, six years ago, when it was our first dance together as husband and wife.

Happy anniversary, my love.

Why so serious?

Paul and I were glad to end up in NYC for many reasons. Not the least of these is that there is still a goth scene here. Goth is a dying subculture, after all, in a quite literal sense. In cities all over America, clubs are closing and in places where the subculture wasn’t strong to start with, it hasn’t taken much to wipe it out entirely. And while my husband and I do not feel like we need to be hardcore goths every single day, there are times when we just want to wear our stompy boots and black outfits and dance with each other to that particular strain of melancholia that is goth music. Hence, we are happy to live in New York, the birthplace of American goths, and one of only a handful of cities remaining with a dedicated scene.

And so, we have been trying to explore the goth scene, and trying to understand where we belong in it. In Los Angeles, we knew all the promoters and clubs. We followed DJ Xian, with her synth pop and steampunk scene. We went to Das Bunker, with its three rooms of hardcore industrial, retro EBM and powernoize. And we went to Bar Sinister, Los Angeles’ longest running, privately owned goth club, which was predictable in the best way possible in that it always looked and sounded like something out of a dystopia, plus it had both a live band playing outside and a dance floor. (I saw Shiny Toy Guns there. Before they were cool)

We have found some clubs we really like in the process. Two weeks ago, we went to Necropolis, in the basement space of a club in the Lower East Side. We were early, and walked in before midnight to a DJ a little older than us, playing a mix of what we could only describe as real goth, first-wave goth, classic goth rock from before the culture started evolving and splitting into sub genres in the 1990s. It’s a style of music we know, and like, but not a genre where we know any artists beyond the big, popular, bands that are still staples of clubs everywhere – bands like Virgin Prunes or Christian Death, or, most recognizably, Sisters of Mercy.

The second DJ who came on was playing music that was more from what we think of as “our era”: Rosetta Stone, London after Midnight. I bounced off the floor when he threw in an EBM dance track: Icon of Coil’s “Dead Enough for Life” (it had been so long since I’d heard it that I didn’t remember the song title, even though I was happily singing along). But after that oneindustrial techno track, it was 1990s goth rock – not a synthesizer, sample or drum machine to be heard.

I’m used to second -wave clubs where the DJS play a mix of synth, electro, Deathrock and mandatory classic goth tracks. In fact, a year ago, if someone had told me there were clubs where no one put VNV Nation on the playlist, or where it wasn’t mandatory to play “This Corrosion” once a night, I would have been surprised. After all, I came of age in the goth scene in 2000, in Seattle, which, at the time, was all EBM and electronic industrial and the Metropolis record label. And Los Angeles, much to my surprise and delight, was very similar to Seattle. I adapted fast to L.A., and it was that existng familiarity with the West Coast goth scene that led to meeting my husband at Bar Sinister a few months after I started going back to goth clubs.

But here in NYC, there is no Bar Sinister…or, at least, we have yet to find it. There is no self-stereotyped goth club, nothing that is borderline vampy and campy like Sinister was. The scene here is serious, old-school serious, Deathrock and goth rock and post punk dominate, and there are none of the new goth bands (like my beloved Birthday Massacre) to be heard. My equally beloved rave-influenced electronic dance music is missing, and instead, everything is from a generation I missed entirely. Not by much, mind you – the advent of electronics and synthesizers into goth coincided with my 21st birthday – but it’s still something I never picked up.

It isn’t that I don’t know or haven’t heard of these bands. I know who Mission UK are, or Gene loves Jezebel, or Fields of the Nephilim. I definitely know the Chameleons, because “Swamp Thing” is our song, a late 80s alternative track that my husband liked enough to gain enough courage from to ask me to dance, all those years ago (and we played it at our wedding, and I sang it to Ben as a lullaby). But hearing these songs without a track listing in a club, I can’t identify the artists. Much of it has that melodramatic sound, the melodic, mournful sound of that late 80s/early 90s goth rock. Or it has the sharp edges and asynchromatic nature of post punk, the discordant, minimal bass, guitar and drum around less sung than spoken vocals. ( Paul likes post punk better than I do – it overlaps with his indie rock nature.)

And it has been like that in the clubs we have been to in Lower Manhattan. Maybe its that these clubs are in “Gothtown”, the East Village, Alphabet City and Lower East Side scene that goth came from, and it just hasnt changed since. The only other major variation has been the extremely stompy hardcore industrial club that Paul enjoys, but it is really stompy, like Skinny Puppy stompy. Before my time, and not my variation, either – I was never a rivethead.

It is also a different scene here, in terms of dress and fashion, than it was in LA. The biggest DJ/promoter in LA was DJ Xian, who somehow managed to run and play at multiple clubs. Her influence skewed to New Romantic and synth pop, in clubs like Malediction Society and MODE:M, which was an entire night of music influenced by Depeche Mode. She ran Alice in Wonderland and Victoriana special events: Paul and I spent one NYE at a party called “Theater des Wyrm”, complete with absinthe. This fit my corsets and long dresses style perfectly. I have always been a Victoriana style goth, and my favorite clothes – the ones I feel most comfortable in – are ankle-length, laced at the waist, and high necked, preferably with lace sleeves and visible lacing.

The box of clothes I brought from LA are therefore all skewed to this aesthetic. Yet I don’t see any steampunk or repro Victoriana in the clubs here. I don’t even see much cyber goth, although that may be more due to cyber goth being outdated. (I flirted with cyber goth ten years ago, but even then, my PVC dress was ankle length…and I was never able to get the cyber goth braids and dyed hair I wanted because I work in office jobs)

But while I miss the predictability and the familiarity of the L.A. Goth scene, I am getting used to this more old school version of the goth scene. It’s still a scene, a sound, a style I love. It’s still music I like and enjoy listening to, even if I don’t know it. And that’s why, when I went out with my husband two weeks ago, we still managed to dance for an hour, even though we didn’t know the music by heart. It was music we liked, it was our people, and we could have stayed all night had we not been already tired.


Happy National Day of Slayer! everyone! Because it is 6-6-6, goths and metalheads everywhere are celebrating. This means it is also National Emo Kid Beatdown Day, because none of us like emo kids.

I, myself, am sitting at work in a black top and dark blue jeans, but as soon as it gets dark, I’m putting on my black bustier top and long lace skirt and traiping off to Hex Hollywood with the boyfriend and a couple of our other friends. Well, right after I see the ever-satanic DaVinci Code movie, with my friend Kate, which I’m sure will be evil just because of Tom Hanks’ haircut.

Ironically enough, I’m totally unable to take this holiday seriously because the Western calendar is so inaccurate. We have no way of knowing what date it really is, because the actual dates were confused, the days miscounted, the count lost, so many times in the Dark Ages. It could be 6/7/08 for all we know right now. I certainly think it’s hilarious that we’re celebrating 6-6-6 by beating up on emo kids, but I’m not going to assign any actual mystical significance to the day. Also, my horoscope said NOTHING about Armageddon happening today, and Georgia is rarely wrong.

holy it’s friday already, batman!

This week has gone by awfully fast in some ways, and not fast enough in others. The not fast enough parts have been related to my return to a regular workweek, since the week before I left was short, and I quit checking my work email around halfway through vacation. Adjusting to working again took a few days.

The other is that I immediately resumed my calendar, as it was, upon touching down in Los Angeles. Monday, I took off to stay home. It was the Master & Servant skate at Wumpskate, but I decided I didn’t have the energy to attempt to skate poorly and fall on my ass several times in the process, even if it was a Depeche Mode themed event. So I stayed home and had tea with Deena and showed her my photos from Paris.

Then, just after she left, I remembered the date. May 8th. And I remembered that I had a traffic violation due May 9th. The problem is, I never get around to dealing with traffic violations. I always let them sit until a warrant is issued, and they end up costing $200. And this year, I’m really trying to be a less spacey, more grounded, responsible Jillian. I have to start learning from my traffic violation nonpayment mistakes, not repeating them. It frustrates me when I make the same mistakes over and over. So then, of course, thinking about dealing with the ticket worried me, and I couldn’t sleep. And I don’t think drinking four double-shot cappucinos over the course of the day (shiny new work coffeemaker!) helped one bit.

Tuesday, I was up bright and early so I could deal with the ticket though. In fact, I was at work by 7:30, so I could print off some documents, check in, and then head back to the DMV early enough to avoid lines and waits. The violation itself was because I didn’t have proof of insurance when I went to renew my tags, and didn’t actually receive the tags as a result. Rather than actually print the cards and go back to the DMV, I procrastinated, and then got a ticket for expired tags. So I had to return to the DMV, prove my insurance, get the sticker for my car, and then go to the West L.A. County Courthouse to pay my debt to society.

At which point I realized – I’d successfully navigated the DMV bureaucracy, but had forgotten my purse – somewhere – and my chequebook was in my office desk drawer.


I went back to work, hoping my purse would be there. It wasn’t. And by then, I’d negotiated out my plans for the evening, and needed my driver’s license for them. So I left the office again an hour before court closed, with my chequebook, to deal with the ticket ($10! such a bargain!) and then slogged through pre-rush-hour traffic back out to Venice to get my purse before returning to my desk.

This little adventure meant staying late at work to get through my tasklist and email backlog, of course, and then I was late for the E3 Blogerati Meetup at the Golden Gopher downtown. Where some of my favorite bloggers from b.la were hanging out and laughing over the video game tables. I procured a lovely concoction called a Van Gopher (Van Gogh caffeinated vodka and Baileys) and joined them. Heather from StreetWars, BarCamp and many other wonderful things was there briefly, but left before I could catch up with her, leaving me to chat for a while with Cybele from Candyblog and fellow Ridazz, Mack from LAVoice and Will. I hope to see those two on bikes tonight, as well, but I welcome all opportunities to hang out with the bloggers.

From there, however, I had to ditch out and head east. Far East. To Pasadena. Because I’m dating a guy from the 626. Pasadena, for those of you not from L.A. (this means you, Vancouverites), was the first city to be connected to downtown by freeway, turning it into an L.A. suburb. Yet it seems like a separate city, despite being closer to downtown than other parts of L.A. that are unquestionably the same metropolis. It’s about fifteen miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, separated from Hollywood to the west by mountains, and from downtown to the south by a couple early (now mostly minority) suburbs. Still, I never realized how close Pasadena was to downtown until l took the Gold Line tour last summer – it’s the Metro route that goes out there. It’s just always seemed Far. And from Venice Beach, it is. This has led to many hilarious L.A. transportation related discussions that sound like they’re straight out of a Steve Martin movie. And to make matters worse, from there, we were just backtracking to Hollywood, which is closer to downtown, so that we could go to Darkroom

I tolerate this Pasadena nonsense for a good reason. I’m actually dating a guy who considers goth nights a legitimate date activity. And it was his idea – not mine – to go to the Darkroom. It turned out to be in what I call the Hollywood grunge zone, the blocks of Santa Monica below Sunset that seem to be more Los Angeles than Hollywood, the area which also houses dive bars and art galleries, and attracts the low-income hipsters. And it was, indeed, very very dark. We arrived in time to catch gendeath‘s set, and spent an hour or so watching the crowd, drinking vodka, and generally checking out the bar.

However, all this fun on Tuesday, combined with more caffeine to fight off the sleep loss Monday night, meant that I woke up entirely too early Wednesday, after very little sleep. And was wrecked for most of the day. And I almost missed the kickball championship game I posted about yesterday morning, because I’d gone home and napped and not woken up. But my intrepid account executive, who is on my team, phoned me just in time, and I woke up early enough to play. And then I went home instead of to the bar to celebrate, because I am lame, and went right back to sleep.

And then last night, I went for dinner with my wonderful friend Wendy, who is, without question, one of my bestest friends anywhere (but especially here in L.A.), and then we went to hang out at her house with a pint of chocolate soy-and-fruit-sweetener ice cream, and then I came home and caught up on yet more sleep.

Suddenly, it’s Friday, and I have to somehow get my laundry washed, dried and put away, not to mention tidy my room, at some point in the next thirty-six hours. And in between all THAT, I have Ridazz tonight, and want to be at bike workshops tomorrow afternoon, and have to get across Los Angeles without a car a couple times. And I have to figure out what to wear tomorrow night, because whatever I wear has to go from the local Venice dive bar (where it is my friend Zee’s birthday) to Bar Sinister, and I really don’t want to hang out at a bar full of people in jeans wearing a full length PVC dress, so it’s going to have to be Toned Down.

I didn’t have to worry about toning it down LAST Saturday though, so here’s a self-portrait I took just before leaving my hotel room in Paris. I like it because the extreme eye makeup makes me look a little like a Jhonen Vasquez cartoon:
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