NEW YORK, NY—As far as Goth happenings go, there isn’t any topping the various events hosted by legendary impresario, Fr. Sebastiaan. From Berlin and Amsterdam to Miami, New Orleans and Paris, the notorious fang-maker (he prefers “fangmaster”) puts together the most memorable and entertaining balls and gatherings to be produced since the rise of this subculture so many years ago. This night’s Anti-Valentines Ball marked 20 years of progressively more proficient and increasingly entertaining “Endless Night” events he has produced for this community which includes Goths, counterculture devotees, self-identified vampyres (special meaning when spelled with a “y”), dark music aficionados, steampunk, cosplay and history re-enactment enthusiasts.
What better venue in the greater New York area than the elaborately decorated and wildly fanciful restaurant/nightclub, Jekyll & Hyde in Manhattan’s theater district? The night prior to this major event saw the holding of a “pre-party” at the Lovecraft Bar NYC in Lower Manhattan’s Alphabet City, with live entertainment by top DJs and the likes of operatic sorceress Ariel De Ment. Crooner Baron Misuraca also boosted his retro-lounge distinction with a live performance. I confess to have missed the opportunity to attend.
Most attendees came early for dinner at Jekyll & Hyde, to socialize with friends and make new acquaintances. The slick and creepy animated gimmicks, costumed staff and live actors of the restaurant provided a perfect run up to the ball itself, a ticketed event held in a dungeon-like chamber with eerie props abounding, a neat dance floor, raised DJ booth, a couple of side chambers and a bar.
The guests were dressed in dark and vampirish attire or adorned with fantastical costumes and makeup out of gothic and historic literature or cinema. One witnessed a reasonable facsimile of Vlad the Impaler, of Egyptian deities, and of New Romantic, Edwardian or Victorian villains gyrating on the dance floor to the darkwave sounds of DJ Eric Aengel or imbibing on the sidelines.
Fr. Sebastiaan himself addressed the crowd warmly, introduced his hard-working staff and thanked both them and the attendees for the historic success of the “Endless Night” series of events. He introduced talented and highly accomplished soprano Ariel De Ment, now a regular entertainer at his events, who sang an emotionally moving aria from the opera “Carmen” as she always does, with a mouthful of costume fangs. The contrast of bitter cold outside and festive camaraderie within suggested something like a theme from the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, and will have throngs of enthusiasts looking forward to the next such happening.