NEW YORK, NY—Since sometime late last summer, promoter Ana Vice has been hosting a small group of DJs for a mid-week monthly Goth social and dance night at a uniquely eerily decorated bar, appropriately called Bedlam, in Manhattan’s Alphabet City. The night is called “Memento Mori,” and it is held one Thursday a month. Bedlam, as is well known, was a notorious old school mental hospital, and this namesake venue lives up to both the medical and the mental reputation of the institution. Antique anatomy charts and gruesome anatomical models adorn the walls. Facsimilies of human bones are distributed at each of the sitting booths where ornamental cobwebs are strewn.
Among the DJs, Mike Stalagmike of Defcon has a modest, low-key and friendly aspect about him, but Mexican import Bela Lugosi Alex and stunning, androgynous Valefar Malefic go all the way with their looks, each manifesting monumental coiffures and morbidly beautiful male vampire appearance.
The music is decidedly of the darkwave/coldwave dance variety, but there was no place for the conventional classics. No Sisters of Mercy. No Cure or Depeche Mode. Nor were they missed, because these DJs dug deep into the realm of Goth, with selections from such rarely played artists as Xmal Deutschland, Black Ice and Virgin In Veil. A fair number of tracks were unidentifiable, but nonetheless as pleasurable and hypnotic as they were melancholy.
Doors opened at 10 pm and about 30 or so patrons were in attendance, most arriving between 11:30 and midnight. All were decked out in blackest of black finery, boots, veils and fishnets as well as high makeup and serene attitude. Not more than a handful of dancers were on the floor at a time. Most attendees stood at the bar and engaged in conversation where a surprisingly festive undercurrent pervaded the generally restrained gathering. A more beautifully attired and groomed crowd is rarely seen, even in bowels of New York’s deepest, dark demimonde.