Sanctuary Magazine Five-Year Anniversary Party — QXT’s, Newark

On Jan. 12, QXT’s hosted the Sanctuary Magazine five-year anniversary with much festivity. Attended by models, including the magnificent Ashley Bad, the event included participation by fashion designers, entertainment by The Iron Garden, an act by shibari artist Flame Hel, and a live performance by electro-industrial duo Hot Pink Satan. Owing to the fact that Sanctuary Magazine features photography of glamorous, gothic, and fetish models, interviews, profiles, and articles relating to underground lifestyle and events, dark, mysterious, intriguing, and seductive night creatures filled the club.

The Iron Garden put on The Dark Banquet, which involved a procession of candle-bearing models in goth attire, followed by a reading by Madame X, then the undressing of two sacrificial “victims”—one male and one female—who got down to their barest minimum of body coverings before reclining on the centrally-placed altar, and undergoing a ritual cleansing and sham sacrifice.

Next, their supine bodies were strewn with various fruit. A call to various pagan deities was issued by a celebrant in honor of the passing of a successful year of the magazine. The procedure concluded when the on-and-off stage participants came up, picked ,and devoured the fruit while ominous music played. This process can be viewed by searching “The Dark Banquet” on YouTube.

Live musical entertainment for the night was provided by Hot Pink Satan, an aggro-industrial duo out of Pittsburgh, featuring an incredibly gorgeous and wanton vocalist, Clea Cutthroat, in heels, fishnets, and electrical tape pasties but not much else—except a blond wig that came off midway through the act revealing a black Mohawk, and theatrical blood, which got generously smeared on her statuesque physique midway through the performance.

And what a performance! Guitar accompanist Jeremy Creamer blasted out beats, noise, and hooks while the dancing Cutthroat released vocal hellfire. The otherwise unflappable audience stood in shock and awe. It proved to be a musical act that transgressed many norms and rules of civil society, even for QXT’s, the headquarters of gothic, punk, and industrial culture in the metropolitan area. Keep an eye out for the next time Hot Pink Satan passes through the tri-state area and, if the description herein appeals to you, make every effort to attend their performance.

Necropolis at Windfall NYC

Feb. 2, the first Saturday of the month, saw a recurrence of the immensely popular dark dance night Necropolis at its usual location, Windfall, on 39th St. in Manhattan. Host deejay Father Jeff was at the turntables early on, although from time to time he did turn the music over to his associates Angel, Patrick, and Templar. The last of these, Sean Templar, was basking in the attention he was getting from the same-night unveiling of his painted portrait by yours truly. His better half, Mandana Banshie, had propped the oil painted canvas featuring his likeness at the entrance desk to draw the attention and admiration of all comers. When questioned as to the choice of subject, the artist responded that few subjects had the similar level of celebrityhood or good looks.

When not in the booth, Father Jeff greeted arriving attendees at the desk. Some distinguished guests included off-duty deejays V-Christ and Arsenal; Sir William Wells of web directory New Goth City; Jorge Obando of the band Lost In Echoes; and Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press, publishers of sci-fi and horror literature. The crowd was well turned-out and included some eye-catching goths and cyberpunks of both genders. Windfall’s host, Chris Savo, oversaw the festivities with dutiful attention to comfort and safety.

Housekeeping note: The coat check at Windfall has been moved upstairs from its prior basement location, making it easier to don and doff outerwear in the winter season. Clean and convenient restrooms remain at the basement level, where there’s now less traffic owing to the removal of the coat check to upstairs. One more note: Chris Savo is exploring the possibility of a “drink and draw” night at Windfall for those artistically-inclined within the gothic/punk/industrial scene. Keep an eye on this column for further developments.

QXT’s So80s Nite

Friday Feb. 8 saw a special edition of QXT’s recurring “So80s Nite,” this time featuring a  celebrity guest deejay appearance by DJ Kurt Harland, singer for the band Information Society. In addition, it served as an after party for birthday celebrations of two Iron Garden luminaries, namely Madame X and Denise Ericksson, who transported their festivities from an earlier gathering at Lee’s Hawaiian Islander in Lyndhurst to the Newark nightclub.

Regular deejays Damian Plague and Ash filled the bill and the air with apropos iconic dance favorites from Pet Shop Boys, The Cure, and Joy Division. It was a particular pleasure to pound the pavement to a rarely heard Joe Jackson masterpiece, the rapidly cadenced “Steppin’ Out.”

The Red Party featuring Spear of Destiny — Mercury Lounge NYC

On Feb. 9, the monthly Red Party provided exceptional live entertainment in addition to the select dance atmosphere for which it is famous. Not widely known on this side of the Atlantic, British band Spear of Destiny features original founder and lead vocalist Kirk Brandon on rhythm guitar. It is presently a quintet with five-string bass, a lead guitarist, drummer, and keyboardist. Founded in the early ‘80s, they have realesed fourteen albums to date.

Coming on shortly after midnight, Spear of Destiny, on the first stop of their North American tour, put on one of the most memorable performances ever featured in a small venue like the Mercury Lounge. Led by Brandon, whose vocal skills are nothing short of astonishing, they put on a set of folk-infused hard rock that was so exhilarating that it provoked a spontaneous slam-dancing mosh pit.

Rumbling bass, explosive percussion, a versatile and creative lead guitarist, and keyboards that ran the gamut from synthesizer to organ to electric piano, backed and supported Brandon’s vehemently rendered singing and rhythm guitar. His vocals were clear and full-throated, articulating serious lyrics in a forceful, emphatic but melodious fashion. Virtuoso guitar and drum solos added depth to the tight and captivating arrangements, as did backup vocals from the entire band. The manner in which Spear channeled British/Celtic folk music was in a manner reminiscent of U2.

Dance music before and after the live performance was curated by host Sean Templar and by his consistent Red Party associate, Jarek Zelazny, as well as guest DJ Jose Frances of Dark Dance Radio.

Museum of Sex: Leonor Fini: Theater of Desire 1930 – 1990 (Now through March 4, 2019)

It is a disgrace and a genuine outrage that this uniquely talented, visionary artist is not a household name. Leonor Fini (1907—1996) was a prodigiously talented, multidimensional artist, and forceful proponent of the feminist outlook in her paintings, her designs, her statements and— above all—in her life. Italian-Argentinian, Fini settled in Paris where she became acquainted with Max Ernst, Picasso, and Salvador Dali. She had no formal training, but she became an accomplished painter through association with established artists, her own spectacular talents with a brush, and her unorthodox compositions. In addition, she wrote novels, plays, and did designs for theater and commercial items. Her iconoclastic views on life, sex, and gender provided rich inspiration and material for her artistic expression.

Fini’s paintings, drawings, and costumes will leave visitors with the fineness of her work as well as the explicitness and the allure of the disturbing subject matter. Self-portraiture, human subjects, full frontal nudity, and sexualized situations, all executed beautifully, cover the wall and fill the glass cases on two floors of the Museum of Sex. Women—and Fini herself, for she declared that she was the subject in which she was most interested—are portrayed as warriors, powerful, sexy, and iconic. Men—Fini had two male live-in lovers all her life—appear as objects of desire; passive, beautiful, androgynous, and under the gaze and protection of a woman—usually Fini in self-portrait.

A slide-show is ongoing in an entrance foyer and features photos of her posed in various environments, plus quotes and observations about her by friends, critics, and lovers. Her own statements declare her denunciation of tradition, conventionality, the commonplace in life, the arts, and sex. Two videos are on giant screens showing her theatrical performances and dazzling costumes. On display are explicitly erotic drawings and illustrations she did for such publications as Petrarch’s Satyricon, The Story of O, and works by Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Jean Genet, and the Marquis de Sade.

In her lifetime, Leonor Fini was featured in the Fantastic Art, Dada & Surrealism exhibition at MoMA, and the International Surrealist exhibition in London. She was sought after as the portraitist of choice for the rich, famous, and glamorous, and was even featured in LOOK magazine. Yet somehow, all that has not been enough to place her at the level of fame of Picasso or Dali. The only explanation appears to be outright discrimination on the basis of sex, because—for the originality, creativity, diversity of talents, and utter quality of her work—Leonor Fini stands at the highest level among the other artistic giants of the 20th Century.

Record Review — Rome: Le Ceneri di Heliodoro (Tristol Music Group) (Germany)

If you haven’t heard of Rome, or singer-songwriter Jerome Reuter, stop whatever you are doing and check him out without delay. New Dark Age first encountered this unique music experience at the Dark Alternative Music festival in Poland’s Castle Party in 2017, and again at Wave Goth Treffen in 2018. Defying classification, Rome has been called “industrial folk” and “neo-folk” because of its blend of high-cultural references, profound themes, and ingenious blend of poetry, traditional song-writing, and unusual acoustic/industrial arrangements.

On Le Ceneri di Heliodoro, one will be mesmerized by Reuter’s melancholic baritone and simple, sincere melodies combined with chant, electronica, and bombastic interludes—to say nothing of the industrial and ambient sounds. Twelve tracks are presented, starting with the momentous “Sacra Entrata,” followed by emotionally wrenching “A New Unfolding,” in which ominous male chorals accompany Reuter’s plaintive call. The next several are heart-wrenching, melodious, acoustic guitar pieces that deal explicitly and painfully with Reuter’s pessimistic commentary on America, Europe, and the world.

Creative use of samples and a backup chorus prove to be powerful adjuncts to rich, hypnotic guitar and vocal mantras that together make up a spectacular musical collage. Track titles are in Latin, Italian, German ,and French, but Reuter’s impassioned lyrics and those of his male and female vocal accompanists are in English, even as they reference Roman legions, philosophical issues, and life and death questions.

Six other albums are available from this astonishing artist, but Le Ceneri di Heliodoro is a great place to start for those willing to explore the opus of this wondrous and extraordinary musical genius.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductions 2019

Congratulations to The Cure, the sole representative of the post-punk movement in this year’s class of inductees, which otherwise included Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, and the Zombies.

Just for the record, the Cure started out in 1977 as Easy Cure, and soon evolved from their earliest new wave beginnings into icons of the gothic rock scene, and by 1992, had been accepted into the mainstream as cited in Pitchfork’s video, A Brief History of Goth. They secured their status, having won countless awards, and having been nominated for two Grammys and numerous MTV awards. Led by frontman Robert Smith they produced over a dozen albums and 29 world tours, with their most recent stop in the NYC area being in 2016 to sold out crowds at Madison Square Garden.

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