You've reached the holiday shopping homestretch, but there's one final gift that's driving you mad. Maybe it's for your sibling, or the co-worker whose name you pulled in Secret Santa. Regardless, it's for someone whose known interests include listening to Bauhaus, reading Neil Gaiman and swooning across the dance floor. You're looking for the holiday goth gift.
Don't worry, picking up something special for the goth in your life isn't quite the intimidating task you might think it is. Below, I've compiled a list of stores in and around L.A. that cater to darker tastes. As a bonus, all of these stores are located far from the city's malls, so you can shop without the mob of procrastinators.
I think a good 50% of the jewelry I wore to goth clubs came from this long-running Melrose Avenue establishment. Inside Maya, you'll find rosaries galore, lots of cuff bracelets and even a few poison rings. The mountain of jewelry inside this shop covers both large, attention-grabbing pieces and smaller items. There are also a lot of global odds-and-ends, from bags to statues. There's also a shop on Hollywood and Vermont. 7452 Melrose Ave., Fairfax District.
This Melrose Avenue curiosity shop overflows with specimen jars and bones, but there's more here than the remains of what was once filled with life. The side room of the shop is filled with great gift ideas, from exquisite Victorian mourning jewelry to vintage cameras and classic horror movie posters. For those who like to make their holiday gifts, there are tiny pewter skulls and other odds and ends perfect for a jewelry making session. If you're still not sure what to get, never fear. You can pick up a Necromance gift certificate online. 7220 Melrose Ave., Fairfax District.
Go to any goth club in L.A. and you're likely to see a few people outfitted in Shrine gear. A clothing label and Melrose Avenue boutique, Shrine specializes in fancy ensembles for those nights when the fog on the dance floor is thick and Sisters of Mercy are pounding through the speakers. There are some fun items in the store, like a pair of red spike-heeled boots decorated with ribbon and cameos, embellished goblets and, of course, goggles. 7305 Melrose Ave., Fairfax District.
Up next: Alice in Wonderland necklaces and Dali-style melted clocks
7. Psychic Eye
There is more to Psychic Eye than tarot cards and astrology books. This Ventura Blvd. store mixes the serious with the fun, combining ritual oils and candles with Alice in Wonderland necklaces and Dali-style melted clocks. Perhaps still known as a book store, there are few books left on Psychic Eye's shelves. However, there are lots of odds and ends for the home, like the pendulous, jeweled incense burners often associated with Orthodox Christian services, tiny bottles of writing ink imported from Italy and small Lord of the Rings figures. There's even a bust of Aleister Crowley here. If you're down in the South Bay, check out the Torrance location. 13435 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks.
6. Hyaena Gallery
Hyaena Gallery was one of my picks for this year's Best of L.A. issue because it is the best place in Los Angeles to find dark art. This tiny Burbank gallery is jam-packed with paintings, sculptures and other work from an eclectic mix of artists. But there's more than just high-priced art pieces. You can find reasonably priced prints here, as well as books, candles, CDs and other items. I bought an Oscar Wilde action figure here once. The lesson here is, you never know what you'll find at Hyaena Gallery -- just give yourself time to browse. 1928 W. Olive Ave., Burbank.
5. Clockwork Couture
From corsets to tree ornaments, Clockwork Couture is stocked for the holidays. They even have stockings shaped like an old-fashioned high-heeled boot. This Burbank store specializes in neo-Victorian and steampunk garb, but it goes far beyond fashion. Looking for an art gift? Check out Brian Kesinger's "tea stained" prints. As for stocking stuffers, there is a bounty of bath and beauty items inside the store, including absinthe soap and Clockwork Couture's own perfumed oils. For gifts that are a little more over-the top, check out the one-of-a-kind, handmade hats available here. 707 S. Main St., Burbank.
Up next: A music store you're very familiar with
4. Amoeba Music
Hollywood's Amoeba Music is getting spookier by the minute. At least, it appears that their goth and industrial vinyl and CD sections are growing. Check out the racks for rare releases, new releases and staff picks. Also be on the lookout for collectibles, like the Tim Burton and Danny Elfman 25th Anniversary box set. Truth be told, holiday shopping at Amoeba can be kind of overwhelming. Your best bet might be the gift certificate. It's an obvious pick, but, everyone who buys music loves Amoeba gift certificates. 6400 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood.
3. Mount Analog
I've only been to Mount Analog a few times, but have already figured out that I can't leave the store without buying something. Tucked away in Highland Park, this small record store has a lot of the hard-to-find vinyl releases that goth and industrial music fans seek. They also carry a great selection of new releases from underground artists, sometimes on cassette. There are massive box sets, out-of-print finds and more. The store also hosts an interesting selection of art books and DVDs. Plus they sell high-end turntables and speakers. 5906 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park.
Up next: A horror bookstore
2. Dark Delicacies
Dark Delicacies focus is on horror and, when it comes to book, you can't beat this Burbank store. Their shelves are lined with so many titles that it will take you a good hour or two just to get an idea of what is available here. They even have a whole section dedicated to books about graveyards. But Dark Delicacies is more than a book store. Their gift selection is incredible, featuring dishes covered in skulls, creepy dolls and lots of other spooky ideas you thought you might never find. They also have an amazing display of perfumed oils and other scented items from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, some of which are collaborations between the store and the perfumers. 3512 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank.
1. Halloween Town
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I walked into Halloween Town and didn't want to leave. It's like FAO Schwarz for goths. There are all sorts of toys inside this store, from Monster High dolls to vinyl figures. The walls are lined with t-shirts and the display cases are dotted with Siouxsie and the Banshees and David Bowie patches. There are books, lots of books, on a variety of spooky subject matter. I picked up a thick book on the Salem Witch Trials for myself. DVDs are a given. So are The Munsters and Edgar Allan Poe merchandise. For high-end gifts, check out the gallery inside the shop, which features original art. You can also purchase prints as well. Make sure you wrap your gifts in Krampus paper. Really, they have Krampus wrapping paper! 2921 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank.