Somebody decided that Monday, May 22 is “World Goth Day,” and by design or destiny, it seems like all of L.A. is preparing with a host of events. From witchy burlesque to post-punk themed photo shows to dark dance-o-ramas, it all culminates with the long-awaited return of the Cruel World Festival at Brookside Golf Course this Saturday, and is followed up by The Cure’s slew of Hollywood Bowl dates next week.
We know a lot of dark-minded souls hate the G word, so take our use of it here with a grain of (black) salt. Even Siouxsie Sioux herself, whom we interviewed back in ’98, told us she thought the word, and the fashion-driven, doomy disposition of the scene that it’s come to represent, felt “pantomime. ” Sisters of Mercy’s Andrew Eldritch echoed the sentiments to our Music Editor Brett Callwood too (read it here).
Read our 2019 cover story, “City of (Dark) Angels: How L.A. Helped Birth Goth and Is Keeping the Culture Alive,” here.
But L.A.’s long held fiendish fandom has helped elevate all things ghoulish, gloomy, dark and dramatic– in music, way of dress, and entertainment. It’s become an important and influential subculture, and while it’s often lampooned, even maligned at times, those of us who love it not only don’t care, we relish normies’ contempt of our coffin purses, fishnets and black nail polish– looks which have endured and feel classic and ageless to many. Death rock devotion never really dies.
Here’s how to get into the macabre mood and paint/taint the town this week. (Note: we happen to call many of these longtime nightlife figures friends and some have been contributors to LA Weekly over the years).
The witchy burlesque night known as Belle Book and Candle celebrates 6(66) sexy years this week with a stage show melding magic, ritual, dance and decadence. Produced by Pleasant Gehman and Shana Leilani, the show features a variety of dance vamps and dark sounds. For the anniversary they’ve gathered some of their faves from the past six years including Sam Franco, Battyna Sin, Vita Devoid, Sangre Muerta, Vanessa Burgundy and L.A. legend herself Princess Farhana. A variety of psychics, spiritual and occult vendors take over the patio at “the notoriously haunted El Cid.” Wednesday, May 17 (and third Wed. of each month) at El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd, Silver Lake. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. 18 +. Tickets here.
The Motels dropped out of Cruel World this week and were replaced by Berlin (who played last year) to the chagrin of many fans– especially in the very active Cruel World Attendees Group on Facebook. Many are asking ‘Why not book an act that hadn’t already performed there?’ Our vote would’ve gone to Annabella’s Bow Wow Wow, who always represented an alluring mix of post-punk aesthetics (Annabella Lwin’s mohawk inspired a million shaved skulls) and sugary pop sing-alongs. “I Want Candy” is undeniably a Halloween anthem. BWW’s Adam Ant connection (they shared members back in the day) makes them a no-brainer. But the band already had a gig in L.A. this week (at The Mint) and we recommend going, especially for out-of-towners who might not usually get the chance to see the L.A. based band in this historic and intimate setting. 6010 W Pico Blvd. Thursday, May 18, 8:30 p.m. Tickets here.
Noctis & Spiritual Cramp host a Cruel World pre-party at Turnbill’s Tavern in Whitter with DJs spinning tracks by artists performing (and other concerts happening in May) within a New Wave, Goth, Industrial mix. DJs Virtigo, Danny Hunter (from Mexico City), Mr. Michel, Robby D-Tox provide the soundtrack. 7011 Greenleaf Ave, Whittier. Thurs., May 18, 9 p.m. 21+, free. facebook.com/events/256064253487141/
Kulture Klub is doing the “Cruel World Official Kickoff Party” with a TR/ST DJ Set. The 80’s dance party will offer Shannon Cornett, Jacob Safari and members of TR/ST spinning their wicked webs. They promise “free Cruel World passes to best dressed attendees.” At Zebulon, 2478 Fletcher Dr. Frogtown. Fri., May 19, 9 p.m. Tickets here.
The brand new Lethal Amounts gallery and boutique is now open in Little Tokyo, selling the Lethal streetwear line and more. Danny Fuentes’ space has become known for punk, goth and alternative music and art minded events. This week, a pop up photo exhibit by french photographer Richard Bellia’s takes over for the weekend, timed to Cruel World. Titled Un Ceil Sur La Musique, the photos feature stark black and white shots of Siouxsie Sioux, The Cure, Joe Strummer and many more. Images and selects from UK Fashion Designer Pam Hogg also will also displayed in the gallery. 339 E 1st St., Little Tokyo. Pop-up opens Fri., May 19; 5 p.m. lethalamounts.com
Club Massive returns from the dead as it did last year for the ultimate unofficial Cruel World pre-game. Melding some of the best clubs of the past together with different rooms representing 80’s new wave and pop (Beat It, Clockwork Orange), goth, industrial and darkwave (Perversion, Helter Skelter, Coven 13) and indie, Britpop and electroclash (Bang), it should offer a sampler platter of dark dance delights. At Catch One, 4067 W. Pico Blvd. Fri., May 19, 9:30 p.m.; over 18. Tickets at found.ee/clubmassive.
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