Helter Skelter (born of out the legendary live glam-meets-death-rock destination The Scream) was L.A.'s premiere goth haunt from the evening it opened in '89 and throughout the '90s. So it is no surprise that its dark denizens just won't let it die, even decades later. Every year or so, the club's promoters The Evil Club Empire bring it back, celebrating the fiendish finery, spellbinding sounds and sultry atmosphere in a raging and reverent way, complete with DJ sets from back in the day.
Themed as a Gothic Prom (though it was more like a high school reunion), HS brought the bewitched bashing to The Dragonfly this time out, crowning a creepy king and queen about an hour before closing. There was a photobooth and the usual clove-clouded smoking and socializing on the patio, but it was the main dance floor that brought the decadent looks and dramatic moves. As we twirled about with ghostly gals and dapper dudes, we realized something significant too. Despite the gloom and doom associated with the scene, goth clubs are ironically the most easygoing, gregarious happenings in nightlife. Here, Six Reasons Why Goth Clubs Are the Happiest Places on Earth:
6. Everybody's Got An LBD (little black dress) or even a BBD (big black dress) in the closet. It's a little simplistic to say just "wear black" to a decadent spot like Helter or Sinister or Ruin, et al, but if you want to blend in, it'll do.
5. Wearing color (or white) right will let you stand out in a good way. Keep it sexy and dolly-ish (but NOT Barbie doll-like ... the blonde bimbo favored at velvet roped clubs will not fly here).
4. The party doesn't really get going til midnight, leaving you plenty of time to get (darkly) dolled-up and drink away your inhibitions.
3. Even if you aren't familiar with more obscure "gothic music," you'll know some of the sounds, as a lot of '80s and '90s KROQ fare gets played, especially at nostalgic parties like Helter (versus the harder industrial haps like Perversion or Das Bunker). We all know The Cure, Depeche, and Siouxsie. Saturday, even nominal hits such as Garbage's "#1 Crush (I Would Die For You)," and Love & Rockets "So Alive," blended well with more purist cuts from Sisters of Mercy and The Damned.
2. You can dance by yourself. In fact, you kinda should. Dancing at the gothic club is dramatic, poetic, pose-y, and almost ballet-like. It takes up a lot of space and having a partner kind of interferes with that.
1. No ageism. The fog-machines and dim-lighting help the situation immensely if you're shall we say, long in the fang, but even without these things, goth clubs are one of the few where 20-, 30- and 40-somethings can co-mingle in a very natural and relaxed way. Everyone at these parties shares an unspoken bond- a love of dark aesthetics, eerie and enchanting music and a certain theatricality of dress. The dead never get old, right?
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In other Evil Club Empire news, they will be bringing back another one of their ghoulish grinders, Stigmata, to the Dragonfly, on July 2. ECE's Clockwork Orange move to Joseph's in Hollywood, apparently didn't work out, so while that party's on hiatus, promoter Bruce Perdew debuts a new electro hang at Bardot this Friday, June 10. Get updates and discount info here.
See our Nightranger slideshow this Thursday for more Helter Skelter pics.
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