Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cemetery Tea Party

Last Sunday my friends and I celebrated a birthday party in style at one of the oldest cemeteries in the area.  My friend Miss E is incredible at party planning. Everything is always perfect down to the smallest detail! The theme this year was an Occult Tea Party. So we donned our best graveyard outfits and had a great day celebrating with friends. 

It was a little chilly and overcast that day and yet I still managed to get a little bit of a sunburn. Curse you evil daystar! The cups were all hand painted with occult symbols and gothic bats. The tea bags were painstakingly hand made by the birthday girl herself in little coffin shapes and the tea was wonderful and hot thanks to the industrial hot water servers! 

Since the theme was Occult, I figured this was my chance to make an antler headdress! I've always wanted to make one with real antlers and my friend had a set of sun bleached antlers that were perfect for a headdress. The sun bleached ones are a little lighter so they are perfectly suited for a headdress.  I attached the antlers to a headband and then filled in with silk roses and lace. They were actually very comfortable to wear too!

 I also promised some better pictures of my altered Laura Ashley dress. Here it is! I wore a longer petticoat under it as well to fill out the hem. A feathered shoulder wrap made by a friend and silk purse finished off the outfit perfectly. We had a great time and I did Tarot readings for about 6 friends that afternoon too! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

What is Dreadpunk?

I came across an interesting article recently on The Daily Dot by Aja Romano about a new horror genre called Dreadpunk. The term was coined by Derek Tatum from He describes the genre as "period piece gothic horror created by modern writers and film makers". He in no way claims inventing the genre, instead he just says that he and his friends are having fun with it. My first reaction was... Oh yes, sign me up! The genre is described as being all about gothic victorian based literature, classic gothic monsters from the victorian penny dreadfuls, and dark macabre subjects like ghost hunting and post mortem photography. Dreadpunk is claiming to "push horror and dark fantasy in a new direction." I like that sentiment, especially if it means there will be plenty of new gothic fiction, TV shows, and movies coming our way soon!

The article references RomantiGoth and Victorian Goth fashion style also. Now anyone who reads my blog knows I've been into that style for a long time now. It's nothing new to me. In fact it's very, very old. Most of the clothing I make and wear can be described that way. I started making these styles back in the late 80s/early 90s.  In fact, most of us old school goths know and love this style already. We have been wearing the clothes, reading the literature, and watching the movies since the beginning of time! So... What's new here? Frankly, I think the only new thing about this supposedly new horror genre is the name Dreadpunk. And it is indeed a catchy name. So like it or not, I think it's here to stay folks. 

Since this genre certainly isn't new to most of us, it made me think about the cycles of the gothic culture. It seems like gothic culture is on a 30 year cycle to me. Every 30 years it has a reemergence and gathers a mainstream following. Think about it. "Gothic" as we know it today started with the Victorians. They lived it every day. Everything from their clothing, literature, architecture, etc. was all about the dark and sometimes hidden side of life and they loved their Penny Dreadfuls about dark fantasy characters like Varney the Vampire. Almost all of the classic literature comes from this era also. The Victorians were quite obsessed with mourning. In fact, they had strict rules about what was proper to wear while in mourning. It was also a time of great technological advances. (which is where the whole steampunk genre comes from) I'm sure the gothic mindset is much older than the Victorians but when I think Gothic with a capital G, I tend to think of the late victorian period first. 

The next gothic cycle was in the 30s. This was the decade that all those wonderful gothic books like Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein were turned into movies by the Universal Studios. So gothic culture (or at least the movies based on the literature) became mainstream and created legendary movie stars in Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. 

Next up was the 60s. Yet again gothic movies were popular. Hammer Horror revived gothic horror by reinventing the classic monsters for a new generation. Roger Corman and Vincent Price were also churning out dark gothic movies like crazy based on Edgar Allan Poe stories. New legendary stars were created like Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Christopher Lee. With the new medium of TV this time around we also were spoiled with TV shows like Dark Shadows, The Munsters, and The Addams Family. 

By the 90s, gothic culture was turned up to 11. We had the 80s bat cavers and trad goths that had their own music genre and fashion style that eventually evolved into a more classic gothic style with lots of velvet and a hint of vampires. Anne Rice's vampire books were extremely popular in the 90s. We had the movies, the music, and the fashion in the 90s. We created a whole lifestyle. Some of us still live it everyday! Again the movies and TV shows reflected the classic gothic literature. Bram Stoker's Dracula, Interview With a Vampire, and The Nightmare Before Christmas were all mainstream movies in the 90s.

That brings us to the 2020s next. Is Dreadpunk just the reemergence of my beloved gothic genre with a new name? It seems like everyday there is a new genre or trend created on the Internet. Is this one going to actually stick around or will it fade away by 2020? Is it just in it's infancy? Maybe it will turn into something mainstream very soon. This new gothic trend started up again with the 2012 movie, The Woman in Black. I remember writing a movie review back then and waxing on poetically about how I would love for this movie to start a whole new trend in gothic films! I think I got my wish. Ha! The Woman in Black (brought to us by Hammer Horror again) started the trend but now it's growing. We have the TV series Penny Dreadful and another incredibly gothic movie coming in October called Crimson Peak. Hot Topic has a new clothing line based on Penny Dreadful and the malls are full of mainstream gothic clothes. I don't think all of this is just a coincidence. Maybe 5 years down the road is when the trend will hit its stride and go mainstream? We shall see! Until then there is a rich history of films, TV series, and books to soak in. 

Here is a gothic beginners list to get you started:

Gothic Literature:
Bram Stoker's Dracula 
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 
The Castle of Otranto 
Edgar Allan Poe
The Picture of Dorian Gray
H.P. Lovecraft
Varney the Vampire
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles 
The Graveyard Book
The Sandman Graphic Novel Series

Gothic Films:
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari 
Universal Studios Dracula and Frankenstein 
Hammer Horror and Amicus Films
Mario Bava's Black Sunday and Black Sabbath 
Roger Corman/Vincent Price Poe movies
Bram Stoker's Dracula 
Interview With the Vampire
The Crow
The Woman in Black (the original movie is just as good as the newer one)
Sweeney Todd
Sleepy Hollow
Nightmare Before Christmas 
Corpse Bride
Mary Reilly
From Hell
Pan's Labyrinth 

Gothic TV Series:

Penny Dreadful 
Sleepy Hollow
Dark Shadows
Forever Knight
American Horror Story (some seasons more than others)
Dracula (cancelled too soon)
Friday the 13th the series 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/ Angel
Kolchak the Night Stalker

*all images gathered from Pinterest and Google images. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Book Review: Hollow City

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children was such a great read that I eagerly snapped up the sequel, Hollow City, as soon as it hit the shelves! The first book focused on Jacob who finds himself in a hidden time loop on an island. The loop is filled with peculiar children that have special abilities and gifts. Jacob soon discovers that he was meant to be there with the children to help them with a danger that lurks nearby. I especially love that the story revolves around vintage photos that the author has collected or borrowed from private collections. All the photos are real and the author, Ransom Riggs, creates a complex and riveting story revolving around them. It's a book that you won't be able to put down! 

In the second book, Hollow City, the story of Jacob and the peculiar children continues. The story basically picks up where the first book left off. The second book is even better than the first. The children barely escape with their lives and must set off on a huge adventure to rescue someone very important to them. The children end up in war torn London during the Second World War. Not only is the story very compelling but you also start to really get attached to the characters.  

I highly recommend both the books and it looks like it will be a regular series. The third book is due to come out later this September. I can't wait! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Spotlight on Small Business: Inside My Wicked Wardrobe

I spent the day in Stratford, Ontario with a group of inspiring and very talented ladies. Tracy from Inside my Wicked Wardrobe organized a photo shoot to showcase her line of custom jewelry and fascinators.
Not only is Tracy an incredibly talented designer but she also has a great eye for artistic fashion photography. 

Here are a few photos of the fascinators you can find available at Inside My Wicked Wardrobe. All these photos are from the facebook page of IMWW. That bat fascinator will be mine soon! Oh yes! 

I was at the photoshoot today to act as a make up assistant (and chauffeur) for Kerri Mercer of Black Orchid Designs. It was fun to watch the behind the scenes staging for the photo shoot. Here are a few candid shots I took of the models while they were waiting for their turns with Tracy. They were all having fun with their characters! Don't worry no real harm came to these gorgeous ladies! 

I couldn't resist a photo with the chainsaw. Ash would be proud! 

Kerri even found the time to do my make up for me. I love the bat wing! 

You can find inside My Wicked Wardrobe on Facebook or visit these locations:

The Magic Box 28 Ontario st. Stratford Ont
Covet the Community Closet Downie St. Stratford Ont.
Treasures 151 Ontario st. Stratford Ont. 
Black Orchid Designs Queen St. Hespeler, Ont.