Hole of Sorrows

To step onto ground that immediately consumes one with magick has been my most grounding experience to date.

For context, turning 30 has been interesting, to say the least, journey. Much like how I was as a youth longing for college, I have been longing and dreading the end of the chapter of my 20’s. I was under the false pretense that all my eggs would fall into a basket in my 30’s. They have begun too, but not in the way I had planned. While it has been a time of learning tough lessons quickly, what I hold deep in my core is the unbelievable trip I recently took to Ireland with my mother.

My mother has been to Ireland now four times over. After my first visit there, I can understand the reason for the revisits. Both of us, mother and daughter have feminine and masculine roots in this ancient land. It’s a country that does a lot of things right. A sigh of relief on this fact can be heard from all the souls lost during the famine and political hardship. Of course, no place is perfect and without error, but I felt perfectly at peace on this trip.

One of the most meaningful stops we made- besides numerous stops to get close to the gentle free range cattle- was to Poulnabrone Dolmen in County Clare. Though none of my ancestors or living family reside in this county, it was my absolute favorite due to its rugged beauty and spiritual calm. As the oldest dated monument in a place of seemingly endless tombs and castles, this is one of the most visited locations in the Burren.

When my mother and I reached this place, it was a warm but overcast day. The weather during our stay had been unusually sunny and bright, with little rain, so to be greeted with this weather was refreshing from the heat. A man was sitting in a little tent, playing the penny whistle as an artisan named Thomas Christopher Coyne had out his wears. Thomas is a jewelry and an expert in Ogham, the ancient pagan language of trees. He specializes in crafting jewelry with your name, or whatever you wish, in this language. It was a blessing he was there on this day.

He and I had a wonderful discussion and I got a great education about the language. He also shared with me bread a friend of his made from foraged seaweed that was delicious.

Poulnabrone dolman is a portal tomb and is dated to c. 4200 BCE. Rather than try to describe it, below is a picture I took:

The fact that it has stayed up in this way is what I believe to be a nod to the power of pagan magick.  I felt immediate peace.

At home, I like to visit cemeteries. I find walks through them to be meditative and a way to reflect on the cycle of life and feel more connected to the earth. To be able to experience an ancient grave and the stories it holds is something I will forever hold in my heart with gratitude. Though I did find myself crying a bit while I was here, it was not from sorrow but a deeper understanding of the universe.

Next Up: July Itinerary

DJSC//Trieves 15

DJSC (Depeche Mode/Joy Division-New Order/The Smiths/Cure) is an unconventional party, in the fact that it is not held at one specific venue. It’s been at Voltage Lounge, The Barbary, Silk City, etc. This was the first time it was held at Kung Fu Necktie.

17629835_1282055395163521_477210471318909181_n.jpg

DJSC at Kung Fu Necktie

This was my first DJSC party and I was happy to see it was at Kung Fu Necktie this time. It’s one of my favorite venues as a performer and as a spectator. I rolled in a little before 11 p.m. and it was packed. In my last post I mentioned how Philly starts partying late, but I have to put my foot in my mouth with this one. It was so crowded when I got there.

As I waited to go in, I had a friendly conversation with some strangers and their positive energy set the tone for how the night was. When my foot finally got into the door, I could literally feel the energy seep into my skin. Everyone seemed so joyful, the music was killer (thank you to the DJ’s for playing some songs from my beloved’s, Siouxsie and the Banshees) and the crowd was a really interesting mix of young and old goths and punks.

A sad but true fact is when navigating in the club world, is that every woman has had the experience of being ogled, or had their space encroached upon. Though it was crowded, my fiancee and I did not feel any of these vibes. DSJC gets a 10 out of 10 for cultivating a party environment of high spirits and mutual respect.and mutual respect.

Trieves 15

17155607_10100435097868016_395256130265616428_n

I bounced back and forth between the double duty parties at KFN last night, but I spent more time down at DSJC. However, I wanted to give a nod to Trieves 15 because the music was the techno that I love. Sean Hearn (The Magic Message) is a DJ who has been in the scene for awhile (side note, his girlfriend owns the clothing store, Toile, that has all of my dream clothing and I implore you to check it out). On a personal level, he is genuine and sweet in any interactions I’ve had. This is the type of attitude that should be celebrated in DJs, and in people. The music he was banging out was heavy in the best ways. I wasn’t familiar with Jesse Tyler before, but both DJs vibed off of each other well.

This is an interesting weekend for parties and especially electronic music parties. A lot of our friends are at Movement this weekend, and it seems like every year this ends up being a huge weekend in Philly as well. It’s hard to pick which parties to go to for sure but, besides the fun aspect, DJSC and Trieves 15 are the right kinds of parties.

 18670935_10211260907952004_2322793831396167290_n.jpg18740490_10100435790475026_2140996203665826530_n

Next Up: Acknowledging Club Drugging and What We Can Do Better

Soft Leather Philadelphia 5.24.17

18222289_1200723403370732_7759123658018081231_n.jpgSoft Leather Philadelphia 5.24

To touch upon the controversy surrounding a high amount of people being drugged at The Dolphin, I will say this. The Dolphin did have a large percentage of these incidents, but they are not the only club where this happens. No venue is immune from rape culture/crappy people, but the staff at The Dolphin have clearly made changes to combat nonconsensual club drugging.

The bar has been moved against the wall rather than being placed in the middle of the space with all sides open. This not only optimizes space but leaves less room for shenanigans. The community water is gone and the bartenders were as attentive as always.  I applaud The Dolphin staff for doing what their part in creating a safer space.

Soft Leather is a techno/fetish night. I have never been to an event quite like this before, but I had a few expectations. What I was not expecting was how insane Wassup Gina is as a DJ. I have a few female DJ’s who are held close to my heart and Wassup Gina is on my list now. I was expecting Genitorturers type music (which I personally always found a bit cheesy) but naah. The music was hard hitting and high-end techno. Big ups to Sweat Daddy too. Both DJ’s did not skip a beat with the energy they were bringing.

The night started off unusually slow but Philly usually starts partying late. I left a little after midnight when it was getting crowded. The weather has been dreary and this was a party for a niche group, so I think that was a factor to a slow start. That did not stop the DJ’s from playing bangers, and the few people who were on the dance floor were tearing it up.

Even when the club did start filling up, the crowd remained considerate of other people and their space. The event had a disclaimer about respecting one another, and disclaimers like this that get posted on event pages are an easy way to promulgate the type of party you want. Soft Leather did a great job in facilitating a consensual and open-minded party. While I have had some pretty lamentable experiences with crowds at certain parties at The Dolphin before, Soft Leather was a breath of fresh air and I hope this party comes back to Philly soon.

18671218_1217440601699012_1484772104750920981_nPhoto Credit: Molly Ace

Next Up: DJSC//Trieves 15

 

 

Rizumu 15yrs/27hrs

Rizumu is a 15 year running (which is HUGE in a city where most things that are cool do not last very long or do not stay cool for very long… sorry Mad Decent Block Party ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), after hours party that, up until recently, was held at 52hz in West Philly. Rizumu is known for bringing in local DJ’s and Producers, as well as the big name DJ’s who come with that proper techno. Adam X and Andrey Pushkarev are just two of the many huge talents that have come through.

Rizumu 15yrs/27hrs

16640668_1335503983172978_6834220046789759955_n

Here is another party that I believe has been so successful in the underground scene because of the crew who runs it and the people it draws in. Promotors and DJ’s Sean Thomas, Jacob Herschel, and Rudy Kardos have cultivated one of the safest and highly music based techno after hours party in Philadelphia, with some incredible visual art collaborations. to boot. Rizumu is adamant about providing a welcoming space for everyone. Women, people of color, the LGBQT community, this crew knows techno can bring us all together and they do an amazing job facilitating that truth.

When you think of the term “rave” the first thing you may think of is images of glo-sticks and kandi. This is not the case here. Rizumu is a crew so focused on music that the demographic you will see at a party are true techno heads, young and old, who passionately will dance until the morning light.

I have fond memories of the anniversary last year, and I was not disappointed (though I had no doubts) about this year being a banger. The start of the party was on Saturday night, which I unfortunately did not get out to this year. I was bummed about missing a performance from Cienfuegos, but ayyyy. The continuing festivities the next day at Glendinning Rock Garden were perfect though. The weather was incredible and nothing beats listening to techno in nature. Everyone seemed relaxed and happy, just the vibe I would expect from this party. My only wish is that Rizumu would throw more park parties. Luckily, a lot of crews utilize that space too, and we are entering park party season again.

Happy Anniversary Rizumu!

18581841_1436028126453896_832513640768757734_n

Next Up: Soft Leather Philadelphia 5.24.17

Combichrist and the Subject of Social Responsibility

The other night I made a brief statement on Facebook about the news surrounding Combichrist and their blatant racism and violent sexism, I would like to expand on my thoughts today. The video below was played during the final moments of the Ad·ver·sary and Antigen set at Festival Kinetik 5.0. Ad·ver·sary has been very open with his criticism of Combichrist and Nachtmahr, two bands that he was opening for at this fest.

You can see the video here.

Combichrist was my unfortunate first exposure to the Industrial scene back when I was a little baby bat. I learned quickly that Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubauten slayed, but I never got super into the industrial scene (aside from listening to the music) because I felt a strong machismo vibe. I didn’t feel this vibe just from music videos or articles I read, but from face to face interactions with a lot of rivetheads at the time (the early aughts for clarification).

Some industrial musicians seem to find themselves teetering on the fine line of strictly just fascism aesthetic (Laibach) to actual nazi sympathizing…which brings me to the Combichrist controversy.

While I am not surprised that a mainstream and macho band like Combichrist has racist and sexist members (you can see examples in the Festival Kinetik video, I don’t want give publicity to them on here), what I am surprised by and happy to see is artists who are calling out other artists on this nonsense and holding them publicly accountable. There is a lot of forward thinking that is present these days in various subsets of the goth scene. I think it is part of the reason why there has been a great revival of the Philly goth life these past few years.

I have been involved in the scene for over a decade as a spectator, party goer, musician, promotor, and lover of the community. As a very recently out lesbian with a fiancée who is a trans woman (NOTE: Trans women ARE women), community acceptance is just as crucial as cultivating a safe space for party goers. We are already weirdos and isn’t that what brought us to the goth subculture in the first place? There has been a big influx of women, LGBQT, and people of color (though I would like to see more people of color in the scene, it’s unfortunately often whitewashed) bringing in some essential new music, art, and events in the scene. More people these days are telling not only artists, but other community members, to take ownership for discriminatory behavior and demanding that they do better. Standing up for the more ostracized (by society’s standards) members of the scene is just one more step towards a better world.

Next Up: Rizumu 15yrs/27hrs