Is it Fan Expotime already? Yup! This year’s convention will not have the Rue Morgue Festival of Fear, unfortunately. But I will be attending as part of the horror programming, selling and signing books, plus hosting a special spooky reading event.
Boo! Scary Stories Read Aloud. Friday, September 4 at 11:45am in Room 705 of the North Building, I’ll be reading one of my fave scary folk tales, from my own hometown. Plus, I’ve assembled a fantastic crew of fellow readers and invite you to join us for an hour of good ole fashion scary storytelling. Shopping and autograph hunting is fun but I always appreciate when there is culture to discover at a fan con so am trying to bring some to others. Friday is much less bananas in terms of line-ups and crowds than the weekend, so it’s a great time to visit. I will also be selling and signing my books in the horror vendors section, at booth #5431. I’m only there for the Friday, So if you’re planning to get your geek on this long weekend, make sure to come that day and come find me!
Proud to be a part of this new anthology by Spectacular Optical press: Satanic Panic: Pop Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s. It comes comes out in August but your can pre-order it right now!
I’ve had the devil on the brain for quite a while now, working as a researcher/writer on an upcoming documentary about Satan. The stories about the 1980s panic were both absurd and fascinating and so when I saw the call for submissions for this book I knew I wanted to contribute. I ended up writing an essay about the PMRC and heavy metal, called The Filthy 15: When Venom and King Diamond Met the Washington Wives. When I saw the list of other contributors and their topics I was quite excited, as the book will touch on so many interesting aspects of the era – music, film, games, cartoons, TV, etc., both within America and beyond. I can’t wait to read them all.
I was recently interviewed about the project for Kim Kelly at Noisey and you can read her article here.
While travelling recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Natasha Scharf, author of the excellent subcultural study Worldwide Gothic, and a journalist of high repute working in the goth/alternative music community in England. We met in the studio of her London publishers to record an interview to promote her beautifully exhaustive new book, The Art of Gothic.
To hear our conversation about the history of Goth imagery, the importance of aesthetics to the culture and of course, her take on “what is goth?”, click here!
I then moved on to Paris, where my friend Fabien of Rue Morgue France took me to the private museum of eccentric vampire historian Jacques Sirgent to record an episode of Rue Morgue Radio France. If you can forgive my rusty French, listen to the three of us muse on the origins and importance of the nosferatu and our favourite films here.
Who has been naughty? Then you deserve a wicked present. In years past I have compiled and posted my Goth Girl Gift Guide. Last year I was asked to add one for the Goth Boys and that was fun. But since in my world men proudly wear eyeliner and women buy records too, this year there is no gender split. Instead I’ve added a dedicated Gift Guide post just for books. Because it’s the one thing I’m always happy to get, and I find great pleasure in giving them to others as well. Goths by nature tend to be a bookish lot, so I hope this selection of new titles helps you find something for the avid reader on your list.
British journo’s follow up to WorldWide Gothic is a gorgeous hardcover brimming with essays and images from throughout the history of gothic music and culture. For music aficionados who like to geek out over memorabilia.
You don’t need a secret knock to enjoy specialty cocktails anymore. Just make your own concoctions from 500+ recipes by New York’s celebrated speakeasy Death and Co. Hefty hardcover in fancy matte black. For the budding bartenders and serious drinkers.
This companion piece to a travelling art exhibition is full of curator talk about the history and importance of heels in fashion. But you’ll want this hardcover for the drool-worthy big glossy photos. For the shoe fetishists.
Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction
The eternally cool David J strolls down the dark corners of memory lane, covering his career in Bauhaus and beyond. A paperback to curl up with while spinning Bela Lugosi’s Dead. For the babybat who could use a history lesson.
Perhaps you’ve heard: Anne Rice has resurrected her vampire chronicles. Lestat’s Back. For everyone whose lives were changed by Interview with the Vampire and/or needs their faith in bloodsucker storytelling restored.
Enter the world of the Fae. Shadowy Toronto author Nancy Baker’s long-awaited return to novels switches vampires for fairies, but her delicate, devious way with genre storytelling remains a delight. For the dark fantasy fan.
The original horror hostess, style icon to goth girls everywhere, is commemorated and her influence on society analyzed by macabrely minded American professor W. Scott. Poole. For the scholarly monster kids.
Ah, exhale. The end of another year. It feels that way tonight, surrounded by snow and twinkling lights and bits of shiny paper on the floor, with only a few squares remaining on the 2013 calendar. Time to plot the future. But first, a look back at the music, books, films that inspired me, excited me, provoked me, made me think, laugh, dance, rock out, dream, scream.
As I’ve mentioned here before, I find conflicts between my passion for all things tagged “goth” and “horror” and the reality of what I enjoyed and thought was good quality. I have never been a super fan of blind faith in terms of genre. Tell me a good story. If there be monsters, all the better. Sing me a song. If it’s sad and romantic and melodramatic, I shall sigh and swoon all the more. But I still get excited by many, many other genres of music, from folk to disco and beyond, as well as poetry and documentaries and all kinds of things. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. Like what you like.
In 2013, I put out my own book, which impacted how much other stuff I could seek out, and really absorb, to recommend. But for the sake of posterity, and in the interest of spreading the word about what I find worthy and wonderful…. a few of my favourite things…
Live shows were more exciting to me than records this year. Probably because I saw Nick Cave perform two nights, back to back, and it was a much more satisfying experience than listening to his latest release Push the Sky Away on its own. First in Montreal, at the always amazing Metropolis club, than at the even more amazing Massey Hall, where I managed to push myself up to the front of the stage. There were strings and children’s choirs making the new songs sound great, and St. Nick doing “Stagger Lee” and “The Mercy Seat” with as much vigor as ever and my friend and I giving he and Warren flowers like lovesick teenagers and all I really remember is thinking how if I could see only one act in concert ever again for the rest of my life, it would be him. Hands down. Have I purchased tickets for his summer 2014 tour already? Hell, yes.
There were other live shows for the books, many of them verging on nostalgia trips — Rocket from the Crypt rocking my Riotfest, two intimate sets of triumphant, glorious Patti Smith at the AGO, Nine Inch Nails proving they can add funk and back-up singers and still blast out the industrial hits. But also some new favourites: The XX beautiful in the rain at Echo Beach, Iceland’s Legend at a basement bar, Majical Cloudz making my NXNE with his intense solo performance.
Like everyone with a pulse, I also gleefully danced to “Get Lucky” way too many times.
Only Lovers Left Alive! Jim Jarmusch’s arthouse vampire movie, starring Tilda Swinton, is exquisite, and was a highlight of my TIFF 2013. Sadly, no actual release date in sight. Ditto Horns, the most excellent adaptation of the Joe Hill novel, transformed into a superior dark comedy/horror/fantasy. Watch out for those next year. I join the chorus celebrating American Mary the indie Canadian horror flick about body modification, for being smart, sexy, nasty and driven by kinky, crazy, outrageous female characters. Thanks Soska Sisters for bringing back Katherine “Ginger Snaps” Isabelle to the big screen. And I really dug the sweetness of Warm Bodies. A zombie who plays vinyl records for a girl is my kind of zombie. As for documentaries, I had much to ponder about violence and appropriation of voice after watching The Exhibition, about an artist painting women killed by Robert Pickton; and I couldn’t be happier to see BlackFish changing perceptions and policies about whales and dolphins in captivity.
Or, this is what I was doing alone in the dark when not obsessing over Klaus in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.
It was a great year for me to see some of my favourite writers in the flesh, and hear them read aloud. After many years of adoring Anne Carson from afar, she came to town for the International Festival of Authors. My favourite living poet, she claimed in her humble introduction to lack charisma. Hardly. Her words make other worlds possible, and when she brings them to life in her own voice, even the most obtuse things became completely clear. (This particular event provided me the opportunity to experience a woman shhhhhushing a man for taking notes because she found the sound of his pencil on paper too loud. Seriously. ) Carson is a strange woman. The very best kind. I cannot recommend her books more highly. Also, did I wait several hours to talk to Neil Gaiman at the Toronto stop for his Last Tour Ever for Ocean at the End of the Lane? Indeed I did. His reading was marvellous, the Q&A hilarious, the long queue well worth it to chat with him after about my own new book. He continues to say very kind things to me about Gothica and it’s such a blessing to have these interactions with someone so beloved, and so generous.
Wed Nov 27, 2013
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
All-ages, and free
I’ll be lecturing on What is Goth music and how it has changed over the years, using my own Goth Music Family Tree from Encyclopedia Gothica as a guide. The Bloor/Gladstone branch is a particularly wonderful location and I’m really looking forward to it. Bring your babybats, bring your questions…come!
I have found the horror fan’s dream bookstore. I’ve known about Dark Delicacies for years, of course, by reputation. I included it in my Encyclopedia Gothica, after all. But I wanted to visit it first-hand, and that became my excuse for a trip to Los Angeles to promote my new book, How to Kill A Vampire.
The store regularly hosts authors, filmmakers, and other horror types for signings and they were courteous enough to have me come in, even though I’m not exactly famous. They even put a display in the window and set me up on the same day at the Full Moon event by the lovely folks at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, which allowed me to meet all kinds of people interested in dark and beautiful things.
One surprise visitor was actor Carolyn Hennesy. She was wearing blood red contacts and I jokingly asked her if she was a vampire….only to discover that she is! Or was. She played Rosalyn Harris on True Blood, until she was violently dispatched. I apologized for the title of my book and she forgave me. Haha. Then we talked about her animal activism: she hosts a podcast called Animal Magnetism about conservation and preservation. She was full of energy and enthusiasm and I liked her alot.
It was a splendid afternoon and I highly recommend you make Delicacies bookstore a must on your next visit to the L.A. area. The shop is located on a retail strip in Burbank surrounded by great thrift stores, independent clothing shops and more but you’ll be hard-pressed not to spend all your money on their books and horror gifts. I bought myself a gorgeous skull crystal necklace (naturally) and a copy the owner’s book Vampires Don’t Sleep Alone: Your Guide to Meeting, Dating and Seducing a Vampire, because even though I don’t believe vamps are real, it might come in handy someday….
The only thing I like as much as writing about vampires is talking about vampires. So I’ve been enjoying doing interviews to promote my new book, How to Kill A Vampire. And I especially enjoyed this interview with Richard Crouse. Richard is a well-known and highly respected film critic here in Canada and it felt like a life’s to-do checked off to appear on his radio show. He has kindly uploaded our chat for your listening pleasure.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Darkening days. Cool nights. The smell of pumpkin spice. Orange leaves crunching underfoot. The frantic search for Count Chocula. And for me, this year, extra special good times promoting my new book.
Friends in Toronto, Los Angeles, and London, Ontario…. I hope to see you at one of these events this month.