Sunday, February 06, 2005

i wear black on the outside

No really, I do, honest, from time to time.

Saturday night in the interest of cultural study and a general thirst for the inexplicable or, at least, story-worthy, I went with a friend to a big, fat Goth/Fetish type club in Hollywood known as Bar Sinister. Yep. And after I wrote all those earlier protests that here would not be a haven for such things. The world's a complicated place, my gentle bunnies.

At any rate, there we were. My thinking was it sounded a lot more interesting than some fratty little watering hole in the Miracle Mile district (my friend's neighborhood), and since he's a veteran of such scenes (in a synth music and black clothing kind of way--no make-up or Anne Rice novels were present) , I figured if I was ever going to check such a place out, now was the time. Luckily I was in uniform: A black shirt.

The funny thing is, when I was in high school and college I listened to that sort of music. My first concert was the Sisters of Mercy at Universal Amphitheatre (though I looked like some Manchester/Jesus Jones refugee at the time), I have an embarrassing amount of Depeche Mode in my collection and, as I've mentioned, I know who or what Skinny Puppy is. Yet I never really looked the part. My hair is a sort of muddy red, for starters--not a goth-friendly color (unless I dyed it black, in which case I'd probably be just pale enough to be held up as some sort of deity)--I have no silver jewelry, no piercings, no tattoos and generally have a distinct impression that my sense of style would bore the average fan of the lifestyle to tears (if they weren't in tears already). Yet I bob my head the same way as anyone else when the bass line of "She's Lost Control" rings through a room. I guess I simply never heard the subliminal messages in the music asking me to alter my wardrobe.

In any case, after paying a sort of denim tax at the door for wearing jeans, (this was annoying, but once you're already $8 into Hollywood for parking there's no turning back) there we were. It was as interesting a carnival of humanity as you'd expect. There was the guy who looked a little like "Captain" Lou Albano from pro wrestling (and Cyndi Lauper video) fame, wearing a taut black tank top stretched well below his nipples. There was the trio of barely trying drag queens, done up in latex and leather and yet looking like the butch brethren of Terence Stamp in the process. There were enormous boots that put the Kiss Army to shame. There were the Suicide Girly go-go dancers writhing about on platforms in various forms of distressed lingerie and rocker gear (one girl had several black and white strips of what appeared to be plastic woven through her hair in absurdist pigtails, making her look like one of Marilyn Manson's party favors). There were men and women of all sizes and of various levels of committment to the look and the lifestyle, and you know what? They were about 10 times as interesting to watch and interact with than the average Ugg boot Abercrombie and Fitch Seven Jean Hollywood scenester.

There is something endearing about the gothed up scene, not that I'm about to trade in my wardrobe for as many shades of midnight as I can find. For the most part, everyone there must feel a little awkward in the 'normal' world (otherwise why would they seek out this alternative world, right?) and in the past probably absorbed enough abuse and mockery for their perceived shortcomings to make a Super Bowl quarterback break down into tears. Yet on those nights (and, possibly, days while working at record stores, visual effects-houses and the like) they are indeed rulers of the night, giving as much of a shit about fitting in with a guy in jeans as a guy in jeans cares about fitting in with them. But we all want a drink and we all want some good music, even if that includes Robert Smith keening his way through "Charlotte Sometimes" for the umpteenth time. Everyone is strange, no one can dance and as long as no one brings up the score of 'the game' or J Crew's spring line, everyone gets along. Spankings optional.


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