Friday, July 18, 2014

The Demise of a Venue

On Friday, May 23 Darkness Resurrected Dance Night celebrated its first anniversary with its first live show featuring Tulsa's Axis and Kansas City's Razorwire Halo. Unfortunately, that event wasn't attended as well as one would hope. More likely than not, this was because that Friday signified the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend, a time when Fayetteville's population is temporarily reduced by close to half, with lots of local folks heading out of town to camp, float the rivers, or whatever.

Little did we know that night that our anniversary celebration would be the last Darkness Resurrected event to take place at The Stolen Glass, a venue which struck me as a perfect fit for Northwest Arkansas' Goth community. On June 30 The Stolen Glass closed its doors forever. No one seems to know why, but such things are not exactly unusual around here; especially, as regards smaller clubs.

Still, this was a venue with a stage large enough to accommodate whatever a promoter wanted to book there, whether a band or deejays with lots of equipment. The Glass had a decent dance floor, a free pool table and sometimes sold test-tube shots for a dollar each.  I'll definitely miss those sweet but potent drinks. I also suspect that booking an event at the venue was a reasonably priced affair, due to its location outside the main entertainment district. I don't know that for sure though.

Now the question is, where do we go from here? I do know that the Ravenwood Gothic Community had been planning to book its annual reunion at The Stolen Glass as well. Now reunion promoters are looking for an alternative venue at which to hold the event. I can think of some possibilities, but wouldn't be surprised if a few of them might be considerably more expensive than we've been used to. Others might be more comparable to what we've been used to.

So, that's where we are this summer. As for me, I'm just hoping that something will eventually work out and that we'll find a new venue. I'd kind of gotten used to attending our Darkness Resurrected Dance Nights every few months or so. And even though I can't say that The Stolen Glass was a regular hangout, it was close to perfect in accommodating our needs. Farewell Stolen Glass. Thanks for the good times. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Gothic Summer Reading

Yes it's true. Even during the bright sunny days of summer I still enjoy delving into a good, dark novel--and did I ever cross paths with one recently!

It all began back in the end of May when I learned that the local public library had scheduled a book sale for Saturday, June 1. It was just my luck that the sale was planned for the same day that the Confederate Cemetery, one of the two that I take care of, holds its annual vesper services. No, there would be no going to the sale for me; at least, not until the best offerings would likely, already have been purchased. Although I wasn't exactly grieving over my bad luck, I was bothered enough that I spoke to my friend Jeff about it one afternoon.

"Watch," I told him. "I'm probably going to miss out on some good Anne Rice because of this."

As it turned out, he was planning on attending the sale, so I asked him to keep his eyes open for certain  novels written by her.

"If you happen to find Merrick, Blackwood Farm or Blood Canticle, could you pick it up for me?" I asked. "I'll pay you back."

Needless to say, I never made it to the library that day, but the next time I saw him he mentioned looking for the material I'd asked for.

"I didn't see anything by Anne Rice," he told me. "But I did pick up something I thought you might like. It's out in the truck."

So, when he was ready to leave, I followed him to his vehicle where he handed me a book entitled, Lord of the Vampires: The Diaries of the Family Dracul, by Jeannie Kalogridis. I was already intrigued by just looking at the title and the book's cover. Somehow, I just knew it was going to be good. I thanked him and shortly afterward, took my new possession home.

I was still reading a collection of short stories and so, wasn't quite ready to start in on my new acquisition. Still, as I read the cover description of the story upon getting home, my interest only grew deeper, and once I delved into the publication, it didn't disappoint.

Now, I need to point out that this post is not an official book review. As a matter of fact, I'm only about one-third of the way through it. Further, Lord of the Vampires is apparently, the third and final installment in the Diaries of the Family Dracul trilogy. Considering how much I'm enjoying this book, I feel some sense of loss in my not having been aware of this series beforehand. In that case, I'd have started with book one. Still, the story is very much holding its own as a novel in its own right and I have no complaints.

The story, which is told in diary form, opens in the late fifteenth century with the appearance of none other than Vlad the Impaler as he faces military defeat. Determined to attain to a state of immortality, Vlad enters into a grotesque pact with a being called "The Dark Lord." You can probably guess what he becomes after making that deal.

The reader is next moved ahead in time to the late nineteenth century with the written words, first of Abraham Van Helsing and then the vampire Zsuzsanna, who has already gained my sympathies. Vlad now calls himself Dracula and his evil and cruelty seem to have no bounds. Oh yes, he's in his castle in the Carpathians and a good part of the tale is taking place there. Dracula is scheming and has even brought the vampire Elizabeth Bathory into his plans. Will she go along with him?

Between events taking place in the dark castle, a generous helping of romance and eroticism, Van Helsing's tribulations and a plot that complements but does not alter Bram Stoker's original tale, this book has it all. My nighttime reading is transporting me into a wonderland of Gothic imagery and story telling. I can't wait to continue the adventure this evening!

Yes I know. I'm horrible at cropping and the above photo of the book proves it. Still, I'm sure you can get the idea of what the book looks like. I think I'm going to remove the outside cover until I'm through reading it too. It's already getting funky and it's far to attractive to see ruined.