Sunday, April 28, 2013

How Do You Become Goth

My latest blog post on how some people come to the gothic subculture.

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Monday, April 22, 2013


So I'm a little late for the monthly homework assignment. For some reason I thought it was due on the 22nd! My apologies.
I have to say spring, at least early spring is my least favourite time of year. The snow is melting and really shows all the sand from gritting the roads. Once beautiful white is now brown and gray, and their is a dusty film everywhere - yuk. The only good thing is it will eventually melt and the brown grass and bare trees will turn green.
Spring is rather late here on the Canadian prairies this year though. Winter generally lasts November - March, a good 5 months at least. By April though we usually start to see the snow melting, and by mid month it is usually gone. Not this year! It's been colder than usual and we've had more snow.
I did buy some new spring gear though. I found a cute skirt and long black tank dress at Sirens, a mall store. They usually have fare I wouldn't go for, but this season are carrying a line of decidedly "nu-goth" inspired clothes. If you're into nu-goth or pastel goth you might want to check it out.
I also got a smashing pair of faux alligator skin wellingtons at Walmart of all places.
Check out my skirt and wellies.

And here's me in my spring outfit on another snowy day yesterday.

Hopefully your spring is a little warmer and greener!

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Victorian Burlesque

When people think of burlesque, lovely ladies shimmying about in bustles, or the beautiful Dita Von Tease, in an oversized martini glass are probably a couple of the pictures that come to mind. But burlesque did not start out that way.
The word "burlesque" comes from the Italian word burla which means to mock. In the 19th century burlesques were plays that mocked the more serious operas and plays of the time, as well as critiquing the upper class and their ways.

Early burlesque performances consisted of short comedy skits, but by the 1830s full length plays became more common. They would often take a popular play of the day and poke fun of it by using the same songs but changing the words to something more baudy, or mixing classical and modern elements for comedic effect.For example, in 1831 a burlesque called "Olympic Revels" featured Olympic gods dressed in Classical Greek costume, but playing the popular card game whist.

Burlesque was popular in the 19th century not only for the comedy but also for the scantly clad actresses. "Breeches roles" were male roles played by women. This allowed them to wear form fitting pants and tights and be less covered up then what was expected of a proper Victorian lady. Sometimes the actresses would be put in the role of the romantic aggressor to titilate the audience. Gender roles were sometimes reversed in the other direction too, with men playing the role of older women.
It's interesting to note that women were often the writers and directors of these cheeky plays, during the first part and the mid 19th century. Actresses were looked down on in the Victorian era. Acting for women was seen as a form of prostitution, and many were assumed to be actual hookers on the side.

In the 1860s burlesque was brought to America by English producer Lydia Thompson. Her burlesque troupe was a big hit in New York. Their first play "Ixion", was a series of mythological spoofs, featuring scantly clad women in men's roles. It was so popular it moved to the most prestigious theatre in the city. Other troupes soon popped up making fun of the more serious theatre productions. One troupe spoofed "Ben Hur" into "Bend Her" and featured scantly clad female charioteers.
At first the American press loved burlesque, but soon began to bow to pressure to criticize it, and declared it indecent. This had the opposite effect on the public, and just made it even more popular!

In the 1880s the burlesque art form began to be dominated in the production area by men, and they often pushed the local limits on how little dress the actresses would wear. This is also when burlesque variety shows or extravaganzas became the more common format, rather than a full length play.
In the Edwardian era burlesque theatre owners formed circuits where troupes would travel from town to town performing. The burlesque circuit was looked down upon by vaudeville performers, but it is where many got their start. It was considered a step down to go back to burlesque, but for many the odd burly performance helped them out when in a financial tight spot.

These days burlesque has evolved away from comedy and more towards titilation, though some do include cheeky comedy in their acts. What are your thoughts on the burlesque revival?

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Goth Misconceptions

Here's my latest blog post about goth misconceptions. Which ones have you had to deal with? How did you handle it?

YouTube Video

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Goth Fashion vs Music

Just a quick vlog post about my thoughts on the goth fashion vs music debate. This is just my opinion, so feel free to disagree. Let me know what your thoughts are on this subject.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Victorian Mummy Unwrapping Parties

I am very excited to announce that I will be involved in a Fringe Production this July in Winnipeg, called Miss Mumford's Marvelous Mummy Unwrapping. It tells the tale of a Victorian mummy unwrapping party, being held by two spinster sisters, for the amusement of their guests. Did these parties really happen? Apparently so.

Mummies have always held a particular fascination for many. From 1100 until the 1700s, mummies were thought to get their dark colour from bitumen, which was mistakenly thought to have healing qualities. The colour is actually from a variety of resins used to preserve the body. It was also thought that the Egyptian Hieroglyphs written on the tomb walls were magic spells, thus imbuing the mummies with special mystical powers.
In 1798 Napoleon's army led a campaign in Egypt, and took the country over until 1801, when they were defeated by the British. During the French occupation, a French soldier named Pierre-Francois Bouchard found the Rosetta Stone. It was a stone on which a decree from the Egyptian pharaoh Ptolemy V was written. The decree was written in Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic and Ancient Greek. It was this stone that made it possible to decipher the mysterious hieroglyphs. (The stone passed to the British in 1801 and now sits in the British Museum).
Discoveries like this, and the English take over of Egypt, led to a craze of Egyptmania for the 19th century British. Historians and archeologists flocked to the country to explore it's treasures, along with wealthy tourists looking for an exotic vacation.

These tourists were eager to bring home souvenirs from their travels, including mummies which could be bought from street venders. In the 1830s and 40s mummy unwrapping parties became fashionable for the upper class. Sometimes under the guise of education, they would lay the mummy out in the parlour, to be unwrapped after dinner. Any trinkets found on the mummy would be given to guests The invitations were much sought after, as it was considered an exotic affair for the social season.
One side effect though is that the mummies often stank heavily and some guests were reported to leave these parties early overcome by the odour.

Some scientists did unwrap mummies for actual educational purposes, although they often had audiences for this as well.
As Egyptology grew, the awareness of preserving these important artifacts did as well. In 1859 Auguste Mariette started the Egyptian Service of Antiquities, which helped to preserve and document Egyptian artifacts, and slow the sale of them to tourists.
Mummy unwrapping fell out of fashion, but in 1908, famed archeologist Margaret Murray held a mummy unwrapping at Manchester University.
“[the ancient mummy] Khnumu Nekht was bared of his wrappings and brought once more to the light of day. . . . Near the body the linen sheets had rotted, and they fell to pieces at a touch. The bones, however, were more or less perfect. There were traces of flesh on them. It was on the whole a gruesome business, and one or two people left early. (“Mummy of Khnumu Nekht” 1908)”

While I certainly think actually unwrapping a mummy would be extremely unpleasant and frankly unethical. It would be fun to hold a fake mummy unwrapping party.
What are your thoughts?

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