“I am so goth, I was born black.”


Clockwise: Ms. Sally Bonetta Forbes, Cathleen Naundorf, Untitled (check out the rest of the “gothic lolita” tag as well), Roni Zulu

While there’s still never been a black model on the cover of Gothic Beauty Magazine (in fact, having looked the past twelve years of covers up close, it’s clear that even models with brown eyes appear to be a rarity among the blue- and green-eyed cover ladies), and while most spooky fashion designers still prefer white models for their branding, a host of blogs dedicated to multicultural dark fashion are bringing greater visibility to the people that these venues ignore. Just on Tumblr, there’s Darque & Lovely, DarkSKIN (subtitled “I was so goth, I was born black), and Black Sheep Goths. On Facebook, groups such as Black/African American Goths foster lively discussion.

Of the Tumblr communities, Black Sheep focuses most specifically on people who are othered (providing a platform for “queer/fat/trans/non-binary/disabled/POC” goths), while DarkSKIN delves most deeply into different time periods (from Victorian photographs to seventies album covers to a friend’s most recently-uploaded snapshots), pop culture personalities taking a turn for the macabre (from Eartha Kitt singing “I want to be evil” to Aaliyah playing a sultry Anne Rice vampire) and media (from high-end fashion shoots to grainy self-portraits)

Many of the images come with empowering and, at times, defensive captions. It seems that even in 2012, some try to claim that the goth scene belongs to white people only. One caption on the Darque & Lovely blog, below an image of tattoo artist Roni Zulu, reads: “this is for the chicken-shit anon who said black people shouldn’t ‘do’ goth or punk. At certain points in history to be black in America was (still can be) a pretty gothic experience, to say the least.”


Clockwise: Asha Beta/Silentinfinite collaboration, Neon Leon, photo by Mert and Marcus, Actress Vonetta McGee as Princess Luva in Blacula, photo copyright Everett Collection / Rex Features

Is the goth scene unfriendly to people with dark skin? What do non-white goths think about the fetishization of paleness in the gothic subculture?

“The only time I experienced anything racial in the scene was at Death Guild [a San Francisco goth night],” says Shamika “Meeks” Baker, a San Francisco-based writer, artist and model. “A guy walked up to me, shouted ‘scuse me!’ and shoved me aside. Of couse, when I grabbed the back of his Fun Fur coat and yanked him back to demand an apology, he started screaming ‘get your black hands off of me!’ Happily, after I finished scaring him and turned around, I discovered several of my friends behind me and ready to back me up. [Other than that incident], I’ve found that the goth scene has been really welcoming and open.”

“For me, the fetishization of paleness in beauty in general is very much a class issue as opposed to straight race,” says New York-based artist/maker Numidas Prasarn. “The ‘ideal gothic beauty’ of being pale comes from this sense of otherness. When mainstream de mode is tanned beach babe, the pale contrast is taken up as the signifier of an Other that defensively puffs itself up. The problem is that it’s a microcosm that doesn’t necessary carry the sense of self-awareness to realize that it’s also othering people.”


Clockwise: Amanda Tea, Barron Claiborne, Leif Podhajsky, Unknown from Burning Man by Iñaki Vinaixa

Asha Beta, a sculptor, jewelry designer and musician currently living in Prescott, Arizona, comments on her invisibility within a community that borrows aesthetics from her cultural heritage:

The “traditional” ideal of the scene as the pale-faced, black-clad individual definitely never applied to me, but because of my instant and deep connection and attraction to the music and atmosphere of the scene I had to set that aside. I always felt that I was not perceived to be as attractive, as beautiful or even as “goth” as girls who were paler than me. I never attracted many suitors and I reconciled myself to never being able to approach the “gothic ideal of beauty” very early on, although I felt within myself that my personal way of being “goth” was very sincere and creative and very much true to what “goth” was all about. The one part of the scene that obviously made me uncomfortable was the military/Nazi/Aryan faction of it, although I understand that for many of those people it was a fetish or history obsession type of thing, and not necessarily based in racism.

Many of the aesthetics of goth culture are taken from my cultural heritage (Asian/East Indian/Middle Eastern, African/Egyptian/Voodoo/Haitian-Caribbean) so I still felt and feel strongly that my connection to it is natural and instinctive and powerful. It was achingly difficult to be a minority within the subculture I deeply loved because it’s within these that we find acceptance and understanding where the larger society rejects us. I was a loner within the scene just as I was in society. I found a personal solace and creative outlet, but I never found the community I was searching for. I am overjoyed to finally see our subcultures mirroring the multicultural quality of our world, and so glad to see the younger generations of subcultures finding and creating communities to connect with and support one another.

Meeks Baker agrees. “I love that more emerging blogs/sites focus on us dark-skinned gothy types. To be honest, I never really cared much for gothic beauty magazines because they didn’t really reflect my aesthetic, but I did still feel marginalized. To this day I am thrilled to see ethnic diversity represented in alternative culture.”

Kickstart "The Doom that Came to Atlantic City!"

The street names are familiar, and remind you of childhood: Boardwalk, Park Place, Marvin Gardens. Long ago, proud businessmen arrived to this city with their carts, top hats and steam engines, looking to open lavish hotels and build their fortunes. You have other plans. Instead of building houses, your objective is to destroy them.

Love these . Today, oral tablets are the most common ED treatment. This is one of them.

You’re one of the Great Old Ones – beings of ancient and eldritch power. Cosmic forces have held you at bay for untold aeons, but at last the stars are right and your maniacal cult has called you to this benighted place. Once you regain your full powers, you will unleash your Doom upon the world!

There’s only one problem: you’re not alone. The other Great Old Ones are here as well, and your rivals are determined to steal your cultists and snatch victory from your flabby claws! It’s a race to the ultimate finish as you crush houses, smash holes in reality, and fight to call down The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!

The Doom that Came to Atlantic City is a collaboration between artist Lee Moyer, game designer Keith Baker, and artist/sculptor Paul Komoda (previously featured on Coilhouse… a lot. We need a “Paul Komoda” tag).  It may look like Monopoly, but the rules and game mechanics are different. The resources at your disposal are cultists, who keep you anchored to this world, and whom you sacrifice as the game goes on. The object of the game is to open enough Gates to tear the world apart.

You can help to bring this game to retail shops, game tables and “frothing cultists around the world” by backing this game on Kickstarter. Lee and Keith are currently two-thirds of the way there, and need your help in making the game a reality! In addition to the game itself, Kickstarter prizes include pewter Paul Komoda sculpted game pieces, art prints, an afternoon of gaming with Lee and Keith, monochrome Inkodye shirts, original concept art, and even a custom, playable Old One role card based on your likeness.

After the cut, a gallery of Paul Komoda’s figure designs, sculpts and commentary for each of the game characters: Azathoth, Yog Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Hastur, Tsathoggua, Ithaqua, Shub Niggurath, and Cthulhu.

A Muppet Wicker Man

Oh… um.

Wow. Yeah. So… this exists:


Via Jess Nevins.

That’s the video preview for a full-length comic book mashup of The Muppet Show and The Wicker Man by Paul O’Connell.

It’s… uh…

Well, words seem to be failing at the moment.

Really, what can one say when confronted with something like this, except:

Batman And Friends Via Aardman Animations

The best, silliest thing: Aardman Animations — the studio responsible for Wallace and Grommit and the series Creature Comforts, among others — teams up with DC Comics to produce a series of shorts for Cartoon Network. This one uses a setup similar to the aforementioned Creature Comforts, here taking some familiar DC villains and heroes having children voice them. So silly, but so, so good.

Via Drawn

Volkswagen Continues Its Love Affair With “The Imperial March”

A quick Google search shows that this video is pretty much everywhere, but I just can’t resist putting it here. Following up their Star Wars themed Passat commercial for last year’s Super Bowl, Volkswagen returns this year, and once again puts “The Imperial March” to excellent use, in this case having it performed by twelve dogs, some in various forms of Star Wars costumery. It’s so very silly but I love it so very much; especially the grand entrance of the twelfth and final member of this canine chorus. So. Good.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Jitterbug: The Most Caffeinated Animated Gif EVAR

 

 

Matthew Innman, twisted mastermind behind The Oatmeal webcomic, made this splendid beast. Then Ariana shared it. And lo, now it hath become the unofficial Better Than Coffee mascot. That is all. Carry on.

Adorable Rocker Clogger Girl

Dusty Paik just shared this on her Facebook page:

Rocker Clogger is a spirited seventeen-year old American amateur clogger who likes to dance to Adam and the Ants, The Cure, David Bowie, Oingo Boingo, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and Johnny Cash.

From her cute costumes, to the peaceful backyard background sounds of birdsong and wind chimes and rustling trees in all of her clips, to that irrepressible “I Gotta Be Me” attitude of hers, everything about Rocker Clogger’s videos fills my heart with squee.

“I’m NOT a professional dancer! I’m just having fun.” Girl, do your thing. Never stop.

(Several clips are listed after the jump, and check out her YouTube page for plenty more.)


Rocker Clogger and equine friend.

Vermin Supreme for President, 2012

The venerable Vermin Supreme is back once again! Last month, he let loose at the Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum in New Hampshire:


Via Sean Donahoe, thanks!

He wants you to brush your teeth. He wants to control your life. He wants to protect you from the impending zombie apocalypse. Best of all, he wants to give you a pony.

Mah feller ‘merkunz, try to look beyond that gnomish beard, the teetering boot-hat. Mr. Supreme is, without a doubt, the most trustworthy, straight-shootin’ Republican hopeful running for President in 2012.

Remember: “A Vote For Vermin Supreme is a Vote Completely Thrown Away”!


Vermin Supreme glitterbombs fellow presidential hopeful Randall Terry during a debate in 2008.

Trent Reznor & Erik Satie: Majestic Angst-Bros of Minor Key Minimalism

Editor’s Note: This gem of a submission from writer/proto-ambient scholar/fervent NIN-lover Matt Keefer was discovered several tiers deep during a recent trawl of the Coilhouse slush account. It’s an offbeat and spirited piece, simultaneously comparing and cross-referencing the musical and philosophical kinship inherent between Erik Satie and Trent Reznor, and issuing several preemptive strikes against any and all Would-Be Jaded Hipster Remonstrators. (Also, somehow, on a profound level, it feels like the perfect blog follow-up to that horrifying “Keyboard Cat In Hell” clip Ross just posted). Thank you, Matt. Keep on angstin’ on, comrades.

Trent Reznor is the rightful successor to the great Erik Satie. Don’t let yourself ignore this plain and obvious fact because you are embarrassed of your youth. And no, Trent isn’t disqualified from this lofty inheritance by his perpetual unhappiness. Satie had it just as bad.

In the Spring of 1893, the ever-eccentric Monsieur Erik began a torrid affair with the artist and model Suzanne Valadon. An odd duck in her own right, Madame Valadon kept a goat at her studio to gobble up any of her work that she was unhappy with. After only a single night with Valadon, Erik proposed; the marriage never happened (or if it did, the records of such were later eaten by said goat), but Valadon did move to the room next to Satie’s at the Rue Cortot in Paris. Satie became increasingly obsessed with Valadon, often referring to her as his nanny-goat and filling notebooks with worshipful scrawlings about “her whole being, lovely eyes, gentle hands, and tiny feet.” Indeed, Satie composed his Danses Gothiques as a calmative to restore his composure in the face of the amorous frenzies that Valadon inspired in him. In turn, Valadon painted a portrait of Satie and gifted it to him:


Portrait of Erik Satie by Suzanne Valadon. Who can resist the Pince-Nez? WHO?

Sadly, six months later, the affair ended. One chilly winter evening Valadon vanished, leaving Satie with only his portrait and a broken heart to remember her by. Satie snapped, scrawling in the latter pages of his journals that nothing remained for him “but an icy loneliness that fills the head with emptiness and the heart with sadness.” This is the only intimate relationship that Satie ever had. He would later move to a room in Arcueil and in the 27 years before he drank himself to death, there is no record of anyone visiting his room.

BTC: Future World Orchestra


Hooray for flarpy synths and dubious Danish E.T. impressions!

This cover of John Williams’ E.T. theme was recorded in 1983 by two yacht-rockin’ electropoppets known as the Future World Orchestra. It is, IMHO, so utterly beyond happystupidwonderful, some of you may have trouble restraining yourself from spasmodic flailing or propulsive flatulence.

Behold, below, as the space-age lotharios radiate raw moustachioed magnetism while performing their hit single “Desire” on the Italian music show Discoring:


Via Dirk Janssen, with thanks!

Here is the amazeballs cover of their 1982 album, Mission Completed:

And this, comrades, is the last offical Better Than Coffee of 2011. If the FWO ain’t afraid of the future, then let us not be, either. Onward and upward and o’er we go!