T-minus 10 seconds… to Halloween partying in Portland!
Every year, I try to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve in a big way. This time, my pirate crew dined on pumpkin, then ventured to a warehouse club filled with contortionists, fire-dancers and Almond Joys. Read on for the spooky story.
On October 31, Besaw’s Restaurant invited us to dinner. The waiters were dressed to impress, and invited customers to take part in an Instagram costume contest. Earlier that day, two robot-aliens took over the bar and won the popular vote.
Besaw’s (2301 NW Savier St.) is a popular downtown Portland restaurant, specializing in Pacific Northwest fine dining. That night, we were well-taken care of by an anime bunny and Wednesday Addams.
The building dates back to the 19th century. Wonder if the vampire and witch were the original inhabitants.
I discovered a new favorite cocktail: Bourbon, lime, ginger beer. My outrageous astronaut costume is from J Valentine Catalog, and my makeup is Annabelle (here are tons more space-girl outfit photos).
Our feast began with pumpkin fritters and spiced creme fraiche — perfection. I continued with butternut squash lasagna, made from organic and local ingredients. (First Mate Naomi is wearing a Cab Calloway ghost costume, which she made herself!)
We finished with two of the best desserts in recent memory: pumpkin cheesecake, and spicy gingerbread served warm with honey, roasted pears and vanilla ice cream.
Countdown, 3… 2… 1… let’s party! We were guests at The steep and thorny way to heaven (2nd and Hawthorne under the bridge by the waterfront). This is a semi-private underground party, meaning you have to RSVP or know someone to attend.
Organizer Myrrh bought this small warehouse space, and has regular events here with his friends. Expect surreal costumes and performances, and imaginative theme drinks. (I’m holding “The Pumpkin King,” made from my beloved pumpkin puree, ginger liqueur, aromatic bitters.)
The one-room venue alternated between dancing, music, and haunting theatrical performances. Above, Myrrh plays guitar and sings his original dark, reflective songs.
A contortionist joined him on-stage. Can’t wait to show you the video footage of her moves.
Some of the performances will leave your jaw hanging — such as this cheeky burlesque-like dance by a giant Almond Joy bar!
Such a variety of acts, like three girls who sang Medieval and Renaissance songs a-cappella.
A fire dancer heated up the room, accompanied by pulsing music.
Love the movements that Naomi captured in these no-flash images.
Finally, a fusion belly dancer twirled and raged with a sword on her head.
But perhaps the best performance of all was the impromptu one… where filmmaker Melissa played tricks on a sleeping victim! (Photos by me, Melissa Rundle and Naomi Rubin.)
Look for upcoming Steep & Thorny event announcements, including pirate karaoke, on their Facebook page. A must-see party, when you come to Portland (and not many locals know about it)!
Are you enjoying my Spooky PDX costumes so far? Isn’t this a terrific city for the offbeat?
A lot of people have a stereotypical image of Bangkok’s nightlife, perhaps from movies like The Hangover II. Ladyboys, sketchy bars, massage parlors… you get the not-so-pleasant picture.
It makes me a bit mad. This is only a tiny part of the scene that has been exaggerated (much like how the media called Japanese bagelheads a “trend”).
Where do young, dialed-in residents actually go clubbing? In Thonglor, an upscale neighborhood lined with modern music venues, restaurants and nightclubs. Read on to learn why Seby and I were blown away by Bangkok’s mod clubs.
It was hard for me to leave my cozy hotel room at the Sofitel So, but I wasn’t going to miss out on a nightcrawl. I changed out of my bathrobe to a Japanese dress and Yosuke moto boots from Shibuya 109.
Here’s the good news about transportation in Bangkok. Taxi fares are extremely low, as long as you grab a cab with a running meter. A 30 minute ride can be as little as $3-10 US, depending on traffic. You can take an open-air tuk tuk or motorcycle, but if you care about your clothes and hair (like we do), then taxis it is!
Now, the bad news. Bangkok traffic is atrocious. In all directions, at all hours. From our well-located hotel, a ride to Thonglor would regularly take 10 minutes. With this gridlock, however, Seby and I spent at least 30-40 minutes on the road.
But it’s all part of the experience. Just give yourself enough travel time, and enjoy the view along the way. (Most photos in this post are by Seby)
We were invited to dinner and drinks at Moose Bar (Ekamai 21, Bangkok, Thailand). The restaurant/bar is newly opened, and already popular with local hipsters.
Inside, the name makes sense, with antlers and taxidermy in every corner. Moose Bar has a vintage and laid-back feel. At the small stage, two acoustic guitarists strummed and sang.
The cocktail menu had dozens of intriguingly-named choices. Seby and I like to try local flavors, so we had drinks mixed with Rosselle, a type of hibiscus.
Now here’s a funny story — we’re pretty strong when it comes to hot food, and ordered a dry seafood curry, tom yum papaya salad, and crispy fried fish. Took a few bites, and it was marvelous. But the spices were a ticking timebomb… Minutes later, we were panting with our tongues out, and frantically waving for more water and rice!
Lesson learned: food tends to be much hotter here than in a Western Thai restaurant. But don’t let that dissuade you from trying the local cuisine, or you’ll skip out on delicious dishes, and perhaps a fun story or two.
The next night, we cabbed to the Thong Lor or Thonglo clubbing area (Sukhumvit Soi 55, Bangkok). In the past 5-10 years, this neighborhood has become the destination for trendy nightlife venues.
Badmotel is ruling the current club scene (located between Thong Lo Soi 15 & 17). The stark facade and glowing blue letters are easy to spot from a distance.
Not long ago, the owners took over a dilapidated building and re-did it in mod white, while keeping the sense of industrial grit. With the three floors, an outdoor space and a rooftop, this club would have felt at home in Brooklyn or Berlin.
Badmotel has a good reputation for bringing in the hippest DJs. That night, the crowd grooved to funk and mellow dance tunes from vinyl records.
There are often special exhibits on display, such as a pop-up photo gallery.
This picture says it all: Badmotel is the place to boogie on the weekend.
The delicious cocktails came in appropriately retro-hip glasses. Many were infused with Southeast Asian flavors like galangal, cumin powder and Thai tea.
Tip: make a dinner reservation if you want to eat, since the tables fill up fast. The cuisine is regional with a twist, such as the burger with nham (Thai-style fermented pork sausage).
View from the top of Badmotel. I loved getting to know the young, urban Thong Lo nightlife and hope you’ll witness it for yourself in Bangkok.
Seby and I also had a glorious view from the Sofitel So club lounge, where we stayed.
The lobby has a Mixo bar with unique cocktails, and The Water Club holds regular pool parties.
This hotel epitomizes the sleek, modern design I see around Bangkok, such as the 5 Senses light installation and giant chess pieces above. (I wanted to take this chess piece home.)
Sofitel So is decoratively divided into sections, inspired by the five elements. Guests can opt to change rooms in order to try each (above is Wood, obviously). Here are more photos of me modelling in the hotel.
The theme continues at the award-winning So Spa. I had a Serenity of Five Elements Thai massage, which incorporated bamboo sticks, hot stones and herbal compresses. Forever grateful to my masseuse, who worked out the kinks in my left shoulder.
Coming up: Seby and I get spiritual at a famous Buddhist temple.
Was Bangkok’s club scene what you expected it to be? Did Moose Bar and Badmotel shake up your impression of Thai nightlife?
Earless cat backpacks? My Scottish Fold kitty, Basil Farrow, approves!
Japanese fashion lovers, you can rejoice. This post is all about gyaru-kawaii clothing…
… and there’s more on the way. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be in Tokyo (late Nov to mid Dec), working on a new TV show!
The Pirates (our Japan fixing, arranging and hosting company) are once again teaming up with a German television network. We can’t reveal much about the episode, but it’ll involve the usual kooky Jpop culture, and has something to do with the “Basil in a Box” photo above.
And of course, I’ll find time to bring you reports about the latest Tokyo trends.
Since many of you enjoyed my post about Gothloli stores in Vivre, let’s continue our tour of this Yokohama youth department store. This time, we’ll focus on gyaru (gal) and kawaii brands, including Liz Lisa and Cecil McBee.
You may have noticed I’ve been wearing a lot of Liz Lisa, such as in Belgrade. I like to mix and match items, rather than wearing the brand head-to-toe (LL is too pink and girly for me). I think their aesthetic is well executed, from the swirling font to the rose-studded makeup.
How cute are the little plush lambs, with pink heart-shaped noses?
This lace-covered dress, from Liz Liza’s My Melody (Sanrio) collection, is my current favorite. (Remember I wore it in my Adone Magazine cover shoot.) I bought the light blue one because of the Alice in Wonderland vibe. It was less than $100 US — insane, for the quality and design!
Cecil McBee is another well-known gyaru brand, with a more urban vibe. A favorite of trendy Shibuya girls.
In Japan, a cute cat-face purse fits every style subgroup (Goth, Lolita, gyaru).
Elegant pastel and black shoes with metallic accents.
Blue Moon Blue has a bright, casual look.
Light, wide-neck sweaters and soft pastels are everywhere.
A lot of gyaru boutiques sell the same or similar items. Prices are quite reasonable; these “set items” are about $50.
Happy face backpack, anyone?
I love these artistic cat purses and wallets. I wish I got some at the time…
What’s new in the world of Tokyo shoes? Pastel creepers, platforms and sequins.
Colorful punk pop. I always buy shoes when I’m in Japan, as they’re very well priced and the designs are outstanding.
Not sure what’s going on with this poster.
Tokyo fashion has something for everyone. You can be a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world.
Yokohama Vivre contains a Swimmer shop. No scuba equipment here, but tons of cute accessories and homewares.
Would you choose the cat or the bear purse?
Swimmer’s a funny mix of cute and ugly. (More about Swimmer in this post.)
What do you think of Japanese gyaru and kawaii clothes? If you’d like to see more of Liz Lisa, check out my Hong Kong gyaru shop photos.
I think the only downside of going to Japan is being away from this cat-face!
Is there anything you’d like me to cover while I’m in Tokyo? Places, shops, bars?
All previous blog posts about Japan are here, and my shopping / clubbing guides are linked in the right sidebar.
How is your week going? I’m getting ready for my upcoming trip to Asia… I’ll announce it in the next post!
When I was in Hong Kong this summer, I did a photoshoot with the same talented team that created my Dark Beauty cover look. These are published today in M.Bellish magazine, along with an interview and front page feature.
Finally, I can reveal these images to you. The concept is inspired by fairies of Chinese mythology — but with my signature kawaii twist.
My long, romantic dress is by the Japanese label “Comme l’un.” The crown and shawl are handmade.
Let me tell you — this shot took some time to achieve. Photographer Ken threw the gauzy scarves in the air, and then ran back to fire away with the camera. In some shots, you could still see his body in the frame!
We did the photoshoot with a studio setup. After, Ken added the full moon effects in the background.
Photographer and post-production: Ken Yuen
Assistant photographer: Jacqueline Kwok (noircorner)
Even my nail art matched the lavender color scheme. This is one of my favorites to date — Sanrio’s Kuromi and skulls — by Glam Nail Studio.
Jacqueline Kwok (noircorner) took behind-the-scenes images throughout the day. Close-up on the back of my dress, and purple-red curls.
Funny enough, we set up the equipment in… a dog-grooming and training studio. Hence the funny posters of pups in top hats and monocles.
What do you think of our Chinese fairy photoshoot? Thanks to M.Bellish for interviewing me about my career and style; you can read the feature and see more photos on their site.
More professional shoots to be revealed soon; can’t believe I’ll be on two magazine covers in December-January. One of these is focused on Asia travel, and the other is about alternative fashion.
If you enjoyed these images, also check out my Hong Kong street style shoot with Ken and Jacky.
For more travel and fashion articles about Hong Kong, take a look around this category. Topics include cute Causeway Bay boutiques (like Izzue Hyoma above), molecular cocktails, Alice in Wonderland bars and more. I love this city.
There is more Hong Kong coverage on the way… including a video and report from a HK cat cafe that houses several Scottish Folds.
Have you added me and Basil Farrow on Facebook yet? We promise to post more cute photos like the one above!