Category Archive for Italy & Western Europe

Wave Gotik Treffen 2014: festival dates, bands & travel tips! Steampunk Victorian picnic fashion.

elizabethan goth fashion, adora batbrat

Every summer, the streets of Leipzig are strewn with black feathers and glitter… for the world’s biggest Gothic festival, Wave Gotik Treffen! This year’s celebrations are from June 6-9, 2014, and musicians like The Cruxshadows, UK Decay and Apoptygma Berzerk will be taking the stage.

japanese goths at wave gotik treffen

A trip to WGT is at the top of many Goth bucket lists. I still think back fondly to my experience in 2012. If you missed it, you can look back at my Wave Gotik Treffen posts and travel video.

white face paint goth girl with dreads

If you’re thinking of going to Treffen, you’re in luck: my friends Jen Hoffert and Holger Karas wrote this post with all the details you need, including where to stay and how to get around. They attend WGT each year, so you could’t ask for better experts. Enjoy their photos from the 2013 festivities, and find out more on their Seventh Sin Tumblr.

steampunk men's fashion goggles, wave gotik treffen

The first 145 bands have been announced for the 23rd annual Wave­Gotik­Treffen and we’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of our friends from around the world to our home city of Leipzig, Germany. Wave Gotik Treffen is one of the largest gothic and industrial festivals in the world, with over 20,000 visitors and roughly 200 bands playing at dozens of venues throughout the city over four days. In our opinion, it’s also the most stylish festival, where people go all out to express themselves.

steampunk victorian picnic wgt

This year WGT falls quite late, June 6­-9, so the weather should be perfect for exploring the city. In addition to the concerts and parties, there are dozens of other events: operas, musicals, films, a display of historical hearses, and more. Many of the museums and galleries in Leipzig will features works of particular interest to the Gothic crowd such as the Grassi Museum of Ethnography’s global exhibitions on celebrations of death from Sumatra to New Orleans, a special showing of H.R. Giger’s work at the SansvoiX Gallery, and a multi­media presentation from Slovenian electronic pioneers Borghesia at the counter­culture gallery Kultúrny dom B31.

leipzig germany goth festival

Our dear friend Danarama of TwoKnottyBoys from San Francisco will be presenting a bondage workshop on Friday evening at a special downtown location. Dan will also be releasing the first EP “Inside Out” from his project Harm Joy with Olaf of Tyske Ludder at WGT. You can find out more about the many unofficial events surrounding WGT here at the online gothic event calender Schwarzes Leipzig.

goth punk mohawk

The Victorian Picnic at Clara Zetkin Park is a highlight of WGT for those who like to dress up. Hundreds of beautifully costumed participants gather here on the shores of a lake in a manicured city garden, the perfect setting for Lolitas, Steampunks and other romantics.

romantic goth clothing, haute gothic

The pedestrian road running thorough the WGT’s main venue, the AGRA, is known as “the catwalk” for good reason. There will be many people strolling up and down, wildly costumed in every imaginable version of dark attire with photographers, and even a few video crews taking it all in.

goth picnic in park

If you find yourself missing the perfect piece to finish your outfit, one of the massive halls of the AGRA hosts the WGT Black Market for vendors of clothing, house­wares, music, and just about anything else your little dark heart desires.

steampunk men, top hats, eyepatch

You can purchase your tickets to the festival when you arrive (which is much easier than using a wire transfer to purchase them online), but hotel rooms in Leipzig are notoriously hard to come by during the festival weekend. One alternative is to seek private accommodation on the official WGT sub­forum called “Do you need sleep?” Here you can browse through the offers made or post your own request. Leipzig also has a number of good listings on AirBNB. Private accommodations including a bed and use of the bathroom and kitchen generally run about 20-­50€ a night per person.

neon gothic cyber dreads hair

For the truly adventurous among you, there’s a large official campground set up for WGT visitors (25€ for the weekend). Although for the life of me, I’ve never been able to figure out how people manage to come out of their tents looking so good.

green hair german goth girl

Confirmed performances for WGT 2014 include well known acts such Anne Clark, Apoptygma Berzerk, Hocico, Mephisto Walz, Six Comm, The Crüxshadows, and UK Decay, as well as hidden gems such as Antichildleague and Sieben. Naturally there’s a smart­phone app for WGT to help you plan your concert schedule, keep track of where your friends are, and find the best tram connection between venues.

deathrock fashion, traditional 80s gothic

However, it never fails that two of your favorite bands will be playing at the same time at opposite ends of the city. Don’t despair, you’re still going to have a great time and you’ll see an unbelievable number of great performances over four days. The WGT organizers know their stuff about this music, which means that each venue will most likely host a particular sub­genre. It’s often worth staying at one venue for multiple bands to discover new bands similar to one you showed up to see.

military goths, elder goth couple

After the concerts and cultural events shut down each night, DJs from all over the world will invite you to dance at clubs throughout the city. From Neo­Romantic parties held in ballrooms and Batcave themed old school nights in cellar vaults, to the hardest industrial and noise and even one of the largest fetish parties in Germany, no matter what your taste is there’s something, somewhere in the city to keep everyone on their feet from Thursday night till the sun comes up on Tuesday morning. We hope to see you there!

goth parents, baby carriage

Back to La Carmina. Thanks to Jen and Holger for the report and photos, and I echo their words: I hope you’ll make it to Wave Gotik Treffen one day, to see the inspiring fashion and culture for yourselves. One is never too young to enjoy, as you can see from the “baby Goths” in Victorian prams

punk boy carrying baby girl

While you may not want to take a youngster into the crowded concert halls, they’ll enjoy the outdoor food courts and fashion stalls.

Want to see more of the “black market” clothing and bands? Watch my Wave Gotik Treffen video (it includes tons of travel tips), and peruse my blog posts about the festival.

wave gotik treffen 2014 travel events

What do you think of the dark outfits in these photos? Do you know any Goth or punk parents? If you have more Treffen tips for newbies, please share them in the comments!

London Goth travel guide: Camden Market Gothic Punk shops, Cyberdog clothing & Slimelight club.

gothic fashion, goth modeling, alternative models, goth boy, goth male hairstyles, mohawk

As much as I travel, I can’t be everywhere in the world at once. Thankfully, I have a crew of Pirates who sail through dark waters, gathering alternative coverage for you!

Read on for John Skeleton’s gloomy London adventures, and an announcement about Naomi’s deathly Portland performance. We start with Sir Skeleton in Ye Olde England…

gothic lolita clothes london, goth fashion shop, sai sai, goth dresses london, goth england

The city of fog – London. I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I disembarked at Heathrow Airport to find a town shrouded in mist and a persistent rainfall that chilled me to the bone… I had finally arrived in the birthplace of Goth music.

Regardless of whether one considers London to be the home of Goth, it most certainly is the home of the Gothic – literature, that is! And it was the castle of Horace Walpole (1717-1797), the author of the very first Gothic novel, that I was headed. St. Mary’s University and Strawberry Hill were presenting “Gothic: Culture, Subculture, Counterculture,” a two-day academic conference, and I was set to give a presentation on my research of the Japanese underground scene.

strawberry hill, walpole castle, st mary's university, gothic architecture london, uk goths, london goths

Tucked away in the borough of Twickenham on the shores of the Thames River, Strawberry Hill is an elaborate example of the Gothic revival style that Walpole himself helped to initiate. With its exterior walls, arches, and crenellations recently repainted in their original pure white, and much of its intricate interior painstakingly restored, who could ask for a better setting for a dark summit?

Strawberry Hill House, twickenham, Horace Walpole castle, london gothic revival, england gothic architecture

Topics ranged from The Castle of Otranto and Dracula to Marilyn Manson and Sopor Aeternus, covering literature, architecture, film, music, and culture. My own paper covered my work on the Japanese subculture, and how participants use body modifications and other subcultural capital to define and negotiate their cultural identities within this underground scene.

In the evening, I took a tour of the castle, absorbing the historical atmosphere and later taking our dinner and wine in the famous long gallery, replete with gold gilding and Gothic tracery.

highgate cemetery, london gravestones, goth cemetery, graveyard, gothic tombstones

While in London I decided to do some sightseeing as well, taking in some splendid artworks at the Tate Modern museum. And how could I resist taking a stroll through the famous Highgate Cemetery?

highgate cemetery tombstones, gothic graveyard, dracula cemetery, london uk burial ground, old tombstones

(Established in 1839, Highgate inspired the setting of many dark novels, including Stoker’s Dracula and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.)

cyber dog, cyberdog rave shop, rave clothing store, camden market stores, st paul's cathedral

(Contrasting the Gothic splendor of St. Paul’s Cathedral with the colorful rave boutique, Cyberdog.)

camden market punks, camden market, goths, london punks, england goths, goth travel tips

Of course, a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Camden Town, the one-stop-shopping destination for those who embrace alternative fashion. (Photo by babi; all other images by John, unless noted.)

cyberdog, camden market, london, cyber clothing store, rave fashion, cyberdog shop

Camden Town is jam-packed with tattoo/piercing shops, Gothic fashion boutiques, and of course, Cyberdog, a veritable department store of cyber-tronic gear for Goths who aren’t afraid to glow in the dark. (Photo by skene)

slimelight, london goth club, uk goth party, slime light london

Before hopping on the plane, I knew there was one place left to hit up: Slimelight, or “Slimes,” as it is affectionately known by the locals. My friend Wendy, a veteran of the London clubbing scene, was kind enough to guide me to the venue, which at first glance is nothing more than a large, old industrial building, if it weren’t for the crowd of ebony-clad darklings loitering outside the entrance.

london gothic nightlife, slimelight, london goth parties, industrial clubs

The club itself has been in existence since the 1980s. The interior is somewhat labyrinthine, split between multiple floors each with its own dance floors and bars. There were rooms for “trad” (traditional) Goth music and for the more EBM/industrial-oriented beats. After catching the last half of Mexican aggrotech duo Hocico, by chance I met up with some old friends from the Tokyo Goth scene… it truly is a small world! The crowd was an eclectic mix of Elder Goths, Cybergoths, and Industrial types — it was a pleasant and amicable atmosphere despite the various genres of music and fashion represented. After a hard night of dancing it was time to leave the city of fog… but hopefully not for long!

portland goth, portland goth parties, deathclub, oregon goths, gothic events, skull drawing

Now let’s teleport to PDX. My First Mate Naomiyaki is doing a live drawing performance this Sunday, at a Portland Goth club. She writes:

Last year I was invited in hushed tones to a mysterious venue for Deathclub, an event on the final day of each month. I found myself peering in on a Butoh performance that faded into some of the best Goth mixes I’ve heard since the last time I was in Tokyo. Since then, the night has featured aerial acrobatics, unthinkable performance art, and, for one sweet moment, even an improvisational theremin jam. All of this is regularly bracketed by DJ Entropy, who excavates strange tracks around a solid musical theme for each night.

On March 31st, I am proud to announce that I will be live drawing at this month’s Deathclub (the illustration above is a taste of what to expect!). My performance will be alongside DJ Entropy’s tribute set to Pop Will Eat Itself. The event is strictly RSVP only; join the event on their Facebook page or email events {at} thesteepandthornywaytoheaven.com — entrance is $3 and there is a cash bar featuring theme cocktails.

whitby gothic weekend, uk goth events, europe goth festivals, whitby goth fashion, london goth music festival

Have you explored Portland or London’s Gothic scene? Been to Slimelight or Cyberdog? What are your favorite UK haunts?

I haven’t been to England in years; I hope to be back soon. Perhaps for Whitby Gothic Weekend

Wave Gotik Treffen, Prague & Berlin Goth travel guides. Tokyo Japan bagelheads gone viral. Part 2 of 2012.

gothic beauty, magazine cover goth, goth model, alternative model, japanese goth, goth style, goth fashion magazine, fetish modeling, fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, travel blog, fashion blog, tokyo style blog, la carmina egl, lacarmina, real age, real name, wiki, japan gyaru, shibuya style, tokyo street style, harajuku girl, goth, gothic, makeup, gothic lolita, top fashion blogs, tokyo stylist, japanese, kawaii, alternative model, blogger, tv host la carmina

As we approach the New Year, let’s reflect on the second half of 2012. One of my favorite moments was doing this professional photoshoot, involving latex feather dresses and sugar skull makeup, with my talented Vancouver team. The images were published in Sugar Heart, and Gothic Beauty Magazine — a total honor. (More images and full credits here.)

gothic beauty, magazine cover goth, goth model, alternative model, japanese goth, goth style, goth fashion magazine, fetish modeling, fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, travel blog, fashion blog, tokyo style blog, la carmina egl, lacarmina, real age, real name, wiki, japan gyaru, shibuya style, tokyo street style, harajuku girl, goth, gothic, makeup, gothic lolita, top fashion blogs, tokyo stylist, japanese, kawaii, alternative model, blogger, tv host la carmina

I also did a pro shoot with a blow-up bear, in a potato field…

gothic beauty, magazine cover goth, goth model, alternative model, japanese goth, goth style, goth fashion magazine, fetish modeling, fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, travel blog, fashion blog, tokyo style blog, la carmina egl, lacarmina, real age, real name, wiki, japan gyaru, shibuya style, tokyo street style, harajuku girl, goth, gothic, makeup, gothic lolita, top fashion blogs, tokyo stylist, japanese, kawaii, alternative model, blogger, tv host la carmina

… and it ended up making the cover of Vanity Magazine! I blogged more of these Goth modeling photos.

fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, travel blog, fashion blog, tokyo style blog, la carmina egl, lacarmina, real age, real name, wiki, japan gyaru, shibuya style, tokyo street style, harajuku girl, goth, gothic, makeup, gothic lolita, top fashion blogs, tokyo stylist, japanese, kawaii, alternative model, blogger, tv host la carmina

I got to cross off a “bucket list” travel destination, thanks to Go With Oh. The wonderful apartment rental company sent me to Wave Gotik Treffen, the largest Gothic festival in the world. I also explored Prague with Rock n Roll Bride, and Berlin with Yukiro, DJ SiSEN, G-sus and spooky friends. View our adventures in my Germany Goth travel guide.

fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, travel blog, fashion blog, tokyo style blog, la carmina egl, lacarmina, real age, real name, wiki, japan gyaru, shibuya style, tokyo street style, harajuku girl, goth, gothic, makeup, gothic lolita, top fashion blogs, tokyo stylist, japanese, kawaii, alternative model, blogger, tv host la carmina

After Europe came Asia. I spoke on the fashion blogger’s panel at Hong Kong Social Media Week. It was great to see family and John Skeleton, and do some hardcore shopping — especially at the Hello Kitty shop. See more of my favorite Hong Kong stores.

fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, travel blog, fashion blog, tokyo style blog, la carmina egl, lacarmina, real age, real name, wiki, japan gyaru, shibuya style, tokyo street style, harajuku girl, goth, gothic, makeup, gothic lolita, top fashion blogs, tokyo stylist, japanese, kawaii, alternative model, blogger, tv host la carmina

In between, I hopped around the USA. I was Guest of Honor at Animegacon in Las Vegas. Spoke at PRSA Travel & Tourism conference in Ohio. Flew to New York City to be a guest on Discovery TV’s Oddities (my appearance will air early next year). Did some heavy pre-Halloween partying in Los Angeles, and hosted Gothic club night Bar Sinister with Amazing Race’s Kent Kaliber.

japanese bagelheads, bagel head, fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, travel blog, fashion blog, tokyo style blog, la carmina egl, lacarmina, real age, real name, wiki, japan gyaru, shibuya style, tokyo street style, harajuku girl, goth, gothic, makeup, gothic lolita, top fashion blogs, tokyo stylist, japanese, kawaii, alternative model, blogger, tv host la carmina

I’ve been writing about Tokyo bagelheads for years, and nobody paid much notice. But then, my Tokyo TV company worked on National Geographic’s “Taboo” episode about saline forehead inflation, and the extreme body mod went viral! I even flew to LA to be on “The Doctors” talk show, where I discussed bagel heads and deflated misunderstandings about body mods.

What a colorful year! What’s coming up in 2013? More TV work and global travels (stay tuned to see where I go next). I’ve just completed a press trip to Phoenix, and will be in Tokyo to appear in a documentary. And I’ll be in a warm destination this January… announcement to come.

Above is a compilation of my television presenting clips; full videos are on my La Carmina bio page. PS: thank you to Hostelbookers for interviewing me about my life of travel blogging and cat-craziness.

Do you have any goals for the New Year? What do you hope to accomplish or improve? Any “bucket list” items you’re determined to cross off? Here’s to a grandiose 2013!

Berlin Goth shops, clubs & bars: Germany Gothic video! Potsdam Rococo architecture, Sanssouci royal palace.

berlin germany goth gothic fashion, Germany Goth travel guide, Gothic Punk shops, parties, horror bar, nightlife, DJ SiSEN, clubs, goth kids, german goths, shopping, vampire fashion, cybergoth, cyber gothic, lip service

Are you ready for a scandalous video about Germany’s Goth scene? Watch me and Yukiro explore Berlin’s darkest clubs and fashion, on Huffington Post Travel — CLICK!

We nightcrawl a fetish party, Last Cathedral horror bar, deathrock clothing stores (like XtraX below) and alternative art events (Berlin Biennale). Plus footage of a Japanese party with DJ SiSEN from Tokyo! Danke to apartment rental company Go With Oh for making this coverage possible.

berlin graffiti, tacheles art center, crumbling architecture, east berlin, graffiti walls, germany goth gothic fashion, Germany Goth travel guide, Gothic Punk shops, parties, horror bar, nightlife, DJ SiSEN, clubs, goth kids, german goths, shopping, vampire fashion, cybergoth, cyber gothic, lip service

♥ ♥ Hugs if you Like below, to support positive media coverage of subcultures. ♥ ♥

berlin graffiti, tacheles art center, crumbling architecture, east berlin, graffiti walls, germany goth gothic fashion, Germany Goth travel guide, Gothic Punk shops, parties, horror bar, nightlife, DJ SiSEN, clubs, goth kids, german goths, shopping, vampire fashion, cybergoth, cyber gothic, lip service

Here are some bonus photos from Yukiro, of the now-vacated Tacheles art center.

berlin graffiti, tacheles art center, crumbling architecture, east berlin, graffiti walls, germany goth gothic fashion, Germany Goth travel guide, Gothic Punk shops, parties, horror bar, nightlife, DJ SiSEN, clubs, goth kids, german goths, shopping, vampire fashion, cybergoth, cyber gothic, lip service

It’s too bad that the artists can no longer reside and create here.

berlin graffiti, tacheles art center, crumbling architecture, east berlin, graffiti walls, germany goth gothic fashion, Germany Goth travel guide, Gothic Punk shops, parties, horror bar, nightlife, DJ SiSEN, clubs, goth kids, german goths, shopping, vampire fashion, cybergoth, cyber gothic, lip service

Tacheles was a site of inspiration, and home to many alternative and Japanese gatherings.

berlin graffiti, tacheles art center, crumbling architecture, east berlin, graffiti walls, germany goth gothic fashion, Germany Goth travel guide, Gothic Punk shops, parties, horror bar, nightlife, DJ SiSEN, clubs, goth kids, german goths, shopping, vampire fashion, cybergoth, cyber gothic, lip service

If you’re coming to Berlin, I hope you can attend one of Japaranoia’s “dark and strange” parties. They are a collective that includes DJ SiSEN and Gothika.

berlin graffiti, tacheles art center, crumbling architecture, east berlin, graffiti walls, germany goth gothic fashion, Germany Goth travel guide, Gothic Punk shops, parties, horror bar, nightlife, DJ SiSEN, clubs, goth kids, german goths, shopping, vampire fashion, cybergoth, cyber gothic, lip service

Want more spooky Berlin travel tips? Check out my shopping, club and bar reports in my Germany category.

ROCOCO ARCHITECTURE AT POTSDAM SANSSOUCI, FREDERICK THE GREAT SUMMER PALACE. berlin palaces, GERMAN VERSAILLES ROYAL COURT. rococo art, rococo buildings, sans soucci,  Schloss Sanssouci, potsdam sansoucci castle, berlin tourism, day trips, Sanssouci Castle, sightseeing, potsdam park, Potsdamer Parklandschaft, Potsdam travel guide, germany palace, baroque architecture, rococo statues, artwork, german historial courts

Yukiro and I also took a trip to Potsdam (about 40 min from our Charlottenberg apartment). For anyone fond of Rococo and Baroque decadence, the architecture is an inspiration.

ROCOCO ARCHITECTURE AT POTSDAM SANSSOUCI, FREDERICK THE GREAT SUMMER PALACE. berlin palaces, GERMAN VERSAILLES ROYAL COURT. rococo art, rococo buildings, sans soucci,  Schloss Sanssouci, potsdam sansoucci castle, berlin tourism, day trips, Sanssouci Castle, sightseeing, potsdam park, Potsdamer Parklandschaft, Potsdam travel guide, germany palace, baroque architecture, rococo statues, artwork, german historial courts

Sans Souci, summer palace of Frederick the Great, took us back to 18th-century court life.

ROCOCO ARCHITECTURE AT POTSDAM SANSSOUCI, FREDERICK THE GREAT SUMMER PALACE. berlin palaces, GERMAN VERSAILLES ROYAL COURT. rococo art, rococo buildings, sans soucci,  Schloss Sanssouci, potsdam sansoucci castle, berlin tourism, day trips, Sanssouci Castle, sightseeing, potsdam park, Potsdamer Parklandschaft, Potsdam travel guide, germany palace, baroque architecture, rococo statues, artwork, german historial courts

There’s video footage from Potsdam, and other suggestions for Berlin art, in my Huff Post article.

ROCOCO ARCHITECTURE AT POTSDAM SANSSOUCI, FREDERICK THE GREAT SUMMER PALACE. berlin palaces, GERMAN VERSAILLES ROYAL COURT. rococo art, rococo buildings, sans soucci,  Schloss Sanssouci, potsdam sansoucci castle, berlin tourism, day trips, Sanssouci Castle, sightseeing, potsdam park, Potsdamer Parklandschaft, Potsdam travel guide, germany palace, baroque architecture, rococo statues, artwork, german historial courts

Wearing the winning tshirt design by Joanna and Angelica Brigade hair flowers.

ROCOCO ARCHITECTURE AT POTSDAM SANSSOUCI, FREDERICK THE GREAT SUMMER PALACE. berlin palaces, GERMAN VERSAILLES ROYAL COURT. rococo art, rococo buildings, sans soucci,  Schloss Sanssouci, potsdam sansoucci castle, berlin tourism, day trips, Sanssouci Castle, sightseeing, potsdam park, Potsdamer Parklandschaft, Potsdam travel guide, germany palace, baroque architecture, rococo statues, artwork, german historial courts

I’m grateful to be able to travel with friends, and bring underground reports to you.

ROCOCO ARCHITECTURE AT POTSDAM SANSSOUCI, FREDERICK THE GREAT SUMMER PALACE. berlin palaces, GERMAN VERSAILLES ROYAL COURT. rococo art, rococo buildings, sans soucci,  Schloss Sanssouci, potsdam sansoucci castle, berlin tourism, day trips, Sanssouci Castle, sightseeing, potsdam park, Potsdamer Parklandschaft, Potsdam travel guide, germany palace, baroque architecture, rococo statues, artwork, german historial courts

What’s your impression of Berlin Goth culture? Did you find my shopping and nightlife tips helpful?