Category Archive for New York

New York club kids party! King Vulcanus Levi at Friday Factory, Library Hotel.

King Vulcanus Levi, new york club personality

Every time I go back to New York, it feels like a homecoming. I lived in NYC for years, and the city kindled my passion for nightlife, alt cultures and fashion.

One New Yorker who inspired me over the years is King Vulcanus Levi, club promoter and nightlife royalty. It was an honor to be his Queen for the night, and host an underground party together.

ny club kids, party promoters

I was here for a TV shoot, and we wanted to celebrate the city’s flamboyant underground nightlife. Reserved Consulting was launching a new club event, called Friday Factory, and it fit the bill perfectly. Their parties shine the spotlight on NYC’s underground through performances and personalities.

friday factory ny underground party

Vulcanus and I held court at this giant gold table, which was reserved for us and friends. Thanks to everyone who joined the fun, and to Reserved for the generous bottles of spiced rum!

ny androgynous club dancer

The scene at Friday Factory was like a “21st century vaudeville.” Most of the guests dressed up to the nines, in styles as diverse as Gothic, retro, leather, lace. Lots of dancing and shenanigans — that’s the New York club kid spirit.

new york club performance art

I particularly enjoyed the performance art: burlesque, whips, urban singers. The highlight was my friend Lauren. She covered her body in liquid glue, stood in a corner to let it dry, and then peeled it off and gave bits of the dried “skin” the crowd. Their reactions were priceless.

blue feather crown

I’m wearing a Moi-meme-Moitie dress and lace top (the brand is by Mana sama, of Malice Mizer and Moi dix Mois). The blue feathered crown was bestowed upon me, by King Vulcanus Levi, who designed it himself! I urge you to add his Facebook page, to see more designs and inspiration.

(All above photos by Alex E. Houston)

peacock feather hats crowns

Before Friday Factory, Vulcanus had a pre-party at his Lower East Side apartment. He showed me his collection of handmade crowns and accessories, a pleasure-palace of peacock feathers, playing cards, Gothic crosses, jewels, and other luxuries.

The Baroness latex designer

He showed me some of signature looks from over the years. A majestic combination of bird on head, feathered collar, cinched corset (standing next to his friend, latex designer The Baroness).

king vulcanus levi, new york clubbing

Vulcanus showed me how he put on his distinctive makeup, with a pure white face, and black V-shaped lips. When I first saw him at NY clubs ages ago, I was blown away by this vision — he seemed like a royal from another planet!

gold bracelets, rings on hand

He puts thought into every aesthetic detail, down to the gloves and rings. I’m in awe at his creativity.

ny club kids makeup

All around the room, our friends were doing makeup touchups, pouring cocktails and dancing.

ny club kids partying

I’ll never get tired of the NY’s nightlife energy. So many friendly and welcoming creatures here.

white facepaint club makeup

Living here sparked my love of subcultures and alternative beauty, which continues strong to this day. In New York, you can express who you want to be, and find other like-minded creatives.

taking selfies party

And the nightlife can’t be beat! If you want to join the fun, you can check Reserved Consulting’s site for announcements about their next Friday Factory events. And add King Vulcanus Levi on Facebook to see where he’s appearing next.

library hotel manhattan room

At dawn, I was happy to lay my weary head at The Library Hotel. In my hazy state, I couldn’t remember my room number: but thankfully, each door has a unique plate that follows the Dewey Decimal System. I was on the Languages floor, so the rooms were called Romance, Asian, Germanic…

yru platform shoes, clear heel

It’s the perfect place for me to stay: a hotel dedicated to book-lovers! I love to read at night to wind down, so this put me in instant relaxation mode. Unlike some theme hotels, there is no cheesiness here: it’s 5 star luxury, with seamless service and cozy design.

Here’s a close-up of my white platform sandals, sent by YRU — here’s the link to purchase them. So cool, the clear heel with a cloud print.

monkey see no evil statue

The Library Hotel has an ideal location, near Central Park in midtown Manhattan. They have a unique “Writer in Residence” program that aims to give authors inspiration and sanctuary. If you qualify, you get a complimentary stay at their properties, and enjoy perks like the lounge and free Wifi.

elizabeth wurtzel, author of prozac nation

My friend, author Elizabeth Wurtzel, joined me for tea. The lounge serves tea, coffee, sweets and fruit all day long “to keep the creative juices flowing.”

teale coco hooded vest

There must have been over a thousand titles on the shelves, from a variety of authors. I wonder if the collection includes Elizabeth Wurtzel’s books, Prozac Nation and Bitch.

My sleeveless jacket with a hood is a gift from Teale Coco. She makes devilish harnesses too, including a full body Lucifer harness.

ny library hotel lobby

The lobby has a Great Gatsby feel. (Are you currently reading any good books? I’d love to hear your reading recommendations; leave me a note in the comments!)

bookmarks bar library hotel rooftop

Take the elevator to the top floor, and you’ll walk into Bookmarks Bar and Lounge. My friends and I drank literary-inspired cocktails — like a Hemingway made with rum, mint and champagne — on the rooftop terrace, which has a lovely view of the Empire State Building.

new york city breakfast berries

Can’t go wrong with a free breakfast that includes berries, lattes and grapefruit juice. Thanks to the Library Hotel for treating us writers like VIPs!

totoro nail art, sprites nails

Finally, a closeup of my mint-colored Totoro nail art by Glam Nail Studio. More of their kawaii Japanese nails on their Twitter.

statue of liberty, burlesque cruise

Here are some Instagram snaps from the Dances of Vice burlesque cruise, which sailed from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty. New York, I’ll never grow tired of you.

Do you you prefer dancing at clubs and holing up with a good book? Or are you fond of both, as I am?

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Cosplay contest at Maid Cafe NY: Japanese maids & anime costumes!

paper factory hotel, long island city ny

New York, I love you! Thanks to everyone who came to see me at the Japanese maid cafe, and for participating in the cosplay contest. I was mega-impressed by the intricate costumes, which you can see in the photos below…

But first, here are some snaps from my home at the Paper Factory Hotel. This is, without doubt, the coolest place to stay in NY.

teale coco, goth sportswear

The hotel is located in Long Island City, right across the water from Manhattan (it only takes 15 min by subway to reach Times Square). The Paper Factory’s design pays tribute to its industrial past, and the vintage child cars in the lobby encourage guests to play.

I’m wearing a sports-Goth crop top c/o Teale Coco — brilliant, mixing sporty fabric with dark edge. The skeleton leggings are Hyoma (from Izzue Hong Kong) and the tank top is World Wide Love.

vespa, cool design hotel ny

It’s obvious I loved staying at the Paper Factory Hotel — their creative, design-oriented approach is just my speed. I encourage you to check them out, especially when the restaurant Mundo opens up later this summer.

Japanese maid cafe chinatown ny

In June, my team and I filmed at Maid Cafe NY, located in New York’s Chinatown (150 Centre Street, NYC, 10013). It’s modeled after the Japanese maid cafes you’ll find in Tokyo, especially the Akihabara district.

maid cafe ny, cute japanese maids

I’ve been to maid cafes all over Japan (such as Angel & Demons, Cos Cha and more). This one may be located in NY, but the spirit is 100% Tokyo.

maid cafe new york menu

The girls dressed me up in one of their pink French maid outfits. For the show, I learned how to greet customers (by yelling “Welcome home, master!”) and how to be as anime-like as possible.

cute drawing on drinks

At Maid Cafe NY, it’s all innocent fun: the staff interacts with the customers in cute ways, and makes them smile by drawing on their drink cups.

cute food decorating, maid cafe

The cafe serves Japanese food and sweets, like omelet rice with ketchup drawings. I helped the maids prepare sweets with cute faces on them. Cris digs into a matcha cheesecake, decorated with my Scottish Fold cat’s face in chocolate sauce.

cheki maid cafe polaroids

Customers can pose with the maids for cheki, or souvenir Polaroid photos that we decorate (in kawaii ways, of course).

domo backpack, cat ears headband

Maid Cafe NY was packed with customers. They’re doing an incredible job at bringing Jpop fans together. Many of them are young and dress up in Japanese street fashion.

hatsune miku green wig

My friend Jenny (a talented illustrator) dons a long turquoise wig, in a tip of the hat to Hatsune Miku.

Inside the cafe is Cosplay Shopper, a store that sells anime/manga costumes and accessories like cat ear headbands, or Sailor Moon outfits. These goods are also available through their online site.

cosplay shopper, ny store

Camila invited me to be a judge in their cosplay contest. I know New York has a big community of cosplayers, and that the turnout would be impressive.

new york cosplay contest

Even so, the event was beyond expectations! Over a hundred contestants and spectators lined up in front of the cafe, dressed to the nines. We barely managed to pack everyone in, and it was standing room only.

cosplayers nyc, competition

How cool are these handmade cosplay designs? Can you recognize the characters they are representing?

japanese snacks restaurant nyc

We assigned the contestants a number, and they went inside to put on the finishing touches. Wigs teased up, and circle contacts in.

anime costumes, ny cosplay girls

Some of these intricate costumes took months to complete, all by hand.

bubble tea, chinatown new york

Everyone gathered in front of the stage, packed like sardines. Jenny and Hiten cooled off with bubble tea.

cosplayers, ny comic con

The winners would get passes to New York Comic Con and gift certificates for Cosplay Shopper. One by one, they went on stage and showed off their outfits with flair. We asked them questions, such as why they chose to be this character, or how they made the various pieces.

pastel pink japanese wig

Camila announces the next contestant. What a parade of creativity: we saw armor constructed from cardboard, weapons from duct tape…

handmade cosplay costumes

Many of the cosplayers were still in high school, and made these colorful DIY costumes in their spare time.

cosplay boy crossdress

The contest brought together J-culture lovers, and celebrated their creativity — I say that’s a success! Thanks to everyone who showed up despite the rain; I always love meeting readers in person.

maid cafe new york city

Maid Cafe NY and Cosplay Shopper have more special events coming up, which you can find on their sites. Hopefully you’ll get the opportunity to swing by the cafe for a cat-faced cappuccino sometime.

cosplayers dressing up

Have you ever tried cosplaying? Which character would you dress as?

paper factory hotel new york

Also check out my photoshoot at the Paper Factory, to see more of this art-hotel. One more NYC post to come… and with luck, I’ll be back here soon.

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The Hippest Hotel in New York! Paper Factory Hotel in Long Island City, Queens.

la carmina hair, la carmina blog

While in New York for my recent TV shoot, I stayed at the newly-opened The Paper Factory Hotel. It’s a 100-year-old industrial space that has been transformed into an artsy hotel, with a magnificent view from the rooftop.

Come, and let’s explore a Factory that would delight Andy Warhol…

gal stern leggings, israeli pattern tights

How amazing is the NYC skyline from the hotel’s rooftop? (All images by Ryan Edwardson Photography)

I’m wearing hand-printed pattern tights c/o Gal Stern, a talented textile designer from Israel. My shoes are from Shinjuku Lumine.

new york skyline famous buildings

The purple knit top is Candy Stripper, found at Closet Child. My blue animal print dress is from Siam Discovery Center in Bangkok.

new york rooftop, graffiti roof

What a joy to explore this rooftop area, covered in intriguing graffiti like the words “Memento Mori.” This building has so much history: a century ago, it was a paper factory.

paper factory hotel, long island city

Today, it’s a 122-room hotel that is uber-modern and comfy, while preserving the historic manufacturing vibe. Old machine parts have become works of art, placed all around.

foosball machine, hipster boutique hotel nyc

Foosball, anyone?

manhattan skyline, tall buildings

The Paper Factory Hotel is located in an unexpected place: Long Island City / Astoria in Queens. (Address: 37-06 36th Street, Long Island City, New York).

Sounds far? Not at all: the location is just across the East River from Manhattan, and meters from two subway stops. Ride the metro for 15 minutes, and you’re in midtown.

red british telephone booth

“Moshi moshi?” I loved playing around with the eclectic objects around the hotel. These included a British telephone booth, Thai rickshaw, Vespa, and vintage kid-sized automobiles.

japanese selfies, iphone selfie taking

These days, the main function of phones is for selfie-taking, rather than making calls…

paper factory hotel, astoria queens

The Paper Factory Hotel cleverly pays tribute to its former incarnation. I noticed elements like a polished concrete floor, inset with clippings from 19th-century Queens newspapers.

nyc art hotel, ny coolest hotels

Althought I lived in Manhattan for years while attending school, I never explored Long Island City. Today, it’s become an emerging hip neighborhood, with a relaxed industrial vibe.

cool hip hotel new york

The lobby has a cafe — you can tell I’m pleased with my giant cup of coffee. Within walking distance, there were plenty of affordable local cafes and pubs. (And this area is safe, so don’t worry about walking around at night.)

paper factory hotel review, lobby

The staff was lovely, and I hope I can be back for the summer opening of Mundo, a earthy Mediterranean restaurant. The downstairs area may also be converted into a club or gallery space.

vintage tv, whitewall magazine

The Paper Factory Hotel often hosts art exhibits and workshops. They’re right by the Noguchi museum, MoMA PS1, and the Museum of the Moving Image.

blue green hair, v-finger selfies

I’m 100% behind their mission to encourage creativity and collaboration. The website states: “We will help connect you with other like-minded individuals so that you might perhaps motivate each other and restore innovation to all aspects of life.”

arty design hotel room, paper factory

My room was enormous — what a nice change from the usual cramped Manhattan spaces!

fixing hair in front of mirror

It even had a kitchenette and stand-alone mirror. I’m wearing a Moi-meme-moitie cemetery dress (Sleeping Garden print by Mana’s brand), and Gal Stern Flashback tights. You can shop her handmade legwear collection through her website.

white hotel robe, lounging on bed

I hope you’ll keep this hotel in mind, when you’re next visiting NY. Their site has special deals and lets you book online.

la carmina fashion blog, pretty

Thanks to the Paper Factory Hotel for hosting me and my TV team. We were blown away by this view of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings!

la carmina portrait, new york city view

I had the best time shooting with photographer Ryan Edwardson, who is based in Toronto. He has a great eye for composition and capturing natural moments.

model photoshoot, new york rooftop

Here is a behind-the-scenes shot from our photoshoot on the rooftop.

girl drinking coffee, happy

Ryan caught my happy reaction to a sip of fresh coffee.

ryan edwardson photography, toronto photographer

He’s a world traveler and storyteller, and this comes across in his photography. If you’re looking for a Toronto photographer — whether for weddings, commercial projects, portraits — keep Ryan Edwardson in mind.

paper factory hotel room, interior decor
sleepy scottish fold cat

I still have more photos from this chic boutique hotel to show you. Until then, you can see previews (and cat, and current travels in South Africa and Asia) on my LaCarmina Instagram.

Have you been to New York, New York? What do you think of the Paper Factory, and the mood of these images?

PS: I’m on the cover of Kirameki Magazine, out July 15! Here’s a preview of my magazine cover – yes, I’m wearing Moi-meme-Moitie.

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Watch Oddities TV show, Season 4: La Carmina guest star! Obscura Antiques, Discovery Science Channel video.

oddities, obscura antiques, oddities tv show, science channel, discovery channel

I know you’ve been waiting for this… La Carmina on Oddities! My TV show appearance premieres June 8, 9pm ET/PT on Science Channel, and then airs on repeat.

My episode is called “The Mummy Returns” (Season 4, Episode 11). Below is a short clip — watch me purchase a large, fuzzy reminder of home!

Do you like what I wore on-camera? Keep reading for outfit details, and a zillion Obscura shop photos.

wilde hunt corsets, goth girl hair, gothic makeup, goth tv host, Mike Zohn, Evan Michelson

Owners Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson are lovely in person. I frequented their store years ago, before the TV show came along.

 Ryan Matthew, oddities stars, oddities characters, plot, episode guide, east village antiques

They loved my custom, skeleton corset. Quite appropriately, the sign above me reads “Torture.”

Skeleton corset: loaned by Wilde Hunt Corsetry — her designs are spooky-gorgeous!
Victorian dress and lace shrug: gifted by Heavy Red
Bone and devil hair clips: gifted by Kreepsville 666

oddities, goth tv host, Mike Zohn, Evan Michelson, Ryan Matthew, oddities antiques

For those who don’t know, the hit TV show “Oddities” is about Obscura, this little East Village shop of horrors. In each episode, the owners meet kooky customers and help them pick out items. For example, they helped the Speakeasy Dollhouse creator find a gurney for her immersive play.

nyc antique store, watch oddities, tv host, guest star

The store is not for the faint of heart. Organs, skulls and animal heads abound.

oddities tv show, science discovery channel, season 4 oddities, episode guide

Ryan, Evan and Mike are often here, manning the counter and signing autographs for fans.

la carmina oddities, goth hair style, two buns goth hairstyle, skeleton hair clips

It’s hard to believe that we filmed this episode last August, in New York City! My hair color by Isolde Semple; the styling is by Brandon Pope of TIGI NYC

oddities store, stuffed skunk, obscura, nyc antique store, east village antiques

I could have browsed for hours in Obscura Antiques.

oddities, goth store, skeletons, bizarre store, weird antiques

In real life, I bought my friend a jar of chocolate-covered poison from their medicine cabinet. Somehow, I managed to take it through customs.

elk head, goth girl hair, gothic makeup, goth tv host

For the sake of the show, however, I “purchased” this gargantuan, stuffed elk head to remind me of home (Canada, not Japan as some might assume!)

Evan Michelson, Ryan Matthew, oddities videos

The owners are passionate about their collections, and wonderfully knowledgeable. In the clip, I learn about the elk’s horns and history.

oddities, obscura antiques, season 4 episodes

Also for sale: a box of potions…

oddities, watch full episodes, kitsch

… a bear in a hat, a laughing pig,

skulls for sale, skeletons

… and real life skulls.

filming oddities, tv show production

Since it was summertime in NYC, I was boiling under my Victorian skirts. The crew interviewed me in the nearby East Village street, about my work in dark coolhunting and travel journalism.

oddities guest star, new york, nyc antiques

Here’s the pirate hat I tried on. Arr.

oddities science channel, discovery tv

“Is that a straightjacket?” Nope, but this two-headed creature is also featured in the show’s intro.

wilde hunt corsets, goth girl hair, gothic makeup, goth tv show

So many creepy and bizarre items in here. I fit right in.

antique tv show, weird store new york

If you’re in New York, drop by Obscura Antiques and Oddities and say hi for me. The shop address: 207 Avenue A New York, NY 10009. Phone: (212) 505-9251

la carmina on oddities, science channel tv host

I hope you’ll tune in for my appearance on Oddities! “The Mummy Returns” (Season 4 Episode 11) first airs Saturday, June 8th at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

discovery channel tv host, hit show

Don’t worry if you miss it: the show will repeat multiple times on Science Channel / Discovery TV; check the schedule for dates.

oddities obscura antiques nyc, gothic tv show, goth celebrities

Click to watch my Oddities clip. To view more corsets like the one I’m wearing, visit Wilde Hunt Corsetry.

Are you a fan of this TV show? What would you purchase to remind you of home?

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