Category Archive for Nightcrawling
Shh. Even though I live for exploring new countries (Israel and Jordan right now!), it’s no secret that I miss Tokyo whenever I’m away.
I was in Japan around Christmas-time, which gave me an opportunity to take photos with light displays. Enjoy these street shots of Shinjuku after dark.
In Tokyo, I’m one of the tallest people around…
Hello Kitty and friends sweater: from last year’s Forever 21 x Sanrio collaboration
Short plaid purple skirt: Peace Now, from Closet Child
Blue fuzzy animal purse: Mercibeaucoup, bought at Shinjuku Marui Annex
Art Nouveau print tights: Innocent World x Alphonse Mucha
First Mate fixer Naomi took these cool purple effect photos by shooting between the escalator rail. Using a prime lens on a DSLR, you can achieve nifty effects like this.
The background blurs out, and the little Xmas bulbs turn into “bokeh”, or glowing balls of light.
This little hallway of lights is located by the West Exit of Shinjuku Station (near My Lord department store). There’s an Anna Sui store and a Ne-Net boutique in this area.
I rode the escalator at least three times for the sake of taking outfit photos!
In the center, there were three trees covered in lights. Naomi shot through glass for this reflected image.
Lost in a Japanese winter wonderland.
Since I know you enjoy seeing Tokyo city life, I went on a long stroll through Shinjuku with my camera, and captured the night-time action. Here, a traffic guard in a helmet whistles and waves his… light saber?
A man in a cap is silhouetted in front of a drink vending machine. In busy areas like Shinjuku, there are literally vending machines every few meters.
My favorite drink is not usually found in machines, but at convenience stores like 7-Eleven. It’s yuzu, of course (the Japanese tangy citrus). This little “pet” bottle is hot, sold near the check-out counter.
Near the entrance of Shinjuku Station East Exit, a ska band gave a free performance. The lead saxophonist twirled and jumped around. This concert was actually part of a vitamin brand promotion, perhaps explaining their manic energy.
An anime-cyborg girl overlooks the business commuters.
Shinjuku is filled with little narrow streets, lit up with neon signs. Many of these advertise restaurants and bars.
Flashing billboards with anime characters are a common sight.
The eye-catching designs are so varied. A Japanese-style tiger leaps at a butterfly.
Shinjuku Doori is one of the main streets, and leads to the various 0101 department stores. (For a peek at the street style boutiques found inside, see my post about Marui Annex.)
How have you be dressing up this winter? Would you wear a Sanrio sweater like this?
Close-up on my Chococat sleeve. He’s one of my favorite characters.
Naomi holds up a Jrock / Visual Kei flyer, to demonstrate how we “pull focus” with the camera lens. By focusing on something in the foreground, the background blurs out with this cool dotted effect.
I leave you with a Japanese girl buying a drink from a vending machine.
Are you enjoying these mood photos? Do you take late-night city walks like I do?
My Pirates TV production company has been doing well lately, so it was nigh time to celebrate with rum and wenches!
Naomi, Yukiro and I threw a “Corporate Goth Meeting” — our clever way of hosting a drinking party in a central, inexpensive Tokyo space. Read on for the shenanigans, and tips on how you can plan an alternative event like ours.
After wrapping our latest Tokyo TV job, we wanted to host a get-together for our “spooky friends.” But how to throw an epic Goth party at minimal cost?
In Tokyo, this is a special dilemma. People live in small apartments far away, so we couldn’t have an event at someone’s house. We didn’t want to join an existing club night, or meet at a restaurant or bar (too noisy and expensive, and not good for mingling). Renting a private club space would also be much too costly.
The sneaky and slightly subversive solution… We rented a hotel boardroom for three hours, and held a “work meeting!”
In Shinjuku, you can rent business meeting rooms for under $50 an hour. They’re large enough to hold 20-30 “staff members”, and the location is convenient for everyone.
The hotel didn’t question our motives behind the “Corporate Goth Meeting.” But once the doors closed, the work gathering… turned into a drag queen drinking fest.
Our friends (aka employees) showed up in “Business Casual Gothic work clothes” to fit the theme (aka ruse). We did end up discussing important matters, as you can see on the white board.
Everyone brought a little something to eat or drink. This Barbados “Mount Gay” rum was the hit of the evening.
How sweet that many of my “pirates” brought me yuzu (the tangy Japanese citrus), since they know it’s my favorite fruit flavor.
I’m wearing a Nightmare Before Christmas sweater from Rolick, a women’s boutique in Shinjuku Lumine. I’m not a big fan of the current winter collections in Japan, as the materials tend to be scratchy and the designs uninspired. However, I love the Jack Skellington print in this collaboration.
My fuzzy boots are by Liz Lisa.
There are perks to being Captain of the Pirate Ship. You can engage in a little “harassment” here and there…
Everyone got into the theme of the party. It looks like we’re having an animated panel discussion.
In fact, we are a business: La Carmina and the Pirates does Japan TV fixing, local production arranging, translation, on-camera hosting, consulting and more. We’ve worked with Food Network, Travel Channel, Discovery, National Geographic and other networks.
Three shining examples of how to dress Work Goth. It’s possible to abide by an office dress code, while keeping a dark, alt aesthetic.
Yukiro appears to be delivering a corporate takeover speech.
Kanae raises an objection, Phoenix Wright style. (In fact, our friends do work with us — they’re always willing to lend a hand with projects, and appear on our TV shows.)
Naomi brought portable speakers, and played Gothic MIDI tunes. The boardroom space was perfect: everyone could mingle freely, and chat without being drowned out by music.
We even had a nice view of Kabukicho. The only problem with the room… was that Seby thought the lights were too bright!
Maybe we need to upgrade our employees’ cell phones. (This is Yukiro’s ancient iPhone 3.)
Thankfully, none of the people at the hotel disturbed our meeting. If they walked in unexpectedly, I think they would be very confused.
We munched on Caro’s haunted gingerbread, made by hand.
The cookies go well with mocha and vodka, apparently.
Naomi does a presentation about capital gains and losses. Or something like that.
There’s always a lady in the office who gets a bit scandalous after a few drinks..
At our events, someone always ends up being tortured (in this case, stomped on).
The motto of the evening: “Be there or be fired!”
We gave out an Employee of the Month award to David, who was also celebrating his birthday.
In addition to the bloody delicious cake, you can see how much there was to imbibe.
Yukiro and Remiko show how eating should be done.
And this t-shirt says it all. What do you think of our out-of-the-box idea for renting a cheap and central event space? I think we’ve created an alternative to alternative parties!
Cheers to my Japan Pirate crew. My ship would have run aground long ago, without you crazy kids.
Would you throw a “business meeting” like ours? Do you dress Corporate Gothic when you go to work?
ARR you ready for XXX-mas yet?
While in Portland, my film team and I went all around town, shooting segments about the kooky subcultures here. We ducked into a Pirate Day-Glo golf course, Steampunk boutique…
… and wound up at a Nightmare Before Xmas musical, with live actors and a nine-piece orchestra! Read on for the spook-tacular story.
Let’s begin with Captain Carmina and her band of pirates. These Portlanders are part of PDX Yar, the crew responsible for pirate-themed karaoke, balls and other scurvy deeds. First mate Naomi described their shenanigans in this post.
Pirate lace hat: gifted by Lip Service, similar to this pirate hat
Pirate jacket and skirt: gifted by Wheels & Dollbaby
Black laser-cut boots: Yosuke Tokyo
We met at Glowing Greens, a blacklight indoor mini-golf course with a pirate theme. (509 SW Taylor St, Portland, OR) Every square inch is lit up in neon, and decorated with piratical elements like sea monsters.
I’ve never seen a miniature golf course as crazy as this one. The themed holes included a graveyard, a mansion with a shaking gate, a pop-up zombie.
The acid-trip environment inspired filmmaker Melissa. On the spot, she dreamt up a pirate adventure tale, and we acted it out on camera. Can’t wait to show you this funny footage.
If ye be in a piratical mood, and twitching for a round of golf… ye know where to sail!
I was excited to shoot travel footage at Wells & Verne, a neo-Victorian shoppe inspired by Goth, Industrial and Steampunk culture. (Located in the Sellwood district at 8315 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR)
As soon as you walk in, you’ll see this magnificent Art Nouveau steampunk gal on the wall. (It reminded me of the Alphonse Mucha art exhibit in Tokyo.)
This newly-opened boutique carries handmade goods from “our local Portland family,” as well as artisans from all over the world. The display case had these brass goggles, a steampunk must…
… and a hand-crafted laser gun. (Photography by Melissa Rundle, Eric Bergemann, Naomi Rubin and La Carmina.)
At Wells & Verne, clothes are works of art. Great care went into the making of this leather mask and holster.
Many items, such as velvet three piece suits, are tailor made to order. This is the place to find something elegant and one-of-a-kind.
I fell in love with this steampunk Victorian dress, goggles necklace and mini top hat.
How cute are the vampire cat bat scarves? I hope you’ll drop by to see my new friends at Wells & Verne in Portland. They often hold special events, which you can see via their Facebook page.
Darkness fell, as we drove to Secret Society for “The Nitemare B4 Xmas,” a live-action musical tribute to Tim Burton’s cult film.
The Mayor invited us to their final show. Audience members are encouraged to sing along as his nine-piece troupe, The Saloon Ensemble, performed every song in the movie.
We arrived early to witness the preparations. The actors and musicians transformed into the Nightmare Before Christmas characters, with the help of deft makeup skills and costumes.
The set design was spot-on, incorporating the movie’s signature swirls and tombstones. On the left side, there was a normal Christmas tree. On the right… a scary X-mas one.
This show received lots of positive buzz, and was sold out that night. Quite a few of the ticket-holders wore Day of the Dead makeup, since it was November 1st. My film team and I ordered popcorn and Dark & Stormy cocktails (rum and ginger beer), and practiced singing “This is Halloween.”
Each performance featured a different opening act. We clapped along to the Love Bomb Marching Skeletons, a go-go group of scantily clad, skull-faced musicians and dancers. They got us revved up and ready for the headlining musical.
What a treat for fans of Nightmare Before Christmas: the band played the songs, sang, and did hilarious character voices. Meanwhile, Jack and Sally tottered on stilts and acted out their parts to perfection.
I was smiling throughout the entire 60 minute show. To mix up the action, there were sing-a-long segments and contests. Everyone cheered for Zero the dog, a puppet manipulated by this ghostly lady.
Oogie Boogie’s wacky dance was picture perfect. Amazing, how the actors captured the movements and expressions of the animated characters.
Several guests went on stage for a screaming contest, including filmmaker Melissa. It was a lock. She had by far the loudest, longest and shrillest scream!
What a delight to “make Christmas time” with The Saloon Ensemble and friends. They plan to do more musical shows based on films, so stay tuned to their website. And if you haven’t watched Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Xmas film yet… what are you waiting for?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you like this spooky musical? Would you visit the Portland Pirate golf course, or Victorian steampunk shop?
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?