Category Archive for Visual Kei + Music
Budapest Sziget music festival outfit! Emma O Clothing crochet dress, designer Hotel Continental Zara.
Putting aside expectations and stepping outside your usual zone — these can be the most rewarding things you can do.
Still, why not give it a shot? So I put on a white dress (albeit with a dark twist) and rode the tram to one of the largest music festivals in Europe. Read on to see what my film team and I discovered.
What I wore to an outdoor music festival: this striking handmade crochet, off-shoulder dress sent by Sweden-based Emma O Clothing.
Emma’s designs include an array of crochet dresses, swimsuits and cover-ups in delicate colors. She ships worldwide and gives 60% of all sales to charity in Zimbabwe. You can support my friend via her online store, Instagram and Facebook.
When we checked into Hotel Continental Zara (Address: 42 Dohány St) — we noticed Dizzee Rascal and Skunk Anansie standing next to us! Apparently, all the Sziget festival headliners chose to stay here.
And for good reason: the Art Deco meets modern suites have won numerous awards. Hard to believe that the designer hotel used to be a 180 year old Jewish bathhouse.
On the top floor, there’s a swimming pool and garden with a soaring view of Budapest’s red roofs.
Hotel Continental Zara is located in the hipster seventh district that I previously blogged about. One of the many pluses of staying here: you can easily stumble back after a night of ruin pub hopping!
I was a fan of the hotel breakfast, which included cappuccino machines and my beloved dark European grain breads.
We also had excellent barbecue at the adjoining Araz Restaurant, featuring a retro mural.
After walking around outside in the heat, it was nice to come back, drink fresh lemonade and relax in the air-conditioned lobby.
The courtyard’s black apple is very Evil Queen, no? (I love how you can layer Emma O Clothing in a variety of ways.)
Since it was so hot, we waited until the late afternoon before heading to Sziget Festival, held on a small island in the Danube River. Every year, about 400,000 people come to this week-long celebration of music and culture.
After the Communist era, a group of students founded Sziget to revitalize the summer concert scene. Today, it’s one of the biggest and best-regarded music festivals in Europe.
Sziget is sometimes compared to Burning Man because of the sense of isolation (only people with passes can enter the island) and trippy art sculptures everywhere.
Everywhere you turned, there was something bizarre to behold. A security guard stood next to this sign, preventing climbers from toppling over the letters.
Like Coachella, this festival has a Ferris wheel. After Skunk Anansie’s set on the main stage, everyone let their balloons go…
… up, up and away. Like rainbow sprinkles in the sky.
There was an endless list of things to do and see, including a beach, yoga, world music, and techno parties. Tip: in order to buy food or drinks, you must first purchase a special debit card.
One of the grooviest attractions was the Luminarium. We took off our shoes and went inside this blow-up tent, not knowing what to expect. Our guide told us we had 15 minutes to explore.
And what a mind-trip! Inspired by Eastern religions, the Luminarium glows with light. We wandered the tunnels, and meditated in the little caves. (Photography in this post by Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann).
The festival brought together some of the top indie acts. Among the performances we enjoyed: Bat for Lashes, Nick Cave, Chase & Status, and this Steampunk automotive show.
It’s hard to convey the sense of wonder I felt at Sziget through photos. I hope you’ll get a chance to visit Budapest and see what it’s all about.
On the taxi ride back, we got this King Midas view of Hungarian Parliament over the water. (Tip: research Budapest taxi companies and take reputable ones like City. Ask your hotel or a tourist office to call one for you. Don’t get ripped off by no-names.)
Have you been to a music festival? What was your experience like, and what did you wear?
More Eurail-Vision coverage is on the way. If you’re keen to do a train trip like ours, check out Eurail.com’s student packages and other affordable options. Thanks to everyone for making our travels possible.
Montreal’s best bagel, St Viateur or Fairmount? Festival Kinetik 2013 video: Daniel Graves, Aesthetic Perfection.
It’s the return of the bagelhead! Enjoy my spanking new travel video about the edgy, kooky attractions in Montreal, Quebec.
The episode features magic shops, pop art, and Daniel Graves — vocalist of Aesthetic Perfection, who performed at Kinetik Festival 2013!
For the full story, read my Huffington Post article. It gives an overview of Montreal’s best alternative fashion, clubs and more.
Please press play above, and thumb’s up below if you found my coverage useful. Merci beaucoup mes amis!
Montreal is famous for its bagels, and locals have strong opinions over which bakery does it best: Fairmount or St Viateur. Since the top two contenders were a short walk from Le Belmont (the venue for Kinetik Music Festival), Daniel and I put them to the test.
Fairmount (74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest) has a variety of flavors, and offers bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese.
St Viateur (263 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest) has a frightful logo.
But the wall of accolades must mean something.
Which bagel did we like the most? You’ll have to view our fun video to find out!
PS: if you don’t get the “bagel head” joke, this Japanese forehead inflation article will fill you in.
Thanks to my friend Lauren for joining me on my French-Canadian journey, and to Tourism Montreal for making it possible.
What was your favorite moment in the travel episode? For more coverage of Montreal and Vancouver, browse the Alt Canada category of my blog.
Montreal Kinetik Festival! Gothic Industrial EBM concerts & nightlife: Katacombes club, Bar Passeport.
Ready for my Montreal Goth clubbing and travel guide? Here’s a round-up of the city’s best Dark Industrial and Punk parties, and review of Kinetik Festival 2013!
When night falls, I’m ready for a crawl. Full info about my hair and clothes are in this outfit post.
The friendly door person invited us into Bar Passeport, located near many restaurants on St-Denis.
It was the first stop on a nightcrawl with my friends, Lauren and Asta. The lady at the bar recognized me from my Myspace days! To welcome us to her city, she gave us shots of whiskey and maple syrup.
Bar Passeport has various themed nights, as illustrated on the flyers. (Funny how you can see our faces in the reflection.) We had fun dancing to “EBM, Alternatif, Synthpop, New Wave, Gothique”. Upcoming darkwave parties are listed on their Facebook page.
Right next door is Club Chaos, a legendary punk bar. Cheap drinks and skeletons are always a good sign.
Another classic bar is Foufounes Electriques, which often has live music performances. In the 1980s, this club was a gathering place for punk and Goth subcultures.
The metalwork inside “Foufs” and outdoor enclosure remind me of the Monster bar in Berlin.
Lauren and I had fun at Coop Katacombes. From the exterior, you can guess this is a heavy metal hangout.
Our stay coincided with Queer Ass Punk. To our delight, the night was dedicated to Grrl Riot! DJ Velvet Underparts blasted music by L7, Joan Jett, Sonic Youth, and even the Daria theme song.
John Waters’ movie Hairspray aired above the bar, and Millie Rosado sang while playing keyboards and guitar.
On to the main attraction: Festival Kinetik at Le Belmont. Known as North America’s Wave Gotik Treffen, the event brings in international Industrial-Noise-Goth-EBM bands for a weekend of performances. Previous years have featured Nitzer Ebb, Funker Vogt, VNV Nation and more.
2013 featured a scaled-down version of Kinetik, which created a friendlier atmosphere. Everyone gathered in one place, to see bands like Project Pitchfork and Terrorfakt.
Lots of fun fashion at Le Belmont. In the side room, Goths gathered at the bar and browsed CDs at the merch table. (My deconstructed top is by h.NAOTO Red.)
We perched at the upstairs balcony, which gave us an unhindered view of the stage. My silhouette proves I’m an alien…
I was impressed at the level of organization; all the bands started on time. Suicide Commando took the stage with a giant cross projected in the back.
They showed a countdown for their “Cause of Death” song: “Every 40 seconds someone attempts suicide…”
The next evening, I met up with my friend Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection, one of Kinetik Festival’s headliners. We filmed a hilarious “bagel tasting battle” together — can’t wait to show you the video!
As always, Aesthetic Perfection performed with charm. Daniel has a knack for making the audience smile and dance.
After a long night, it’s time to put on our slit-eyed sleep masks. They’re gifts from Velvet Moustache, who we met during our art studio visit.
What’s your impression of Kinetik Festival and the Montreal Goth alternative scene? Did I miss any nightclubs or parties? Let me know by leaving a comment.
Coming up next… Goth and pin-up shopping in Montreal, and an announcement about my August destinations!
Heavy metal adventure team… activate!
I’m in Sedona, Arizona with Leon and Geist of the band Colosseum Thesis. Can you mix Jrock and Aliens? Read on to have your eyes opened.
Sedona is a 2-3 hour scenic drive from Phoenix. The red rock’s known as a haven of spirituality… and alien encounters.
Skull hair clips: gifted by Kreepsville 666
Art Nouveau sunglasses: gifted by Lumete
We blasted metal and Visual Kei on the drive north, which took us through cacti landscapes and rock corridors. Bassist Geist and I strike an alien pose.
It was right before Christmas, so the aliens were wearing Santa hats.
Our first pit stop: the fascinating Center for the New Age.
The store offers vortex tours, aura photography, psychics, palm readers, healing stones and crystals, and more.
A rich selection of books and Buddhas.
No matter what your spiritual leanings are, Sedona is special place. There’s a feeling of re-charging here.
Sedona has a number of “vortexes”, or sites charged healing and awareness.
Not everyone “feels the power.” Nonetheless, Sedona’s an unbeatable place to hike, relax, and take in nature.
We had outstanding French food at Rene in Tlaquepaque, across from the New Age Center.
I could have stayed in the Southwestern courtyard all day. My white dress is Japanese brand Liz Lisa, bought in Hong Kong. Here are photos of the Liz Lisa boutique.
Closeup on the boys’ rings and gloves.
The spinach tofu salad and fresh crepes were out of this world.
Ravioli for my Arizona guide, Leon Lindon (singer, composer, musician, producer, and leader of Colosseum Thesis).
With stomachs satiated, we went on to another spiritual place.
The landscape makes an epic backdrop for photos.
My Liz Lisa ankle boots aren’t really made for climbing.
We ascended the spiral walkway…
… to the Chapel Of The Holy Cross, an architectural marvel completed in 1956.
The Catholic chapel’s windows reflect red rock, and the shape of a cross.
A powerful place for prayer.
Inside, we listened to soft chanting and basked in the light.
As Leon puts it, “Sedona is a place that encourages people to look upward.”
Photos can’t convey the feeling of this place; I hope you’ll come and experience it for yourself.
Thanks to Leon and Geist for the epic road trip. Their band, Colosseum Thesis, is a surprising new visual music act that uses a progressive blend of genres such as rock, neoclassical, and jazz, complete with grandiose theatrical performances. Can’t wait for their debut performances and demo later this year.
Were you surprised by Sedona’s spirituality? Where do you go to regain calm and re-charge?