Category Archive for Visual Kei + Music
I’m glad you enjoyed my first post about Zagreb, Croatia. Ready for more? On Day 2, I dove into the indie side of the city.
Andrea’s friend, Dražen Goreta, showed me his many projects — all of which have to do with indie music, art and culture.
PS: I’m hiding something under my top… read on to see what’s underneath…
Dražen owns several music and nightlife venues, including The Beertija (Pavla Hatza 16). It’s a patio and pub covered in rock memorabilia, serving over 120 kinds of beers from around the world.
Inside, a wall of photos includes Courtney Love, covered with the signature of Lana Del Ray.
Dražen is passionate about indie and punk rock, and wants to create a space for music-lovers in Zagreb. He plans on building an “rocker hall of fame” with sculptures of underground musicians, like Joe Strummer of The Clash.
We also visited his Tvornica Kulture or Culture Factory (Šubićeva 2), an oasis of alternative rock in Europe. Bands like Japan’s Shonen Knife, Pixies, Public Image Limited, and The Mission have played here.
Doing my best Yoko Ono impression. There are three halls (with a capacity of 300, 600 and 1600), each designed for the best possible sound quality, as the logo hints.
In addition, there’s a sushi restaurant, bar, and outdoor cafe. Like at Warhol’s Factory, you’ll often find underground types hanging around.
Music fans always stop by Rockmark (Ulica Petra Berislavića 13), a basement filled with rocker clothes, books, and memorabilia. I wanted the David Bowie Dark Side poster.
Eco-conscious hipsters also love Brokula&Z, a local clothing label by famous marketing firm Bruketa&Zinic OM.
The undergarments and T-shirts are decorated with the “idealistic broccoli and snarky bird”, two characters inspired by the firm’s partners. (Zagreb photography by Eric Bergemann and Melissa Rundle.)
Dražen’s ventures extend to restaurants too. We ate lunch at Ribice i Tri Točkice (Preradovićeva 7/1), a seafood bistro seafood. In Croatia, the food is lighter and more ocean-based, as opposed to the meat-and-potatoes heft that characterizes Eastern Europe.
We began with a white-fish spread with olives, eaten on bread. I ordered sea queen, a juicy local fish that was de-boned at the table by the waiter. White wine and ice cream rounded out this perfect meal.
I adored the quirky, colorful, twee art by Vojo Radoičić displayed all around the restaurant.
Down the street, Dražen also owns an Italian trattoria, Tratoria Al Pitor (Bogovićeva ulica 3).
The distinctive art is also by Vojo Radoičić. Each table is hand-painted with a different charming image.
Now, I’m ready to lift up my shirt, and show you what’s under… or rather, who. It’s Miffy! (Yes, I have a lot of this bunny’s goods, including the Miffy designer lamp.)
I have Miffy nail art too, by Glam Nail Studio. This studio, based in Vancouver BC and specializing in Japanese nails, has won multiple awards for their work. You can see more cute pictures on LaCarmina Instagram and Tumblr.
What’s your impression of the music and underground venues in Zagreb, Croatia? Did you know the city had this alternative side?
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?
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.