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Category Archive for Nightcrawling

Tokyo Gothic dance club nights! Midnight Mess Goth party 20th anniversary, DJ Sisen & Selia at Decabar, Shinjuku.

japan goths, gothic club night party midnight mess

2022 was a bizarre year… but on the bright side, Japan finally re-opened to travellers. It felt so good to be back in Tokyo’s alternative / Goth subculture and reunited with friends!

As luck had it, my visit (last September) coincided with the 20th anniversary of Midnight Mess — Tokyo’s longest-running Goth party. I’ve been haunting this Gothic club night since 2008, and my friend Mistress Maya (below) invited me to do a little book release celebration for my new The Little Book of Satanism at her party.

mistress maya kinbaku shibari rope tying goth clubs

Midnight Mess, Tokyo’s monthly Gothic/Industrial EBM club, has been running at various venues since 2002 (if you’re an OG like me, you’ll be nostalgic for the Club Marz Shinjuku days!). Mistress Maya, the talented mistress and DJ behind it all, pulled out all the stops for the nightclub’s 20th birthday — including a cyberpunk bondage show.

tokyo decadance party dj sisen performers club

Speaking of OGs… I also got to celebrate DJ Sisen’s birthday party at the new Decabar S bar in Kabukicho, in space-themed bash featuring Yukiro’s drag performance as Nattmara! Can you believe we’ve known each other since the MySpace era? (Did you put us in your Top 8 back then?)

dj sisen and selia seileen cybergoth japan tokyo djs

The Deca Bar S all-night party featured another old-school diva extraordinaire: Selia, who sang operatic enka and reunited with SiSen to perform as Seileen.

Read on for a “back to the future” blog about two Japanese Goth/alt events that have long been staples of my life and Tokyo’s underground: Midnight Mess and Tokyo Decadance.

lucien greaves girlfriend wife dating The Little Book of Satanism - satanic temple books

After being restricted from entering Japan for 2.5 years, it was a joy to be able to celebrate the release of my latest book at Midnight Mess. THE LITTLE BOOK OF SATANISM is now out — here is more info about it. Thank you for ordering it, sharing the news with friends, and leaving a review!

You can find The Little Book of Satanism on Amazon  Kindle (digital) ♡ Barnes and Noble ♡ Bookshop Simon & Schuster  ♡ Chapters/Indigo ♡ Amazon Canada ♡ Dymocks Australia and other retailers online. Or ask your local bookstore to order you a copy!

midnight mess longest running japanese goth party

A birthday party calls for balloons… Can’t believe it has been two decades since the start of Midnight★Mess! The Goth nightclub’s 20th anniversary party was held in a below-ground industrial space at Sakuradai Pool.

japan goth club kids drag queens fashion makeup

For twenty years, Midnight Mess has always brought in the kindest, most welcoming hosts and guests that love all things dark and decadent. That night, the MC was the scintillating Stefani St. Sl*t, with Julia  “werking” the door in otherworldly style.

(They both perform in Yukiro’s Haus von Schwarz — I’ll share more about the drag extravaganza later in this article!)

steampunk japanese clothing jewelry rings tokyo victorian

As always, Midnight Mess attracts all types of underground denizens, such as this steampunk gentleman with goggles and rings. (Mess photos by Joey Wong.)

goth bar tokyo cocktails gothic bars japan

I made my way to the Cyberpunk Bar, which was run by Gothic model Ruku Kuroi — love her corseted outfit.

japanese gothic lolita model corset dolly fashion models

One absinthe, please (the bar even had Mansinthe bottles). Maya and her crew always make the events feel magical by adding decorative touches like the fairy lights and maneki neko.

satanic band party tokyo japan satanism

The space was Satanic already, according to the poster on the wall… And it became even more so, as I was a “special guest” to do a book launch for my The Little Book Of Satanism! (Above is the flyer for the 20th anniversary Midnight Mess.)

satanic wine baphomet cider la cidrerie du golfe satan wines

Ruka, Maya and I wore designs by Kikirara Shoten, an indie label with “dark carnival” hats, corsets, bags, and other handmade creations. Designer Kiki Gotoh brought a “La Cidrerie du Golfe” French Baphomet cider, decorated with one of her black coffins, for the occasion.

tokyo tattoos japanese gothic tattoo

Midnight Mess has always been a gathering spot for Tokyo’s Goths. I was glad to see friends like Atsushi again after years apart — many of us had been frequenting Mess for over a decade.

the little book of satanism release party book tour

And as always, Midnight Mess is the place to meet fab new comrades (everyone here is friendly and eager to chat). The MC, Stefani, called me on stage to do a little presentation about my Satanism book — and officially launch it with a Hail Satan!

japanese kawaii gothic lolita black dress doll

One of the performers, Lolita K, poses with a doll and a black ruffled and bell-skirted dress with a bonnet.

tokyo alternative goth makeup artist cyber

There’s so much to experience at Midnight Mess — dancing to industrial EDM Goth music, enjoying video projections and the laser show, grabbing absinthe or cocktails at the bar, watching performers and musicians, or getting your makeup done in dramatic fashion by Hengenshi OLI (above).

mistress maya midnight mess goth tokyo japan nightclub

Here’s the lady of the night (Mistress Maya) about to take the stage. She wears a black veil and corset by Kikirara Shoten (in an upcoming post, I’ll take you inside this boutique).

Cyber rope Kinbaku with Live laser and visual

We watched a Blade Runner-inspired short video, which led to a jaw-dropping replicant kinbaku (Japanese rope bondage) demo with live laser by 100ch.

japanese shibari rope tying ropes

Since what feels like the beginning of time, Maya has been performing and teaching kinbaku / shibari, or Japanese rope tying.

tokyo blade runner cyber club bar

She bound her two victims with intricate knots, using rope that lit up in neon under the lasers.

weird japan subcultures alternative underground music parties

From steampunk fashion to accordion music, Midnight Mess is eternally a place to meet creative alt-Japan types, and be inspired.

la carmina birthday cake japan cute cakes

Another sweet touch that makes Midnight Mess so special — Maya brings out a cake for those celebrating birthdays that month. She included a heart for me, and for the event’s 20th anniversary milestone.

licking a barbie doll dolls

Vincent is a September baby, so he licked clean the doll that topped the cake.

Covenant concert in Tokyo, Japan. Gothika and 4dmode1 Goth band members at Tokyo Midnight Mess, Gothic nightclub event. DJ Sisen of Tokyo Decadance.

I hope these photos and stories convey why Midnight Mess is — and remains — such an extraordinary place to be. Maya’s legendary Tokyo Goth night has brought together so many of us over the years.

Here’s a blast from the past: snaps from a 2008 Midnight Mess! (You can spot Dr John Skutlin, Sisen, Yukiro, Covenant, “I am Sebastian” and others in there). The digital camera quality has come a long way since then, but Midnight Mess remains my favorite Gothic party in the known universe.

dj sisen selia seileen tokyo decadance

Speaking of other space-disco creatures of the night… Let’s continue the party at another Japanese alt/subculture space, Decabar S (run by Tokyo Decadance)! DJ SiSEN invited me to his birthday party, which he was hosting with long-time collaborator Diva Selia (DJ, operatic singer, and other half of his musical project Seileen).

nattmara die schwarze frau tokyo drag queen

And look who else was a featured performer… Yukiro Dravarious as Gothic drag queen, Nattmara! (That means “nightmare” in Swedish, quite fittingly for his devilish drag.)

In addition to performing regularly at Deca Bar S and other venues (like Dragula screenings at Eagle Blue in Ni-Choome), Nattmara runs regular drag queen / king events throughout Tokyo, with her Haus von Schwarz.

Decabar Super bar shinjuku golden gai kabukicho

“Galaxy greetings, cosmic kitties…” DJ Sisen’s party was themed after Space Channel 5, the intergalactic 1999 music video game (which arrived at the height of human civilization… Everything has been in collapse since ’99, if you ask me). Many wore Y2K / candy rave / cyber alien fashion themed after the stylish game.

pentagram spell witch book tome spells

Others wore Gothic fashion, and other Harajuku / subculture styles. How cute is Nattmara’s pentagram tome of friendly ghosts? (Speaking of the Devil, I was interviewed about my book and the revival of the Satanic Panic for Dazed Magazine.)

tokyo deca bar s performers

Over the years, Tokyo Decadance’s parties have been held in a variety of venues, and their own namesake bar has moved a few times. The current Decabar Super is in the heart of Kabukicho (down the stairs, in the basement of the Asahi building at 1 Chome−9−8 Shinjuku).

tokyo ladyboys party club decabar

Tokyo Decadance hosts regular alt and queer nights at Decabar S, such as a recent “Welcome to Pattaya” party.

casket of horrors japan drag queen performers events

The queen of the night got glammed up in the tiny (and rather precarious) backstage area behind the stage.

dj selia tokyo decadance dance club shinjuku

Outside, Selia and other DJs played sets that included anime songs. Guests in cyberlox and Lolita dresses bopped along to the music on the dance floor.

cyber japan subculture club harajuku fashion rave

While there is no dress code, you’re encouraged to dress up in creative fashion — from cute rave cat ears to devil horns and kimono.

nattmara yukiro drag queen performing dancing

And then, Yukiro took the stage as the deathly Nattmara. I’m proud of how far come her drag performances have come since our earliest days together.

tokyo japan drag queens clubs

Now, she runs the monthly Casket of Horrors –a queer cabaret featuring international artists — along with other drag queen events throughout Japan. There’s info about her next drag extravaganzas on her Haus von Schwarz page.

golden gai goth alien bar tokyo horror

Sisen brought his alien baby with him (looks like he wants food or cocktails from Decabar).

tokyo wildest craziest nightclub bar

I’ve also been going to Tokyo Decadance parties since 2008, when they were mostly held at Christon Cafe (RIP to the kitschy Jesus-themed restaurant). The events always bring in artists and creative types, dressed to the nines.

japanese gothic lolitas parties bars events

While Gothic and Sweet Lolita fashion isn’t as popular as it once was, you’ll still see Lolis at events like this one.

deca bar s decadance bar review tickets

A new and risky addition… If you pull this lever, you have to spend 20,000 yen on drinks for everyone!

japan satanic horns candy rave club kids

The bartenders are always smiling and full of multi-dimensional kandi energy.

tokyo teletubbies bag purse harajuku

True to the 1990s theme… Teletubbies made an appearance.

1980s 80s tokyo dance night club

Dance, dance, dance til you death-drop. The music ran until 6am, and as always, there were lots of amiable party animals on the dancefloor.

crazy tokyo bars clubs

Lots of original outfits and makeup for me to photograph. Both Selia and Sisen wore horns (a mix of Japanese oni and Satanic inspiration).

seileen selia sisen goth opera

Selia took the stage to bless us with her glorious operatic singing. I was moved to see her perform again after all these years — her presence is as powerful as when I first saw her. Later, she reunited with Sisen to perform tracks from their Gothic-industrial band, Seileen.

japanese witch witches singer

Naniwae Wami’s witchy singing was also out of this world. The amount of time and detail that went into her handmade costume, nails, makeup… wow!

center gai golden gai shinjuku entrance sign

Between sets, Nattmara and I went for a stroll through Kabukicho and Golden Gai, the “red light” and small bars districts of Shinjuku.

tokyo halloween bars pop up stores

We came across Halloween random-ness — love this about Tokyo.

rupaul's drag race japan contestants queens

Of course, the over 6 foot tall drag queen caused a stir in the streets. Quite a few men stopped to take selfies with her highness.

host boys signs kabukicho clubs

Kabukicho is the domain of host boys and host / hostess clubs — here are some of the latest neon signs.

shinjuku love hotel signs kabuki cho

And you can pop into one of the love hotels for an hour or so… They tend to have cheesy names and decor like: Hotel Labio, The Art of Time.

club science shinjuku tokyo visual kei jrock venue

Our nightlife superstar also runs events at Club Science and Club Heist in Shinjuku. It’s a concert venue for Visual Kei and J-rock bands, as well as her witch-themed Goth nights. You can also check out her next drag queen events, which are announced on the Haus von Schwarz Insta page.

haus von schwarz drag queen night

What a relief to see Tokyo’s Goth / alt nightlife blossoming again, after 2+ years of unease. My recent nightcrawls at Decabar and Midnight Mess were a much-need reminder of how life can and should be. Much more to come from my Japan reunion — so much has changed since I was last there.

Life is short, so let’s slay it in 2023 and onward. As Yukiro puts it, “Always forward, but never straight!”

Goth guide to Paris! Visiting the Catacombs skulls, Pere Lachaise Gothic vampire cemetery, Cantada II absinthe bar.

the purge kiss me mask, kimmy candy girl halloween costume

Kiss Me… if you want to get Purged!

Can you tell I’m already in a Halloween mood? I’m relieved that scary season is back — I always feel most “me” at this dark time of year.

To celebrate, I’m sharing my Gothic travel guide to Paris, France — including a visit to the Catacombs and famous Pere Lachaise cemetery.

And I also have a fun announcement… Blumhouse Productions is flying me to New Orleans, to be part of the Purge TV show and report from the set!

the purge election year kimmy, candy girl, masked purger

I’m sure you’ve heard of Blumhouse, as they’ve released some of the most terrifying horror movies in recent years. I’m a huge fan of The Purge, Paranormal Activity, Get Out, Insidious, Split, Happy Death Day, and the new Halloween (with music by John Carpenter, godfather of synthwave!)

Right now, Blumhouse and USA Network are filming season 2 of  The Purge TV show (one night a year, society becomes lawless — so you can pillage, kill and Purge to your heart’s delight). They’re flying me to New Orleans, where the series is being shot, to go behind the scenes. I’m also going to be in an episode, as an extra: you’ll see me in a big finale scene.

purge movie mask, kiss me, election year purge masks

(I got so excited about this opportunity that I decided to cosplay as Kimmy, the evil candy girl from “The Purge: Election Year!” She wears this bloody “Kiss Me” mask as she wreaks havoc. I took a plain white masquerade mask, and covered it in white caulking, paint… and real blood?)

Ready for the Commencement? You’re invited to follow along my Instagram @lacarmina to see my horrific adventures in New Orleans, with The Purge TV show! 

elegant designer witch costume, witches hat

I’ll also be visiting Boston and Salem, MA — center of the 17th century witch trials. Can’t wait to get my Witch on, in one of the most Gothic places in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for stories from Salem, a place I’ve wanted to see for years. (Photo from last year’s Netflix Spellman House for the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV show.)

And I have two more trips coming up in October… I’ll reveal more soon. This is going to be the best Halloween ever, muahaha.

human skulls paris catacombs

Until then, I’m thrilled to release my Gothic travel guide to Paris, France! 

Let me take you to the darkest, spookiest places in the city, including The Catacombs of Paris. (I know many of you have been asking me to cover this ossuary, for years.) We’ll encounter thousands of human skulls and bones…

bat tomb grave pere lachaise cemetery

… and hunt for bats and vampires in Père Lachaise Cemetery. (Above is a devilish winged symbol I found on a tomb.)

Finally, we’ll unwind with a glass or several of absinthe, at Cantada II — the heavy metal absinthe bar that Anthony Bourdain visited. 

jacques sirgent vampire tour pere lachaise cemetery

Let’s begin our Gothic tour of Paris with a stroll through Père Lachaise Cemetery.

The Paris Tourism Board connected me with Jacques Sirgent, vampirologist and author. He also curates le Musée des Vampires, a collection of obscure vampire objects, and runs walking tours that show the darkest aspects of the famous graveyard.

gothic spooky haunted paris france

Père Lachaise Cemetery opened in 1804, and stretches over 110 acres. The burial ground is named after Louis XIV’s confessor, and is the final resting place of many famous artists — including Melies, Proust, Moliere, Ingres, and Jim Morrison.

jesus statue arms removed desecrated

Jacques Sirgent knows every corner of cemetery, and has uncovered its most haunting secrets. He showed us desecrated graves — like this one, with Jesus’ arms removed — and places where he found the remains of twisted, occult rituals.

bats vampires pere lachaise paris

Pere Lachaise is a Goth wonderland. We wandered past decaying flowers under stone crosses, and mausoleums guarded by bats.

(My silk cropped jacket is by Charli Cohen).

bat tombstone paris pere la chaise

Jacques pointed out dark details, such as this figure with what appear to be horns and batwings. The 19th century French mausoleums are beautiful to behold.

paris oscar wilde grave art deco

Don’t miss the grave of Oscar Wilde, featuring a 1914 sculpture by Jacob Epstein. This winged deity in motion is inspired by Wilde’s poem The Sphinx. (Officials had to put up a glass barrier, as too many people were kissing the stone).

leduc vampire grave tomb, Musée des Vampires paris

Jacques told us tales of his strange discoveries and theories at Pere Lachaise. He suggests that this coffin-shaped grave for Leduc is linked to Vlad Tepes, the real Count Dracula. Fittingly, it’s marked with bats, always in the dark, and has no cross.

(I’m wearing a Jolie dress by Parisian designer Valfre.)

haunted goth pere lachaise vampirologist

If you’re visiting Paris, be sure to wear your finest mourning garments, and hunt for bats and vampires at Père Lachaise.

visit catacombs paris tunnels

For a more morbid attraction, you’ve got to make a pilgrimage to the Catacombs of Paris!

The catacombs can only hold 200 visitors at a time; book a ticket online in advance, or arrive at off-hours to avoid waiting in a long line. A head’s up: you have to walk down 131 steps, and up 112 at the end, so the site may not be accessible for everyone.

paris ossuary haunted scary goth catacomb

It doesn’t get any spookier than this subterranean collection of the dead. The Paris Catacombs hold the skeletal remains of more than six million people!

french drawing history catacombs origins

In the late 1700s, Paris’ cemeteries were over-crowded, and rotting corpses were spilling out. As a solution, officials unearthed, blessed, and stacked mounds of bones in the city’s former limestone mines.

The Goths of the 19th century enjoyed hanging out in this bone repository, as you can see in the drawing above.

human remains skull bones paris underground

As you creep through the Catacombs, you’ll be surrounded by tall stacks of skulls and bones. I felt quite at home among the dead, but the “dry random bits” at the top made me shiver.

catacombs paris deaths stealing skulls

“Dem bones” are rather artfully arranged. Just when you think you’ve reached the end of the tunnel, you’ll step into yet another passage filled with femurs and crania.

creepy paris skull collection catacombs tickets

I learned that only a small area of the Catacombs are open to the public. Some urban explorers known as “Cataphiles” illegally sneak into secret entrances, and hang out in the dangerous restricted zones.

heavy metal rock bars paris france

The ghoulish theme continued that evening at Cantada II, a heavy metal absinthe bar in the 11th arrondissement.

I learned of Cantada II from Anthony Bourdain’s Paris episode (RIP). With blood red walls, and creepy zombie / monster art everywhere, this was my kind of place.

anthony bourdain paris absinthe bar cantadaii

Cantada II has dozens of absinthe bottles from around the world, which you can order on the rocks, in a cocktail, or served with a flaming sugar cube and water drip from a vintage vessel.

cantada ii absinthe bar paris liqueur goth

Don’t expect a ritzy fin-de-siecle environment: Cantada II blasts heavy metal music, and draws in a gritty alternative crowd.

Since I was in Paris, I stuck to French absinthes including La Coquette, and L’Entete. Everything is well priced, and there are beers and spirits as well.

paris gothic cabaret, absinthe bars cantada ii

Creep past the viking skeleton, and enter a crypt that doubles as a performance space. You might encounter burlesque, pole or tribal dancers at “Cabaret du Neant,” or hipster singing hard rock karaoke.

So happy I got to experience Cantada II absinth bar, and all these spooky sites, while traveling in Paris.

sakura cherry blossoms goth punk outfit

Since I’m in a Halloween mood, we’ll end with a few “batty” outfit posts that I hadn’t shared on the blog. Sourpuss Clothing sent me this Gothic bat baseball tee, faux fur leopard print jacket, and black mini-skirt.

sourpuss bat baseball tee tshirt

I paired it with a bone-shaped hair clip, Jeffrey Campbell platforms, and a Miffy purse from Hong Kong. (The Miffy lamp is from Mr Maria.)

goth punk pinup girl clothing

This Sourpuss faux fur cheetah print jacket is a vibe, no? Love animal prints, and the motto on their long-sleeve top: Support your local working stiff, Monster Mortuary!

leopard print faux fur gothic jacket

Release the bats… and bunnies! Here’s the head-to-toe look, which is perfect for fall weather (so happy it’s no longer so hot outside). Hail Miffy, my favorite cute mascot, as you well know.

goth black bucket hat, lack of color

This summer, I didn’t go anywhere without this Lack of Color bucket hat.  The cotton-canvas material is light and foldable, and the black color matches everything. It’s perfect for taking along on a day out, and can be worn with the brim pushed up or down.

synthwave tshirts turboluv retrowave outrun clothes

What I wore to see Perturbator in concert. Top by Turboluv, a synthwave / outrun / retrowave clothing label. The pharoah leggings are by Cryptic Apparel.

laurence and chico cafe furry colorful chairs

I paid a return visit to the Laurence and Chico cafe in downtown Vancouver. This time, I got to sit in a different fuzzy critter chair in the whimsical high fashion cafe.

hail mary's bar vancouver mary kitsch

I also checked out Hail Mary’s Vancouver, a kitschy theme bar with sacrilegious cocktails and Virgin Mary decor all over.

arc du triomphe at night

Adieu to Paris for now… here’s a final look at the Arc du Triomphe, lit up at night.

I hope you enjoyed my spooky, alternative guide to the city. For other tips (including museums, where to stay, and what to eat), you can consult my first Paris travel article here. A bientot, Paris.

the purge season 2 poster god mask usa network

“This is not a test.” I’m truly off to get Purged!

Check out my Instagram @lacarmina posts and stories starting today, to see what I get up to, on the set of The Purge TV show in New Orleans. It’s going to get bloody… and you’re going to love every second of it.

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