It’s like the Skinny Puppy version of I Dream of Jeanie

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Last night was my first experience at seeing Gothic Bellydance. In a word: wow! In another word: awesome! It was a last-minute plan that turned into a wonderful, fun evening.

The event was at a weird sort of sprawling club in SE that had a bar up front, a karaoke room in the back, and a big floor and bar even further back. I am told that the venue was normally a lesbian bar, but it was decked out like any random goth/industrial club. As I mentioned to Conrad in an SMS, the graffiti in the men's room was quite interesting. I am not sure if it normally looked that dark and gothy inside, but it was well done. Well, except that there was a green laser shooting Spirograph patterns at a disco ball which ended up covering the walls with lasery bits of rainbow sprinkles (assuming someone took your canister of rainbow sprinkles and used a tweezer to remove all but the green ones.)

I was a bit nervous about the first act, wondering to myself “is the whole show going to be like this?” A girl wearing a skimpy pirate outfit–a REALLY skimpy pirate outfit–came out with ropes around her legs. Punk music came on, she whipped out a gigantic knife, and then she started to hack apart the ropes. Once free, she started to shake her T&A at the crowd. Looking around, I was relieved to discover the rest of the crowd was as confused as I. My comment at the time was, “where's the pole? Shouldn't she be doing that while spinning around a pole?”

Fortunately that ended, people politely clapped, and then the rest of the acts were awesome. Gothic bellydance is a strange sort of thing. First off, they have some great music. Second, all of the costumes are a freaky-cool fusion of old and new. While the cuts of everything are what you would traditionally think of when thinking of what bellydancers wear, the colors and materials are all goth/industrial–everything black, things studded and spiked, leather, velvet, etc. The whole atmosphere is a lot more fun, too. Most everyone there was typically a 20- or 30-something just looking to dance and have fun, not rigidly conform to the proper dance styles and moves and all that.

The first pair of girls did stuff to Portishead and something that wasn't, but could easily have been mistaken for, Front 242. The second pair came out wearing these Edward Scissorhands style gloves, but instead of scissors, they had a big wire extending from each finger–about the length of, and a little smaller around than, a chopstick. There were big bulbous things at the end of the wires, which I naturally assumed acted like the round tips on fencing swords. The danced around and did cool fingery things, some of which gave me flashbacks to the villainess in Captain Eo. Next, a hooded girl came out with a candle and lit the tips of the wires on fire!!! They started dancing around with fiery fingers. The whole thing looked incredibly cool. I was later informed that the dance moves themselves were a little substandard, but I did not noticed because, really, who cares about anything else when there's FIRE!!!

Eventually, I stopped channeling Beavis/Cornholio. Kim's roommate danced a later to one of my two favorite Juno Reactor songs. She was absolutely full of energy and you could tell she was having a great time. Not counting my natural affinity toward anything with fire, she was hands-down the best act there.

There were a few more acts, but I am not sure I know/remember enough to comment on their dancing, style, costumes, and whatnot. Musically, there were a few songs I did not recognize, some instrumental Nine Inch Nails, and a different Juno Reactor song.

When all of the performances were over, the dance floor was open and the DJ started playing some crappy techno. For a while, there, nobody was on the dance floor. I am surprised the DJ didn't notice that crappy music==empty dance floor. I think a few people eventually realized that the music situation would not improve and decided to dance anyway. Oh, and somewhere in there was a piñata full of superballs. I refrained from collecting any, as I still have about 500 in the desk drawer at work that I am trying to figure out devious things to do with.

So, yeah–it was a fun night, but I was dead tired this morning. Fortunately, many people are out at trade shows or vacations so it does not matter as much.

Posted in: Dear Diary Portland

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