¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨


Clowns and Whiskey

Somehow, March ended up being a whirlwind of events that all included some unholy combination of whiskey and clowns, and usually a little too much of both.

It all started with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Bingo, wherein nuns in drag make a general fuss about everything, while giving away fabulous prizes for bingo.

Sisters Bingo photos used with kind permission of Sheila Garvey.

Several of the sisters were beside themselves with admiration for my dashing male companions, so there was much shooing of frisky nuns away from my dear ones.

If you've never been to the monthly event, I highly recommend it for a rousing good time - just don't sit too close to the speakers. Shrieking nuns + nasty-tasting Johnny Walker = headache.

Following on the heels of Bingo was the delightful Spring Equinox Sideshow party a few weekends ago, an event packed with clowns, firedancers, and freaks of all stripes. Here's your Choklit with beloveds El Fudo and Miss M ~ in fact, the three March birthdays that led to so much swilling of whiskey.

And Stache found a bottle of absinthe to share with the lovely Pamela - whom we had only just met at Sisters Bingo a few nights before.

Having barely recovered from the Equinox Party, we spent a ridiculous weekend in the city at a whole host of parties, including Fou Fou Ha's new show, Out of Order: A Musical that Comes out of a Toilet, which was beyond hilarious - I think I still have the giggles.

Fou Fou Ha photos used with kind permission of Eric Gillet.

I'll never have my fill of those beautiful Fou's, they make me sparkle from my fingers to my toes. Well, the Fou's and one-third of Fudo's birthday bottle of Noah's Mill... heh.

Now what will April have in store for us?


CoutureLust: Amoelbarroco

I first encountered the stunning and intriguing Viveka, a.k.a. Brummella Brumaria, designer of Amoelbarroco, through her Etsy shop, and was instantly enamoured. Even more so when I found her Flickr site, with its deep archive of delectable photos.

Captivated, I went to her blog, and found it written in Spanish, which made sense, as she is based in Madrid. Though sadly, my own Spanish is far too pathetic to be able to read the entries, I enjoyed the pictures, and when I fed her bio through that clunky-but-entertaining Google translator engine, it yielded this delightful paragraph:

Steampunk pirate, robot recalcitrant scientific crazy part-time aesthete unparalleled, exquisite Baroque zombie art-nouveau, and lover of the crapulilla - Orientalism, Symbolism, Terror, times past, the vicissitudes of history and several anachronisms, dandybilly and carnivaliosa...

I'm sure it's not a perfect translation, but it made me very happy. I'm considering re-learning Spanish to follow her blog.

How would you describe yourself and your style of work?

I use to think about myself as a dilettante with a non-stop creative anxiousness and infected with some kind of quixotic behaviour. I love art, literature and history (that's why I studied Fine Arts) and, in my work, I use to "contribute" to them with some personal cosmogony and fantasy, altering it or showing my point of view of the past and anachro-aesthetics. I just want to work again and again about my perception of beauty, no mind which form it adopts. Now I channel all these ideas through designing clothing, but who knows if this is its final shape!

Where do you find inspiration?

As I've said before, mostly from art and history. I have my preferences, of course; baroque, rococo, Victorian, art nouveau and 80's are essential to me, but also of interest to me are diverse subjects such as medical imagery, romantic orientalism, contemporary and antique photography, puritan and religious tradition and imagery, comics, music and films, and many more! I find inspiration also in books, I love symbolism, decadent writers, horror literature, steampunk...I'm always reading something.

What do you do besides design amazing clothes?

Well, thanks so much for your comment :). Hehehe, apart from spending time with that strange gentleman I use to find by my side and hanging out with my dear freak friends in bizarre places, in the professional world, I work also in fashion as a teacher in a school, besides attending Amoelbarroco!

I'm also a kind of amateur photographer (mostly self-portraits), model for others sometimes, I enjoy very much this activity, and I REALLY love traveling, too, I think I would spend my life discovering new places.

What are three things that please you the most in the world?

Just three!! I think I can resume this in "having the possibility of doing whatever I like and want."

How did you get your start making clothes?

With my brand...maybe...by accident?? Hahaha, I begin this adventure working with another girl more experienced in this sector, but we decided not to work more together, so I decided to continue alone and I've been like that from a year and a half more or less with some friends as collaborators sometimes, I really appreciate their help and opinions. Anyway, in the past I made some designs for my closet, and always enjoyed working with image and making my own eccentric-styling and way to understand fashion. Also, when I was an art student I developed some art-fashion artifacts and constructions, and if I go back as a child I use to draw some girls with strange clothing and appearance, so I can say that always had a part of my thoughts moving in this direction.

What piece of work are you most proud of?

Hard to decide!! The most successful one is the "pirate-gondoliere" shirt which has an original illustration of Laura Wächter on the back (I always want to collaborate with her, she is a very talented person).

But I love specially the first men's shirt I made with my own hands and even "French couture"! There are some new designs that will be visible soon that I think are good stuff too.

Where can we find your line?

On the last times I worked mostly with direct orders from costumers, this is my favourite way of selling, but you can also find some garments (and sales) at my Etsy shop, or in Madrid in a couple of places: La Morgue, but there are a few products now (c/Espíritu Santo 2) or my permanent exhibition at L'showroom (c/Mejía Lequerica, 17, 2d).

Thank you, Viveka!

...Read the full interview...


Things That Please Me: Surreal TV

I'm one of those people who simply doesn't do television. But every once in a while a show makes it through the filters and captures my attention, and then I become addicted and have to watch every episode in all-night marathons. The most recent of these is Lars Von Trier's cult classic horror mini-series from the early nineties - Riget, or The Kingdom.

I haven't completed the marathon yet, but thus far I've been captivated enough by the bizarre and colorful characters, ridiculous plot twists, and dry moments of comedy to forgive the shaky claustrophobic camera work and indulgent B-movie gore. Besides, the fact that it's all in Danish makes it that much better.

Preceding Riget by a few years, and drawing frequent comparisons, is Stache's favorite TV show of all time - Twin Peaks. I somehow missed the phenomenon the first time around, but when it finally came out on DVD, I consumed it like candy. The unsettling snail-like pacing, the unabashed absurdity, and the droll humor all instantly endeared me to David Lynch's foray into the small screen.

I both love and hate the way Lynch makes you feel like you might be missing something deep, when in fact there is no answer - the truth is that it just doesn't make any sense at all. Twin Peaks reached levels of artfulness rarely seen before or since on television, and scores of rabid fans are still talking about it.

But perhaps my most beloved surreal TV show is HBO's Carnivàle, which certainly owes much to these earlier shows. But Carnivàle takes the top honors in my book for the stunning production values, and because, well, it takes place in a traveling carnival in the 1920's.

I have such appreciation for the painstaking way in which the creators immerse you in the world of the show. All of the extras look like living Dorothea Lange portraits. The opening title sequence takes my breath away every time. And the stunning art direction, gritty costuming, and luminous lighting lend a palpable sense of beautiful decay and doom every time you watch the show.

It seems shows like this always end poorly, or not at all, as in the case of Carnivàle, which was written as a seven-season show and canceled with a fist-clenchingly frustrating cliff-hanger after only two seasons, spawning desperate campaigns to bring it back from heartbroken fans. And they are all too rare - clearly the general public does not share my peculiar tastes.

So I'll have to wait, perhaps years, for the next time some rogue director wants to make a brilliantly baffling show to remind me that sometimes, TV can be worthwhile.


Bohemian Carnival and Hollis

Last weekend we finally managed to attend the "indie circus orgy" known as Bohemian Carnival. I took the opportunity to don my "Stripey Fraggle Klown" outfit (spot the Aubergine adornments!) and gather the gang to run off with the circus for a night. I even managed to tart up my lovely friend Grace, who had thus far not indulged in the type of festooned debauchery I'm prone to.

I was a wee bit disappointed with how many spectators in plain-clothes were in attendance, and not all the acts were to my fancy, but it was a rousing time nonetheless. Stache took some pictures of our beloved burlesque buffoons Fou Fou Ha performing, which was certainly the highlight of my evening.

We also saw Klown-Fi band Gooferman for the first time, which was a delightful spectacle... and there were some lovely aerial acts.

Photographer to the stars Mr. Nightshade caught me backstage with Mama Fou, sneaking a sip from the clever and handy guitar flask of Vegas the Klown.

Originally conceived by members of Circus Metropolus and nouveau acrobatics troupe Vau de Vire Society as a gathering for the Bay Area underground circus community, and denizens of Burning Man's Red Nose District, the event has been growing for the past year or so. Curly wigs off to the organizers for the wickedly good time!

As a final sad yet hopeful note on this circus-ish post, I'd like to mention the plight of Hollis, a woman from our beautiful community (that is, the Bay Area Circus Burner Freak Activist community, of course) who was in a dreadful motorbike accident in India, and is now in a coma. Her family and friends need to raise $150K to airlift her home for treatment. Read more about it on Coilhouse, and if you can donate at all, please do it here. And spread the word!