Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Is there such a thing as a cheerful Goth?

One thing I can say that has attracted me to the Gothic genre is the seriousness behind it.

It doesn't matter if it's a photo, a person, or a story; serious and somber = Gothic, in my humble opinion.
When it came to heroes, I preferred Heathcliff to Mr. Linton. My all time favorite Gothic Hero/villian is from the 1994 Movie, Wuthering Heights, starring Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff.

Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff, 1994

Spooky, yes. Scarey, Hell Yes. He was one scarey dude. But SEXY as hell. Thus, the attraction, for me.
Dracula, serious and scarey. Lestat, serious, somber and scarey.  Mr. Rochester, serious and somewhat dangerous, moody to the point of exasperation. Yes, these are the literary Gothic heroes who made my heart throb and my soul cling to the dark half.  Even Darth Vader, yes, please, in his younger days as Annikan, before he was deformed and totally corrupted.  I must say, I even fell for the Dark spiderman, when good old Peter Parker became goth for a short time in Spiderman Three. My heart sang. Yes, yes,
a vast improvement!!! That Spiderman was not the kicked dog, he had attitude. I liked it, despite the atrocious character change for our sunny, good boy next door hero. I know, I know, Peter Parker is a good boy next door, he's supposed to be sweet and endearing--but the change, no matter how temporary, was refreshing for my little goth heart.

This version of Spiderman/Peter Parker, was edgier, more alpha male and attractive. He knows what he wants and he goes after it, end of story. He doesn't take any bull from people anymore, he stands up for himself. But, alas, he had to revert to the original version of nerd/inept uncertain hero.

So, my point in all of this is the question? Can Gothic be sunny and happy, not dark and spooky and serious?  I don't have the answer, but I ask you, dear readers, to comment on this question.

I have two images that I'd like to present as examples.  The first is Howard, from The Big Bang Theory.
Howard is a geek, a loser, and sometimes his own worst enemy. On an episode, they had him dress like a goth in order to get girls (his continual mission on the show).  Howard as a Goth was sort of interesting. It was a vast improvement, and even I might feel compelled to have a drink with him at the Goth bar.
With his eyes outlined in kohl, dressed in black, with his hair done in a less ditzy fashion, he's sort of hot.

Howard and Raj of Big Bang Theory

Until he opens his mouth!  Then he's just silly.

Now, then, for those of you who love Abby on NCIS, yes, she is the most wonderful character on the show, for me. I absolutely love Abby Scuito. I wish I had her as a friend. She's a goth, dressed for work in a way that most of us could not, (that in itself is a reason to be in awe of her0. She's a scientist, and she listens to Heavy Metal music at work. Wow, it's a wonderful life!!!!  Wish we could all be our true selves all the time and everyone loved us in spite of it.

Abby is awesome. I'm so glad we have a Goth representative on prime time TV. Only problem is, she's so darn cute. Yes, CUTE.  Lovable. It works, mind you. Very well. But in the Gothic traditions, I ask you, isn't it something of a oxymoron?  The Cute, smarmy, peppy, cheerful Goth?  Hmmmm.

I don't know what to think. I seriously take umbrage with the depiction on the one hand, as a tradition Goth from an early age. And yet, I am so enamored with her character. She's just so lovable!

Abby Scuito of NCIS

And there is the problem. Lovable Goth?  Hmmm. What will they think up next? Ah, yes, lovable serial killer, a la  Dexter.

Gothic has been dark and twisty, or rather, dark, mysterious, hinting of danger, somber, grave, intellectual and romantic for centuries.  Now we have pink skull sweatshirts and T-shirts that we can put on our babies at Toys R Us, and little pink skeletal dolly images on back packs. Sort of sad, yet cute.

I still love the darker side of Goth.
And I like pink, too.
Pink and Black go well together.
Not so sure about this softer side of Goth that has emerged in recent years.
A Cheerful, perky, lovable Goth?

Give me the dark, edgy, dangerous verison, please.  Edward from Twilight is serious, all the time. He hardly smiles, hence, his appeal. The same with Annikan Skywalker in the last Star Wars, he was dark, disturbed, troubled, and it was so appealing.  I like my Gothic Heroes full of angst and gravity.  It's why I'm attracted to the genre in literature.  But, everyone has their tastes and their opinions.

Please, feel free to post your comments on this bizarre new infusion of soft, cheery and warm fuzzy pink skulls to the Gothic world. 

Chills to you,

Lilith Bloodrose

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why Gothic?  What's the attraction?

For my first post, I wanted to share a little bit about myself before I post discussions on Gothic Art, Literature and Architecture and music. So here goes:

I always knew I was different. From the time I was a child, watching The Addams Family--no--not the movies made in the '90's , but the old TV show.  I loved Morticia. I thought she was so elegant and beautiful with her long black hair and long black dress, so pale and so lovely. I had to be about six or seven years old.

Morticia Addams, my mentor at age seven

Little did I know that I was falling for the dark side, even as a child. I developed a fascination for the beauty of the dark Goth.

The dark side of romance also was blooming in my faint little heart. Mortica and Mr. Addams were intriguing. His passion for her, no matter the situation. Mr. Addams worshipped Mortica as a goddess extraordinaire. I was enthralled by their love play, and in later years that simple admiration would blossom into a writing career where I created dark, sinister Gothic Heroes.
Thank you, Mortica and Mr. Addams.

My second role model was Lily Munster. Again, dark, elegant, beautiful.
Normal, in my way of thinking.  Long black hair, pale skin, so ethereal.  If kids are influenced by what they watch on TV, then I was influenced as a child by Mortica Addams and Lily Munster. 

As a teen, I was drawn to the dark side. The bad boys then were the Vampires. Louis and Lestat of Anne Rice fame.  These men made my teen heart throb while others were fascinated with the bubble gum good guy types. 

As I look back, I realize that I was attracted to the Gothic genre before I even completed elementary school, before Goth became a term describing kids with black lipstick, badly dyed hair and dog collars.  I was Goth before it was a label. I didn't wear black lipstick as a teen, or black nail polish. I just read dark books, and was attracted like a moth to a flame to anything dark and creepy.

Cemetery Crypt Special Effects, Copyright 2006 Lilith Bloodrose
 In college, I was also set apart from my peers. I was older than the average college student, as I went back to college to pursue a degree in art with an emphasis in photography. What really set me apart as an art student was my dark side, not my age. I created dark works for my assignments, and was labeled as weird and dark by all the happy, cheerful 18-20 year olds who didn't see the ethereal beauty in the cemetery photographs I shot (above), or the gargoyle photo I created with our pinhole camera assignment. (Below)
Gargoyle, Pinhole Camera Shot. Copyright 2004  Lilith Bloodrose
 I did not fit in with the 'normal' crowd, and I took that as a blessing. As an artist, and a mature adult, I wanted to embrace my fascination for the dark side. My photography teacher, bless her, was the only one who understood my need to create dark images, and she encouraged me to follow my muse. Fellow students, however, labeled me is dark, strange, odd, weird--not much had changed since high school, despite having married and having children. I was still dark inside. Not dark and twisty, like Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy, but dark, and happy to be so.

So, dear reader, I am a Goth, born that way. Not a phase, not after so many years. I love gothic art, architecture, and literature. I read classic Anne Rice, and also Anne Radcliffe--for those of you who do not know, Anne Radcliffe wrote Gothic Novels that were popular in the 1790's, long before Anne Rice hit the scene with her 18th century Lestat.  I love Ozzie, and Evanescence.  I like Jessica Galbreath's Gothic watercolor fairies. I like to walk through cemeteries, looking for beautiful sculptures of angels and wistful women. I love Tim Burton's works, Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.

If there is one thing that's true about those who are truly Gothic at heart, is that it's a lonely existence. You don't tell your cheerleader friends, lest they step away from you. You don't tell your in-laws, who never liked you to begin with. So with that in mind, please feel free to connect with me on this blog or on my facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lilith-Bloodrose/276490345732977

So, why Gothic? I opened with a question, and I'm not sure of the answer. Why am I attracted to Gothic things? I don't know, maybe it's in the blood?  All I know is that after so many years, it's just who I am.

I welcome my fellow followers of darkness to connect to each other and to stand proud yet different as an alternate genre.

Chills to you,

Lilith Bloodrose 2012