Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nihon NY Interviews Voltaire About Japanese Influence In His Work

Not everyone realizes just how much Japanese Culture and art has influenced Voltaire's fillms, art, comics, toys, and many other aspects of the wonderful madness that is Voltaire.  He started very young as a stop motion animator, for his own pleasure, but grew into a love of similar art forms and many themes and approaches that he discovered in Japan.  He based his Graphic Novels largely on Japanese themes, art, and anime with a specific director as a role model.  Take a look at this interview to learn about this facinating side of the musician and artist.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Voltaire Does Dallas

Voltaire… Even the name conjures up figures of the past during the period of the “Enlightenment” that were both famous and infamous for their efforts to tear down accepted dogma and replace it with absolute freedom to question everything including calling on God directly to prove his own worth.  Well, this Voltaire doesn’t wear a powdered wig or fine linens and comes off more like the Devil’s PR man, or maybe a devilishly charming used car salesman with a “hell” of a sense of humor, but he is incredibly entertaining whatever century you think he comes from.  Voltaire is a favorite at many conventions, especially those linked with Steampunk, Goth Culture, or pretty much anything counterculture or kinky, but he also does rather expansive musical tours (with the "skeletal Orchestra"), and really clever music videos.  He is a talented musician, but best known for his total sense of irreverent humor and the macabre in his lyrics, concepts, and general presentation in pretty much everything he does.

When  I learned he was going to be playing at “The Church” Goth Night at the Lizard Lounge in Dallas, Texas , which Voltaire refers to as “his home away from home”, I cleared my schedule, for that night at least.  I wasn’t going to miss this!  Voltaire is, in a word, utterly charming.  That, combined with his evil grin, while singing songs about  coupling with zombie prostitutes and how much he enjoys being “evil” certainly makes one do a double take on many different levels.  For a moment you start to believe maybe he is pretending to lie to make the lies seem more believable, but in the end, he just doesn’t feel very evil, so it all makes you laugh, and dance, and sing a long with the music!  What a mind F___!

Voltaire came on almost an hour late, just like the last show of his I went to, but I observed the crowd carefully, and instead of acting annoyed about it, their excitement just seemed to build.  He played and sang most of his best known favorites as well as some fairly new material I hadn’t heard before, and at one point, pretended (or not-who knows) to forget the lyrics and had the audience to sing part of one song, which most of them knew the words to, while he remembered where he was in that piece.  It all seemed like hanging out with your favorite local demon.  Really.  Utterly charming.

Keep in mind, the only demons I have ever encountered, were not at all charming, and rest assured, we didn’t do much hanging out together.  In fact it always got quite ugly.  That’s why this whole bizarre act seems so surreal and fascinating!

It was easy to tell who his long time fans were, as opposed to the newcomers to his personal brand of madness, and not just because they could remember the lyrics to some songs better than the performer, but because the items that put a touch of shock or at least surprise on the faces of a few audience members (even in a goth club believe it or not!) simply delighted the others.  He also performed some songs from his new album BiTrektual which pokes fun at Star Wars, Star Trek, and other sci-fi topics with extreme irreverence.

At one point, I realized that while very few acts can keep the modern attention deficit, video game addicted Americans, focused without at least three performers or more on stage at all times, you totally forget that it’s just Voltaire and his guitar.  He fills the room so completely with his macabre sort of charm, that you just don’t need anyone else.  Maybe that’s why there was such a long line to get in for his show, and staff were concerned that their auditorium might not be large enough for his show at the Steampunk World’s Fair.

If you ever get a chance to see and hear this man (or whatever he is) perform, do like I did, clear your schedule, and make it happen!  This should go on your list of things to do before you die this time around.  You won’t regret it.  We all need a bit of the bizarre, the macabre, and the strange in our life.  If one removes all the mystery, life becomes sterile, and so… well… normal.  Ugh!  Voltaire helps to keep the magic of the mysterious, dark, and unfathomable still alive, so treat yourself to a bit of happy madness and go hear him perform.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Eyed Doll's "Dirty" Album Concert and Release Party : A Review

One Eyed Doll finally achieved a lifelong dream with this album "Dirty", which is primarily being released as an truly original 33 rpm vinyl record, but also has a digitally mastered CD version for those fans not fortunate enough to have traditional equipment to play vinyl today. T hey produced an excellent quality, old style recording on vinyl, done in the true fashion of the greats of old!  As such, they felt a really big event was needed to celebrate this as well as to celebrate their return to performing a bit more often again in their beloved Austin, Texas.  They have been on the road touring so much that their Austin fans haven't seen them much lately, which was a big change from such frequent local performances in the previous years.

The venue selected was Club 606, which is a small live show club named after it's own street address on 7th street in the music district of downtown Austin.  It's an interesting bare bones, concrete and steel club decorated with blacklights, local performer posters,  a nice bar, and colorful people.  The stage is somewhat small, but adequate for smaller bands, and the smoke machine was more than enough for the size of the club.  The smoke was primarily used to highlight an excellent laser light display that showed throughout the concert.  In short, many aspects of the club and setting were like walking into an unusually well equipped live show house during the peak days of hard rock when vinyl was still king!

The show started with a band called Brother's Grymm featuring some decent guitar riffs and a hard rock sound with the singer delivering lyrics rap style.  After that came on a band called Sinsored who did more Industrial type screaming out the lyrics.  Finally, what we had been waiting for, One Eyed Doll' Junior came on stage and from out of the darkness, a lone guitar began to play.

This dramatic off stage guitar solo continued until finally Kimberly burst onto the stage to an enthusiastic crowd partway through the number while still playing the whole time.  The set list was open to vote by fans, (which happened in advance online) as a gift to them after so long on the road.  As such it actually had more classic songs than the new material, but with a 3 hour show there was plenty of time for both.  Kim told the fans that they planned to play until they dropped, and they very nearly did.  It was obvious that Kim and Junior played their hearts out at every number.  After the first hour, maybe two, Kim would often be panting for breath (the smoke machine made it hard to breathe and she rocks with extreme athletic prowess!) sipping water, and asking fans what they wanted to hear next as they had already exhausted the set list.

In several songs, fans were brought on stage to act out various roles in the song, complete with toy unicorn or dragon hobby horse, and other madness while Kim screamed out lyrics like the hardest of the hard in true metal form.  It is this extreme contrast shifting from a sweet sesame street like character to a heavy death metal queen at a split second notice that make One Eyed Doll shows so funny, so thrilling, and so utterly fascinating to watch and be a part of.

At one point Kim got some of the heavy metal fans got so excited they starting trying to create a mosh pit in the middle of the crowd.  The club wasn't big enough to make space for that without slamming into the majority of the fans who were not interested in moshing, especially since some of the fans present were under age including a couple of very young children.  Unfortunately the venue did not stop the moshers from slamming into other fans, so the fans got the little ones up out of the way, and dealt with the situation.  While some people left, most stayed and  formed a wall of elbows which eventually deterred the four overly testosteroned moshers.  This shows both, that One eyed Doll's stage shows really are true heavy metal and that her fans are an unusually tight knit, loyal, and fearless group willing to fend off anything to see them perform!

While the on stage style is very hard core metal rock, the albums tend to be very dark rock ballads that are incredibly beautiful musically and wonderfully strange and twisted in terms of lyrics.  On stage both come through as the lyrics are clearly just as strange and just as dark albeit harder to pick out when delivered in the heaviest of metal styles.  It is critical, though, that the stage shows have this blending of extremes.  Not only that, but many fans like that onstage mixture of extreme flavors, sweet with sour, and salty with bitter, (rather like a fine marguerita) as well or better than the albums.  As such, fans with good to professional grade cameras and video equipment were asked to attend and help put together a true live performance video, so that this gritty, hard, weird and wonderful live show experience can be made available to fans around the world even when One eyed doll can be with them in person   I, for one, am very much looking forward to seeing this when it is done.

After two and a half hours, Kim announced that they wanted to wrap up so there would be time for a longer than usual meet and greet after the show.  The usual, and trademark, mandatory encore went off a little too smoothly, with Austin fans.  You know.  The one that comes to one lucky victim selected, sort of at random from the audience to receive the privilege of Kim's goth-dominatrix literal slap to the face that is their trademark should the audience fail to be enthusiastic enough when pleading for an encore.

Aside from that, the overly enthusiastic moshers, and the smoke machine making it hard for the performer to sing (but made for spectacular light shows… really!), it was pretty much perfect show!  It was perfect, anyway, just exactly as it was, in that sweaty little bar, with all the smoke, the heavy emotions, and the tension, the crowd.  It was exactly what it was supposed to be to put you in just the right place and time for the very old school, hard core, Vinyl record album “Dirty” to debut!

I would like to close with where I started, by repeating the very brief, sleep deprived, but heartfelt thoughts I posted to my personal blog when I had just arrived home after a road trip with Paulo, the Dallas Ft Worth area street team leader which ran all morning, the day in Austin, and the road trip from 3 am to sunrise back from the show:

Near the very end, when it was mostly just a handful of street team members still waiting to see her (we let the other fans go ahead of us) , she [Kim Freeman] was finally overcome and had to take a few minutes alone to re-hydrate and get heat and dehydration related headache and nausea under control.  The fans expressed love and concern which was returned during that time, through the door of her green room.  She then came out as cheerful as ever to wish the last of us goodbye and sign anything needing autographs. 

 [In fact she even cracked jokes about it not being real “Rock N Roll” unless somebody pukes]  

The terms that come to mind for the entire event are fun, funny, intense, grueling, intimate, and deeply personal!  It was everything it was meant to be and perfectly matches the entire theme of the album it was designed to release.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Steampunk Italia- an Interview

Interview with Steampunk Italia (via http://doctorfantastiques.com)

Steampunk is a global phenomenon.  The attention usually goes to the UK when it comes to European Steampunk, but sometimes it’s forgotten that there’s an entire continent involved as well.  There are several hot spots for the movement in Europe, and the fashionable and creative Italians are…

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Repost of: Hoist the Colors High via Doc Fantastique

Hoist the Colors High (via http://doctorfantastiques.com)

In recent months, I read an article by James Schafer and Kate Franklin of Parliament & Wake, entitled “Why Steampunk Still Matters.” Following an unrelated article I had written being picked up on the community Facebook page they co-administrate with others, Mr Schafer invited me to offer my thoughts…

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Voltaire Concert tonight in Dallas, Texas!

Headed down to "The Church" night at the Lizard Lounge in Dallas, Texas for the Voltaire concert tonight! "Singing death death death death devil devil evil evil songs"

Voltaire is one of the most popular, most fun, and most full of dark comedy of all the musical performers at Steampunk Events.  We are so pleased to have him here in Dallas tonight.  

It seems many Goths, Steampunks, Pagans, Witches, Vampyres, and Therians will be out tonight!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Psyche Corporation Donates Soundtrack to a J-Rock Fan Project

Radha BloodRose shared a link.
Yesterday near Irving

North American Revolution helped promote this birthday for project for Kamijo [lead singer and producer for Versailles Philharmonic Quintet - Visual Kei J-rock band from Tokyo] in cooperation with KamiSpanish and some independent fans. The [soundtrack] music is from a group I help promote, Psyche Corporation, used legally with their permission. I am a member of their Southern street team in the US. I hope you enjoy it! My deepest thanks to Psyche Chimere for permission to use her beautiful and exquisite music! We hope you enjoy it!

KAMIJO's Birthday Project 2012
Well, [Kamijo]  maybe this isn't all your fans in the world but it is a lot of people who want to wish you a happy birthday and we hope you have a great day! We love you!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Asking the Right Questions About Steampunk

It all starts with asking the right questions (via http://doctorfantastiques.com)
“One does not simply define Steampunk.” -Captain Theo, Fortune’s Ember It seems like everyone is doing it lately. Writing, or making a panel, or in some other fashion, trying to define and explain what Steampunk is. What it means, what it stands for, what it includes. I have done it, as part…

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Repost of Social Justice Begins At Home via Doc Fantastique

“Social Justice begins at home” (via http://doctorfantastiques.com)

Perhaps no truer words have been uttered in the course of America’s history. What many may find surprising is that the quote taken as the title here is from none other than James Couzens, Treasurer of the Ford Motor Company in 1914. Certainly the era of the utterance held much in the way of promised…

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Aftermath of the Dirty Album Release Party and Concert

I am still sufficiently sleep deprived from our street team road trip down for the concert and back the same night, that this is going to be short, but to the point, with a more in depth review tomorrow of the One Eyed Doll concert and “Dirty” album release party (also Junior’s Birthday party).   What was most worth mentioning, was that unlike the very short 30 minute sets available as time slots that are often all that is available when One Eyed Doll is on tour, they performed and heavily interacted with the audience for a solid three hours.

At the very beginning, Kimberly announced her intention to perform until she dropped!  At one point it looked like she was going to truly play until she dropped, between the heat of the sold out venue, the extremely athletic style she performs in on stage, and the incredibly thick fog of the smoke machine which was being used to display the beautifully intense laser light show around her, but she finally stopped after three hours stating, that she wanted to make at least an hour available for the meet and greet.  She actually made it over an hour with fans, after nearly exhausting herself on stage, and spending an unusually generous amount of time with each her adoring fans from the Austin area.  They had not seen them as much as usual due to their incredibly grueling tour schedule with a large number of other fans over the last 18 months.

Near the very end, when it was mostly just a handful of street team members still waiting to see her (we let the other fans go ahead of us) , she was finally overcome and had to take a few minutes alone to re-hydrate and get heat and dehydration related headache and nausea under control.  The fans expressed love and concern which was returned during that time, through the door of her green room.  She then came out as cheerful as ever to wish the last of us goodbye and sign anything needing autographs.

The terms that come to mind for the entire event are fun, funny, intense, grueling, intimate, and deeply personal!  It was everything it was meant to be and perfectly matches the entire theme of the album it was designed to release.  More to follow!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One Eyed Doll "Dirty" Album Release Party and Show

Radha and I have come to love this band so much we actually joined the street team for them.  Then our best friend in Canada joined the street team as well. .  Hey in the modern age of internet a professional Techno-Geek like him has no problem impacting the Southern American music scene from Canada.  Besides, One eyed Doll tours nationally on a a very regular basis, so location is almost irrelevant.  Radha and I are riding down with Paulo, the Dallas Area street team leader, after he picks up about 1000 copies of their new album for distribution that were pressed up here in our area, so we can take it to them in time for the release party, and then dress really wild to be in the performance video they are filming at the show!!!  Road Trip!!!

 Our Canadian friend Romeo first learned about this great band by reading the articles on this blog, Art of Steampunk.  Now he's hooked!  The albums are fabulous, and actually quite different than the stage show which is also fabulous.  On stage it is a hard rock, extreme metal show mixed liberally with extreme comedy.  On the albums, Kimberly's voice accompanied by Junior on instrumentals is so beautiful, I almost though I had put in the wrong album.  I mean really.  How many singers can scream out lyrics on stage, night after night, in thrash metal style, and then still have such a beautiful voice afterwards?  

Their latest music video "Envy" also included complex vocal patterns that I normally only encounter with unusually talented and complex singers like Shakira who blends Middle Eastern Sufi Devotional singing styles with Columbian vocals.  When I listened to the lyrics, though, I was quite clear, once again, that it had to be the right album.  No one gets as beautifully bizarre, and utterly mind bendingly strange as Kimberly when it comes to writing songs.  That, I suppose, is why we agreed to take a sudden road trip to Austin for this release party even though we will probably have to turn around drive back the same night.  Hmmm... is this a 5 hour energy drink kind of event or what?  

We should manage with 3 drivers, but you should know, that on the One eyed Doll Dallas Area Street Team, we mix some degree of safety and sanity with all the madness, so Paulo, our Dallas Area illustrious Street Team leader, lead illustriously by committing to give up alcohol that night as a sacrifice to the cause!  (only for Kim and Junior... right???)  That's right... our little contingent bringing down the last minute pressed new albums, agreed to give up alcohol for this one night to make sure we are safe to drive back after the party.  Remember kids..., We don't always go insane, but when we do, we go insane with One Eyed doll... so go insane responsibly!

 Here is what Junior has to say about it!:

Come to Austin this weekend for our Album Release Show!!! 

We'll be filming a DVD!

AND Playing a looong set of all your favorite songs in our home town! This is the show NOT to miss! ~Junior

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steampunk Assimilation in USA Today!

So has Steampunk gone the way of the Borg where it is simply assumed that "you will be assimilated... resistance is futile!" ???  No.  Don't worry.  We don't even want to assimilate everyone.  If they don't have a sense of humor and adventure, some trace of creative longings, at least a modest appreciation for original art, drama, or music, or can't at least have fun with it, we aren't even trying to invite them to the party.  Just the same, it is becoming pretty widely noticed and heavily sought after by commercial interests now.

OK, so ignore the Justin Beiber part of the title of this article and read it any way.  Besides Justin is supposed to be for young kids, so why get all worked up about him being kiddish anyway?  If you aren't his age, why should you be worrying about what he puts in his videos?

Besides Sugarland already beat him to it in terms of making a video where the steampunk was blatantly just randomly tossed in to try to steam up something lame for purely commercial purposes.  Just so you know, the Steampunk community is not really opposed to steampunking a music video if some effort is made to make the video actually focus on steampunk concepts rather than simply a mindless decoration of the set and a poor attempt at costuming while doing totally irrelevant, (and rather boring) music.  Boring and Steampunk just don't mix well.  Sorry.

The point of this fine article by USA Today is that Steampunk is infiltrating pretty much everything now!  Some people like that and some don't, but few are still fully in denial about it.  In true steampunk fashion though, if they don't like some aspect of a thing that has good parts in it, the steampunk inventors and crafters simply take it apart and rebuild it.  It seems they even did this with young Master Bieber's steampunk music video.  Your path to this world where we really can change whatever annoys us and turn it into amusing art in the process awaits below:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Steampunk Fashion Walk In Australia! Repost via Doc Fantastique

Steampunk Strides Fashionwalk (Bris, QLD, Aus) (via http://doctorfantastiques.com)

The Steampunk Strides Fashionwalk is an initiative of Alternate Empire Events and will be the Paris fashion week of the Steampunk Community! A night of well-mannered frivolity, where the Steam World and Modern day society meet! Come in your finest Steam-inspired dress and be entertained by a dynamic…

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Planned Undersea Hotel in Dubai!

OK, so is this futuristic or what?  Cyberpunk Heaven!!!  Dubai has really outdone themselves this time with fantasy hotels that look like UFO spacepads with under sea guest rooms!

Planned Undersea Hotel

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dark Beauty Magazine - Steampunk Edition

This very interesting Goth magazine about beauty, art, and fashion has an annual Steampunk edition that just came out.  This is definitely worth a look!

Dark Beauty Magazine -Steampunk edition

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Strange Slow Slide into One Eyed Doll-dom!

I met One Eyed Doll at Yulecon 2010 It was love at first... well... not sight exactly, though that was pretty nice and truly interesting too. How does one describe the experience of meeting someone rather like a Sesame Street character that suddenly turns into Rob Zombie doing thrash metal and back again at the touch of a switch operated by some insane, but very fun deity or some such somewhere??? I didn't see them perform again for quite a while until the tour 2012 with Orgy.

One Eyed Doll is based in Austin, Texas, but frequently tours with other bands through local cities, like Dallas, and all the way up the east Coast, West Coast, and pretty much all the in between as well.  In fact, they have toured twice this year and have a third one coming up soon.  They have actually played here in Dallas about every other month, and I try to make every show!

A good friend of mine on the East Coast was mentioning that one of her "wishlist" things to do when she came to visit Texas was to see One Eyed Doll. I told her how much I had enjoyed it as well, and that I would look up their next show. A couple of days later, I won two tickets at our local Goth Club to see Orgy just down the street. As it was on the same night as Panoptikon, when they play the really cool darkwave dance music, we didn't go until right before the show, but were amazed to find Kim screaming on stage as we walked in. I wanted to kick myself for not arriving sooner, as we missed most of their show, but to my amazement, she made even the merchandise purchasing experience almost more entertaining than the show!

Kim was in rare form that night and would hold a finger up in front of her, say "touch my finger!" then go catatonic. At least until you followed directions. When you touched her finger, she lit up like a Yule Tree, smiled really big and gave a warm enthusiastic hug. She then promptly sunk her teeth into whatever you wanted autographed. Literally! I actually went through the line twice, buying a lot more stuff the second time. That also gave me time to talk to Junior for a while, which is always a pleasure. We talked about music of course, and their new album coming out soon.

For the tour with Peelander Z, we came early and got right in front of the stage, but forgot our earplugs. A few days later, when my hearing returned (lol) my wife and I agreed that it seemed an even wilder show than at trees! Well they are coming back again for the third time (with Butcher Babies) in just a few months, so I offered to help promote them via internet, etc. which I do routinely for bands I really like. Somehow I found myself signing up for the street team this time. Life just keeps getting stranger, but I like it that way!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Repost of Crackdown on Punks In Indonesia via the Christian Science Monitor

Crackdown on punks in Indonesia (via The Christian Science Monitor)
In his canary yellow t-shirt and skinny jeans Banu Prasdana looks like an ordinary Indonesian kid. But last year when he sported more than a dozen piercings and a Mohawk and wandered Banda Aceh's streets playing rock ballads on his guitar he had a canny ability to unnerve the local police, who considered…

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Deiselpunk VS Steampunk Part 2 via Dieselpunk blog

Here is the conclusion of this excellent 2 part article comparing Dieselpunk and Steampunk from the mind and insights of Larry Amyett, author and Dieselpunk scholar.

Dieselpunk VS Steampunk a Comparison part 2