|The March Violets|
Convergence ...the biggest NOCTURNA gathering of Goths spanning over three magical days of fun, music, socializing and more with fellow likeminded individuals from across the country and world.
And SouthSide was lucky enough to attend.
Saturday night was the height of Convergence XX Chicago activities which featured photo opportunities of all attendees at Buckingham Fountain and The Cloud Bean, outings at places around town and a vendors market during the daytime hours. However, after sundown, that’s when the real Convergence XX fun happened at Bottom Lounge, blogspot readers. Night two featured a fashion show and four hot bands – locals The Gothsicles and I:Scintilla along with UK’s modern goth rockers Pretentious, Moi? and punk pioneers The March Violets performing on stage. Meanwhile upstairs inside Bottom Lounge’s Volcano Room, DJs Skeletal, Dave Bats, Wednesday Garz, Arcanus and Sailor Gloom provided the right atmosphere and music for those C20 attendees who wanted to dance and/or socialize. Plus this unique part of the venue offered beautiful views of Chicago’s famous skyline on the rooftop deck. For more late night fun and partying, attendees were encouraged to visit some of Chicago’s infamous nightclubs like Neo, Berlin and others which most stay open until 5a.
The fashion show opened with designer Kinki Kitty (http://www.kinkikitty.storenvy.com) from Detroit displaying her take on the modern goth fashion without it having it being so dark and moody in black. This reviewer liked how she played with different color schemes for that fashionable vintage to Victorian-inspired look for all shapes and sizes. Then there was Industrial Kitty (http://www.industrialkitty.com) from Chicago featured her collection of child-like dresses for the goth girl who enjoys artistic designs and colorful schemes meanwhile Calla Corsets (http://www.callacorsets.com) from NYC wowed this C20 crowd with her collection done within a theatrical flare during this fashion show. Judging by the screams and cheers from the audience, they liked the collection which had an industrial/punk influence for all genders, blogspot readers. Silversark (http://www.etsy.com/shop/silversark) from Milwaukee drew from her experience growing up in Netherlands to which her opening designs were an homage to religion and her struggle with it effected her life. There was pious and dignity displayed from each model as they walked the runway. She told SouthSide (after the show) what was shown was just some of her spring collection called “Sanctuary”. This designer, wearing an Edgar Allen Poe / Raven-inspired design, drew her inspiration from classical paintings to religious icons and architecture as well as contemporary designers and people around her. Basically for her, it “...comes down to re-interpreting stuff...” During Silversark’s show, SouthSide loved the regal inspired designs including the “Queen” who truly defined the monarch look from head to toe. The headpieces used during her showing were designed by friend Debra Olson (http://www.millinerextraordinaire.com).
|Azrael in her T.A.R.D.I.S. gown|
Then the duo Morrigan New York (http://www.morrigannyc.com) and Moss Marchen (http://www.mossmarchen.com) from NYC rocked the runaway with designs that were simplistic yet very fashionable for the goth hipster. Besides drawing inspiration from goth fashion, there was a few that could fit those who are into the industrial and/or steampunk style ...and yes, blogspot readers, a simple white dress (with the proper black shoes to match) can be considered as a goth look. Devoid & Deveil (http://www.devoidanddeveil.com) from Chicago dazzled the audience with a sleak leathered (and some lace) collection that had some kink inspiration. It was fashion for those nights you want to be seen on the town whether wearing the slinky, thigh-high slit dress with fur adornments on the shoulders or black empress-style sequin gown (there was a cocktail dress version). SouthSide loved them both. Lastly, Azrael’s Accomplice (http://www.azacclothingcouture.com) from Dallas/Ft. Worth concluded the fashion show with vintage Victorian-inspired clothing that featured corsets within some of her designs. SouthSide loved her take on the traditional French maid costume by glamming it up a bit as a long skin tight gown. This designer even had (what this reviewer would call) a Frozen-inspired blue ball gown in which the model’s head was adorned with a feathered headpiece. After the showing, SouthSide was informed by Azrael that she “...started out in theatrical costume design...” and when not designing something with a historical influence, she also does bridal fashion. Her love for history has aided this designer to try to modernize this historical aspect of the designs that inspired her, blogspot readers. “...I don’t have a [style] idol...” says Azrael firmly stating she’s not trying to imitate anyone with her fashion designs and she has featured a collection since Convergence V (five). While doing some people watching before The Gothsicles took the stage, SouthSide noticed the various unique fashions on parade by the many C20 attendees. It ranged from the ultra chic and classic goth look to the retro punk but mostly vintage Victorian and few 17 th century-inspired fashion from the men. Yet, there were many who (like SouthSide) came up with their own sense of unique style and fashion. Literally, blogspot readers, this was the real fashion show. And at Convergence, you could be anyone whom you wanted to be without fear of judgment or criticism by others around you. The real fun was watching the reactions from people on the street especially from the tourists downtown.
“...show respect to Aquaman!” ~ The Gothsicles
That’s right, blogspot readers, show some respect to this least favorite superhero in the geek culture. The Gothsicles (http://www.thegothsicles.com) of Chicago opened the music lineup by rockin’ the stage with an intense yet fierce performance featuring this duo’s brand of industrial dance. Beyond that, the songs have this unique tongue-n-cheek humor poking fun at video games and pop culture like Goonies II ("Drop Dead Squid Face") as well as doing an homage to everyone’s favorite color for t-shirts – black ("Black T-Shirt"). If you haven’t seen this duo before, SouthSide highly recommends catching these industrial Energizer bunnies live and in action. Blogspot readers will enjoy the raw but furious stage presence in which no area on the stage was left untouched with all of the hopping, stomping etc they do in front of a screen showing video images running in sync with their songs. The video added to the fun The Gothsicles provided to the C20 crowd while performing other songs like “Mermaid”, “Star Trek Uniform” and “Drunk Cuts”. There’s even a quick water break (yes, the duo has video for that) during the middle of the set in which they certainly do need it after all of the jumping around that happened thus far. Then Angelspit joined The Gothsicles for a rowdy version of “This Club Is Closed” – a song for those party people who refuse to leave when it’s closing time at their favorite club. And it wouldn’t be a show without the duo ending their set with the fan favorite Konami that features the dance moves “UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A SELECT START” (think the game controller), blogspot readers. Now that the crowd was thoroughly warmed up and energized by The Gothsicles, it was time to add a bit of moody dramatic yet intense gothic rock to the mix by Chicago’s own I:Scintilla (http://www.iscintilla.com). Having the unique combination of different musical genres (like from electro to funk to club-friendly and synth), this hot quartet rocked the C20 crowd with energizing passion, heart-pounding percussion rhythms and gritty electric riffs. Yet the heart of this band’s claim to fame is being fronted by one of many dynamic female vocalists this reviewer has ever known. It’s Brittany’s strong demonstration of heartfelt vocals pouring out raw emotions of angst and frustration on lyrics was the driving force to the band’s intense energy being felt around the venue. And that electrifying same vibe felt had many (especially those in the middle of the venue) dancing within the moody darkness ...having a fun time while Brittany and the band jammed like they never did before, blogspot readers. Wow, what a performance they were doing for this C20 crowd. This was of their best shows.
|The March Violets|
The party continued rolling along, blogspot readers, when UK rockers Pretentious, Moi? (http://www.pretentiousmoi.com) made their North American and Convergence debut by presenting a rather darker, moodier themed set. SouthSide immediately liked the “light” and “dark” vocal duo of Rachel and Tim amidst the band’s furious fast-paced dancefloor-like industrial/goth sound. The performance itself had an air of drama ...almost feeling like a theatric stage show rather than a rock show when both leads were heavily commanding the mics not only with their voices but also with their presence. SouthSide at times found herself mesmerized by the way Tim’s hauntingly deep voice would be aided by his subtle movement and gestures thus making the lyrics pop to life. Performing music regularly heard during NOCTURNA events, the live of song versions had many swaying to the melodramatic sound yet for this reviewer, her ears were in tuned to the band’s dark edgy grind (off the guitars). Still it wasn’t all dark and moody, blogspot readers with Pretentious, Moi?. There were a few (rare) moments when the band rocked the room with upbeat “happy” rhythms which you normally don’t associate with goth/industrial music. Still there was an electric charge generated from the guitar riffs that kept a firm hold the edgy darkness until the very end. Not as pretentious as the band name may suggest, blogspot readers, but its does make for a good performance by this UK band. Closing out this hot lineup was the UK punk pioneers The March Violets (http://www.uberviolet.co.uk) making not only their first Convergence appearance but also reuniting (after a 25 year absence) with all three original members for this special performance. Plus this was the band’s first time in the U.S. since 1987, blogspot readers! Personally for SouthSide, The March Violets brought back fond memories of this reviewers first taste of punk/goth music upon hearing songs like “Snakedance” and “Walk Into The Sun”. And SouthSide wasn’t the only person excited to see this band on stage ...EVERYONE was excited to see them judging by the way the venue instantly grew in numbers of fans. “...that was Grind Into It ...oh, you’re too young...” Ah, it was thrilling to hear the tongue-n-cheek, crass (poetic) humor in Violets’ lyrics like “...I wore this dress for you ...all for you ...just for you...” (from a song about stalking serial killers) or “...here we are chasing centuries...” (from Mirror Our Time). Ah, it was 1980 something all over again as if nothing had changed, blogspot readers, to which this reviewer took a break to party with the other C20 attendees. Besides performing classic and new stuff (from the Made Glorious album), The March Violets rocked the stage with a post-punk cover version of Neil Young’s “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World” after expressing love for their many fans in attendance. This performance was truly memorable when a member of Psychedelic Furs joined the band for “Walk Into The Sun” followed by not one but two encores that everyone dancing in the venue. What a performance ...what a night! It was sighs one SouthSide won’t forget, blogspot readers.
Still reading high from Saturday’s incredible music lineup despite the lack of sleep, SouthSide was surprisingly up and ready for more Convergence fun. She spent part of her afternoon inside the Congress Plaza Hotel browsing the vendors and artists of Convergence 20 Chicago. Other Sunday activities for attendees included a Goth picnic in the park (yes, Goths do picnic, blogspot readers) and a trip to the Maxwell St. Market during the daytime hours as well as that night the grand finale was held upstairs at the Bottom Lounge’s Volcano Room where DJs like Wormwoord Star, The Pirate Twins and DJ Fross (with a super special Convergence visual presentation).
Occupying two conference rooms, there was SO much to see, blogspot readers, that it nearly overwhelmed this reviewer. Her journey with the vendors started at browsing at the hair accessories by Dreaded Jenocide (http://www.etsy.com/shop/DreadedJenocide) ...it’s the place if you’re searching for the special something that’s lovely and spooky. Moving along, she then met Margaret of Ecolibro (http://www.etsy.com/shop/Ecolibrio) who mentioned to SouthSide how she “...liked it [Convergence] so far...” before mentioning this was her third time. She has been a vendor during Convergence 10 and 14. Interested blogspot readers can find her hancrafted jewelry at boutiques or can shop at her online site as well as craft market events. Meanwhile, the lovely display of handcrafted masks (especially the large blue seashell one), mirrors and more by Eliza C. Stockfish (http://www.etsy.com/shop/Elis4artist) instantly caught this reviewer’s roaming eye, blogspot readers. While admiring the array of colorful masks, this artist told her that her masks were not hot glued but hand-stitched despite appearing so delicate to wear yet they are definitely wearable. Also for that special Dr. Who fan, she has Dr Who-inspired things too like “Tom Baker’s scarf” as a wrist piece. Along the far back wall, this reviewer met Illustrator Dave Metzger, half of the duo behind the soon-to-be published children’s book 8 Little Zombies (http://www.eightlittlezombies.com). The book written by partner, John LaFleur, also features a matching zombie plush toy. So where did John get the inspiration for this book? Well, according to Dave, John has a 4 1/2 year old boy and got the idea from another well-known children’s book 8 Little Monkeys. “...that’s what inspired him to write 8 Little Zombies...” Already having a publisher and printer lined up, the two are getting ready to re-launch another Kickstarter campaign in a month or so to raise the money needed to publish this book. Oh, another interesting about this pair, blogspot readers, they are part of the committee that organizes the annual Halloween fun fest – Nightmare On Chicago St. in Elgin, IL. Also, SouthSide highly recommends checking the author behind the books titled Dreary & Naughty (http://www.arcanevault.com) in which he’s working on a fourth book in the series.
Continuing her journey visiting the C20 vendors, something ...rather a whole collection of various somethings immediately caught SouthSide’s eye. It was rare things you see and/or find within the modern medical age, blogspot readers. However, if you’re interested in collecting something morbidly unique and/or purchasing something that’s different as a special gift, then look no further at the couple behind the Mysterious & Reassuring (http://www.mysteriousreassuring.com) an emporium of the eccentric – Kim and Ron Crivello. Over the years, they have amass a collection in which no other specialty or rare antiques store could dare to compare. Besides the many medical tools on display, this reviewer saw the following: a pair of haunted wedding rings (a couple married in 1967 never removed their wedding bands until mysteriously dying in a sailing accident ...all that was left were their gold wedding bands – creepy huh?), jars of leeches, squid, a sheep’s heart (yes, a real one) and more (believe this reviewer when she says they were not fake) and large baby forceps. And that’s barely the tip of the entire collection that was there at C20, blogspot readers. “...We try to have a mix of interesting things...” according to wife Kim during an interview with SouthSide. “...we started off as a co-signment shop in Franklin Park...” before continuing with “...there was no place except us...” that had interesting stuff like they do especially for those doing haunted homes for Halloween. After closing their doors, Kim and Ron began doing events and shows like Convergence which according to Kim “...has been [like] home to us...”. And how do they transport their collection from show to show ...you might ask, blogspot readers. Well, by what else – a hearse. That’s right, this reviewer said a hearse. The Crivellos affectionately named it Morty “Blue” the Hearse in which people have been known to lay down inside the back and giggle. The couple also have been called by their fans the “Hearse People” and wore wearing t-shirts reflecting that – “I see Hearse people”. With the shop being the vehicle now, “...people are bringing things to us [thus] help[ing] us control the market and we can make a profit...” The only rule they live by is “...the creepier...” the antique you have “...the better...”, blogspot readers. Don’t worry about the animals or animal parts in the jars either. They get specimens like that from a medical school supply place. “When are you opening a store?” their fans on Facebook and other social media sites continuously ask the couple. So due to popular demand, they will be opening another storefront again. Here’s more interesting facts about Mysterious & Reassuring ...when they had the original shop, people would travel from all corners of the US to visit them and another oddity shop (which Kim would not disclose its name with SouthSide) shops from them. You can see the antique oddities for yourself as well as met Kim and Ron Crivello or lay down inside Morty on June 21 st at Brauerhouse (located in Lombard, IL) during the Hearse Show or at the Grayslake Antique Market happening again during Mother’s Day weekend (May 10 & 11) held at Lake County Fairgrounds, blogspot readers.
Winding down her visit with C20 vendors, SouthSide tried on feathered headpieces and clips by q phia (http://www.qphia.net) that were hand-stitched while admiring the unique glass-blown rib cages done by her friend, Ashley Pedone (http://www.ashleypedone.weebly.com). This reviewer has some unique ideas on how to use the glass artwork like candle holder (for the smaller one) and/or as a shot glass with the larger one ...at a dinner party, they would certainly make interesting conversation with your guests. More browsing continued while at Roz’s Oddities (http://www.etsy.com/shop/razoroddities) and chatting with designer Silversark again before snapping a photo of her dressed in a short red tea gown design ...fashionable for a Goth tea party later. Then model Mia D. Vine (http://www.miadvine.com) strutted by wearing sculptured art by Jody Krevens (http://www.facebook.com/jody.lydiabeatz.krevens) to which this reviewer immediately could see someone like Lady Gaga using in her upcoming tour. This was definitely a prime example of ARTPOP style that’s wearable, blogspot readers. Buttons! It was time to add a couple of new buttons to SouthSide’s continually growing collection and it proved difficult in choosing which ones to get. Because there were SO many choices at Guilty Treasures (http://www.etsy.com/shop/ZoesBarbieShoes) from Night Of The Living Dead’ ghoul girl (Kyra Schon) to Bert and Ernie one as well as Misfits ...the Ramones ...Goth Pride and much more. After much (agonizing) decision, this reviewer settled on a Jack Skellington and El Calavera buttons. If she could, she would have taken the whole lot, blogspot readers.
Sadly, it was time for this reviewer to bid a fond “farewell” to Convergence 20 Chicago. Yet, what an amazing experience she had as a first-timer! The music ...fun ...fashions ...and meeting her friends from Facebook as well as making new ones. It was a weekend well-spent rockin’ and dancin’ to the dark scene music as if DJ Scary Lady Sarah held one long NOCTURNA party. Hopefully, she’s still around to attend Convergence XXX in Chicago sharing that her love for the dark experience with her son and daughter.
Special thanks to the Convergence 20 Chicago committee for putting together one amazing event. This reviewer had a fabulous time ...the bands were great (especially getting to relive fond teenage memories with The March Violets) ...wonderful, friendly people to hang out with...
Until next time, support your local scene,