in grand detail
“The Lactose Tolerant Side of The ‘G’ Word”
or: “Wit Sharper Than Fake Fangs, & A Sense of Humor That Doesn’t Suck”
Venters–a.k.a. The Lady of Manners–has authored a venerable ‘How-To’ guide of charm and etiquette, exploring what one might refer to ‘the lighter side of Goth.’ At this event, the author will expound upon philosophies such as how being polite in contemporary society is exponentially more subversive than wearing t-shirts with so-called ‘edgy’ slogans, distill phenomena such as NotAGoth (denial of one’s previous “cobweb cred”), and posit questions such as “Exactly what is ‘age appropriate’ in terms of alternate aesthetics?”
The Lady of Manners, whose everyday attire of Neo-Victorian meets Tim Burton, knows first-hand what it is like to have strangers stop, stare, and occasionally grab at you, encourages black-clad gothy types to embrace their dark and spooky ways, but to also be aware that doing that is going to make you stick out…and that proclaiming that you are “So Unique And Different” while also complaining that “No One Understands You” is “a silly, silly contradiction that no one should hide behind.”
Catalyst, on the other hand, esteems to be “nifty-crafty in [his] revelry of Lachrymose Inc.” As much an extension of the oral tradition as a rudimentary ‘Show & Tell’ session, he plans to arrive armed with visual relics of social networking in the pre-internet days (‘zines, especially those with adverts for “pen-fiends,” as well as painstakingly decorated little treasures referred to as “FB”s–“friendship books” by some, “fetish books” by others).
In layman’s terms, think of a MySpace page in terms of being an actual page in a hand-made booklet. “Some socially awkward kid like me stuck in the bowels of the South created the thing, wielding watercolors and many a glue stick in the process,” he explains. “I then mailed it to a friend of mine in—oh, I don’t know, Buttzville New Jersey—who decorated the next page, then mailed it to a friend of his/hers in Zimbabwe, then mailed it…until something like a year later, when and if I was lucky, it would end up ricocheting back to me.”
Apart from the obvious correlation between FBs and Facebook—namely, the notion of meeting people through the “networks” of other people—there was an esoteric set of abbreviations that accompanied the subculture (“NNP” for “No New Pals”; “AA” for “Answers All,” etc), just as Millennial txtspeak has its “LOL”; “BRB”; “STFU”; “ILY” and countless other mutations.
Each serious about their craft—yet not taking themselves too seriously—ultimately, both Venters and Catalyst represent the classic archetype of The Outsider. Venters describes her work as “for those who have ever searched for beauty in dark, unexpected places, embraced their individuality, reveled in decadence, and have a sense of humor or whimsy about it”; whereas in the case of Catalyst, a self-proclaimed “alterna-queer with a shadowy sensibility,” he likens his penchant for Goya over Gucci as “a voracious appetite for something other than what my environment had to offer. Literally, it was the driving force behind…well, me driving 3 ½ hours to rent VHS tapes of Derek Jarman films from the only video store in Arkansas that carried them.”