Sunday, July 17, 2016

My First Time at a Goth Club

When I walked into the building for Ascension, a Goth/Industrial night, they started playing "This Corrosion." I was introduced to Goth six years ago when I listened to the song, so it was like the night saying "Merry Gothmas, Katie!" I'd been planning on going all week, but when Friday rolled around, I was so exhausted from spending the entire day getting a new car (my last one was totaled) and then visiting family with a long drive back. I came home and wanted to just take a nap, and after taking too long to decide, I got dressed and headed out the door. This past Ascension was the last one held at the Masquerade, a much-loved local venue, and I wanted to experience it before I left for West Virginia.

I'd known about Ascension for a while. One reason why I hadn't gone before this past Friday is because of being a student and having lived an hour away. It's a lame excuse. Aside from that, I told myself for years that I wasn't a cluby-type (although that changed last Summer in Cusco where I loved going to dance clubs). I was too stubborn and nervous to go. I had some fears about not knowing anyone, being too young, and possibly experiencing elitism.

But I went. I got dressed up and did my makeup darker than I have in a while. I crimped my hair, and Ryan let me style him as well. We got there at 1 AM, and we danced until 3 in the morning. They played so many good songs—a good mix of Goth and Industrial—and they had colorful lights and smoke machines.

Here's a video from the night shared by one of the DJs. You won't be able to see Ryan and I in the background, but we're there: 

One of the DJs played this song, "Black Leather" by Prayers, who I learned are pioneers of the "Cholo Goth" movement within the subculture. I'm loving it, so give it a listen:

Most of the Atlanta scene looked to be a little bit older than I am. There was even an old man there with long white hair and a white beard who danced until the close. People dressed in a variety of ways, and everyone there looked like they were having a good time dancing and socializing. It really felt like a judgement-free zone with a sense of community. I even recognized someone I'd seen at the Soft Moon concert, although I didn't go to say "hello."

The last song of the night before they turned on all the lights was "Forever Young," which struck many of us and made me chuckle as it was unexpected. "No one said that Goths didn't have a sense of humor," I told Ryan as we slow-danced like it was prom. The DJ came to the edge of the stage, and everyone cheered. He made a speech and had a stack of fliers in his hand, saying that the new venue invited Ascension to come back and host a night in late August. I had such a fun time and plan on going to the next one before I move.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Anticipation for My Summer as a Goth

I remember in 2011, I read on Gothic Charm School that My Summer as a Goth, a coming of age movie, had a kickstarter. I watched the videos and read the posts as a high schooler who had also gotten into Goth during the summer time about a year or so prior. After five years of waiting, the movie released another video on their Vimeo account:

My Summer as a Goth - Kickstarter Video - Finishing Funds - July 2016 from My Summer As A Goth on Vimeo.

The co-producers say that they will be shooting through August, which is approaching very soon! However, they still need more money to edit and produce as well as promote the movie. I'm not sure how the movie will turn out (though Jillian Venters says that they "get Goth right."). Regardless, I'm looking forward to watching the movie, indulging in nostalgia and seeing if any of the experiences of the young goths in the movie coincide with my own.

I'm sure the film will be quite different from another much-loved coming of age film, Gypsy 83, and I'm wondering if it will be reminiscent of the John Hughes brat pack films I so love like The Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink, in particular. Aside from my hopes and expectations, it's exciting to see some independent filmmakers attempting to create a film that captures the mystery, wonder, passion, rebellion, and self-exploration that one experiences as a teenage Goth.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Cure's 2016 Tour

found on Goth Memes
Ryan and I went to see The Cure this month when they came to Atlanta. They played at a big amphitheater, so we sat on the lawn along with all the other fans, including a couple who got married during the concert! People were dancing and drinking, hitting around beach balls, and enjoying the music of course.

The Twilight Sad is the name of the band that opened for them. Check them out:

This was my first time seeing The Cure, and I was delighted and surprised by the fact that they played over thirty songs with four encores. And, the weather was skin-melting. They talked about how it was "bloody hot" and that we Atlantans should "vacation in Greenland," ( I hope you're reading that in Robert Smith's voice) but they still kept going, taking breaks occasionally to stick their heads in the freezer. Here is a link to the concert's setlist if you'd like to take a look.

I haven't been dressing up much lately. I'll usually just wake up and put on a t-shirt and a simple skirt or jeans with minimal (or no) makeup, but I still like to have an excuse to get dolled up even if it doesn't bring me as much joy as it used to in years passed. I wore my favorite flowy top with my eyeball necklace (it's got a glass eye!). I did get a bit excited about wearing my Edgar Allan Poe-ka dot socks that Ryan bought me (confession: I love socks) with my wingtip creepers I bought a while back. I'm terrible at doing my hair since it's at an awkward length, so I tied a bandana over my hair like Rosie the riveter.

See the Poe-ka dot socks?
As you might be able to tell from the pictures, it was "bloody hot" out. I still don't regret the socks. They were worth the extra sweat.

I got new glasses!

As you can see, the show was pretty crowded. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting out on the lawn. I couldn't see the band very well, but the acoustics were great. Also, being out on the lawn with all those fans made me feel a sense of camaraderie. I saw so many black-clad, tattooed, colorful-haired folks, and we all danced like no one was watching. It was good fun.

My Ryan

I'll share only one of the videos from the night since they take up a lot of space. I like how you can see everyone's excitement (and the beach ball) in this one. And, if you listen closely, you might be able to hear me singing along. Please excuse the poor quality; it was recorded on a phone:

I had so much fun at this concert. I bought one of the tour shirts and wore it to lunch the next day, and I even went running this evening with "Want" playing on loop in my head. The rhythm was perfect for my running pace, I might add. I hope I get to see them again in the future. 

Let me know down in the comments if you got to see them on the 2016 tour or a previous one.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

This One Got a Job

I finished college a few couple of months ago, and I'm glad to say that I got a job (sorta)! I formally accepted a year of service (renewable for a second year) with AmeriCorps, a group similar to Peace Corps. I will be living and working in Thomas, West Virginia. It's a small town with about 600 residents, surrounded by national forest.

 If you're curious, I'll answer some questions I've gotten

"So what will you be doing?"

I'll be working with a few different organizations in the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, including Tucker County Development Authority, Tucker County Commission, and New Historic Thomas. These organizations work on sustainable economic and community development throughout the county. New Historic Thomas works specifically in the city of Thomas, doing revitalization and preservation of the community's history, cultural heritage, and resources. I will be helping these organizations, but the specific possibilities for what I will do remain open. I could be helping recruit local artists to do murals, working on the trails, speaking with folks at the legislature, and even keeping a blog.

This video was created by one of the organizations I'll be working with:

"Wait, didn't you get an English degree?"

What most people don't realize is that English majors can do anything and everything! My degree has given me a strong foundation in written communication as well as critical thinking skills. I've also gotten experience teaching, doing presentations at conferences, speaking publicly as a tour guide and in meetings, and recruiting volunteers--not to mention my experience in general badassery. Jokes aside, a B.A. in English can go far. 

"Why don't you want to teach or stay in academia?"

When I started my degree, all I knew was that I loved to read and write. After studying and having an assistantship with the department, I realized that academia was not the place for me. I like being outdoors, for one. However, my main reasons are as follows: I'm not a fan of the structure of academia, which has remained virtually the same since the Middle Ages. This makes it impossible to change, which is astounding considering the amount of self-proclaimed "progressives" in the field. I don't like how separate (ivory tower, even) it is from the broader community. I also realized that it's become highly business-driven, which doesn't seem to fit well with academic work, which takes time and spontaneity. 

I also got experience teaching a variety of age groups, and it's safe to say that it's not the career for me...(although I do enjoy tutoring, which is quite different). 

I know I will continue to write, and I will try to publish. I also know that I have a passion for community work and public speaking. I'm contemplating going into a sustainability-related field in the future, and this position seemed to be a wonderful fit that would give experience and valuable skills. 

"Why would you want to live in West Virginia?"

West Virginia and the Appalachian region in general have been struggling with some significant issues. Mountaintop removal has been cutting the tops off of their beautiful mountains, destroying ecosystems and dumping the debris into streams and rivers, contaminating the water. The region's also seen the clear cutting of trees and strip mining, which obviously harm their natural resources. The mining industries that employed many were not usually Appalachian-owned, so the money didn't stay in the region. Additionally, many of the towns, including Thomas, suffered after the coal mines left. Appalachia has some of the most extreme poverty in the nation. To add insult to injury, there is an unfortunate "ignorant hillbilly" stereotype (think Deliverance) that hovers over the region and denies that any culture or history emerges from the place. I've talked with folks who have actually said that "there's no culture where you are going." 

Actually, though, there's plenty of culture! They have folk art and music, hymns, Bluegrass, storytelling, blood feuds, and a lot of passionate people who love their land and will fight to protect it. There's also a lot of natural beauty here with many different micro-climates, rock formations, and waterfalls, so a lot of people are into hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. I'm really looking forward to living in this place.

A video about Tucker County: 

Feel free to ask any questions! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Graduated!

Hello, everyone! I can hardly believe how long it's been since I've posted last. In that time, I have been finishing up my last semester at university. I am pleased to say that I am now a college graduate (Summa Cum Laude with honors distinction!) with a B.A. in English and a minor in Spanish.
Receiving my Honors distinction certificate

A very tired Katie and her Ryan
If everything works out, I plan to do an AmeriCorps program. AmeriCorps is a community service-based organization (similar to Peace Corps) that partners with local organizations to tackle a variety of issues. Those I have applied to deal with sustainable development, conservation, and hunger. I'm unsure of where I will be, but my top two programs are in the Appalachian mountains (WV and OH).

The programs start late Summer/early Fall. In the meantime, I plan on taking some time to rest and hopefully do some writing and volunteer work. This is already a tough transition because I forgot how not to be stressed out about school work. I'm also struggling with letting the day crumble before my eyes and turn to dust, only focusing on accomplishing trivial tasks (or nothing at all).

The good part is that I now have no homework and so much time! I'm taking Ryan to go on a night hike/ scorpion and owl "hunt" this weekend, for example!

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Soft Moon

Earlier this month, I went to go see an exciting band called The Soft Moon. Originally, they were scheduled to open for Killing Joke. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Killing Joke cancelled the show. However, I still got to see The Soft Moon performing the new Deeper album:

You can listen to the full album above. Listen with headphones and imagine hearing it live. I guarantee you will be hooked. It's hard for me to describe this band's "genre," but it reminds me of Post-punk, Dark wave, EBM, and even Shoe-gaze at times. 

Also, I got really pumped when Luis Vasquez took a trashcan from the side of the stage and started playing it. I thought I heard someone behind me yelling "more trashcan!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wrapping Up...

Well, it is now January 2016, and I am set to graduate from college in May. Of course, when I first started doesn't seem so long ago. Things have changed so much from when I started, and I am glad for it. I still don't completely know what it is I will do when I leave, but I have the peace of knowing that things will work out. I have so many opportunities, even despite the daunting job situation in which every employer requires at least 2-3 years of experience in addition to a degree. These past four years have given me experience working behind a desk, tutoring writing and ESL, volunteering in education, speaking publicly, and work-shopping my writing. I've gained practical experience living and working in a non-English-speaking country, at least for a short time. These things have prepared me.

I feel like my horizons have broadened so much. I have worked extremely hard over these four years. If there is one thing college has taught me, it is knowing how to say no to people (and instead stay in and study). I have not made one B yet (fingers crossed), but even if I just pass with C's this coming semester, I will still have a good enough average to graduate with Summa Cum Laude. So, I can maybe let my hair down a little bit this time around.

What will I do after May? This is something I'm wondering myself. I do know that I want to continue my education, but  I think I need a break for 1-2 years. And by break, I don't mean taking a rich kid gap year. I mean a break to work (and potentially do a little more school in a different field.) I just finished a difficult (high fail rate) Spanish translation course this semester, and the professor recommended the graduate certificate program for it. This would probably take a year. It would be graduate classes in Spanish, but it would not be thesis-track. It's something I would be interested in pursuing because I love the Spanish language, and having this certificate, while not essential, would help me gain more opportunities if I wanted to do work in translation. The classes are all at night, so that would also give me the freedom to have a job during the day.

For more short term plans,  I am looking at an internship with StoryCorps. StoryCorps is a large-scale oral history project. This organization interviews people from a variety of backgrounds, and records their stories. I'd very much like intern with them.

And of course, I'm looking to do some travelling. I'm not sure if I'd be able to afford any out of the country trips right now, though. However, I am looking into a 2016-2017 Fulbright program in Madrid, Spain. This would cover a 9-month period, and I would be teaching English. I'd also like to walk the Camino de Santiago while I'm there, which would add another couple of months. Of course, all this is just tentative, so I can't form any solid plans.

Anyway, next week is when my last semester officially starts, and I have a lot of things I have yet to do, but by telling all this to Blogger, I am helping hold myself accountable for what needs to be done! Any prayers or positive thoughts/vibes would be much appreciated.

Also, more exciting news: I will be seeing The Cure when the come into Atlanta in June!