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Tricked Out and Fully Treated: Rocktober is over but the Halloween high remains...

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 6, 2009 01:31am | Post a Comment
dennis miller dana carvey saturday night live snl weekend update late night tv

When I was in fifth grade staying up late enough to catch Dave Letterman's Top Ten was a personal goal of mine every weeknight (on Saturday nights it was staying up late enough to make it through Saturday Night Live in its entirety, but I always conked out right about the time Dennis Miller wrapped up his Weekend Update). I like to think that I became a lover of lists and listing things because of that after-hours fixation of mine, but who cares? The fact is that I do love a list and this year's Halloween happenings were so fabulously choice that I've got to work it out herein, Late Night Top Ten style:
graveyard gravestones san francisco state university education budget cut protest dios de los muertos
10: Students of San Francisco State University protesting budget cuts on Monday by turning the quad into a graveyard for courses felled by a lack of state education funds. The many headstones featured names of "dead" classes and mourners honored them dutifully in Dios de los Muertos style with candles, flowers and gorgeous little treats. A very clever and seasonally satisfying display of discontent!

9: Rammstein's timely release of their new album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da. Now, I count myself as an accidental Rammstein fan (and there's a good lengthy yarn I could spin about the who, what and why-fors about it), but a fan I am nonetheless ---especially as their machismo-soaked yet obviously Depeche Mode influenced electro-opera-industrial rock always seems to find a place on my annual Halloween mixtape! Not to mention that these German rockers consistently crank out quality music videos that remind us that there once was a time when the medium was viewed as an elevated art-form. Their video for the 1995 single Du Riechst So Gut is perhaps their most romantic (despite the fact that the imagery delves into bestiality, transvestitism and baroque dance routines) and very Halloween appropriate (despite the fact that nearly all their videos could be specified as "Halloween appropriate"). Oh Rammstein, why must thy art be so misunderstood? Maybe it's a European thing...

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La Belle Rouge: Japanese pop merveilleuse Kanon Wakeshima casts a spell on Amoeba SF...

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, August 29, 2009 01:04pm | Post a Comment

kanon wakeshima performs live at amoeba music san francisco

 

Japanese pop cellist and chanteuse Kanon Wakeshima's instore appearance at Amoeba San Francisco was anything but typical. Performing a short set that included a few moments in which she explained her interests in preciously accented English and a dance prelude where she impersonated a mechanical doll come to life, Wakeshima graced the stage, flanked by a enraptured frenzy of devoted admirers, clad in an ensemble that suggested, or rather enhanced, the overall vibe of her music: a black kimono with puffed sleeves (the likes of which Anne "of Green Gables" Shirley would have frothed jealously over) topped with a raised, Elizabethan-esque ruffled collar, detailed at the hem with a volcanic red pattern-play à la Nipponisme. From beneath this romantic, east-meets-west hybrid of a cloak spilled a crimson confection of a cinched waist giving way to flowing skirts trimmed in endless ruffles and princess frills. One could see among the many avid onlooker's faces varied swooning expressions of delight, esteem and joy for miss Wakeshima as she danced, coaxed song after song from her cello-friend and sang enthusiastically from her frame of burnt caramel-colored ringlet curls. It was, in a word, very Disney in feeling, albeit Disney after dark.
kanon wakeshima performs at amoeba san francisco
Judging by the inspired fashion choices showcased by many of her fans at her instore show, Wakeshima, and her maker --- mysterious and reclusive musician/producer/fashion-designer/rockstar
Mana, are lending a rather substantial hand in popularizing the Gothic Lolita fashion movement, a phenomenon that is said to have been started by Mana here in the states. (In fact, last week one of Japan's most famous houses of GothLoli fashions, "Baby, the Stars Shine Bright," opened a flagship store here in San Francisco's Japantown ~sugoi!) Add to that the current trend of Vampire-centric fantasy fictions and the long-standing popularity of anime, in this case a very popular with the ladies anime series entitled Vampire Knight, which features Wakeshima's single "Still Doll" as the closing theme, and voila! You've got yourself a pop culture force to be reckoned with.