Thursday, June 28, 2012

Goth Makeup - Cheaply!

Ever needed to buy white face powder? I'll assume if you're a goth you probably have at some point, even if you only wanted to experiment with it.

White powder can be pretty hard to find; and since it's a specialty item, it often costs a bit. If you need white makeup foundation that's another thing, but here's a trick if you just need the powder...


I got 14 ounces of the stuff for $1 at my local Dollar Tree. Compare that to almost $13 for 2 ounces of Manic Panic Goth White. Is it safe for your skin? Well, it's safe enough to dust a baby's whole body with it! And how's it look?

Very, very good! In fact, it was somewhere around the 1930s or 1940s that people seem to have quit using their "dusting powder" for both body AND face -- maybe because the cosmetic companies realized if you sell powder for face only, you can charge for a smaller amount. To use baby powder, just apply it with a brush or powder puff the way you would with any other loose powder. Cornstarch that you buy at the grocery store works the same way, too.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Random Tidbits

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blancmange: Real Gothic Food

Blancmange isn't just a gothic band, but a gothic food! In its modern form, it's known as a tasty, if plain, pudding dessert...

"To Make Blancmange - one pint of milk, half an ounce of isinglass, or a small quantity of gelatine boiled a quarter of an hour; add loaf-sugar, and flavor to taste; strain, and turn out when perfectly cold."
-- Godey's Magazine, 1859

...and yet, an even older version exists, one that could almost be cleped 'gothic' in the sense of being of the Goths.

"Blawmanger. Tak þe two del of rys, þe thridde pert of almoundes; wash clene þe rys in leuk water & turne & seth hem til þay breke & lat it kele, & tak þe melk & do it to þe rys & boyle hem togedere. & do þerto whit gres & braun of hennes grounde smale, & stere it wel, & salte it & dresch it in disches. & frye almaundes in fresch gres til þey be browne, & set hem in þe dissches, & strawe þeron sugre & serue it forth."

["Blancmange. Take two parts of rice, a third part of almonds; wash the rice clean in lukewarm water and put it into a pot and boil it till the grains open, and let it cool; and take milk and add it to the rice and boil them together; and add thereto the white fat and the meat of chickens, ground fine, and stir it well and salt it and put it into dishes; and fry the almonds in fresh oil till they are browned, and set them in the dishes, and dust it over with sugar, and serve it forth."]
-- Utilis Coquinario, ca. 1400

You could also make it with black chicken and black rice to turn your blancmange into blackmange.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Teke Teke, or Click-Clack Ghost

Managed to terrify myself with Japanese urban legends of ghosts again. Tonight's terror: Teke Teke.

Teke Teke is an imitative noise, to represent a scraping or thumping sound. In this instance, to imitate the specific scraping sound of a bloody torso dragging along the pavement, being pulled on its own elbows.

Teke Teke, see, was a girl who fell on some railroad tracks after some childhood bullying gone awry; she was unable to move away in time to avoid the oncoming train and was sliced in half. Her ghost now wields a scythe and she, legless, creeps around on her elbows, pulling herself along to chase down victims whom she slices in half in imitation of her own disfigurement. As she hunts you down you can hear her come: click-clack, click-clack, click-clack (teke teke).

Yeah, it's 2 AM, I'm alone, live near a train, and anything that sounds at all like a clicking noise is freaking me the hell out. (Why do I live amongst so many tick-tock clocks???)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gothiest Harry Potter Fanfic Author Names

I've posted before about the bizarre "goffick" turns the fanfiction written for Harry Potter can take. "Slash Fiction" is a term used by fanfic authors and readers to denote a genre (yes, this is considered a genre -- a whole genre) where characters that are not gay in canon are rendered gay for the purpose of a romantic story. (Once again, a genre. Like romance, western and drama are genres, so is slash.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bird in a Gilded Cage

Was walking around at a local art fair and was struck by the artwork of this very nice lady. Had a nice chat with her -- lovely, lovely person. Her artwork has some of the Steampunkesqe themes that are in the general fashion right now. A lot of her nicest pieces are small sculptures (little enough to put on a tabletop, shelf or in a curio cabinet) and she also has some fantastic paintings and giclee pieces. Much of what I saw at the fair is available at her Etsy store.

Why is it a good idea to by art? Here are just a few:

The value of a cheap print or poster generally goes down as time passes, but a real piece of art or a signed print usually holds its value or even increases with time.

Real art can lend a sense of wealth, confidence, prestige and luxury to one's home or office, both to the inhabitants and to the visitors.

Most people who end up becoming professional artists do so because there's not much else they can do -- it's a field where, if you can do anything else, it's probably worth it to do so. It's not a hobby but a livlihood! Artists work hard to create and promote their work (not to mention store it while waiting for it to be purchased.) If you can afford it, spread the love and buy some real artwork lovingly crafted by a passionate individual.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Opera Goth

Is opera gothic? Arguably, a whole theatrical genre best known for its excessive costumes and tendency to end in multiple suicides makes it seem that it should be. Here are a few opera videos we've had here at the gothic blog Gothica Gothique:

Don Juan (in Italian, Don Giovanni) is a notorious womanizer who even resorts to tricks like breaking into women's houses and raping them so as to add their names to his miles-long "list" (1,800 conquests so far.) At the beginning of the opera Don Juan is trying to escape from an unsuccessful break-in to the bedroom of Donna Anna, whose father comes to her defence. The father is murdered by Don Juan. Here, in the opera's [second-to-]last scene, his vengeful ghost returns.

Ramiro (a male soprano role -- here played by a woman) is in love with the lady Armida but frustrated by the fact that she's just become betrothed to Count Belfiore. In this scene, Ramiro first chides Armida for her infidelity, then soon afterwards, Armida overhears her fiancé Belfiore speaking of his own renewed love for his ex-girlfriend (whom he broke up with after having stabbed her in a jealous rage.) Armida responds angrily... and in this production, shoves him into a man-eating plant.

Based on Goethe's story of Faust, here the demon Mefistofele (Mephistopheles) is attending a witches' sabbath on the Brocken. Presented with a "globe" he proclaims his contempt and disappointment with the world and with everyone in it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Make a Lame Photo Look Spooky: A Photoshop Tutorial

The above image took me less than 10 minutes to fix up to its current standard. Here was the original:

Admittedly both here reproduce so small that it is difficult to tell that it's a photo of the Fairview Cemetery, but nevermind that. Here's how to work a similar job with Photoshop Elements (the cheaper version of Abobe Photoshop.)

1) Remove color from your picture by going to Enhance - Adjust Color - Remove Color.

2) Go to Filter - Blur - Surface Blur and blur as much as needed. The size of your picture will affect this, as will how sharp of a picture it was to begin with.

3) Go to Enhance - Adjust Lighting - Levels and tweek as needed to create a look like an old picture. If needed, proceed then to Enhance - Adjust Color - Adjust Color Curves and make further changes.

4) Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool and starting from the top left corner click and drag to the bottom right corner. Adjust the Feather option to a suitable number of pixels (this will depend on how large your photograph is.)

5) Go to Select - Inverse.

6) Use Filter - Blur - Smart Blur to blur the edges of the picture as much as you want for the effect.

7) Click off the Marquee, then go to Filter - Noise - Add Noise and as much as you need. Make sure it's set to Monochromatic.

8) Duplicate the layer (there should be only one layer at this point.)

9) Go to Filter - Texture - Grain to add grain to your new top layer. Set the layer then to Overlay Blending mode and Opacity 50%.

10) Now. Have ready a black and white picture of some scratches. Copy this and apply it as a new layer atop the others. Adjust the levels in Enhance - Adjust Lighting - Levels if needed, to create a crisp image.

11) Set the scratches layer to Soft Light mode at 80%. Don't fret if you don't see enough scratches yet, we're about to make magic happen...

12) Merge your scratches layer and your 50% layer. Now things should look like they came straight out of the video for NIN's Closer.

The following steps are optional (I did use them on the above example.)

13) Go to Layer - Layer Style - Inner Glow and adjust till you have the desired effect around the edges.

14) Flatten image.

15) Use Enhance - Adjust Color - Color Variations to achieve whatever tint you want over the photo.

And there you have it! Giving credit where it's due, this technique was adapted from the instructions at Alfoart's Photoshop Old Photo page.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Book of Voodoo Death Spells

Ever wondered how voodoo death spells really work? Is it all just sticking pins into dolls or is there more?

Death and Destruction: How to Cast Magic Spells for Vengeance, Harm, Etc. remains the ultimate book of voodoo/hoodoo magic spells for jinxes, curses, hexes and revenge. Here is an actual excerpt from this unusual tome:

To Ruin the Happiness of Your Spell-Target

Bottle or Jar
Paper with enemy's name written 9 times
Goofer Dust
Black Salt
Red Wine Vinegar

Begin by rubbing the name-paper thoroughly with Goofer Dust, while cursing your enemy. Shake off the paper, and place it into the jar. Fill the jar a portion of the way with Black Salt, and say "__(name)__, this destroys your luck." Then top it off with the Red Wine Vinegar, and say, "__(name)__, this sours your fortune." Tightly cap the jar, and give it a thorough shaking: the contents will combine into a black sludge. Dispose of the jar in a graveyard.

Those who seek to know further occult methods for holding the supernatural power of evil will do well to purchase a copy of Death and Destruction from the Emporium Gothica's Book Store or direct from Amazon.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Eating Lipstick

Reports are in from all over: women (and, one assumes in Goth subculture, certain men) eat 10 pounds of lipstick a year! Or maybe you heard five pounds? Six pounds?

The fact that the number is different every time one hears this well-traveled story points instantly to something about the statistic being fishy.

There's, firstly, the matter that a tube of lipstick isn't very large - Kat Von D comes in a 0.11 oz tube, for example. To eat even one pound of it in a year, you'd first need to buy more than 145 tubes of it in a 12 month span. Then you would have to use them all up -- and in ways that only involve eating it. No blotting your lipstick on paper or letting it come off on your cup, or washing it off at the end of the night. This works out to finishing a whole tube of lipstick in three days or less. Even Goth kids don't go through it so fast. (And this is just for one pound of lipstick -- if you were eating ten pounds of lipstick a year, you'd need to chow down on four tubes a day.)

BeautyGeeks has a more in depth article on the subject, as does Snopes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gin and Juice: A Victorian Guide to Parenting

The Virtual Victorian has featured some hilarious excerpts from the book Gin and Juice, a parody of 19th century health and parenting books. The following is from a list of recommended foods for the pregnant lady:

  • Trifle.
  • Venison.
  • Cocaine (sprinkled in warm milk or snorted.)
  • Essential Oils such as sump.
  • Rough Shag (to be enjoyed in pipe before bed.)
  • Doctor Gregor MacGregor's Unmentionable Embrocation and Axel Grease (rub on chest or raw poultry.)
  • Claret (watered; avoid the year 1878 as it may cause internal bleeding.)
  • Leafy Green Vegetables in goosefat.
  • Swan (broiled NOT roasted.)
  • Pigeon Compote.

The actual book doesn't seem to be available yet in the US, however, you can get it on pre-order from or from the Emporium Gothica.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Duct Tape Roses

Can't find that perfect balance between romantigoth and industrial goth? Try looking at this site which gives instructions for making realistic roses out of duct tape. Just use black tape instead of red for that real "goffick" tackiness. You will need both green and black duct tape for the project.

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