Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Article: What a Wonderful Day for a Wedding!

On the sun drenched evening of Saturday, May 28th, it was my distinct pleasure and honor to officiate the marriage between Goth scene friends, Rebecca and Mauricio (names have not been changed to protect the guilty). But before I delve into the main event, allow me to give you a bit of back-story about…well…about me!

I was first approached by Rebecca, two weeks prior, with the intimate request of officiating at their all-too-soon-to-be wedding ceremony and reception. Initially, to be honest, I declined the offer as soon as I received it. For, you see and must understand, public speaking is not my strong point and even boarders on the line of a phobia (I’m much more eloquent with the written word). And while it is true that you will see me interacting and socializing with many people (as long as I want to converse with them) it is usually done on an individual basis or in a small group setting…I generally avoid a large audience like a vampire avoids sunlight! However, as of late, I have been striving to push myself past those boundaries and forcing myself into more public displays in the effort to continuously better myself (prep work toward my “best feature length documentary” Academy Award acceptance speech, you understand). For example, just around the time of Rebecca’s request, I attended a second showing of my actress friend’s (and friendly neighborhood dispenser of yummy Pinot Grigio and cup full of ice at the W hotel in Times Square – my favorite Day-Crawler watering hole) amazing off-off Broadway production of “The Greenwich Village Follies” (go see it! You will laugh your ass off and learn a thing or two about the Greenwich Village’s history. Moreover, there’s a great number about Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell Tale Heart in it!) in which I volunteered to play a small role as Peter Stuyvesant in an “audience participation” sort of matter. It was a lot of fun, but then again, I knew what was to be expected…full improvisation is a ways away from now for me.

So, after giving it some thought, and advising my family that I will not be working the very busy pre-theater seating on the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend at my Family’s (ungrateful) restaurant, I hurriedly returned Rebecca’s email to inform her that I do, indeed, accept! I mean, shaky hands and sweaty brow aside, how many times does one person (other than a priest, rabbi, and/or any other religious or spiritual figurehead, judge, sea captain, etc.) get the chance to officiate a wedding in their lifetime, right?  This was something I wanted to do; something I had to do; something I needed to do! And so, with a click of a “send” button my fate, and promise, was sealed!

Within the two weeks that followed, Rebecca and Mauricio finalized and wrote out my speech, their vows, and all the other intricate details of their minimalistic, yet highly stylized and well thought-out wedding. And so, exactly one week past the much anticipated judgment day came and went, we gathered in a loft space on the 14th floor of the building located at 320 West 37th Street, in Manhattan, in the late afternoon. To tell you the truth, from the outside, on 37th Street, the building resembles nothing more than the other hundred pre-war textile factory buildings that litter the fashion district. However, as the 1960’s styled elevator grinds to the 14th floor after a tedious fight against gravity, one is greeted by a sublime, stark white room with windows exposed to the North, South, and especially toward the West, offering a grand view of the Hudson River and a stunning sunset, if weather permitted…like this day! Let me just add…there was A LOT OF SUNLIGHT!!!

The décor was sparse, yet fantastically quaint. Mauricio and Rebecca had hunted all over to find these sprawling tree branches and hung several intertwined bunches from the ceiling fixtures, to which they had jewel cut colored glass and other objects either hung or perched from the limbs (more on those later). On the dining tables, and peppered throughout the room, the wedding couple displayed various chachkies that held a sweet summer Victorian flare with maybe a hint of Steampunk aesthetic…think: the “By the Sea”/beach number from Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd film film (check out this “remake” of the scene on Youtube – it’s very clever!)…but with more daintiness. Of course Rebecca and Mauricio both looked stunning and aglow with love...but we'll let the photos (coming soon) demonstrate that! The room was still bathed in the light of the setting sun, filtered through delicate white curtains that surrounded the room, by the time we got started, and the beams of solar daggers stung at my nape as I positioned myself on the spot where I was to deliver my “sermon.” My preference for pitch black curtains drawn close and candlelight (Hey…after all this wasn’t my wedding) was soon refreshed by an onslaught and counter attack of pure air conditioning power! Let me just say that out of all of mankind’s inventions, refrigeration and air conditioning is, by far, the best! I don’t give a bat’s ass if we got to the moon...it only demystified the moon! Just keep me cool in my black clothes on a hot summer day and I’m as content as maggot in a fresh corpse!!!

In my handy/dandy-trusty/wusty leather-bound notebook I had printed out and glued the passages that I was meant to read. I read and re-read them over and over...not in the attempt to memorize them (that's also a long ways off for me), but rather to familiarize myself with the text well enough as to not piddle all over myself in my skinny pants (Ha! Remember that flashback scene in All That Jazz in the strip club? Something like that, but not quite...) as I read off the lines! At one point my strategy is to read off the lines slowly and poignantly...taking inspiration from any and every speech president Barack Obama ever gave...or Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager...slow and stoic like!

Here are some of the passages:

"Family, friends, loved ones of the bride and groom, we convene this evening to witness, support, and participate in an ancient social custom that predates our written histories, wherein two lovers step forward to declare their commitments and to be ever-after known as belonging to each other.

"Ready to declare themselves partners in life, sharers of responsibility, co-bearers of burden, and benefactors of each joy, success, and every subsequent happiness the pains of hard work, tedium, and sometimes agonizing near-failure will bring, our loved ones Rebecca and Mauricio have stepped forward to make their promises and to bind themselves to one another... and then we will eat, drink and dance!

"We will begin with two readings that speak of the passions of bride and groom."

At this point, two of the bride and groom's friends read out lovely passages, which I don't rightly recall since I was in a "zone." After the passages were said, I instructed Mauricio and Rebecca to read their vows to eactother. Both of them were full of emotion and love. So much so that Rebecca starting tearing up and choking a bit on her word in the middle of her vows, but she pulled through like a pro! Wait!...that didn't come out right...she's not a professional bride or anything...well, you get the idea! We were all quite "virginal" when it came to all of this!

To conclude the vows, I added:

"Like the star, may your love burn brightly...like the stone, may your love be firm...and like the Oceans, may your love run deep! Fear not and trust in one another, lest the ways or words of the unenlightened give you unease."

I then asked for the rings and read off these wonderful words:
"Legend speaks of the vena amoris, the bloodline running directly from the fourth finger to the heart where the soul and the will are housed, and the continuous circle of a ring, its open center representing a door to the unknown.

"The ancient Egyptians believed that placing a ring on the fourth finger of one’s beloved would hold in her affections, preventing desire from escaping her body.  Romantic… in a creepy, possessive sort of way.

"It is now an accepted custom that a ring worn on the fourth finger is a symbol of commitment to the vows of matrimony.

"Mauricio and Rebecca will exchange matching rings, representative of shared purpose, bound together by love and promises, and solidified with a single kiss."

At this point they both took the rings from my hand and nervously slipped it onto the other's fourth finger. It was so cute...they were so nervous, so caught up in the moment, that they forgot about the kiss part, and I had to remind them on the spot...classic wedding moment!

I then ended the ceremony with:

"Now, please join me in congratulating Rebecca & Mauricio and wishing them the best in the next chapter of their lifes’ adventures.  Let us celebrate!!!"
And with jubilant appluase all was over! The next thing I knew I was at the bar having an ice filled glass of white wine and drank it as fast as any other self-respecting naughty priest would!

Soon, a small, yet very tasty and light buffet was offered to the guests, and I stayed to enjoy a nibble or two with some mutual friends. During this time we were given these brown paper cut-outs in the shape of a long leaf with a string at one end, along with some pens, and were instructed to write some wishes or words to the bride and groom, and to then hang the leaves on the ends of the branches found about the room. What a fantastic idea, I thought to myself! I soon had my creative juices flowing! While everyone was pondering over their words like they were suddenly handed over a pop S.A.T. exam, I was feverishly scribbling away these following lines:

"May the winds of love push that sails of your marriage to reach the distant and magical shores of your lives together."  ~ Sir William Welles

As I left the reception early to return to my family's restaurant in time for the 2nd seating, I thought in immediate hindsight and I discovered that it really wasn't all that bad, and was over with rather quickly...and this was due to a wee bit of enlightenment that washed over me mere moments before the ceremony was to begin and actually settled my anxiety.

My enlightening moment was this: Everyday of my life I choose to look how I look, to wear what I wear, and to behave as I behave...and sure enough I get judged and labeled hundreds, if not thousands, of times by complete strangers as I make my way through my day & night in this world...and, other than if I made a complete fool of myself, I really don't care what these unimportant people think of me, I'm never going to see them again! So why should this be any different? Suddenly I didn't care what the entire room thought of me or my delivery...the only two people who were important in that room, and to whom I had to do right by, were Rebecca and Mauricio!

And to those two very important people in that room, on a sunny May Saturday afternoon, I wish them a liftime of love and happiness, and to once again thank them from the bottom of my cold, dark heart for this wonderful opportunity and honor!!!

See you in the Dark!

Sir William Welles

P.S.: Photos to come soon!!!

Poem: She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
        Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that's best of dark and bright
        Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellowed to that tender light
        Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
    One shade the more, one ray the less,
        Had half impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
        Or softly lightens o'er her face;
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
        How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
    And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
        So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
        But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
        A heart whose love is innocent! 

~ Lord Byron (1788-1824)    

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tip #19: Wish You Were Here

Face it...at one point or another in your relationship, you will be apart from your bleakheart, especially early in in the relationship. Whether on a vacation, at a wedding, at a funeral, on a business trip, or at a Goth music festival in Germany... you will eventually spend some time apart, agonizing for his or her presence. That's where postcards are a great thing! But don't just send one...time it so that you send one for everyday you are apart!

Sure, in this day in age it is a lot easier and maybe even cheaper to simply send off a text message...but believe you me, everyone...and I mean EVERYONE (!!!) enjoys receiving something personal in the (snail)mail. Postcards are the perfect mix of something fun, whimsical, and cheesy in their own right...it's also a throwback to the 1950's and 60's when families took summer road trips across the country.

Don't know what to write about everyday for an extended period of time? That's fine...you need not write a novel on each and every card. A simple "I miss you" or a funny joke will do; you can even count down the days until you are reunited...just jot down SOMETHING!

Bonus Tip!!! Actually, this can be as effective even if you aren't miles apart in some far off land...send him or her a postcard from right where you live and write something like: "Wish you were here...in my arms/in my bed/in my coffin"...you get the idea...Just be sure to send only one; one every day in this circumstance is just plain odd behaviour!

Tip #18: Fist Bump

Fist Bump between girlfriend/boyfriend, lovers, or married couple...DON'T!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tip #17: Frame it!

Here is a very simple, yet a very effective and indirect romantic gesture that really doesn't need much creativity. Take something that your lover has either given to you or that you've shared together...this can be a greeting card, a letter, concert ticket stubs, movie ticket stubs, a nightclub flyer where you first met/first kissed, a hotel key, etc...Basically anything of significance, except an actual photograph! You are then going to go to a home decor/craft/art store and find a frame appropriate enough to stick that certain something into and then proudly display it in your home for your lover, freinds, and family to see. If the object isn't flat, be sure to ask for a shadowbox and properly mount said item in the center using glue, tape, or by any means necessary. This will demonstrate to your better half that you do not take significant events and/or gestures for granted, and that you are proud enough to display them for the world to see. This also should be used if you have started a 'shrine' (see Tip #15). Wanna know what mine is? Last year, I framed a copy of a Playbill issue of the Addams Family Musical. (Go see that musical!!! Well worth the pricey cost of tickets!)

Let me know what cool things you've put in frames...

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Greetings my dear Gothlings,

I am really proud and excited to announce that on Saturday, May 28th, I will be officiating the marriage between Goth scene friends, Rebecca and Mauricio! I am really honored that they've approached me with this request. I really do not like to speak in public, let alone for 15 whole minutes...but how can I pass up such a momentous occasion?!?! It's not everyday you get asked to join a couple in "Unholy" (lol!) matrimony!!!

Rebecca and Mauricio were also very kind in letting me discuss and post pics on this here blog to commemorate the event and share it with all of you! So stay tuned next week when I recant this amazing experience...or maybe I will stutter a lot and pee in my pants from the sheer nerves!!!

Now I have to find a costume like the priest in Beetlejuice!!!

See you in the Dark!
Sir William Welles

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tip #15.2: Gothic Pine (addendum)

Just a quick note and audio/visual to help you understand what Gothic Pining sounds like in the depths of your soul if it were a piece of classical music. Arvo Pärt's "Spiegel im Spiegel" (Mirror in Mirror) is a perfect musical illustration of the sweetness of love that is intermingled with slow and repetitious melancholy which is required to pine for a far away loved one. Hope you enjoy...and maybe shed a tear or two:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tip #16: Blood Vials

While certainly not for the squeamish or the mundane, blood vial jewelry (like those featured on vampirewear.com) is the perfect mix of something odd, unique, repulsive (to most), sentimental, endearing, and highly romantic! The concept is pretty clear and simple: blood is considered the essence of life, and by wearing around a few c.c.’s of your lover’s hemoglobin you have, in a way, a piece of them with you at all times…much the way carrying around a lock of hair or a locket with a picture of your mate works (see previous tip)…except darker. Moreover, if and when you and your loved one decide to exchange blood vials, you can make it into a whole private ritual between the both of you (pricking your finger or slicing open a vein and all) to celebrate the occasion…much like back in the day “going steady” was commemorated by pinning a girl (Whoa! Talk about a Brady Bunch flashback), or proposing marriage…except it is much more mutual and symbolic, if you are a vampire or not!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tip #15: Gothic Pine

No…not that kind of Gothic pine…that’s my Xmas tree! The Gothic pine I’m referring to is a deep and sorrowful longing or yearning for the love of someone in particular or for love in general, intertwined with the feelings and rituals of mourning. Did that make any sense? No…probably not. Let’s delve deeper, shall we?

Back in Ye’ Olden Times when marriages were arranged, hidden affairs were abundant, sexuality was repressed, and romance was ritualistic, existed the act of pining. It transcended mere love…it was deeper, and even more emotionally painful than love. Pining for a loved one was often attributed to factors such as great physical distances – a husband off to war or a fiancée in another land; forbidden love – a married lover, someone of lesser social status, or a family member (they were plenty scandalous back then!); unrequited love – whether knowingly or not, meaning that that the one who pines for the other’s love has made his/her intentions known or it is kept secret; and finally, the pining of lost loved one separated by death. No matter what the circumstance may be, it is that last element that central to pure Gothic pining: death.

To properly Goth pine one must be in a sort of state of mourning for the loss of the particular love inertest, as if, indeed, that person has passed away and will never return. It is gut-wrenching and emotionally taxing, but if done right and executed properly eventually the payoff is of great reward…or you’ll just end up a mopey mess…either was you get to dress in black! With that said, Gothic pining is not just a feeling of despair, there are rituals involved to help you express your long drawn out passion for someone…it’s what makes it interesting!

Again, you must harken back  to Ye Olden Days of yore for your (*giggle* yore/your) inspiration for pining rituals…way back before the ease of mass communication on a global scale; back when people took the time and effort to cherish a loved; back when one poured out his or her feelings without being accused of being an obsessed stalker; and back when a love letter consisted more than:    “ :)    <3     XOXOXO!!!” 
Yes, those days really did exist, trust me!

Some of these arcane yet lovely rituals were/are:

• Keeping a picture of your loved one in a locket and always carrying it around with you so that when the occasion arises you can look at their picture and enjoy a heavy sigh of what could be.

• On the same level is keeping a framed picture of your “pinee” on your desk or shelf so that they seem somewhat ever present – *Note: a 5 ft x 3 ft oil painting portrait hanging over your bed might be a bit much!

• Something that might seem a tad on the creepy side today but was quite commonplace in the past few hundred years ago was to keep a lock (not the clickity-clack kind) of your lover’s hair. I actually find this ritual quite endearing and I wish it would make a comeback. “Excuse me, but may I have a lock of your cyber-dreads?” (LOL!!!)

• Another ritual that might is to spray a bit of your lover’s habitual perfume or cologne on a handkerchief (or pillow) and having it handy to take a reminiscent sniff once in a while. Did you know that the brain triggers more memories due to olfactory (sense of smell) stimuli than any other senses? ‘Tis true! Again, while this might seem a bit creepy by today’s standards, it’s a light year away in creepiness from sniffing your lover’s used underwear (I’m looking at you, weird Japanese men with your vending machines)!!!

• Love-letter writing (see tip #7). Don’t just write something simple and stupid. Be fanciful. Even if you’re going to see your girlfriend at this weekend’s Goth party, write to her as if she’s not only thousands of miles away, but also in another time…as if she was off on some sort of wondrous adventure and you are left behind with only thoughts and memories of her running endlessly though your mind! Be  sure to mail it by snail-mail!!! Everyone likes receiving physical letters via the mail…sadly, in this day in age, it’s a lost art.

• As far as poetry goes, if you are not quite secure in your rhyming abilities (for help see:  www.rhymezone.com) as compared to most others, simply search for “Love Poems” on Google and borrow from the masters…just be sure to credit them with their name at the bottom. No one likes a plagiarist. But don’t just write (or copy) poetry…present it! Recently, I sent a poem to a certain someone for a birthday occasion that took me about a month to perfect…but I just didn’t write it out on a piece of college-ruled paper, stuff it in an envelope, pop a stamp on it, and shipped it off…no,no,no. I actually had the poem printed out in fancy Edwardian font onto two pieces of card stock paper, and glued it on the inside of a beautifully crafted Japanese greeting card. It’s those details that really go the extra mile!

• The shrine. This one actually sounds more over-the-top than what it really is. A shrine is by definition is (according to the internet): a place regarded as holy because of its association with a divinity or a sacred person or relic, typically marked by a building or other construction. Sure that sounds big and impressive. But for the sake of Gothic pining and romance, the shrine in this case is a small space on a shelf or, on an end table, on which you place little gifts, trinkets, and mementos that were given to you by object of desire. It doesn’t have to be a sacred monument to which you bow religiously before every night at the stroke of midnight…just a place, spot, or area that is devoted lovingly to them…Isn’t that sweet?

• Suicide. Ok…this one is a bit heavy (*Note: I AM NOT CONDONING SUICIDE IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM!!!)…but back where I come from (France), for the extreme lovelorn, this was (and sometime still is) a viable and last-ditch option. The pain of lost, unrequited, or unattainable true love is so great that pining would become unbearable to the point of taking one’s own life to ease the suffering. I do not recommending this course of action for anyone who finds themselves in this situation…but when it comes to true Gothic pining you must at least, on some small level, understand and empathize with the notion.

There are a ton of other rituals and tidbits to add to this, but, as a whole, this is what this entire blog is about! The general rule of thumb here is to create and hold sacred small iconic elements that help you remember and keep close to your heart that special someone for whom your heart persistently aches for…especially if that someone is miles away, taken, or has passed away. And always remember the all too true adage: “Absence makes the heart grows fonder.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tip #14: Communication & Non-Communication

According to most, if not all, relationship experts the tip about being communicative should be #1 on the list…and they are right…except I’m not most relationship experts! However, as I will agree that open and honest communication between lovers and/or partners is quite vital and essential, within our Gothy world though there is something to be said (get the pun?) about mystery and being somewhat evasive…somewhat!

Let me explain further: While having very constructive and honest dialogs with your loved one about important topics and decisions, in which each one takes turn expressing him or herself in a calm, rational manner can lead to a very satisfying, cohesive, and long term relationship (*yawn* Thanks Dr. Phil) – each individual, at certain times and on occasion should demonstrate a bit of intrigue toward the other by withholding a bit of communication. This will stir the other’s senses and keeps things young and fresh as if back in the “getting-to-know-you” phase of early dating…you know…the exciting time! Some times an open book can be quite boring.

[BE WARNED: A bit too much of this aloofness and you might trigger a jealousy response…a juicy topic that I will tackle in a near future post.]

So, for the time being, be truthful and open with your feelings and thoughts (*Yes honey, that corset does make your butt look fat! I thought you wanted it that way?*)  with your loved one as much as possible so that you may find yourself on the same wavelength…but also hold back a bit as a slight tease and an air of dark mystery…it’s what makes you a sexy Goth devil! ;)