I'm baaack! -- White Horse Pub, August 16, 2008

Okay folks! So I know it's been an eternity plus three since I last updated. I'm so sorry that I've fallen so behind; my camera cord broke (when it was in my camera bag...?) so after searching for an eternity for a USB cord for my poor little Nikon coolpix, I finally had to resort to getting a card reader. In addition, I have returned to Richmond for my second year at Virginia Commonwealth University. Now, after finally getting moved in, starting classes, and getting pictures uploaded, sorted, and organized, I finally have two seconds to breathe (read: blog) before all hell breaks loose again.

About two weeks ago, I had the fortune of attending an awesome, awesome, awesome bill at Virginia Beach's White Horse Pub. Richmond's Myotis and Virginia Beach's Mpiredwn and Hindu Pez presented a high-energy, entertaining show for an impressively sized crowd. All of the local music scene unification and promotion efforts must be doing something right; a crowd of at least 40 people filled the space nicely and gave it a great energy for the performers. The fact that there was no cover for those 21+ might have had something to do with it, although as a nineteen-year-old I was the only person in the entire group of people I was with that had to shell out $10 for the evening. That's a shame, because there are plenty of supportive and talented underage people who would have totally dug that event.

First up for the night were talented gothic dance-rockers Myotis of Richmond. The cool thing about Myotis is that they rotate on vocals, presenting a little something for everyone by the time they're through. My favorite songs were fronted by Yancy, supported by the absolutely gorgeous Melissa on keyboards and Jason on guitar. Yancy's voice is raw and unique, pushing through the pounding chords to reverberate with a dark fury out of the speakers. I only wish I could have heard them a bit more clearly; their sound was a bit flat coming out of the speakers, making the vocals slightly fuzzy and jamming the keyboard and guitar sounds together. Still, their show was fun to dance to and to watch.

Next up were the sublimely kick-ass Mpiredwn, who rocked so hard that I craved a Red Bull afterwards. They are great performers who aren't scared of interacting with the crowd and want to make sure that people feel, not just hear their music. Their energetic frontman kept the crowd laughing in between songs and they played a well-arranged set, alternating the hard stuff with danceable songs and then tearing the place up all over again. I can't wait to see what these guys come up with in the future.

For the first time as part of Hindu Pez' live show, performer Gabriel Perry introduced a video mash-up of the bizarrely erotic and the curiously unsettling to accompany his intense industrial. With this impressive addition, the entire dynamic of his live show has changed completely, turning his show into a multimedia performance that had the crowd in attendance in awe. I don't want to spoil it for anyone interested in seeing his show, but as a crowd of monkeys dressed as children rode their bikes across the screen, I took a moment to myself and thought, "Holy shit, this is AWESOME." Deserving of a special shout-out is his gorgeous fiancee k@t, who collaborated on the footage. I can't wait to see him tighten it up (the duration of the film was over an hour, a long time for Hindu Pez to perform and a long time for a drunken audience to stay interested) and expand upon the idea of beat-matching video work. It was seriously one of the coolest things I have seen from the Virginia Beach goth/industrial music scene.

On a side note, you would think that venues supporting bands who can bring in an enthusiastic, well-behaved crowd that drinks generously and respects the music would take care of their clientele. I'm not asking for a personal attendant with miniature bottles of mouthwash and hand cream but White Horse Pub's bathrooms could use a little work. And that's putting it mildly.

In conclusion, kudos to the bands, the venue, and the super-supportive crowd for making this a kick-ass show. Hopefully this is just the beginning in what will become an awesome underground industrial/gothic rock/synthpop/et cetera component to the local music scene. Make sure to stay in touch with these fabulous musicians and thanks, as always, for supporting the hard work of these awesome people.

And since I know all you camwhores wanna see 'em... PICTURES!

Hey... I'm actually in one of the pictures this time...
(Reneé and the lovely Marilen)

Seeing Double: The Last Deviant and k@t

Hindu Pez Strikes Back

CollegeHumor: I love it.

Now that that's out of the way, it's time for the second round of none other than the absolutely amazing Hindu Pez. This time, you can see him with Mpiredwn and Myotis at White Horse Pub this Saturday, August 16th.

Mpiredwn of Virginia Beach is a downtempo gothic rock band. Their music has a darkly seductive quality, good for... well, seducing people. They remind me of Paralysed Age, but with a sexy kind of guitar-heavy undercurrent reminiscent of She Wants Revenge. You can find them on MySpace at www.myspace.com/mpiredwn.

Electronic Goth Pop band Myotis hails from Richmond. Composed of Jason Beeken, ultra-cutie Melissa Richardson, and Yancy Lambert, their music is surprising and interesting. Each band member rotates on vocals, allowing them to produce new and unique music. Fans of Ego Likeness and De/Vision will appreciate their electronic, danceable sound. Pursue them at www.myspace.com/myotismusic for great justice.

And considering the praise I heaped upon him in this and earlier posts, I cannot wait to see Hindu Pez again. His live show is energetic and noisy, but in the good, 'THIS-BASSLINE-WILL
KICK-YOUR-ASS" kind of way. His industrial powernoise set is sure to please those who like Skinny Puppy and Modulate. He's easily stalkable at www.myspace.com/hindupez.

So now you're pretty much obligated to go. Right? I'll be there. Come meet me!

I'll be there! So don't miss it.

More Spooky Home Décor!

So the process of getting my first apartment is an exciting one because I finally get to play interior decorator. My budget being as limited as it is, I have stumbled upon many things that unfortunately will never claim a place in my space. However, I will share them with you here so we can lament together. (How Goth.)

Raven on a Skull
by Dapper Cadaver

Because of its place on the lower end of the cost spectrum, I can't imagine that this product would be too well made (plastic and pigeon feathers) but how cool would this be sitting on a bookshelf or a window ledge? This is one of those things that make you jump when you're stumbling around at 2 in the morning to go to the bathroom and look at it unexpectedly.

Gargoyle Bookends
by Halloween Town

I always think that an interesting way to get to know someone is to examine their bookshelf. (This works great for first dates; Huck Finn? Lolita? Sure, they'd be cool to hang out with again; Mein Kampf? Not so much!) I love Gargoyles because I think they're classy enough to take a place among muted decor, while lending an old-world flair to an environment of unique furnishings. And these are bookends, so they're dead useful!

Big LED Tier Chandelier
by Kikkerland

Oh my Goth, do I love great design. The team at Kikkerland has an array of absolutely amazing products in their catalogue and I was fortunate enough to stumble upon this gem through Amazon. It's an 8" chandelier with built-in, battery-powered LEDs. Imagine the options for transportability! You could hang this from a tree in your backyard if you wanted to. And it's so pretty!

Clock and Gears Wall Art
by Overstock.com

And the Steampunk-gasm starts... now. The colors, the angles, and the sexy black-on-white roman numeral clock--this is gorgeous. This piece alone has so much character that all you need to do is add it to a blank wall and you're pretty much set.

Iron & Tole Gothic Shape Desk Caddy with Wood Finial
by Bellacor

Ahhh, the possibilities. The top of this actually looks like the canopy that I plan on installing over the top of my bed. I love the idea of putting picture frames in here, but this would be the perfect place to unite all of your odds-n-ends: a dish for your car keys, a resting place for your day planner, a cup for the pins to your voodoo doll and a shrine to your pet fetus-in-a-jar... Well, you get the picture. I just like the antique feel of this. A lot. A lot a lot.

(Photo credits: Dapper Cadaver, Halloween Town, Kikkerland, Overstock.com, Bellacor)

Mildread: Part of the Larger Blog Community!

Just a quick little update to let everyone know that Mildread's internet presence has expanded:

I am the MINDFREAK....

So anyone who has known me for any significant length of time knows how much I love circus arts and Cirque du Soleil. I will confess that my guilty pleasure of late has been recording episodes of Criss Angel's Mindfreak on my DVR. I am excited to share that Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil are now teaming up for a resident show at the Luxor titled Criss Angel: Believe. Despite Criss' most recent 'Escape-From-A-Building' (But not really!) stunt--which left me a little disappointed. I'm sure that some of the illusions Criss presents in this show will be breathtaking. Not to mention the preview photos, which are gorgeous. There is a kind of Victorian-Gothic-Alice-in-Wonderland thing going on here that I find fascinating and I'm sure that Cirque's team of amazing artists will do it justice. I've posted some preview photographs below recently released on Cirque du Soleil's official website, along with a YouTube sneak peek. Oh, if only I had the money to go to Vegas in two months!

And a sneak peek:

(Photographs taken from www.cirquedusoleil.com and remain the sole property of Cirque du Soleil, believed to be used fairly under US Copyright Law. If you are the owner of the photographs and would like them removed, please e-mail reneehand13@gmail.com. Thank you.)

mildreadLOCK: Nicotine

The absolutely stunning Nicotine is a glamor and fetish model based out of Washington, D.C. In addition to her extensive portfolio of alternative, fetish, retro/pin-up, glamor, and fine art photographs, she has been featured as a go-go dancer and a runway model across the east coast. We sat down with Nicotine to talk about her career, fetish work, and the irresistible allure of eight-tentacled sea creatures.

Mildread: So really, if you had to tell someone you didn't know about who you are, what would you say?

: It really depends on the scene. If I run into someone on the street that I don't know and they ask me what I do, I usually stick to "I model" and try to change the subject. A lot of people don't really understand the fetish scene, so I try to avoid the subject around people whom I perceive as "normal".

M: When did you start getting into fetish work?

: I first started going to play parties when I was 19. One of my old university friends introduced me to it when I was living in Austin a few years ago. As I started to get further into alternative fashion, I started to make connections between the clothes I liked as a Goth kid in high school and my growing interest in latex and fetish fashion.

M: Very cool. What was your first impression of the fetish scene from the play parties you went to? Or rather, what drew you towards it?

N: I didn't really know what to expect at the first party, to be honest. I was probably the youngest person there, except for a few other twenty-somethings but we were definitely in the minority. I've always been very interested in sexual psychology, so it was interesting to me to talk to the people who went to the parties. It's kind of an unspoken rule that people don't give out a lot of personal information but every now and then you'll hear that someone's a doctor or someone's a lawyer or someone works for the government and that's always fun from a subversive point of view.

M: It certainly gives you a different perspective on things.

: Definitely.

M: So when did you do your first shoot, then?

N: I think my first shoot was a couple weeks before I turned 20. I got into it a lot later than most of my friends who model but I think that was partially because I had issues with body image and self esteem and I didn't really see modeling as an option before then.

M: Has your perception of beauty changed since you started modeling?

: I think so. When one talks about modeling and standards of beauty, I think you really have to differentiate between whether you're referring to mainstream glamour, commercial, editorial modeling and whether you mean alternative fashion, glamour, fetish modeling, etc. Each category has its own niche market, so the sort of "beauty" that may be popular in Playboy or Elle or Vogue is not necessarily the look that might be popular in Marquis or Gothic Beauty or Skin Two, for example.

Beauty, in my opinion, is knowing what works well and what doesn't for your face and your complexion and your body type and being able to combine that with your own personal style

M: Well said. What has been your favorite shoot to do?

: That's a tough one.

M: Name some of your favorites, maybe? Ones that stick out in your mind.

: Well, I think the one that sticks out in everyone's mind is the Bride of Cthulhu set with the octopus. Aside from that, some of my favorite shoots have been with people I was dating at the time.

M: Are those photos on MySpace?

: A few of them were on MySpace for a while but they got deleted. You can still see them on deviantART, fleshbot, io9, ModelMayhem, and my personal website.

M: OH WOW. Is that ink all over you?

N: Believe it or not, that's actually two cans of Hershey's syrup.

M: Haha! Very nice. How did the octopus taste?

: It was pretty fresh, so it didn't really taste like anything. It was just really wet and slippery. The chocolate helped, though. Honestly, I felt pretty guilty about using the octopi.

M: Aww. Why?

: Well, I'm a vegetarian. They're highly intelligent creatures, too. A few of my photographers and I have a bit of an octopus fetish.

M: Yay for vegetarians! So, what do you enjoy most about modeling?

: It's a very glamorous job. You get to dress up and go to parties and travel and meet cool people. It's a wonderful creative outlet.

M: It sounds awesome. Where would you like to see your modeling career headed--both in the short and long term?

N: Short term, it's mainly scraping the money together to travel as much as I want to. I commit myself to so many events and then I have to sit back and say "Okay, smart one. You've committed yourself, now how are you going to afford it?" Long term, I would definitely like to have more print credits and more publications under my belt. I don't want to only be known as an internet model. That's one reason why I try to get involved in so many parties and fashion shows. I also definitely want to try to bridge the gap between lifestyle bdsm and the more glamorous fetish nightlife. I'd like to see a more affordable, commercial latex clothing line that looks like something you'd see at the mall (only latex). There needs to be more latex pret-a-porter clothing.

M: I have to admit, I'm a little curious about latex clothing, actually. I've never worn latex before. What's that like?

: Latex is definitely one of my fetishes, on a tactile as well as a visual level. On the visual level, I like it because it skirts the line between being fully clothed and being completely nude. You can show everything and nothing at the same time and that appeals to my fun, subversive punk rock side. On the other hand, latex is extremely sensual. It's like a million hands stroking your body all at once. It hugs your body in a very comforting way. It's also tremendous fun wearing latex in the pool, the shower, hot tubs, etc.

M: I bet. Do you have any other fetishes? (I swear, that question isn't half as creepy as it sounds.)

: Haha, no worries. I love corsets, very high heels, steel, leather, any article of clothing that's shiny and black with lots of metal bits. I'm a masochist, too, and I love sensations, so I'm a big fan of anything related to massage, spanking, hair pulling, biting, piercing, and things of that nature. I like anything that causes an endorphin rush.

M: A little bit of pain every now and then is wonderful...

: There's a quote about how we can never truly understand and appreciate pleasure until we have understood pain, or something like that. In the end, it's all about sensation.

M: Oh trust me, I definitely agree. So that segues into another question: what do *you* find ultimately sexy?

: At the risk of sounding cliche, I like confidence, I like humor, I think knowing you you are and being true to yourself is sexy. Artistic talent is sexy, nerds are sexy, strength is sexy. There are physical charactertistics that I also think are sexy but even if I think you're the hottest person alive but I meet you and think you're an asshole, you don't stand a chance. Compassion and caring about your health and what you put into your body is sexy, hence my preference for other vegetarians.

M: I think I read somewhere that vegetarians... ahem... taste better.

N: I've heard that, as well. I haven't dated enough vegetarians to really conduct a serious experiment on that but if I kiss somebody and I can taste the meat that they ate that day, that's a definite turn-off.

M: Oooh, yeah, I agree with you on that one.

: Yeah, it's gross.

M: It's about time for my last question. I'll make it easy. What would be the biggest compliment that someone could give you about you or your work?

N: That's an easy question? Boo.

M: Um. Sorry, I tried.

: Compliments make me really self-conscious.

M: Would it be easier if I asked you what motivates you to continue to do what you do?

: I was talking with someone about that the other day. I think what it really boils down to is that a lot of the things that I do and that my friends do you can really only do while you're young. Personally, I'm young, I'm not tied down to any one partner, and I don't have kids or pets or dependents of any kind. In this business, just like in life in general, you only have a small window of opportunity and if you don't take advantage of your opportunity and your freedom now while you still can, one of these days you're going to be eighty, ninety years old, looking back on your life and kicking yourself for playing it safe and wondering what the hell happened. That's the way I see it.

Want to see more? Check out her website at ModelNicotine.com.

(Photo credits from top: T. Jerrod Sharpe; mmk60; WDR Photography; Richard Kadrey; Scott Church, Tsubasa, Studio-X, Vance)

Hindu Fishnet Mafia in the Lab... (what?!)

So a major bouquet of black roses and awesomeness to my friend Gabe a.k.a. Hindu Pez and the other headliners at Thursday night's Stepping Out show. hERETICS iN tHE lAB, the Fishnet Mafia Cabaret, and Hindu Pez all presented an evening of kick-ass song and dance for the alternative crowd.

First up was Hindu Pez, who deserves the seal of kick-assness alone for performing despite having been hit by a car a couple days prior.

Despite his impaired mobility, he still delivered a high-energy performance. His music is darkly danceable and pumps with intense beats and noise. His set flowed nicely from one song to the next, arranged in such a way that songs went from slow[er] to fast without getting boring.

Later in the evening, hERETICS iN tHE lAB dominated the stage with their expected brew of pulsating industrial madness. Their light show is always a sight to see. I will say that, having learned from past shows at Steppin' Out, I was glad that I brought earplugs. The sound system ensures that everyone in the club can hear all nuances of the music being played. And that's putting it nicely.

Having heard very little about the Fishnet Mafia Cabaret, I was excited to see something cute, fun, and a little spooky. The local scene is desperately lacking in female talent. Unfortunately, I got the fishnets, alright, but the term 'cabaret' was used very loosely. The girls were obviously aware of their flexibility, but underneath the black-hot-pants-clad spread eagles there was not much else (literally and figuratively). When I think cabaret, I anticipate song, stand-up comedy, and cute, flirty striptease. Their set's musical choices of solely Nine Inch Nails and Portishead was for the most part repetitive. I'd be interested to see if they could step it up a notch, because I think their concept has a lot of potential.

A big thanks to my friends k@t, Gabe, Miko, and Shaun for all of the work and effort they put towards the scene. They all really want to ensure that the alternative crowd can get together and host their own kick-ass events. You guys rock!

As a side note, there was a ridiculous amount of photographers at this show. I'm not sure if hERETICS has an imagery entourage or something, but at one point in the show I counted eight cameras within ten feet of the stage. I'm curious to know where all of the pictures that were taken are going to end up. It makes me a little paranoid imagining how many digital and filmic likenesses of my face and body exist in the world without my knowledge. Not to mention that many had really fancy, expensive looking cameras, making me sad with my little Nikon Point-'N-Shoot. Hope you all got some good photos!

And on that note... pictures!

And for kicks:


Look what you crazy people do to me.