It’s super goth to talk shit about the multitude of “World Day” this and “International Day” that and, I’m sure, Whatever Goths (I made that up) like my dear friend Zachariah The Witch could care less about World Goth Day. But I’m about it. Similar to how I perceive my Halloween lifestyle, World Goth Day is one of those days I partake because it’s convenient – I’m goth every day but it’s a chance for Goths to celebrate an aesthetic that has never been easy to be part of in regular society.
Goths love to shop for fishnets, mesh, and oddities and listen to dark music that comforts us and makes us dance. Being goth is to be a poet, a hopeless romantic, eccentric and sexual. It’s an art-conscious, musical revolution and my first real “fuck you” towards my parents, teachers, and even peers when I was in high school. There is a power in being goth; there’s forbidden knowledge in the music lyrics that tempt those attracted to darkness to find their beauty and freedom of expression there.
For World Goth Day 2022, my Mistress of Mischief persona was on full display. I was feeling vibrant, energetic, and sexy as fuck. I’m definitely in heat as the moon is in the last quarter phase. That means my moon cycle is approaching and I wanted to get out of the house before possibly spending next weekend with cramps and murder scenes in my chonies. So, the Hubs and I went out to finally pay a visit to a couple of shops I’ve been dying to get to as well as Portland’s most famous cemetery and daily goth hangout spot.
Quite opposite of typical goth and PNW weather, Sunday, May 22 was a sunny but still beautiful day. I’ve written before how PNW sunny days hit different so, I wasn’t upset that I had to wear shades to protect my badass UV Glow eyeliner. The Belmont District was buzzing with eccentric humans who were enjoying the warm weather as we walked in The Skeleton Key Vintage.
I tried to contain my usual loud shrill when my eyes adjusted. I was drawn to the array of local artist-made candles, soaps, ritual oils – a shadow work tea blend, ethically sourced and beautifully crafted taxidermied snakes, chicken fetuses, badger paws, and oddities galore! In addition, there were harnesses, Killstar, and Pretty Cult apparel and accessories, perfect for a goth’s night out at the Coffin Club.
I had briefly met The Skeleton Key Vintage owner, Amber, at the Coffin Club during the OFTS Fest when Vision Video played. So, I was thrilled when she remembered that meeting, and we got to chatting about how she and the shop became one of Portland’s popular goth destinations.
Interestingly, The Skeleton Key Vintage originated from simply having a collection of oddball wares in her garage that she would sometimes craft and then sell as a side hustle. At the same time, Amber worked in restaurants and bars. When the Covid 19 pandemic hit, she began to see an increase in interest and support for small business owners, while the restaurant and bar industry was on hiatus.
Amber now has a perfect storefront where she sells and supports about 19 local artists and their creations. In addition to being a badass woman-led business, Amber dances and will be performing at the upcoming Traveling Vampire Show at another famous Portland spot, Dante’s, on June 5th. I need to nab my tickets!
I wanted to make one more stop before heading into the cemetery. Naked City Clothing has been on my list of shops to visit, and it became a favorite before I walked in. It did have something to do with the Drag Brunch happening just a few feet away at the neighboring restaurant, but there was leopard print, fleece-lined leggings hanging out there waiting for me to buy. Those are a goth send during the cold months here. I walked in to discover a whimsical array of Sourpuss and Tripp apparel, various wonky accessories, horror collectibles and attire, and home goods like coffin cabinets and cute mushroom pan holders.
I learned that the month of May is Naked City’s 20th anniversary thus they were having a 20% off sale on homegoods to celebrate! Idk why I didn’t buy home wares but, I’ll be back! Ya’ll can take advantage this week though!
Of corpse, the purpose of me shopping at these stores is for gifts, goth goods, and Halloween shit for myself, but you know me, I have to get to know the Ghouls who keep such places running. But, what sets owner Julian apart from a few other shops is her dedication to continuing dismantling racism. Julian and I discussed the lack of and, sudden forgetfulness that many small businesses in the Halloween, Horror, Goth and Oddities community have when it comes to continuing to support Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ and TransWomen in our own community. I hope Julian and I can continue such conversations and share them with the community when I go back to pick up The Hub’s Mesh Tripp Shirt.
Within walking distance from Naked City is the famous Lone Fir Cemetery. THE top goth destination and natural arboretum. I have never been to a cemetery like Lone Fir in my life! Each tombstone is not like the other. Some are so old that you can hardly read the markers. Crows and squirrels were playful and added to the peaceful ambiance, keeping the dead silent and asleep beneath our feet.
I didn’t pick up any ghostly vibrations. It was daytime and sunny after all. I also believe the dead were not up to dealing with my Lilith energy as I frolicked respectfully between graves. Lone Fir is a perfect spot for a goth to spend time connecting with the dead, trees that have lived for hundreds of years, and write poetry, mourn lost ones, and heal heartbreaks. With over 700 trees, 65 species, and over 25,000 dead people buried, there’s no lack of darkly artistic inspiration.
Like all of my favorite PNW spots so far, Lone Fir has added opportunities to help maintain this historical place. One of my upcoming features includes Tom, The Coffin Collector, who helps facilitate tombstone cleanings and tours! Tom is part of Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery. A non-profit that strives to preserve the tombs of the dead.
Rest In Peace Indeed!
I finished my World Goth Day with a glass of whiskey, more than a few joints and a heavy meditation while listening to Bauhaus.
And guess what! I’m still goth today!