the season of festivals we turn our sights to Area 51, where this
weekend some of the darker sides of entertainment take full reign of
Hey guys, first off, tell us about yourselves and what you've been
up to the past year.
The Dark Arts Festival kicks off tonight, bringing
together elements from the underground culture in fashion, film,
music, art and more into a three night celebration. Bringing in
people from all over the state to witness and take part in the
festivities. I got to chat with a number of organizers behind the
event about what to expect this year, as well as thoughts on local
art and music. Special thanks to Donna for most of the pictures
Alanja Oliver, Brandi Turner, Donna
Folland & Jeremiah
I'm in my 9th year
of working on the festival. I love having a good time, between the
Dark Arts Festival and Nightmares I've spent a decade just trying to
make cool and exciting things happen so that there's something fun
for everyone spooky to do, I love party time! This year I've mostly
focused on organizing the Performance Art in the festival, which is
really just the catch all for everyone who gets on stage that isn't
performing with a band. There's dancers, spoken word and film and
some acts do blur the line performing on an instrument without the
backing of a full band.
Well, my name is Brandi Turner. I started out as a contributor to
the art gallery and the fashion show and have been a committee member
since 2002. I chair the art committee and help with sponsorship and
marketing. I've done a little bit of everything on the committee
though. I am also a derby girl and started my own local business. I'm
name is Jeremiah Stratton and I have been doing the festival since
the very beginning. Originally I started out as a volunteer/Roadie
that worked with a lot of the headlining bands, in about 2004 or 2005
I started working as the main band person. Since last years
festival, I have been working way too hard on other things, and
trying to focus a bit on finding good bands to follow up last years.
Recaping a bit from the last interview, how did last year's festival
go for you?
I was sick the entire time so it was pretty miserable for me! But I
had a great time anyway. I look forward to the festival each year.
It's a chance to do something for our community that otherwise
wouldn't happen. I get to see friends from all over and meet new
people every year. The festival has many people who come back year
after year from all over the place. It's like a family reunion of
sorts when we all get together. It's my stressful, super busy
vacation. I'm a mother of three and a derby girl; I need
me, the festival itself was sort of miserable as I was sick the whole
time too, but I think that I still had a chance to meet a lot of great
people and see how the scene as a whole can come together year after
year to bring this stuff to the people. I also personally think that
we did great with getting a headliner that has been in and around the
goth scene for years. I guess it doesn't hurt that they put on a
great show too.
Last year's festival was
awesome. It was amazing having London After Midnight perform and
aside from the show itself it was a great reminder of how far the
festival and the scene here has come. Everyone had a blast as usual
and every year things just get better and better.
I was told there may have been a venue change this year. Can you
elaborate on that?
Just one of those rumors, Area
51 is the home of the festival, I really don't think it would be what
it is today without their support. I do know that people at other
clubs have talked about making the festival a multi-venue event,
where your pass could get you into different clubs with different
events, but realistically the committee is too small to pull off the
logistics of that and one of the great things about the festival is
how it brings everyone together once a year, splitting it up would
take away from that I think.
No venue change. We are still at Area 51. Alan Moss has been very
good to the festival. He has always cared about the goth/industrial
scene and giving us a place to call home. When Sanctuary closed, Area
was the logical choice for a new venue. And the staff has always been
very helpful and wonderful to work with.
the Foundation gone through any changes this year while planning and
gearing up for it?
I think its safe to say that every year we go through some changes.
We lost a couple people and gained a couple more on the general
committee. That said I think its not necessarily a bad thing to have
that happen. People burn out, they get tired of doing this, as its a
lot of work, and adding new people to the mix always helps to
generate more ideas. I think as a whole we have a great committee
again this year.
Who did you manage to snag for music this year?
Alanja: This year we have Written In Ashes, dark sexy rockers from Portland, Oregon. Espermachine,
The S1nd1cate is a cyber-punk, electro-industrial act (with a full live band). Discard The Day. Domiana are musical prophets of the end-times, an unholy blend of goth, rock-a-billy, new wave, punk and electrotrash. Elegant Curses... Dark-Experimental. Members are previously of Muses of Bedlam, Ashes of Fall, Thy Opiet Eye, QsfQ. Redemption redeems the Goth Rock tradition started by the Sisters of Mercy and Mission UK. The band's charisma on stage, mixed with mysterious smoke and dramatic lighting, make live shows a unique experience not to be missed. Riverhead. Spooky DeVille, Fun. Horror. Comic Books. Psychobilly. Yay! And Tragic Black, they've been around for almost nine years, toured all over the US, Europe, Mexico City and always puts on high-energy shows. Their music is a fun mix of old school goth, glam rock, new wave, deathrock, post-punk, industrial & electro.
I think once again we have a great line up, although there are a few
bands that I really will miss not having this year, that were staples
of the local band scene.
For fashion, who will be on showcase this year?
We're featuring Arsenic Fashions, Co/Ma Clothing, Accentuate! and
Rigor Mortis Designs and Tombo Studio.
Same question, but for the Arts and Performances areas.
For Performance Art please
visit our website
to see a full list of all the performance artists with a description
of the spell they will cast on you. This year there are a variety of
different types of dance performances, short films and spoken word.
Our belly dancers are Anaar (coming in from California, her
performances are always a highlight), Obscure Mudra, Dragomi,
Nepenthe and The Skirts are veterans of the festival and new this
year is Barefoot BellyDance (dancing with fire!), Oasis Fyre, After
Dark and Notura. There will be burlesque performances by Rue Morgue
Burlesque and Miss Tree. There are four short films this year. Adrian
H and The Wounds will be returning from last year and screening two
music videos from their new album, with a special performance
afterward. SORP Films will be returning from Denver in their flaming
hearse (no, the hearse really shoots fire) to bring us "Industrial
Retards", a spoof on the Industrial Scene and "My Life In
Poo", which I don't even know if I want to talk about. And new
this year from Alexius OmniMedia/Surgical Dalliance Films is "The
Sex Doll She-Bitch", a short B Gore Horror Comedy Film about a
disgruntled middle-class housewife who goes on a murderous rampage.
Spoken word this year features Chad Painter, who this time will be
accompanied by his own musical composition, Lilith Gaia returns and
new this year is Norm.
We have many local artist who are returning to the festival and some
ones that this year will be their first year. The art gallery this
year seems to have a bit of a theme; decay. The decay of our culture,
our selves, and our way of life. It should be interesting. I love
being able to help local artist get their work out to an appreciative
audience. If your art isn't mainstream it's a lot harder to make a
name for yourself. I particularly enjoy having young artists in the
gallery; art is a very important part of our childhoods and if it's
not fostered as we grow we tend to lose it.
With all that will be on display, who and what are some of your
recommendations to check out?
Everything! I live at the club during the festival; I don't want to
I really recommend that you
catch as much of the festival as you can, part of the fun is seeing
new things and discovering new artists. Everyone deserves a plug
here, but some of the things I am personally looking forward to
seeing from Performance Art will be Anaar, who always leaves me
breathless and having seen a preview of the show from Rue Morgue
Burlesque I know everyone is in for a sexy treat and I just hearing
about the tribal fire show that Barefoot Bellydance is putting on is
getting me excited. I fell in love with Adrian H's mix of brooding
piano in the vein of Nick Cave and Tom Waits when they performed as a
full band last year, so I'm really excited to see their new videos
and buy the new CD there, the last one I bought was in such heavy
rotation after the festival last year I need something
As far as music goes, I would say make sure to check out Spooky
Deville, Written in Ashes, The S1nd1cate, and Espermachine, as all of
them are making their first appearances at the festival this year.
As for other stuff I don't know all the Artists and such but I would
say check out Madelyn Boudreauxs photos as she is a great
What's your take one year later on both the art and music scenes?
You know this is an interesting question. I feel like we have some
great bands that are up and coming but in a lot of ways I feel like
our personal scene is shrinking a bit. It gets harder and harder for
me to find a band that fits in the genre each year. Not to mention
its really hard to identify a certain band that everyone will like at
a festival. With the advent of the Internet we have had both and good
happen in music. Good being that we have been able to find out about
bands that never would have made it to Utah before, including a large
portion of our headliners over the past few years. But the bad is
that the market has become so oversaturated with certain types of
bands, that some are a dime a dozen.
I am glad that we still have such a great local music and art scene.
So many artists love coming through here again and again. But if we
don't keep supporting their efforts, we could lose that.
Since I didn't get a chance to ask it last year, what are your
thoughts on the fashion scene, both good and bad?
Wear what makes you happy. Just please, I don't want to see your
underwear. It's just not classy. Buy a belt.
I have no fashion sense for myself, but as someone that can
appreciate fashion as a whole, I think that there are a lot of great
clothes not only coming out of this scene but out of SLC as a whole.
Unfortunately though in the last couple of years we have lost one of
the great voices of fashion in SLC, when Jared Gold moved away.
Is there anything else we can expect to see at Dark Arts this year?
Other than everything listed
on the website, there's just going out and having a good time with
your friends and making new ones. Even without everything going on
stage it's also a whole weekend for everyone that appreciates the
darker side of life to come together and have a great time with each
Me, drinking a beer.
I keep telling everyone that if they can get money together I will
go on stage in a thong and flip flops, but for some reason no one
wants to do it.
Besides the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or
I would personally like to thank everyone that helps out with this
and puts in countless hours to make this go on every year. Without
the people there would be no Dark Arts.
It's so important to support your local community. Buy local,
support local music, and support your local derby girl!
www.slcderby.com. Go Salt City
Of course everyone that's
working and performing at the festival is great, but I'd also like to
promote everyone that's making music, art and fashion, from the
people that do it just for themselves to those that making it their
living. Please support all the arts that you can from a show at a
bar, to hand crafted items at boutiques, to the guy playing cello on
the corner and shop at your locally owned independent businesses!
Support your scene!