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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

San Francisco Subcultures, 1999: Sex, Death & Eyeliner

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 12:27 PM


When I started going to San Francisco goth clubs in January of 1999, I heard tell of a film crew -- "The same people who made The Prophecy!" -- who were shooting a documentary about the local scene. (The Los Angeles goth scene too, but what-EVER.) Some of my best friends were interviewed, but I kept my distance from the cameras.

The resulting movie Sex, Death & Eyeliner didn't receive any significant distribution beyond a few festival screenings and a brief release on VHS in the early 2000s, though in classic Jazz Singer / Xanadu fashion, the soundtrack was fairly successful.

How does one get into goth? The fancier the clothes, the purpler their origin story. (I was more in the "crushed out on a girl" camp, myself.)

You can't have a goth scene without goth music. Which has soul.

I still dance like this, all swoopy arms, no matter the kind of club or music.

The overt and sadly common homophobia of the first line of this next clip raises my hackles. Ugh. Maybe it's one of the L.A. people? Still, grumble.

The San Francisco goth scene had a strong anti-vampire bias at the time, and probably moreso now in the Twilight era, but you can't blame the filmmakers for focusing on such inherently cinematic things, which is why much of the running time is spent on BDSM and bloodplay. Still, if I had a nickel for every time I'd heard "Vampires aren't goth!", I could park in the Mission for an afternoon.

Other thoughts on what goth isn't.

So what is goth? Some theories include sucking the marrow out of moments, and others involve astrology and "what scientists would say is your DNA."

I'm way too squeamish about piercing to watch this next clip without averting my eyes. You should watch it, though.

In the end, Sex, Death & Eyeliner either nails goth, or misses the point entirely -- and, quite frankly, there may not be a difference.

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.
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