THE WHOLE DAMNED STORY...The History of Wake
I began Wake 8 years ago with the raw desire to do something new and aesthetic. I was pretty much sick of the same stuff I was listening & dancing to at the only gothic club at the time...not that it was bad music, or anything. I just wanted to hear More, because there was More out there...I was a Helter Skelter freak for years when I finally got the idea (whilst still in my teens) to open my own damn club. I was getting sick over watching our once close-knit ‘Gothic Society’ gradually mutate into this over-advertised, household name. I’ll never forget my proud little Death-Rock-As-Fuck self, gasping in horror over ‘normies’ knowing what the hell Gothic music was or where Helter was (hard to believe there was ever such a time, eh?). Part of me was pleased we were getting some sort of genre recognition for the art and beauty that was portrayed musically/visually, but the other part of me was just disheartened at what level ‘The L.A. Gothic Scene’ had stooped to. That’s when I knew much hope was lost. But not all...
I found this tiny location by following a piss-ass flyer with the words "Blood Bank @ Theatre Gallery" scrawled on it one late night with a group of pals. It was in some industrial strip-complex in Costa Mesa: by day, an automotive repair shop/art gallery (there was like only one [BAD!] piece of work hanging in the lobby) and by night, it was an underground Rave haven. Needless to say, I hit the owner up with the idea of running a Gothic club there; his response was "Yeah, man! But come by Monday night and talk to the guy who DJ’s here, he’s doing like his own little Gothic thing." The DJ ended up being Shane Talada of Element (then STG). He agreed to DJ for Wake on Fridays, 12am to 6am, and the rest... well, I could drone on, but in light of the bore factor, I’ll attempt to just give you the quick and dirties from this point on...
Wake eventually moved on to another location in L.A. (Eagle Rock). During this time I published a series of flyers that I heard came to be known as the ‘Gothic Manifesto’ (thanks pixel). I think that's funny as hell, but I'm flattered (I think?). Here’s an excerpt:
...WAKE IS SADLY WATCHING WHAT SEEMS TO BE THE DEMISE OF THE GOTHIC SCENE. I DESIRED TO CREATE A SANCTUARY FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVED IN THE GOTHIC ARTS. I WANTED TO REDEFINE AND RECAPTURE THE EMOTIONAL MEANING THAT SEEMED ALMOST HOPELESSLY LOST TO A MONEY-HUNGRY EMPIRE THAT WAS L.A.’S LAST ‘GOTHIC CLUB’. I KNEW THERE WAS MORE TO IT. I WANTED CHANGE, AND I WASN’T THE ONLY ONE...WE MUST UNITE AND THE GOTHS MUST TAKE OVER, AND NOT LET AN ENTITY MAKING BANK OFF OUR SCENE DO IT. SO WE URGE YOU TO PLEASE COME AND SUPPORT THIS GOTHIC MOVEMENT. THIS IS NOT JUST A DANSE CLUB, THIS IS A PLACE TO UNITE..."--veronika.
Hmm. I'm recalling all the intensity and passion I had for the dear scene. It’s not all faded just yet, but... well, I’m just not as intense about it anymore. The Gothic scene in L.A. has gotten way, way out of control and out of my hands over the years to the point where I feel it’s completely unrecognizable to anything I ever associated myself with (hey, except for the club Release the Bats, that place kicks much ass).
Oh, and this flux of flyers only served to piss off Bruce and Mike, owners of Helter Skelter. I recall a brief ‘conversation’ with one of them in front of one of their many meccas (mind you folks, they began a gazillion years ago with Scream then Helter, now, whoa! $$$ look what Goth has made those boys!) The conversation went something like: "So you’re Veronika of Wake. Yah, man, you talked a bunch of shit on your flyers about us!" (Mind you, I never once mentioned their names or their club on any of the fliers, but if the inference fits, baby) I respond, "Yah, that’s called freedom of the press. Besides, we should be supporting each other..." I’ll never forget his repulse-ridden response, "I would never support you" and he flowed out of view amidst the black clad crowd. And people wonder why they would never catch me dead attending one of their fucking clubs again. You know, I was even told that if you were caught with a Wake flyer coming into one their clubs, you’d get it ripped out of your hand or not be allowed into the club? Greed’s an ugly thing, children, an ugly thing. I could definitely air more gripes and dirt relating to the subject at hand, but, I’ll reel it in for now. anyhow...
Since the ‘illegal’ location in Costa Mesa, (which was closed down because the cops were finally called on us at 4 in the morning--the birthday party excuse didn’t fly, even though we managed to get the entire club to sing ‘Happy Birthday’! "Nn-no, really, ociffer, this is a b-birthday party!") Wake has seen many an interesting venue, to say the least. I figured I could attempt to do better than D.D.T.’s roach-infested, sticky dance floors, equipped with winos outside harassing you for pennies while you aged in line. Here’s a nostalgic list of the many locations Wake has seen over the past 7 years:
Theater Gallery,(auto shop by day, after hours club at night!) Costa Mesa
Eagles, (cowboy bar!) L.A. Eagle Rock
Micah’s, (coffee house!) Pasadena
Cuernavaca, (plus a damn free buffet!!!) Pasadena
Hell’s Gate, (it sure was!) Hollywood
The Muse, (in the underground) Pasadena
Q’s, (fucking gorgeous location) Pasadena
(And no, I don’t mind saying, the only reason we lost that great location in Pasadena was because Rozz Williams [his band Heltir was slated to appear] arrived late and so completely smacked out of his mind that he could hardly find the stage in front of himself, and when he did, he collapsed to his knees and wavered in front of a programmer til he was dragged off by his friend Eric [who has also passed on]. It was a dreadful and embarrassing night, as the house soundman refused to work with Heltir and thus took over the DJ system, blaring Hip Hop. My apologies extended again to those who were there to witness all of that. And if this info has offended anybody, sorry, but this is the sad fucking truth of what drugs and depression can do to a great mind, I admired that man very much, may his soul heal...)
The Fire House, (another gorgeous location) West Hollywood
(And yet AGAIN another perfect location flushed down the tubes due to intoxicated belligerence. Apparently after London After Midnight finished their set at Wake, Sean Brennan’s flunky friend decided to trash the men’s restroom, breaking fixtures and drink glasses, [I’m sure in the name of Goth, man!] thus the owner refused to let Wake return. Thanks a lot guys! also the gay local crowds complained.)
Elektrik Kafé, (a *warm* basement) Pomona
Encounters, (a gay bar that ended up discriminating against GOTHS!) Pasadena
Then finally, Lush...an amazing, full-sized nightclub horrendously spoiled by the coke-sniffing owners and management. Drugs Fuck You Up, People! And there, Wake was laid to rest.Glendale
Wake has also had a great line-up of bands perform live. I managed to get all the former members of Shadow Project to play (unfortunately not all on the same bill). The following are artists who performed:
New Ambassador’s of Love,
Praise of Folly,
Face (Paris of Shadow Project),
Eva O. & The Wounded,
Izzy the Pusher,
Heltir (Rozz’s musical project that didn’t quite play)
and London After Midnight.
Then when Wake teamed up with Vampiricus to create THE SHADOWREALM, we had:
and ATTRITION perform.
That club fell apart simply because the promoter for Vampiricus (who shall go unnamed) and I had different views and goals for The Shadowrealm. I would not suggest anyone working with this scary, little old man.
Disc Jockeys that spinned (spun?? were spun out??) at Wake include: DJ Scott Patterson (formerly D.O.A in Hollywood), DJ Shannon (formerly of ICON in Riverside), DJ Petey Blender, DJ Archangel, (a Wakee who followed us since the Eagle Rock days!!!). Guest DJ's we've had include: Shok (of Newgrounds.com), Xian (of Club Noire), Bat (of Madeline's Tomb), and Jenn & Dave (of Release the Bats!)..Thanks to you ALL. Last Wake DJ's were: oZ (of Shiny Blue Records!), Jose, dR. sPlit and me (SoRRoW), and we're all still spinning together at FUNERAL!
Look at my original post only a couple of months ago:
"Now here we are in 2002, open every Sunday of the week. Something I haven't done in many, many years. Wake's been usually a 2-3 hit wonder at each venue before some bullshit drama surfaced with the management e.g., "you're too weird looking" "you're scaring away the regulars" "the gay men in your clientele are not putting out enough.." blah blah..so I say "fuck off" and take Wake out of there. So far, we're getting on really well with the current venue, Lush; they've been pretty supportive of having a 'creepy' night there! So I can only pray for the best.."
And what has happened? Well, Wake fell victim to OTHER people's problems, once again. They sold the venue last minute and changed it to 'The Cage Club'. The original manager was 86'd and a new bigger coke-head who couldn't remember where he left his life took over. The guy was mad. It just couldn't happen there any more.
That combined with Sunday night (not the best club night around) and one major problem: people 'my age'. If they're not married, self-described as fat and lazy with 3 kids, 'over it' or whatever, there just aren't many people 'my age' left that would appreciate Wake. It used to not be this way. I remember having packed nights, lots of goths swirling the night away. The wonderful outfits, the misery, the white make up and drippy eyeliner..where did they all go? Then I stand outside of a 'big' goth club in Hollywood and see some of those familiar faces come stumbling drunk and smeared out of the crush. Is that what you want now? I suppose. So, then, I realize, no wonder they won't come to Wake. It's not fucked up enough. I'm not treating them like shit enough. It's like they WANT to be mistreated, WANT something to bitch about "Oh God, the club SUCKED last night..blah blah blah" and then, there they are again. Back at the same club. Gluttons for punishment or just really, really fucking stupid?
So be it! No use beating a dead horse with a nightclub. Then I thought..what crowd isn't jaded these days? Who..what. Ah. A huge crowd of people--a population you and I once amassed in--the 'underage' crowd. Yes. And it's simple: this is where my heart always lies. Within younger people. Hell, I'm an educator of little ones during the day...It's the adults I can't stand. I hate being grown-up. I hate people 'my age' (I'm not even 30 yet). They've lost..everything, it seems. The few close friends I have luckily understand where I come from. And every year I meet another lost soul out there wondering where all the youth went! But I digress, somewhat.
Basically, to sum this all up, Wake died of old age. Wake died because she was in fact forgotten. Here's the eulogy I wrote up one night (fuck, it actually made me cry!):