‘art attack with Goddess Rosemary

Img. Source. – ‘Heart Painting’ by Janos Kerekes

Presented by

Tim

Good evening,
Tonight we’re not going to talk about modern Vampires… well maybe just a smidgin, later on. No, tonight we are going to talk about the arts and, in particular, one artist, Goddess Rosemary Sahjaza. A prolific artist, a creator, a visionary and an explorer.

In speaking of Temple-House Sahjaza she notes, proudly,
We are big supporters of underground theatre and theatrical companies, such as, La Commedia del Sangue: Vampyr Theatre”, she goes on to say, “The Sahjaza have been putting on events since the 70’s such as Cirque de Erotique and the most recently the Undead-A-Go-Go. Over the years Temple-House Sahjaza has done everything from Ghost Tours to Whale Watching.

As a businesswoman Goddess Rosemary “owned one of NYC’s first notable Computer Graphic Corporations in 1985 and paved the way for groups to follow such, as Kinko’s.

The Sahjaza Matriarch is also an actress, filmmaker and “champion of women’s freedom of expression, personal growth and rights.” As an artist, Goddess Rosemary has exhibited art in shows in NYC from the Andrus Gallery at Carnegie Hall, to the Salmagundi Club and other notable galleries and venues.

She has directed award winning films that she calls “in-depth and psychological works like Fritz Lang or perhaps even David Lynch” and her most noted work, “The Elegant Spanking”, explores fetish themes and celebrates the female form. She is a fan of “cult classics, film noir and dark movie format” and often works in black and white. She also designs her own sets, having studied art direction for film at the New School as well as acting at HB Studio in NYC, and dance at the Leslie Dance School, also in NYC.

Goddess Rosemary, apart from all this, is also an “advocate for lost and homeless shelter pets, spay and neuter programs and education.”

Coinciding with the release of the “Goddess Rosemary Ankh” today RVL is greatly honoured to be granted her first in-depth interview in almost a decade and we are very proud to welcome Goddess Rosemary Sahjaza.

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RVL: Good evening Goddess Rosemary, thank you very much for agreeing to spend some time with us. I suppose that the first, and perhaps most common, question that artists would get is when and where did you first become interested, and involved in, artistic pursuits?

GR: I first started drawing horses and made a book for my mother out of some yellow paper tied with bread ties, later I took to drawing and writing on old computer paper my Dad brought home they had a hard time in those days keeping me in paper, I always find the paper is just not big enough for the “movies” that play in my head thus my becoming a film maker, and studying art direction for film at the New School in NYC. Nothing is big enough not paper, neither is the canvas, I love doing huge wall murals the largest became 60 foot long and 8 foot wide in a tavern.

RVL: It is well known that you are among a large number of artistic people in the modern Vampire culture, in many diverse fields from literature, to hand arts, to music and to film making – what’s your favourite art form to work in?

GR: I touched on that a bit in the first question but I will give more detail now, I love computer graphics also photography, being a living art form in figure study modelling that I have done with a variety of wonderful photographers.

I love colored pens, pencils, charcoal, and acrylic, I do not use oil anymore due to the toxicity of the oils and the mediums used with oils but at one time I loved to use them, I like cutting out paper with sharp scissors and making things 3D and using a variety of mediums to create illusions of depth and texture. I have some brushes that I have had for over 30 years they are tools that I know exactly what they do and what particular act of painting they will perform, painting is like dancing it’s an art that is music to the canvas and the paint is the song, it’s creating a world that draws people in and makes them respond. It’s energy transferred to canvas and when I paint I paint very, very fast it’s an energy and almost like feeding, or a form of energy charging. As I do this it’s somewhat akin to the same idea of some fast type of automatic writing, it’s a bit hypnotic and I do not like to stop in the middle as it’s sort of hard to regain the same pace if you stop.

I enjoy doing erotic studies of women, not always because they are perfect, or perfection but in their own beauty, and I enjoy landscapes and creating a story on canvas.

My film “The Elegant Spanking”, a 16 mm black and white, 30 min duration fetish film, played all around the world in film fests in the early 90’s, it is still a hot topic in the debate forum at the University of MD where it’s in the library and they discuss yearly, Is it pornography or art? I believe its art as to me it was all artistically channeled, inspired by art and life, and it’s the story of a woman vampyre and her female companion, or serving girl. It reflects my life and the life of every mistress and maid, the wheel in the wheel, one made for the other, for without the serving girl how can you have the mistress of the house? Without the mistress of the house how do you have the serving girl? Each knows their role and without each other neither role works, it’s my version of Metropolis perhaps, or Fellini.

In 1995 “The Elegant Spanking”, won awards world-wide, at a future date I may offer the director’s cut of the film if there is enough interest…

It was featured for a time in Playboy Catalogue with the caption, “Not for the faint hearted”.

I also adore Kubrik and Lynch, film and art run together for me and I loved Walt Disney, wanted to be an illustrator and animator, my film desire to animate comes directly from his old cell by cell methods.

Salvador Dali
img. source: The Art Story

RVL: …and, for those who may not have chanced upon our June articles, how long have you been involved in art culture and its comings and goings?

GR: I have been involved in art all my life and won my first art award at age 12, I won a Waterford crystal bowl and I sold my first work of art sale to Godfrey Anderson Rockefeller at about the same age. I was also influenced by Leonardo DaVinci’s works, by my friend Salvador Dali and my dear friend Andy Warhol, I actually met Andy by accident we both went to the same Dr and met in the Dr’s office …

Andy Warhol
img. source: biography.com

 

Other of my art favorites are, but are not limited to, John Singer Sargent, Goya, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Martin Johnson Heade, Winslow Homer, Andrew Edward Hopper, Newell Wyeth, Georgia O’Keeffe, adored, then gone too soon, Patrick Nagel.

My friends Keith Haring and Andy Warhol influenced me greatly on so many levels including giving me the freedom to be me along with my friend, singer and song writer, Jim Cowan and Reb Stout who showed me that I could express myself with the freedom and abandonment of a strong and passionate spirit and to let myself be me in all ways, breaking out of society and social norms, in my art and my artwork and I thank them greatly.

I love collaborating with other artists, writers, and musicians, electrical energy generating and creative types. Thus the vampyre archetype, and lifestyle, is a more than perfect place for a living art form life-form being to be.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, Albi 1864–1901 Saint-André-du-Bois) img. source: larousse.fr

Toulouse-Lautrec was a huge influence on me, my grandmother had four pieces by him and they are mine now but they both terrified and attracted me. Some of the figures were silhouetted and scary but others, bawdy female figures, in acts of a bit of naughty play I adore them and had them re-framed in black frames, they are beautiful and among my most personal treasures. These are the actual ones i have lithographs of –

RVL: …and how do you define, personally, your own art styles today?

GR: My own personal style today is, I would say, “evolving”, as I am and seem to be ever evolving, are we not always evolving and changing, blending and becoming more? Well, hopefully more…

There is one artist who deeply influenced me I can’t recall his name, I will fill it in later… a British painter, he painted scenes of romantic women lounging around pools with leopards and such ritualistic baths and other attire romantic columns and the grandiose rooms or outdoor courtyards like the later Hollywood films took to heart as much as I did I’m sure. His work influenced my set design within my own rituals and within the work I did in set design for film, videos and photo shoots in NYC.

RVL: Without revealing any trade secrets, can you give us a little insight into what you are up to these days?

GR: I am currently working on two charity pieces one for the local animal shelter and the other for another charity for the preservation of wetlands.

I am also going to release some of my drawings in poster format and I am working on a compilation photo book of me by a variety of photographers which will also contain assorted writings by myself and others.

As well as these, we have released, this morning, the long anticipated “Goddess Rosemary Ankh” it will be available on TempleHouseSahjaza.com in a Rhodium plate and in Stainless Steel.

The Goddess Rosemary Ankh

RVL: …and, quite apart from any sort of ‘nightkind’ influence, where else do you draw your inspirations from?

GR: Everything I see is art, a portent of, for or to create art. I feel that we are all living art as we are all the living Sahjaza, it’s the same principal.

Nature, people, animals, birds, the sky, the earth, everything, buildings and I particularly love old ghost towns and decayed buildings that were once a glory just like I love old houses, they were a work of art not “cookie cutter” buildings like modern houses; give me my 100 year old fall-down house with her plank wood floors and crooked walls any day. To me ‘Sanctuary’, where I live, is a canvas in renovating a 100 year old house as well as the grounds one tree at a time.

RVL: Where can our readers view your work and do you have an outlet for retail?

GR: My art display at Temple-House Sahjaza is a work in progress, that’s not on line yet though posters of the “Woman with a veil” can be obtained from me at Temple-House Sahjaza and there’s some artwork on my YouTube channel, YouTube/ShannonAvalon that I have created, and play with. I collaborate with many friends, musician, author, playwright and ritual conspirator Tony Sokol , journalist, musician, composer, and song writer Creek, Joe Cerna of Black Virgin fame, Dead Eddie, Carlos Vivanco, The Madame Webb in Digital Dream, and so many wonderful others whom allow me to use their original music for my creations; creations which are sometimes only limited by my own personal computer equipment. I hope to someday build a proper computer lab. Incidentally, I owned one of the first three computer graphics companies in NYC, I was actually somewhat a pioneer in the field of computer graphics.

‘Woman with a veil’

 

RVL: Do you have a favourite piece, or pieces of work amongst what you have done so far?

GR:Woman with a veil”, an artwork with pen and ink and the totem pole that was at my gallery show at Carnegie Hall, NYC called “Into my web” a multimedia show. My painting called “Mother Nature” is also a great favorite.

RVL: What advice would you give to any budding artists looking to get their own work ‘out there’?

GR: Just keep creating!! Dream big.

When we travel a creative path, and live creatively, feed on creativity, become the dark muse, the universe provides a wealth of food for creativity –  it’s self-perpetuating and will always push creative types to create, regardless what distractions are out there.

RVL: Do you consciously confine yourself to one or two art forms at a time or do you like to explore and create as the whim takes you?

GR: I am involved with as many as 15 to 20 art projects all the time it never stops, never sleeps, never enough time, or canvas, or paper everything is an inspiration, I drink it all and pour it out onto, and into, my work regardless of what medium I am working in.

The last thing I did was hand make the place setting cards for the Sahjaza Family Reunion Dinner. They were created them out of computer generated artwork printed on parchment paper put on heavy card stock with attached gems I acquired some 30 plus years ago from famed costume designer Edith Head, in L.A., at a venue once owned by famed fashion designer, fetish fan, and my lifelong friend and mentor (and member of the Black Rose) Reb Stout. I decided to glue some of them on for decoration to give them a NOLA flair they also have some authentic black photo brad attachment corner things that must be about 40 years old.

Mo-mo & Merlin

Reb, by the way, was the owner of my white dog Mo-Mo you may have seen with me in photos. I inherited him in November 2007 when Reb, a former Navy Seal, succumbed to lung cancer after fighting a great battle

He and I were dog people and I inherited his dog whom I love dearly and is best mates to my dog Merlin who is an Australian cattle dog and has rounded him up from day one.

My Consort assisted me in making the placement cards helping me with some of the more difficult measurement and cutting and gluing of the pieces I was pleased with them when we were done, and I had the last of the glitter on them – who said vampyres don’t like glitter!

RVL: Do you find, or think, there is a large niche within the modern nightkind culture for the expression and appreciation of art such as you produce or, do you think too much has gone the way of “instant gratification” to the point where many are losing the ability or desire to really appreciate physical art pieces?

GR: people are either inspired by them or they lose touch with “touch” and “feel” and “see”. There are those who are glued to the addiction of instant gratification of “likes” and “selfies” and do not even look up from the phone to see real life, or go to a wedding and see it via the lens of a camera, taking a film they most likely will never even watch again to record it for some time in the future when technology will no longer play that medium. I am more concerned with the loss of our culture when technology passes our mediums by and our recordings, photos and archives are no longer compatible.

I believe the Russians, I heard, had a 30 day “detox” and almost “AA style” place for people who were too addicted to “Second City” to do their day to day jobs, are we addicted to social media or are we using it to create how connected is too connected? When you read of someone who is out buying toilet paper, and they feel the need to post it, they could be doing something creative.

I am inspired by much I see to be, and become, creative and what others are creating, I view – on social media – there is never enough time of course to do what I want to do or create but, for example, the film directed by a woman, Wonder Woman, that I viewed on opening night at a theatre, was HUGELY inspiring to me and made me remember so many reasons I wanted to become and artist, I think DC comics is hugely inspiring to creative people.

One must get off the behind and do so to not let the massive amount of outside stimuli, and easy gratification, monopolize their creative time, rather use it as a time to connect, to bond, to use as a tool, to learn to read papers, articles, hear music and experience using the tools, don’t let them use you. One of the things that takes much time is the internet and the purposeful attempts of internet trolls to tie up and chaos your time thus taking you away from valuable real-life interaction.

7 Devil’s National Park – Ritual for Ninagal

RVL: When you aren’t creating the art yourself what forms of art do you like to kick back and enjoy?

GR: I don’t know that I am ever not creating, Dali said once to me, “You are art” however, for enjoyment, I am going to the Blood Lust Ball, in NOLA on October… what is it 29th   Sunday? This will be me appearing for the first time in a public venue ball since NYC in 2013!

RVL: What would you say is the most “extreme” art form you have ever embraced, or moved in the circles of?

GR: Performance art, live on stage art in NYC at the Hellfire, Paddles, the Vault and other clubs and venues, at my own events, and others. I love NYC because unlike most the USA with a few exceptions such as L.A., San Francisco or Las Vegas, you can be naughty as ya wanna be – and it’s still art!

‘Her Dragon’

RVL: Naturally, I would suppose, we would like to touch, at least once, upon your knowledge and history within the nightkind culture; have you any wise words for modern living Vampires dear lady?

GR: Be elegant, be compassionate and play hard. Never stop creating, inspire and be inspired.

RVL: Thank you very much indeed for sharing your thoughts, advice and insights with us today. We greatly appreciate your time indeed, it has been an absolute pleasure speaking with you.

GR: You’re so very welcome it was my pleasure and so fun to close my eyes re-live moments when we, as Z/n, used to gather and sit in big high back chairs by the fire and fondly remember days at the, Algonquin hotel in NYC, and a former Corporate Technology Chief of the NYSE, my friend and co-author of many projects, Chris Keith, who recently passed over the veil. I remember him telling me like it was yesterday,

When you’re old and full of sleep these will be the days you remember”, as we all sat there trying to capture some of the inspiration or channel some dreaming of the ghosts of past patrons Mary Shelley and her friends trying to catch the vibe of Dracula, Sherlock and Frankenstein.

If people wish to contact me they can do so on my FB page RosemarySahaza, or Temple-House Sahjaza on FB.

My personal twitter account is @goddessrosemary and @SahjazaZn

We also have @templeSahjaza on twitter and Sahjaza on Instagram.

People can order the Goddess Rosemary Ankh on TempleHouse Sahjaza.com or, if they want to catch up with me, come see me at the Blood Lust Ball in NOLA.

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Preparing this presentation was an exhilarating experience because it was the first time that I have done a “live”, of sorts, interview… Goddess Rosemary and I sat down before our monitors on Sunday evening and we let this roll its own way, it could have gone on much, much longer.

It was also exhilarating because when you are in touch with this lady in such a manner you actually get to feel the energy, the vibe, the passion of the artist coming right at you, grabbing you by the shoulders and shaking you ‘til your teeth rattle…

Of her accomplishments there can be no doubt, her awards speak for themselves. Of her in person, one can only sit and marvel at the friends that have graced her artistic circle through her life thus far and wonder what more is to come from such an amazing lady but despite the glamour of the situation one can instantly recognise the true soul-passion for her arts, the adventurous spirit of her creation and the fearlessness of her approach.

I don’t know but honestly I’d rather try jumping in front of a speeding train than try and stop Goddess Rosemary from doing, and achieving, whatever the hell she wants.

 

Copyright  RVL & Goddess Rosemary Sahjaza, 2017

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Setting the Tone – “The real McCoy”

Img. Source: Wikipedia

Presented by

Tim

Foreword:

In the editorials “Setting the Tone – Part 1” and “Part 2” Lady M and I introduced a somewhat enigmatic figure by the name of Tony Sokol, we highlighted, and were delighted by, the tales of his involvement in the modern living Vampyre culture among other things… well, following on from those two pieces we relentlessly pursued this reluctant, self-confessed, anti-hero through the highways, byways, backstreets and alleys of his favourite haunts until he relented and gave us a one-on-one interview, and how glad we are he did.

All rolled into one, the enigma, the wit, the irreverence, the off-the-wall, the insanely busy and ever changing creativity of Tony Sokol is something we can now, with great delight, present in his own words for our readers…


Good evening,
Perhaps you have chanced to browse through the editorials highlighting the work of Tony Sokol, perhaps you even went a little further and checked out the links to information on Tony that I left in the editorials, if so then you would no doubt have realised just how extensive and amazing a career he has had, and is still having.

From early beginnings in the NYC poetry readings in the mid-80s, through the experimental, anti-commercial music scene, performing at the Centerfield Coffee House and through to doing acoustic open mics at the Speakeasy in the West Village, the first vampire rituals at Centerfield and at Anarchist’s Switchboard, Folk City, The Bitter End, The Village Gate and on to the Vampyr Theatre, Tony’s career was, and has been a kaleidoscope of rubbing elbows with some of the leading figures in both the NYC entertainment scene and, whether naturally or not, with the leading figures of the NYC Real Vampire culture.

In his interview with AEA Zine Tony said;

“I believe in certain things the spirit can do. Things that the mind can do, but they don’t prove anything larger than what it actually is. Just because someone can bend a spoon with their mind, or bend a mind with a spoon, doesn’t prove there’s a god and it doesn’t prove there’s a heaven or an afterlife. We have to find the comfort in the worms because sooner or later, worms are god. We live until we die and then we spend most our time decomposing. I can believe in that.

I was almost raised Roman Catholic, that’s what everyone in my family was, and I did the CCD and got baptized and made communion, but somewhere between my first confession and confirmation it just seemed very absurd.”

So, how does an “almost Roman Catholic” go on to become one of the most important, and long time, voices in the underground of so many genres?

It is with great pleasure that we present a One-on-One interview with the man, dare I say, the legend, Mr. Tony Sokol.

RVL: Good evening Tony, thank you, very much, for taking a little time out to speak with us, it’s an honour to welcome you to RVL.

TS: Hey, any day above ground is a day I can forget about my shovel.

RVL: There’s so much ground to cover here that, quite frankly, it was hard to know where to start. How does a lone interviewer get to grips with “a man for all seasons”, as it were?

TS: Well, if you get a tight grip around my throat I won’t be able to answer questions.

RVL: Okay, okay, I’ve got one… given your history and involvement with the modern Vampyre culture the $64,000 question has to be, “Do you, Tony Sokol, identify as a modern living vampire?”

TS: Does it have to be that? I barely identify as a modern living Tony Sokol. Do I still get the 64 thou?

RVL: We’re non-profit, even the staff don’t get paid ’round here…! Tell me, what’s one, of the many things, that stand out for you from those earliest days?

TS: The flashbacks from getting my drinks spiked at Communion. Watching the audience change and become vampires. When we first opened we used to offer a discount for anyone who came dressed like a vampire. After a while, the audience looked just as sharp as our actors, though Christ forbid you get a drop of blood on them. Had to seat them in the back, away from the splatter section. I also remember people wanting to sit in the splatter section. But watching those transformations stood out.

Most of the actors intermingled with the audience, some came in with them, which was one of the reasons we encouraged people to dress up. That way the actors wouldn’t stand out when they were waiting to be seated. I also got fairly close to the audience, especially as I was the guy who threw them up against the wall and searched them for some of the shows. For a long early part of the run we did it weekly, and a lot of people would come back a lot and all of a sudden a guy who usually came in jeans and a t-shirt or whatever would be decked out in in crushed velvet.

La Commedia del Sangue @ Fangoria

RVL: Now, you’ve worked alongside some of the people that are most familiar to those who know of the New York Vampire culture, people like Marie Bargas, Goddess Rosemary of Temple House Sahjaza and Madame X of House of The Dreaming, what were your earliest impressions of the modern Vampyre culture and how, if at all, have they changed over the years of your collaborations?

TS: I only actually collaborated with Goddess Rosemary during the early part of it. I didn’t meet Madame X until a few years in, and I apparently avoided Marie Bargas in the 90s. She was in LA, so it was pretty easy. I wrote some music for Goddess Rosemary, but also wrote a series of short stories, some erotic Twilight Zone-like scenes and rituals. The collaborations weren’t like we sat down and wrote anything together eyeball to eyeball, that I do with Marie Bargas, right now. We collaborate on a magazine called Entertainment 2morrow, we co-host a radio show called Magick Lab on SOC Radio, and we’ve written a few articles together. But the most fun collaboration I had with her was co-writing the beginning of a screenplay on google docs. We would each be a scene or a conversation away from each other and then would go back and touch up the sections the other one did, while skype chatting in headphones. That was a blast, even though funding fell through and we never finished it. We also collaborated on magical things.

With Rosemary, it was more of a hanging out. I went to the Z/n celebrations, rituals and gatherings. I watched how people reacted to her. But we also hung out at her place on 14th Street a lot. She had a few magical items around. One was a piece of art that cursed whoever touched it with at least a little blood. Within 24 hours of touching it, she said, the person would get wounded. The severity wasn’t consistent. So I asked if that meant I might just get a scraped knee, and reached out to touch it, but she stopped me and said, in my case not to risk it. She also had an oil that she said made people tell the truth, and she used it on me, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know how much of that is suggestion.

Goddess Rosemary asked me to write the rituals when I told her I played with automatic writing for one of the Vampyr Theatre scripts. I think that was called Dark Night of the Soul when we put it up, but only because the theater we were in really objected to the title, which I either don’t remember or repressed. I did a lot of research for that one, and Rosemary gave me some books she wanted me to use for reference, including This Tree Grows Out of Hell. I think I wrote eight. I remember I used Black Masses from Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out, To the Devil a Daughter and The Satanist for structure. I filled in some gaps, like the bitter herbs he mentioned, and wrote and recorded some discordant music. I bought and taught myself trombone for that, I remember, and swapped one of the pieces into the music I wrote for a production of No Exit. But I wrote mass, hymnals, prayers, invocations, homona-homona homilies, a sacrament presentation, creed and gospel. I didn’t reverse it, so much as do it sideways. I didn’t do it as satire, like the Vampyr Theatre rituals. They were written as dark celebrations, very underhanded, subversive and subliminal, but fun and sexy.  Goddess Rosemary said people went into altered states and used them as part of the foundation of Sahjaza.

RVL: If we can turn our attention to some of your own writing work, can you give us a *cough* brief rundown, if possible, on how your own commercial writing career began and the writing you have done to date?

TS: I got some poems and a short horror story about a bunch of eight year olds walking home at night published while I was in high school, but they were beat out by thousands of rejection letters from all of the horror and science fiction magazines that were around. Also, I never got to be one of the usual gang of idiots who worked at MAD magazine, even though I sent them stuff. I got quite a few things published while I was at Fordham, not so much at the college, but starting in local outlets in the Bronx, and then in Manhattan. But I also put together a weird semi-musical radio play called The Excommunication of Christ performed at SUNY-Rochester’s radio station. That had some gospel-style stuff in it, but I think it’s the only musical that includes an atonal piece, well, twelve-tone. But I also sold some jokes to comedians, they would have stolen them anyway, and a couple comedy skits to troupes. I was a staff writer, columnist and product reviewer at 1,001 Home Ideas, a major glossy, about a year out of college. Then I started working on and writing comedy for Young, Gifted and Broke, a Manhattan Public Access show, and also wrote skits or gags and performed on some other shows because we’d meet in the editing rooms or whatever.

Rosalie Triana, who would go on to be Vampyr Theatre’s first director, asked me to rewrite a musical stage play about the summer of love, which I changed so much I had to set it a year after and call it The Summer After. I wrote seven or eight songs for that too. When I was finally ready to put Vampyr Theatre up, she was the first person I called.

Vampyr Theatre led to a lot of paid work. A lot of my plays got put up by small troupes, but I also was a co-editor and reviewer at Andre Scheluchin’s Wycked Mystic, which was the second largest, except for the year it hit number one, independent short-story horror magazine in the 90s.

Tony with Myke Hydeous

RVL: In particular I’d like to ask about the Vampyre Rituals that you composed, how did they come into being and where have they been used?

TS: It came from a sense of absurdity at first. I did a lot more research after I wrote the rituals for Goddess Rosemary’s Z/n Society, which is now Sahjaza. Vampires are dead and they’re not dead. Kinda like Jesus, but without the sanctimonious debris. I wanted to celebrate glorious decay. I’m a nihilist, even wrote a nihilist spiritual. We used to play Tom Waits’ “Dirt in the ground” as part of the pre-show music before Let Us Prey. We’re all gonna be dirt in the ground. Zeena taught me I should think of it as an emptiness to be filled, but at the time I filled it with dirt. My grandfather was a gravedigger and I had no problems in cemeteries, even got a copy of Coven’s Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls album from one when I was six. I’m not a Satanist, in spite of what Peter Gilmore may have giggled. I wrote “God can kiss my and Satan can suck my cock” for Troy Acree to say in Dances from a Shallow Grave.

If vampires didn’t die, cos they’d been there, done that, already, then any concept of a promised afterlife was a joke. Crosses and holy water were toys. I created a vampire slang using blasphemy. From the very first “Hail Mary full of shit,” in the third play To Avenge, Divine, to the full on assault I got to do for the full ritual Let Us Prey in 94, I got immediate blowback. We had walkouts. People yelled at me while I mopped up blood. Someone called the NYPD’s Cult Awareness Task Force. I actually did pull back a bit and cut most of Jihad of the Infidel and only used a section of it in Just Us Served.

RVL: From the days of the Vampyr Theatre what other collaborations have you had in similar directions?

TS: The band that wrote the music for the plays I also called Vampyr Theatre. We were three composer, Bob Sushko, Ted Dailey and myself. We’ve played with each other since. We’ve played with ourselves since. I was in a long time jam band with Ted for years after Vampyr Theatre. He and I also wrote music for some vampire film that, again, lost funding three-quarters of the way through. But we got some played on the radio. Most of my collaborations are in music. I write the plays, skits and short stories alone. Sometimes I’ve collaborated with directors on how plays are presented, but usually that’s their job and I stay out of the way. Oh, but I collaborated with the makeup artists, Chris Davis, Rick Crane and Tony Knighthawk to the extent that I explained what I wanted. Though my father built the retractable stake I designed for Blood is Thicker Than Water.

RVL: I’d like to delve, then, a little into your current perceptions and collaborations… what are you currently involved in with regard to the modern Vampire culture?

TS: …I’m answering these questions.

RVL: *firmly in place now…!* You mentioned, in the AEA Zine, that you grew up on a diet of I grew up on gangster movies and vampire movies. That you had a lobby card that your father… “borrowed”… for you from the movie ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, that you had some music posters, mainly Beatles and a still from Dracula along with a huge poster of Vlad the Impaler. You also mentioned that the vampire mystique seemed spiritual to you in the way of a religion. Did this mystique, even, dare I say it, this romanticism hold sway with you for long?

TS: Oh yeah, vampires are sexy. I don’t go for the trendy face transformations that are now corny clichés to me. I know Dracula could change into a wolf or a bat or mist, but when he puts the bite on you, it’s as good old Vlad the Impaler. I don’t know why, but I always root for the bad guys in movies. In reviews I call heroes anti-villains. I root for the criminal over the cop, the monster over the burgermeister, the shark over the kid in the raft, and the kid in the raft over easy. A vampire’s spirituality should be completely irreverent. It should be wholly unholy. It should offend anyone who breathes. Vampires don’t, though you always see them smoking in movies, even on Buffy. Vampires are undead. They got the dead part over with and can mock the afflicted. Our call and response in the mass was “Who the fuck cares? We’re gonna outlive them anyway.” We worship worms, dirt, decay. You want romance? Knock out the sides of vampire lovers’ coffins so they can decompose into each other. That’s togetherness.

The mystique is spiritual and romantic. When you look into the dead eyes of a vampire, your soul is engulfed in a blissful abyss. It’s an abysmal mess and that’s pretty religious.

Tony with actress Lori Tomlinson

RVL: Have you collaborated, or been involved with, the Vampyre culture outside of NYC? And, if so, what differences have you noticed between locations?

TS: The vampire community in DC in the 90s was hopping. I took the train out there to sit for a documentary, I asked them to shoot my interview on the stairs where Regan threw down the priest in The Exorcist. The filmmakers took me to a club that had a vampire night. It was mainly dancing, drinking and whatever else we found lying around. I looked for it in Boston, and the towns around Salem, Massachusetts, but the closest was some goth clubs. I did find a club and an occult group in New Orleans when I was there. But the most interesting vampire I met there was a dancer named Roxy, who made a passer-by give her his bracelet just by saying she liked it. She also went on about cannibalism, but I didn’t bite.

RVL: This is going to be a little controversial but I want to ask, what are your impressions of our “information age” Vampire culture as opposed to the early, offline, scene?

TS: Anybody can say anything on the internet. I mean, they can in real life too, and usually do, but it doesn’t reach as many people to take things as truth. The scenes I saw were different, because the first ones I was exposed to were the occult groups, and there was an element of violence at the time. There was a disconnect between

RVL: …and as a closely involved ‘mover and shaker’, have you got any words of wisdom for us modern living vamps?

TS: Stay alive. Death sucks. And if you get caught by self-anointed vampire hunters, remember, they usually bury you upside down. You could be digging for days before you figure that out.

RVL: Now, here’s one for you… we have been guiding Real Vampire Life, the E-Zine, through the often choppy waters of the modern culture for somewhere around seven years now… where have you been all our lives?

TS: I was right over there.

RVL: Oh, by the bar, yeah…and since we found each other now, what do you think of our humble little rag? Be a little kind please… if possible…

TS: I think it’s great. It has a unique voice that’s heard by unique ears.

Ed. Note: It’s not about the body beautiful, the blood is actually real, Tony missed the protective plate with the wooden stake…!!!

RVL: If it hadn’t been for your meeting with Goddess Rosemary do you think you would still have pursued an interest in the modern culture?

TS: I met Goddess Rosemary while I was already doing Vampyr Theatre, while the vampires who came forward were from a more occult underground community. There was a violence in a part of the groups I was first introduced to. But people introduced themselves to me after I’d done the first ritual performances at Centrefold. I was interested in it already, she certainly introduced me to a lot of people, and I love her and what we’re doing with Sahjaza and what we were doing then. She probably kept me closer to it through the years after Vampyr Theatre than I might have been. But her group, also, isn’t quite what you think when you hear modern vampire culture. It’s steeped in occult wisdom that’s pre-postmodern and beyond.

RVL: So, what’s happening right now with Tony Sokol and where are you headed from here?

TS: I’m contributing editor at Den of Geek where I cover gangster, horror, science fiction, and cult movies and a little bit of music. We did some mini-documentaries on the bands that were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. HBO got me tickets. Chris Longo was my date. I’ll also be writing regularly for Entertainment Voice. I run the online magazine Live and Undead , and am Editor-in-Chief at Entertainment 2morrow with Marie Bargas, who’s the managing editor. I’m also her co-host on Magick Lab Academy on SOC Radio on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

‘Purple Haze’ perhaps?

RVL: …any other pearls of wisdom, oh great guru, that you would like to leave with our readers tonight?

TS: Some things are too important to be taken seriously. Chaos will always prevail.

RVL: It has been an inestimable pleasure chewin’ the fat with you Tony, and a great honour for us, thank you again… we’d like to stay in contact and maybe we can touch base and chat again some time to see what’s what?

TS: More than maybe. I never know what’s what or when it was wherever it was.

——————————————————————————————————————–

I really don’t think that there is anything else that I could possibly say or write at this point, except that I hope you had as much fun reading that as I had creating it… Hail ‘The Tonester’…

Copyright RVL and Tony Sokol 2017 – All images courtesy of Tony Sokol.

NB: This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

‘Art Attack – with Lady Kate Gallwey

Img. Source. – ‘Heart Painting’ by Janos Kerekes

presented by

Tim

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
In amongst the usual hub-bub and daily bustle of the Modern Vampyre Culture there are an amazing number of the members of our Nightkind who are deeply involved in some form of artistic endeavour, creative individuals in writing, painting, music, handicrafts, movie making, acting and probably many others too. To look at the Vampire culture, on the surface and think about what sort of art there might be, an outsider might be very tempted to think that all we do is produce images of bloodthirsty vampires ravaging salacious young ladies in some creepy dark castle or forest…

NOT SO… and our guest this evening is ‘proof positive’ of that. A remarkably talented, multi-disciplined artist, Lady Kate Gallwey agreed to spend a little time with us and let us peek into “Vampire Art” as it is.


RVL: Good evening Lady Kate, welcome to RVL, we deeply appreciate you taking time out to spend with us.

KG: Hi there, my pleasure.

RVL: It is well known that there are a number of artistic people in the modern Vampire culture, in many diverse fields from literature to film making but we’d like to touch, firstly, upon your involvement with the culture. Do you identify as a modern living Vampire?

KG: I am modern and in a living, breathing human body. Definitions seem to be a battlefield when you hit the ‘v’ word… My own definition is that I was born with a hunger or thirst.

My grandmother, mother and children all seemed marked by the same thing though each with different perspective or ‘hunger’. I see the word ‘vampire’ as an umbrella term that covers ‘being born with a hunger’… it keeps things simple for me.

A hunger for what, is often very personal and selective. So using that definition I am a modern living vampire.

Img. Courtesy
Lady Kate Gallwey

RVL: …and how long have you been involved in the culture and its comings and goings?

KG: It was around 2006 when pregnant with my son that I started looking for online information regarding blood drinking. Like my previous 2 pregnancies I craved blood from a core level, it burnt and clawed at me from within. Just like when I was a slightly wild teenager. I learnt to channel that need but it never really went away. When pregnant the blood need pushed harder than I could deny and no one seemed to be able to help. Eating raw meat did ease the ache but even then it had to be really fresh. I also found the Psychic Vampire Codex online and it that hit me very hard emotionally. I had always thought I was alone in my needs in that area. To put actual terms to what I felt was a huge breakthrough. I started feeding that way as well and achieved a mental and emotional peace I had not felt before.

So about 11 years now.

RVL: Have you participated in many groups, Houses or Organisations in that time?

KG: Yes, I did my time trying to be part of and starting my own vampire organisations. I am fairly inconsistent with the time I want to be around people or online so many just didn’t work out. SAVA, BRAVO, House of the Dreaming were a few I worked hard at trying to belong to…but they didn’t work out.

The VVC doesn’t ask much of me so I am still there, and will continue to work to support the vampire community where I can.

But mostly I spend my time building and supporting the Left Hand Path group the Herald of the Dawn, a growing group of seekers with a variety of occult and ‘darker’ paths of Witchcraft, Shamanism, Enochian & Chaos magic, Qlippoth & Mercurian Magic, and most especially Predatory Vampirism, to summon spirits and strip them down for energy and knowledge is a very useful talent for a vampire.

The Herald of the Dawn Perimeter Facebook group is open for all.

We all are very different and it has been a challenge to work together at times but I feel like I have achieved something good and solid there. My Facebook groups Nightkind is a bridge between the GVC and the LHP, for all that have an interest in such things.

We have just started up the Nightkind Dark Moon Newsletter with the second edition out on the 24th June.

The other one is Sex & Blood Magic which says it all really.

RVL: …and how do you define, personally, your own nature today?

KG: I am evolving. I am learning new ways to balance myself with different energies. I am still growing much stronger and have a much clearer take on my particular ‘hungers’. I was advised to try local venison and find it stabilised my physical hungers quite nicely when raw. It grounds and centres me which I find I lose without it.

Creative activities feed the core of me and I do not need energy donors as much as I used to. It is a clean wellspring of vitality for me that allows me to grow into much more than I was.

Copyright Kate Gallwey.
All Rights Reserved.

RVL: Has your involvement with the modern culture fed your artistic inspirations?

KG: I think the darkness is where all passions are nurtured. The Vampire culture is not afraid to delve deep into the Abyss, both within and without. I learnt that from the online vampire community, I learnt to look at myself without flinching from the rage and needs within.

I am not afraid of much anymore but when I face a blank piece to be painted or written on, I face that common fear of not being worthy, good enough etc. The vampire in me rises up to rip that fear to shreds with a glee.

I would not be an artist today without my years spent going deep into my hungers that the vampire community showed that was within me.

Copyright Kate Gallwey.
All Rights Reserved.

RVL: Tell us, Lady Kate, what is, or are, your artistic inclinations?

KG: I am creative. I started with writing books. Autobiography of a Goddess is a science fantasy novel about a being called Lillith, I wrote this long ago when my children were small and self-published it on Amazon about 4 years ago now.

Introduction to the Hidden Worlds followed…

Copyright Kate Gallwey.
All Rights Reserved.

….and then the Being A Psychic Vampire, which was my attempt to give back to the community what I had learnt from it.

Copyright Kate Gallwey.
All Rights Reserved.

The creative drive to publish has waned a little and The Vampiric Witch is just about finished but I lack the momentum right now. I want to write an Eros Vampire book on sex and blood feeding and have started drawing together information on that subject. But the main love right now is paint… I love colour and shape. I paint furniture mostly as it is cheap to locate.

Copyright Kate Gallwey.
All Rights Reserved.

I have created online websites for it but selling it is a slow business. Catching Dragons is my shop name and it can be found in many places right now.

I have just got a welding machine and will be starting metal sculptures and fire pits soon. I also got gifted a wood carving course the other weekend and will be looking into doing more of that.

Copyright Kate Gallwey.
All Rights Reserved.

To create is the goal… the means are almost irrelevant. Words, images, shapes and textures all create an impact on the viewer. That impact is palatable for me and becomes a food source. But the actual creative well is what I seek… it connects me up to a food source far greater than I have ever found in the past.

RVL: …and where do you draw your inspirations from?

KG: What impacts me? I am an every changing, inconsistent being that flows from state to state without much provocation. I have learnt to ‘ride the waves’ and allow the fires to burn when I have to. Inspiration grows the more you feed it. After a lifetime of hunger I am sharp and focused on my prey.

RVL: Where can our readers view your work and do you have an outlet for retail?

KG: My Facebook Page is Catching Dragons 

My blog Kate’s Creations has been going for many years….I write when the feeling demands it.

Copyright Kate Gallwey.
All Rights Reserved.

Catching Dragons Art Shop is fairly new.

I am not a good salesman. I find the whole process of jumping up and down shouting, “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!” immodest and soul killing… It has prevented me from creating in the past and I will not let it do that again. I will do the selling part, slowly and with intuitive feeling….if it feels wrong I will not do it.

I am looking for someone who has a passion for selling art… and will throw myself at their feet with joy if they can take the whole side of selling out of my hands and just pay me a generous fee for each piece sold. I think I am looking for a mythical creature here though.

RVL: I suppose, being a published writer myself that much of your work would reflect past experiences is this true for you?

KG: I used to dream much more when I was younger without an outlet for those dreams. I had to learn control myself tightly, above all, for what I was and am was not appropriate for the society I was born into. I maybe flighty but once I focus on something I see it through to the end with a lot of bloody-minded stubbornness. I have teenage daughters… they are very much the same.

My past may have shaped me but I have shed many skins to be the person I am now… and I hope to shed many more in the future. To be still and fixed is stagnation for me… I need change and experience to grow.

RVL: Do you have a favourite piece, or pieces of work amongst what you have done so far?

KG: *smiling*

Copyright Kate Gallwey.
All Rights Reserved.

RVL: What advice would you give to any budding artists looking to get their own work ‘out there’?

KG: Not my words, but highly appropriate. ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’ Creating scares me to immobilization sometimes… but it is worth it every time.

RVL: Do you consciously confine yourself to one or two art forms at a time or do you like to explore and create as the whim takes you?

KG: I have several things I work on at once. Writing and painting right now….metal work and wood carving coming soon.

I find I work best that way…and I get more done.

RVL: Do you find, or think, there is a large niche within the modern Vampire culture for the expression and appreciation of art such as you produce or, do you think too much has gone the way of “instant gratification” to the point where many are losing the ability or desire to really appreciate physical art pieces?

KG: I need to feed off multiple sources. I have fought against this knowledge most of my life. I don’t like needing blood weekly or sexual energy. I denied it for years and only existed at a half-life. It cost me, I will not go back there and have had to learn to accept my nature fully and without judgment.

I like creating it is a passion and a very wholesome food source.

I need to find a way to earn a living with it… but after that, I don’t actually care about how it is received. I wrote my books and self-published them for me. I paint for me….there is a very distinct selfish aspect here that I will not apologize for.

RVL: …and speaking of the modern Vampire culture, do you keep in touch with current events as much as you used to or have you found yourself more content staying on the periphery?

KG: A few years ago I got fed up with most of the modern vampire culture and retreated to other greener pastures. The vampire community cycle is very repetitive and there is very little new stuff to be learnt. The politics are also cylindrical, often very shallow and just mean.

I hate unkindness and there is very little compassion and empathy found in today’s modern vampire culture. So I refuse to be part of anything that is destructive in any way … tearing someone apart and ripping their identity to shreds is not something I can tolerate, then or now.

I hold my own spaces within the GVC for learning and networking, I am not American and there is no Real Vampire organisation here in the UK. Unity is not going to happen between vampires any day soon, it is not in our natures.

I do not play politics but will support my friends when I can. I am very loyal to those that have supported me in the past… there are not many of them but to me they are family.

RVL: So, if we had a $64,000 question to add in it would probably be along the lines of, “What is your opinion of the current trends in, and state of, the Vampire culture?

KG: Silly children playing dress up games for the most of it… *laughs*.

A nasty Christian vampire hunter on one side and a slick marketing promoter on the other. The center has faded into the shadows of time and there is a very dull empty feel to many of the older groups.

With many aimless groups filled with pictures of blood smeared maidens, graveyards and sexy gothic vampire chicks it is not really my ‘cup of tea’, so I will give that a miss. For a newcomer these days there is not much to be found easily. This also will shift and change again… benefits of circles… what comes around, goes around.

Seeds that have been sprouting show me that the next cycle of rebirth is beginning. The wheel is ever turning and Creative Vampire Networks are pushing through the dirt once again.

RVL: Have you any wise words for modern Vampires dear lady?

KG: Blood seekers need to be very careful from who and where they get their information from. I have been appalled at some of the things being suggested recently for those that need blood.

Though they don’t like us modern vampires very much and given most of us a hard time for even existing, I believe for clear, direct medical and hygienic information the Red Cellar and the ‘medical sangs’ are a good place to go.

Smoke & Mirrors forum covers pretty much everything these days and also a very good place to visit. The Facebook group is friendly and safe and can direct you to all sorts of specialised information that has been tried and tested for over 20 years. The nice thing is they are still researching and growing. They don’t have all the answers and don’t claim to do so.

But the thing about most vampires is that they always know best… *laughs* Trying to tell them anything is an exercise in futility.

Just knowing that they are not alone is often enough.

_______________________________________________________________________

A modern living Vampyre, a member of the Vampire culture with a down-to-earth and pragmatic view of that, an amazing artist in her own right. It has been a great honour for us to spend this time with Lady Kate Gallwey… naturally, we wish her every success in her artistic endeavours and we hope that someone might be willing to step forward and form a business relationship with her so that her art might find its way out into the world where it belongs and where it will bring comfort and happiness to others – as the lady said, 

“To create is the goal… the means are almost irrelevant. Words, images, shapes and textures all create an impact on the viewer.”

 

Copyright RVL and Kate Gallwey 2017 (except where noted)

NB: This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer