An Epically Epic and Fairly Tardy Year in Review – or, HOLY SHIT: 2011!

by Angeliska on January 23, 2012

My goodness, but 2011 was a whirlwind – I feel like I’ve barely caught my breath from it all, though
we’re weeks into it now. For a lot of reasons, it feels like the new year didn’t really begin until
my birthday on the 10th. I stayed up late the night before, cleaning every nook and corner madly in my
own version of the Japanese tradition of osoji, which involves thorough cleaning and taking stock so that
one can walk into the new year free and clean. Mainly, I just like to wake up on my birthday knowing
that the house will be as calm and beautiful as possible – so that I can begin again with a clean slate.
The other thing that I’m only just getting to do now is a thorough wrap-up of all the things I’ve done
this year. This was kind of a birthday present to myself as well, as indulgent as it felt at first, it made
me realize that although I’d been finishing the year up with a sense of dread at how much more I
wanted to have accomplished, I’m not sure where exactly any of that would have fit in! It was a
pretty crazy non-stop magical banner year for me when I really stop to take a look at it. There’s
a lot here that hopefully I’ll have time to expand upon and write more about, if I don’t get swept
away in the rushing river of time and projects, as tends to happen – but for now, here’s a peek
at what kept me running this year, what I’m proud of, and what hopefully, is only the beginning.
There are moments when I feel terrible for not sending all the letters I wished I had time to write,
or taking enough walks, or a whole slew of other activities I didn’t manage to fit into a year – but
when I really sit and look at this list of accomplishments, I feel a bit better about all that! It’s been
incredible, really. I’m crossing my fingers that 2012 is even more full of marvels, for me and for you.
I’m hoping at some point, I’ll have time to elaborate on a few of these projects, but for the time being,
I think it might be now or never! I got exhausted just writing all this – I can’t imagine how it all fit into a year!


(Photo by John Leach)

Being featured on the cover of the Austin Chronicle for the ‘Best of Austin’ 2011 issue was absolutely
the biggest highlight of my year, and a completely surreal and wonderful experience. Vintage Vivant
won a Critics’ Picks Award for Best Reason To Learn the Charleston Amelia and I were utterly floored,
and so thrilled to have our party honored so, and after six years of doing events in Austin, it felt amazing
to get this kind of recognition. Take a minute to read this wonderful accompanying article:
It’s the Economy, Dollface, plus this sweet shout-out from Coilhouse – Angeliska & Amelia & Vintage Vivant.

Also, here’s more of John Leach’s fabulous photos from the shoot that the cover image came from: DRISKILL HOTEL PHOTOSHOOT


(Photo by John Pesina)
Vintage Vivant was also featured in a spread and article in Tribeza Magazine.

Starting Vintage Vivant with Amelia, as well as my other monthly party, Exquisite Corpse has been quite a wild ride.
Back during the days of Gadjo Disko, I swore off doing a monthly party gig. It was just too much –
by the time one was wrapped, it’d be a few days of recovery, and then time to start on another.
I’m not exactly sure how, then, I ended up doing not one, but two monthly events this year!
Both are at Swan Dive, which is such a wonderful venue – it’s gorgeous inside, all white and
ghostly (designed by sweet Miss Mickie Spencer of East Side Showroom), and serves real cocktails
in proper glasses made of actual glass by the best bartenders in town. Exquisite Corpse began as
a weird hybrid of goth/new wave/witch house music with a Dada/Black Lodge aesthetic. I wanted
it to serve as a haven for all the swirly, fey witchy goths that got pushed off the dance floor when
stompy EBM and industrial took precedence in the goth clubs. The Dada mantle has since shuffled
off for unknown, surely to return again when we least expect it, but in the interim, there have been
so many brilliant nights of dancing and carousing. My favorite theme so far: Egyptian Goth, hands down!

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(Photo by Devaki Knowles)

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(Photo by Devaki Knowles)

On my birthday last year, Colin proposed to me. We set the wedding for 11.11.11. – but then decided to postpone it
until we can do it right. Lots of big changes, developments and growth in our relationship, but I can say that after six years
of being together, I love this man more than ever. He constantly inspires and surprises me, and I think we make a great team.


(Photo by Leon Alesi)

I dressed like a tiger a lot this year. Maybe I saw CATS too many times when I was younger, but it feels right somehow.
Does the make me a furry? Oh well. This feline incarnation was for Vintage Vivant: A Night at The Circus.


(Photo by Lauren McKinley for Bleach Magazine)

In the Spring of 2011, I resumed giving tarot readings – something I had not been doing regularly since I lived in New Orleans. I missed doing it so much when I moved to Austin, but for the longest time, I couldn’t imagine how I could make it work here. I require a private, neutral space to give readings. I don’t read for people at parties or social gatherings, and I think a quiet environment is key to both relaying and absorbing information. I’m not sure why it took me so long, but when I realized that our 1951 Royal Spartanette trailer would make the perfect tarot parlor, I knew that I could finally start giving readings again. I inherited my mother’s tarot deck when I was 11, and after my initial skepticism was blasted away by the accuracy and wisdom the cards imparted, I fell in love with the symbols and archetypes of the major and minor arcana. I spent the next 11 years studying the tarot, and giving readings to friends and reading for myself, until I started reading for the public out of an occult shop called Esoterica. The time I spent there served as my apprenticeship in a sense – both to the greater mysteries and to the intricacies of doing divination work for other people. I encountered many strangers in my reading room: some open, some skeptics, some kindred spirits and some just drunk tourists off on a lark. Regardless of who they were or why they came, I worked hard to give them the clearest and most accurate reading possible, and I learned so much in the process. I am so grateful to be able to resume doing this work once more – to be able to help others and offer some clarity. I truly love reading the tarot and working directly with people who are seeking deeper answers. It’s amazing work, and I feel that this step is only the beginning: I can’t wait to start teaching tarot more, writing about the cards, and getting a separate site for that work up. Also, soon I hope to be able to offer readings via skype or phone, so stay posted if you think you might like to do that. If you’re curious, I have a Yelp page, with all my reviews and also a Facebook page, with more testimonials from people I’ve read for:

Sister Temperance Tarot on Yelp
Sister Temperance Tarot on Facebook
Charm School Vintage: Wonders of the Tarot


(Photo by John Leach)

Right after Mardi Gras last year, I had the honor of working with Miss Allyson Garro of Coco Coquette on entertainment for The Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards Afterparty, for which we created a tableaux vivant of some of our most favorite dancing ladies, all bedecked in buckskin and diamonds, antlers and silver. The spectacle was so captivating that we were invited back again to work on making this year’s event very special indeed!


Texas Film Hall Of Fame Awards 2011 Highlights – you can see some of our dancing girls here, and get an idea of how amazing this event is.

This October, I was inspired by the fabulous ladies of Bedpost Confessions to write and read aloud a spooky erotic story for their Halloween show. I hadn’t attempted to write a piece of fiction in years and years – I think not since high school, actually. Perhaps because I found the idea so utterly terrifying, I agreed to try and come up with something. On the flight back from Pittsburgh, I started tapping out the first whisperings of a story that had been needling at the back of my brain – a dark little tale about a lascivious seance. As I delved in, the 13 year old girl seated next to me on the plane tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Are you a writer” It felt wonderful to tell her yes, that indeed I was. Writing this piece was a big deal for me – in some ways, it was one of the biggest things I did all year – but reading it aloud, into a microphone, in front of a crowded room full of people was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. I’m still not sure how I managed it without falling over or barfing. I hate talking into microphones on stages, but reading something I’d written, particularly an erotic story – well – I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more naked. Somehow, I pulled it off, and I’m so, so glad I made myself do it. Another motto for this year is: if it’s scary, it’s probably worth doing. If you’d like to listen to my story, you can, as it was included as a podcast on Bedpost Confessions website. Listening to this (oddly enough) has been the first time hearing my own voice on a recording didn’t make me want to crawl under the bed and hide! Also, contrary to the lovely Mia Martina’s great introduction, this piece is entirely a work of FICTION! Not a true story, folks – though wouldn’t it be exciting if it was? Enjoy, but be forwarned: it’s naughty!

BedPost Confessions Podcast – Episode 18 – The Seance


(Photo by Ed Lehman)

One of my great joys this year was getting to participate in helping to plan the magic that is QUEERBOMB!: Austin’s own alternative gay pride parade. Queerbomb is a family of LGBTQIA individuals gathering to reclaim the radical, carnal and transgressive lineage of our ever-changing community while celebrating every facet and form of our people as a unique and vibrant whole. I wrote few things about what Queerbomb means to me below: Queerbomb Magic 2010
and
QUEERBOMB!

I designed an ensemble for Dreaming in Color, a benefit for AIDS Services of Austin
orchestrated and created by none other than Coco Coquette
.


(Photo by ATX Street Style)

I enlisted Sarah Marsh of The Brass Ovaries pole-dancing crew to be my dancer/model, and she made all my childhood Lisa Frank rose-shaded unicorn fantasies come true with her astonishing acrobatic skills – not only that, but we won the big prize of the night!

$1000 bucks! It felt incredible to win something that big, and couldn’t have come at a better time for both Sarah and myself. Magic!


(Photo by Demilitia Stryker)


(Photo by Morgan Sasser)
Colin and I collaborated on an interactive musical sculpture called Tintinnabulation Station, which lives inside a beautiful glass house shanty created by Elizabeth Shannon and Micah Learned. All this was part of The Music Box, A Shantytown Sound Laboratory: Phase one of Dithyrambalina

The Music Box – Oct 22 from TungstenMonkey on Vimeo.

The New Orleans Airlift presents The Music Box: A Shantytown Sound Library.

Short teaser edit of the opening night performance, October 22, 2011.


(Photo by Demilitia Stryker)
We were so thrilled to learn that Theris Valdery, of the Black Feathers Mardi Gras Indian Tribe sang and shook the bells of Tintinnabulation Station for the November 19th performance of the Shantytown Orchestra. What an amazing honor!

Not to mention The Music Box being featured in a lengthy and glowing article on the front page of the NYT Arts Section!New York Times: A Symphony of Floorboards, Pipes and Stairs

Juxtapoz: Swoon in New Orleans – The Music Box, A Shantytown Sound Laboratory

Artnet: Swoon, Shout It From The Roof Tops

Offbeat: THE MUSIC BOX IN THE BYWATER: A HOUSE IN E MAJOR

SHANTYTOWN ORCHESTRA AT THE MUSIC BOX, NOVEMBER 19TH, 2011, 2ND PERFORMANCE

PHOTOGRAPHER TOD SEELIE CAPTURES THE MUSIC BOX

Dithyrambalina: Musical Architecture in New Orleans

I’ve also been making a lot of jewelry, including these sterling silver and antique bone button cuffs, all hand-fabricated:

& then there were two...

Secret leaves.

And painting in gouache again!

Goat Girls – for The Swallow Show here in Austin.


St. Seraphia for Christy Kane’s Carnival of Saints and Souls in New Orleans.

Justine’s Marquis de Sade Night from 2HeadedHorse on Vimeo.

I organized dancers for the delightful peepshow booth for Justine’s 1937 – Marquis de Sade Valentine’s night of debauchery


(Photo by Annie Ray)
I also judged the costume contest for their Bastille Day celebration, PARIS IS CALLING, which was great racous fun.

Justine’s Brasserie – Bastille Day from Mishnoon on Vimeo.


I performed as the Snow Queen at Justine’s for their Russian New Year’s eve party, and organized a
coterie of ice nymphs and white wolves to ring in 2012 in a frozen forest with cake and champagne!


(Photo by Remy Veuillet)
More on that soon, I promise!

I flew up to New York at the tail end of summer for the Coilhouse Black and White and Red All Over Ball,
which was such an unforgettable experience. So many beloved friends reunited, and new friendships kindled!
Plus, we succeeded in raising money for Coilhouse, and creating a truly magical and totally singular evening.

Coilhouse Black and White and Red All Over Ball from Brainwomb on Vimeo.

Video Mementos of the Black & White & Red All Over Coilhouse Ball


(Photo by Anna Fischer)
This photo of the tremendously talented Kim Boekbinder from that night is one of my very favorites.


(Photo by Clayton Cubitt)
As is this one of Siege and I, from his series of people who kissed him in 2011. Definitely a highlight of my year.


The absolute cherry on the cake of my year was without a doubt this wonderful portrait Molly Crabapple
created of me as the Ace of Hearts, for the 52 Aces card deck by Zeixs, a German creative firm.

Here’s Molly’s awe-inspiring Year in Review post, as well as a handful of other from ladies I admire and adore:

Molly Crabapple’s Year in Review

Amelia Foxtrot’s 2011 in Review

Kim Boekbinder – Thing I Did in 2011

Yumna Al: 2011, A YEAR IN REVIEW

Audrey Penven’s 2011 – a year of many things

2011 : A Year in Pictures.
From Miss Pandora (who reminds me so much of another Pandora –
our dear departed Pandora Aurora Rose, aka. Kathie Hastings)

Did you write one of these, too? I want to know all about your year! Do tell.

7 comments

The ace of hearts card sez it all. Bon appetit!

by ey on January 23, 2012 at 8:01 am. #

And all of this posted on the Chinese New Year, year of the water dragon, no less! You are such a talented artist, Angel. Everything you touch seems to turn to gold. May abundance and good fortune continue to be yours!

by Sienna O'Banion on January 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm. #

Angeliska, your blog posts are always overflowing with abundant joy and delight. You never fail to inspire me. Every time I read your blog I am reminded that life is indeed wonderful.

by Eric on January 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm. #

That looked like a mind-blowingly good year! I wrote about mine–http://seawallglen.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/end-of-queer-er-year-post/–but failed to mention that the last cool thing that happened was I met the incomparable Meredith Yayanos upon her re-arrival here in NZ and discovered the wonder that is Coilhouse (and by proxy, your own blog). My resolution to spend less time online is sorely tested by all those archives!

I’m also thrilled to see someone else who knows Christeene, a.k.a. Paul Soileau! I’ve heard him interviewed three times now on my friends’ podcast Feast of Fun, and I adore him! I had no idea Austin was such a burgeoning mecca of off-the-wall creativity and queer goodness. I wish I’d visited before I expat-ed. :)

by Angela on January 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm. #

Dear Angeliska,

Your 2011-In-Review post was worth the wait a billion times over! One of the great delights of my past year is the fortunate stumbling upon your bee-log. Your bee-log is now nestled in the part of my mind that’s strictly reserved for only the most beautiful things. Inspired by your 2011 lessons/2012 resolutions, I scribbled out a Review of 2011/Welcome to 2012 post of my own: http://theheightoflife.com/?p=421 I mostly talk about launching a revolution against the tyranny of expectations (self-imposed or otherwise) and, y’know, my deep and abiding love of fudge.

by Kylie Cumming on January 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm. #

so much beauty here, angel.. you are such an inspiration :>

by selene on January 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm. #

jeezum crow I wanna get my goth on at exquisite corpse…also, my birthday is later this month, i’d love to have a tarot reading. emes me and let’s hook it up!

by Tibor on February 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm. #

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