Weather Updates

Museums, books and bands bring goth back to Chicago

From lookbook fashiline The Order by local designer Nicole Maret | PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLE MARET

From the lookbook of the fashion line The Order, by local designer Nicole Maret | PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLE MARET

storyidforme: 62332948
tmspicid: 22493019
fileheaderid: 10804613

13 Events to Go Goth

Through June 15: The Art of Edward Gorey —“G is for Gorey—C is for Chicago: The Collection of Thomas Michalak” and “Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey,” Loyola University Museum of Art, $8 (Tuesdays are free);

Feb. 21: Skinny Puppy, Vic Theatre, 8 p.m. $31.50;

Feb. 24: The Casket Girls, Empty Bottle, 9 p.m. Free;

March 29: Gary Numan/Roman Remains, Metro, 9 p.m. $26;

April 13: Combichrist, Bottom Lounge, 7 p.m. $16;

April 15: Godflesh, Metro, 9 p.m. $20;

April 19: Ghost & King Dude, Vic Theatre, 8 p.m. $24;

April 25-27: Convergence 20 (goth meetup and festival), Bottom Lounge, $65;

April 25: Behemoth/Goatwhore, House of Blues, 5:40 p.m. $27.50 (advance);

April 26: VNV Nation, Vic Theatre, 7:30 p.m. $24;

May 9: Chelsea Wolfe (opening for Queens of the Stone Age), Aragon, 8 p.m. $39.50;

TBD: The Cure, an international tour kicks off late 2014

Every Month: Nocturna with Scary Lady Sarah;

Dark Days & Nights

Get creative hair:

» Strange Beauty Show, 1118 N. Ashland. (773) 252-9522;

Get dressed:

» The Order,

» The Alley, 3228 N. Clark. (773) 883-1800; thealley

Get going to:

» Exit, 1315 W. North. (773) 395-2700;

» Late Bar, 3534 W. Belmont. (773) 267-5283; latebar

» Neo, 2350 N. Clark. (773) 528-2622;

Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: March 22, 2014 6:13AM

Call it a “Twilight” zone. With the uneclipsed popularity behind the supernatural trilogy, shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and dark pop star Lorde, it seems that goth culture is hitting the mainstream. How’s that for irony?

But long before Katy Perry did her dominatrix bit at the Grammys and Andre Landeros Michel hired a whole crew of kohl-eyed male models for his show at New York Fashion Week, Chicago was the beacon for this counterculture community. That is, thanks to clubs like the former Medusa’s, NEO and Late Bar and the locally cultivated Wax Trax! record label that exploded the ’80s and ’90s industrial machine with signings including Ministry, KMFDM and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. The scene is not dead yet, though, as a slew of new exhibits, bands, books and fashion are bringing it back home.

Chicago also happens to be the birthplace of the late author-illustrator Edward Gorey, whose early Victorian and Edwardian characters alongside ominous cautionary tales first took root when he was a short-lived student at the School of the Art Institute in 1943. His work is the subject of two large exhibitions (the first ever in his hometown) at the Loyola University Museum of Art beginning this month and running through June, which bring together a collection of original drawings and works that aim to decipher their precise impact on pop culture.

Gorey was recently the inspiration behind a modern book of cautionary tales written by Chicago Hauntings founder/tour guide Ursula Bielski and experimental musician Michael Esposito, who together will release their collection later this year. “It really is perfect timing to release something like this,” Bielski affirms. “There is such a fervor about the dark side of life these days and you see it rambling around in pop culture everywhere, probably because life is different; that lovely world our parents and grandparents built where everyone has a job and retires is gone and probably never coming back, but you have to be [entertained by] it.”

Some of the readings for the audio version of Bielksi and Esposito’s book were provided by Chris Connelly, formerly in Ministry and a member of its side project the Revolting Cocks, who recently reunited with his former bandmate Paul Barker in the new “industrial-electro-rock alliance” Bells Into Machines (they have an album due later this year). “There’s always been a strong community here of musicians and fans [for this type of music],” Connelly says, noting that the recent industrial festival Cold Waves (which looks to come back for a third year in September) helped prove there is a new breed of appreciators. “I hope this means there is a resurgence.”

For when there is, local designer Nicole Maret is ready — as she recently unveiled The Order, a line of womenswear that is “jet black, rebellious and compelling.” Full of sheer fabrics, caped bodices and leather coordinates, it was born out of a desire to create fashion she wanted to see exist again.

“There have been a number of looks on the runway that are black and edgy, but my style is a very feminine take on a vibe that’s much heavier and harder to approach,” Maret says, noting the line, much like the community itself, is for anyone. “You don’t have to be ‘goth’ to war these clothes, but if you are, then that’s cool, too.”

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.