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On a dark, dark Friday night

aureen has long straight hair down to her waist, big black eyes and a fair complexion. She wears a black cardigan with flared sleeves, black jeans and boots. Wenetela has long red hair also down to her waist and wears dark-colored clothes.

Both of them are Goths. Maureen, 28, is the owner of the only Goth Shop in Lebanon, located in Sarba near Jounieh, where she sells Goth and vintage dresses. Wenetela, also 28, owns Midnight Crafts, where she designs and makes handmade medieval and Goth jewelry as well as Goth clothing to sell online. The two young women can talk volumes about their passions: Gothic art and music. Together they organized the first World Goth Day in Lebanon, one of the few events promoting the Gothic subculture in the Middle East.

The event, which is to take place at the Art Lounge Friday night, comes as part of the international World Goth Day, a movement started by Goth subculture enthusiasts in Britain who chose May 22 to promote their way of life.  A small group of British Goth DJs came up with the idea after BBC radio broadcasted a program promoting several non-mainstream music genres. The enthusiastic DJs decided to make it an annual event.

Maureen, Wenetela and their friends started organizing events three years ago. First it was Nightbreed of Macabria I, Maureen told NOW Extra. Later on was Velvet Heartbeat, a Gothic Valentine event (Feb 13, 2009), which featured a short musical duet performance by Bassem Deaibes& Wenetela Wolf. There was also a sequel of Nightbreed of Macabria in October 2009, Wenetela adds.

“When I read about the World Goth Day, I thought I should do this here! It is supposed to be a worldwide event, and we should to be part of it,” Wenetela says. 

Wenetela contacted her UK counterparts in addition to www.lebanesemetal.com and had their banner posted. The event took more than 6 months to prepare. In Lebanon it wasn’t easy for the two organizers to find a venue for a Goth event, so they had to reserve the Art Lounge way ahead of time, Maureen says.

The Goth subculture is unfortunately deeply misunderstood by some of the Lebanese public. Originating in Great Britain during the 1980s, the Goth subculture, as it is known today, goes beyond fashion, and has roots in Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, Charles Baudelaire’s poetry and other works with a mystery and supernatural flavor.

The Goth subculture is also not homogeneous. Goths don’t all look the same, don’t wear the same clothes and don’t all listen to the same music. Goths may listen to classical music together with metal; they might hate Marylin Manson, who is not considered a Goth; and might like vampire and ghost stories, but have no death fixation. This is the message that the first Lebanese World Goth Day is trying to send to the public.

As the event’s slogan goes: “Put your Goth on for one day!” Punk rockers, dark wave and techno fans, death metal fans, vampire literature and movie enthusiasts, as well as romantic Goths dreaming of medieval Viking tales will compete in outfit contests, and most importantly, will get to know each other better.

According to the two organizers, the event’s sponsors will give away prizes for the best outfits, Phenomena Ink will offer free henna tattoos for all the guests, and  Rabih Hanna,a modern dark artist, will be displaying some of his art and will be drawing live dark sketches, upon request.

As far as the event’s soundtrack, “It includes not only Gothic Metal or extreme versions of [Norwegian black metal band] Dimmu Borgir, but also Electro and Dark Wave music,” Maureen explains. “We wanted everybody to find their own favorite music and feel comfortable,” she added.