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Star-Bulletin Features


Thursday, December 7, 2000



By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Anti-Club patrons Sarah Condon and Mark Smith
(foreground) seem to enjoy the scene and each
other last Friday night.



UPPING THE ANTI

Not outcasts here, the
Goth group gathers at a club
where they feel they fit in


By Nancy Arcayna
Special to the Star-Bulletin

WHAT happens when it seems all the world is in tune with Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys and Christina Aguilera and you just don't get it? You could lock yourself in your room, turn off the radio and turn on your computer in search of music you really like, or you could head to the Anti-Club, where the slogan is "anti-Backstreet, anti-'N Sync, anti-Britney and anti-pop c-- that makes us not think."

At the witching hour on a Friday night, about 50 people writhe about in movements suggesting Bela Lugosi-meets-belly dancer, each in his own space, as if staging a choreographed mini performance.


By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Malissa, Brian Turner and Jennifer enjoy a smoke
and conversation. Some patrons agreed to be
photographed only if their last names were withheld.



The music is a mix of '80s Bauhaus, Cult, Skinny Puppy and Psychic TV, and '90s industrial by Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Pop Will Eat Itself.

"In society, we feel we aren't accepted, but when we come here, we feel like one," says Sky Sunberg, a regular on the Goth scene for five years. "Everyone accepts you and they admire your freakiness. That's why I keep coming back."

The differences extend to the way the club-goers choose to dress. Pale faces, black-dyed hair and black clothes in vinyl, leather or PVC are standard. Chains, collars, restraints, ripped fishnet stockings, combat boots and body piercings complete the look.

Not everyone is in black though. Some adopt a Victorian look with lace bodices and corsets. Others are anti-uniform and aim for the unique.

"Many unfamiliar with 'the look' could be easily intimidated," says Romell Regulacion of the band Razed in Black. "Dressing like everyday is Halloween and having that 'don't talk to me attitude' doesn't help either.

"In Hawaii it's a bit more difficult to pull off the pale look with our sunny skies and it's difficult to pull off the vinyl or rubber thing with our warm weather, but somehow we manage."

Club-goers turn to Morbid and Manic Panic foundations to achieve a deathly pallor. Eyes and lips are accented in purple or black.

The Goths -- short for Gothic, reflecting a dark, medieval sensibility -- see beauty in things that may seem scary, dark and unusual to those with mainstream tastes.


By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Above: Chris in full Goth regalia. Some patrons
agreed to be photographed only if their last
names were withheld



"For most people, darkness means turning the lights out. But for me, darkness is a way of life --it's the person inside of you," said Brian Turner, who stood wearing a full-length skirt, a velvet blouse and face paint.

"I'm in the military and I'm not supposed to be here. But I don't care, I believe you need to take a chance in life."

"I've been coming here for eight years and it is like an art for me ... more than just a club, said Kenny Quasimodo (likely not his real last name).

"Most people think of (the scene) as negative and weird, but to us it is a beautiful thing. This is my family and we all love each other," he said.

But, one does not have to look like a vampire or cadaver to enjoy the scene. Chris, who did not give his last name, showed up his first time in a T-shirt and jeans with three similarly dressed friends. "The selection of music is good," he said. "The gritty guitar stuff is fun to listen to. We will definitely get a crowd together and come back."

Rei, a promoter for the Blue Room, stood out in her soft pink, floral-printed dress. She came to check out the place on the advice of friends who told her it was a cool place to hang out.

"The people are so friendly and the atmosphere is so different," she said.


By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
The dance floor of the Anti-Club on Koapaka Street
is awash in laser light, smoke, and dancers in goth garb.



Nicola, a tourist from Minnesota, adds, "It's a good venue for young people to come, where they can freely express themselves.

"The music is good, but definitely not as hardcore as the clubs in the mainland," she says.

Then there are the weekend Goths.

"Those who are serious enough to make a commitment to being Goth are pretty serious. These people get permanent markings, shave their heads or pierce themselves, surround themselves with gothic music, friends and icons," said Norma Lanai. "Most of us won't go that far. We only dress up on the weekends."

In spite of the "anti" name, the ultimate message of these creatures of the dark is tolerance.

Accustomed to being targeted and misunderstood due to their appearance, they know better than to judge others superficially.

"Everyone is so different," said Timmy Sawyer. "It doesn't matter if you are black or white ... gay or straight. There are no labels."


Going Gothic

Bullet What: Anti-Club
Bullet When: 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Fridays
Bullet Where: 3259 Koapaka St.
Bullet Cost: $10



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