Bringing the Dark to Light: Interview with Patrick Rodgers

Posted in Community, Events with tags , , , , , , on October 30, 2014 by anacroniste

Since I was a wee kinderbat (young Goth kid, if you’re unfamiliar), I knew of parties where my Anne Rice & The Cure-fueled fantasies existed and were verified; vampires walked among us and I could walk (and dance) among them as well! Anyone with an inkling of the history of Philadelphia’s dark alternative nightlife knows the name of the one event that has helped sustain it, and with Halloween just around the corner, that name is on the lips of many.

dracsball

Having been covered by national media outlets such as HBO and The History Channel, Dracula’s Ball is an all-ages quarterly event that has come to be seen as one of the region’s defining events for the dark, sensual, and macabre, and a Bahamian implant by the name of Patrick Rodgers of Dancing Ferret Concerts has been the mastermind behind it all. Spearheading many other events in the same vein such as Nocturne, the dearly-departed longest running weekly Goth night in the area, he’s an easily spotted and very approachable Philebrity among this city’s nightkind. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the history of Dracula’s Ball and his other current ventures.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional background.

PR: I started Dancing Ferret Concerts in 1995 with absolutely no experience and no training, just a passion for music and a desire to share it. I’ve held concerts at venues all over Philadelphia, including the TLA, Trocadero, Electric Factory, Shampoo, Trilogy, The Kimmel Center and many others. I’ve also run a record label, a magazine, a retail store, and undertaken a number of other interesting one-shot events.  I love to travel and experience other cultures, and that definitely has influenced my work in the past and even more so the work I plan to do in the future.

What was the first goth/dark alternative party you ever attended? How did you start throwing parties?

PR: My first alternative party was one of the events at Asylum Nightclub [now defunct].  My very first show was at The Trocadero, with GWAR. They had a side project called X-COPS and none of the other promoters in Philadelphia were interested in the show. I took it, did a decent job with it, lost a lot of money, and decided to give it another go.  My second show was with Lycia at Asylum, and it turned a small profit and convinced me that I could bring bands to town that weren’t going to come to Philly and maybe make a few dollars in the process. As to how I started, I literally just decided to do it and did it.  I learned by making mistakes.

Give us a bit of background on Dracula’s BallIs there/who is the target demographic? How many people?

PR: There’s no target demographic as such, but speaking generally, we’re looking for open-minded people who want to have fun.  Bonus points if they appreciate the dark aesthetic and if they participate by wearing something fantastic.  The number of people varies a bit depending on details of the event, but the event has sold out large spaces like Shampoo on a number of occasions.

When and where was the first Dracula’s Ball you threw? Describe it from your perspective as a promoter.

PR: The first Dracula’s Ball was May 17th, 1998, at Evolution (formerly Asylum).  I had a concept for an event that included both DJs and live bands as well as vendors and other assorted entertainment. I was going for a dark, creative aesthetic with a bit of an edge to it, and a vampire theme fit perfectly.  I had been to some other events where everything stopped when the band played, and if people weren’t into the band, they wound up going outside for an hour, or leaving altogether.  I was looking for a quick tempo so that if people didn’t like the band,  they knew the performance time would be quick.  In later years, the event expanded into multi-room venues, and then people really had a good number of options if they weren’t feeling the vibe of one particular room.

I was certainly nervous about the event. It was a new concept and I had no idea how it was going to be received.  Fortunately, people responded very well to it. We had just under 300 folks in attendance, which was a big number to me at the time.  I was thrilled, and decided to repeat the event.

Tell us a bit about your other upcoming events.

PR: Vision Thing is a monthly event at Blurr Nightclub (formerly Envy). The building has three floors, including a third-floor catwalk that overlooks the second floor dance floor.  It’s got an old-school vibe to it, kind of a secret location in a factory or something to that effect.  Tribe is a monthly event at Trilogy Nightclub.  The space is absolutely amazing, with a first floor that’s all decked out in red velvet, somewhat reminiscent of Shampoo.  We use two floors for Tribe, but in the future we hope to expand into the third floor as well.

Where would you like to see your events in five years?

PR: I’d like Tribe to evolve into a continuation of Nocturne, offering a safe space for people of all persuasions to party and interact.  Dracula’s Ball might become something a bit more fancy, or it might maintain its underground feel; I’m still thinking about where it might go.  I definitely plan to spend more time on events that provide genuine cultural interaction.  Three years ago,  I presented the first Uyghur dinner in Philadelphia and I’m seriously considering presenting another dinner event this winter.

This Halloween is the 65th Dracula’s Ball, held at the historic Trocadero Theatre at 1001 Arch St in Philadelphia. For more information and tickets, visit the official website and RSVP on Facebook. for ticket links.
-Tahnee Jackson for PASSIONAL

Suddenly Fem: Especially for Transwomen and Crossdressers

Posted in Community, Costume Carnival, Fantasic Femme Fashion, Transform Yourself on October 28, 2014 by Kali Morgan

PASSIONAL Boutique and Suddenly Fem have joined forces to offer a wider array of fashions specifically designed for transgender and crossdressing customers!

For transfeminine and crossdressing people, shopping in secret can be awkward and scary. Covert store browsing and anonymous online purchasing are not the only options- especially now that our supportive retail location is offering a newly expanded quality selection of clothing and items expressly designed for their bodies and lifestyles.

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Suddenly Fem is the one and only fashion line with a complete selection of feminine dresses, suits, pants, lingerie and specialty undergarments designed and manufactured for the traditionally “male-assigned” body type, and is now showing a myriad of styles from their fashion collection at PASSIONAL Boutique’s store at 317 South St in Philadelphia.

“We have primarily been an Internet fulfillment company, but reps receive at least 4 requests a day from customers inquiring if we have a retail location,” states SF Vice President Tyler DeSouza. “I first met the staff at PASSIONAL at the  Philadelphia Trans Health Conference in June 2014, as we both had booths. I was impressed by their organization, and after visiting the store I could not think of a more appropriate retail placement for our innovative fashion designs.”  At the show, a collaboration was born.

PASSIONAL Boutique has been serving the alternative fashion and fetish lifestyle community for over 20 years and has a built-in following of transgender and CD customers. Complimenting the great selection of specially designed Suddenly Fem styles is the exceptionally helpful and understanding staff at PASSIONAL– voted “Best Adults-Only Fun” store by Philadelphia Magazine in 2012.

Philadelphia has become a haven for trans persons in recent years, with the city recently increasing benefits and protections for transgender persons. With multiple health care and wellness services in the area available to Trans* individuals, prompting Philadelphia Magazine to publish an article in August 2013 entitled, “Is Philly the New Transgender Capital of the World?” Now there is a fully stocked PASSIONAL department created specifically for gender variant people to browse and try on clothing and accessories.

The new PASSIONAL department features a full assortment of Suddenly Fem bestsellers across their line. The collection includes dresses, teddies, gaff panties, skirts and even pants. The staff of PASSIONAL is experienced with handling the fashion needs of the transfeminine and CD/TV communities, and is prepared to provide additional styling assistance after collaborative training meetings with Suddenly Fem staff.

PASSIONAL is excited to bring in this line that is known and loved by our customers! Having featured a limited selection of products for the transgender community since the start of our business, this partnership will allow PASSIONAL customers access to a wider variety of merchandise and educational resources!

Note: PASSIONAL store hours are noon-9PM Sunday-Tuesday and Noon-10PM Wednesday through Saturday.

Private fittings before store hours are available with a modest deposit toward your order- EMAIL US  if you would like to schedule a private appointment.

Styling: If Halloween has inspired you to try cross-dressing for the very first time, our staff can assist you with matching wigs, shoes and foundations to fully feminize a masculine figure and assist you with invoking your inner feminine mystique (or costumed character). Unfortunately, we do not have a makeup artist on staff.

Reminder: If you plan to go out on the town in these or any PASSIONAL fashions,  we are running an autumnal PHOTO CONTEST now through November 4. Email a picture that clearly features any PASSIONAL product and you have a chance to win a $100 PASSIONAL gift card and Diabolique Ball tickets!

Sideshow of Sinful Style: A PASSIONAL Costume Guide

Posted in Costume Carnival, Criminal Accessories, Fantasic Femme Fashion, Gift Guides, Men's Style, PASSIONAL Persona: Photo Contest, Rubber Lover, Transform Yourself on October 25, 2014 by anacroniste

Come one, come all!! Step right up and marvel at these fabulously daring styles presented for the amorous amazement of all! PASSIONAL is pleased to bring you fashions to animate your circus-themed illusions in the most titillating manner! Ringmasters, bellydancers, burlesque ladies, and strong men will all find costume creations to spark up wonder at the next Halloween party!

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The Ringmaster is a classic circus figure that commands and captivates the crowd, and you will accomplish exactly that with the combination of our Leather Top Hat and our signature Lambskin Tuxedo Jacket! (Extra Credit: accessorize with a riding crop from our sister store, Sexploratorium!)

The Bellydancer is the quite the (snake)charmer, shrouded in mystery and daring! Harness the sideshow sensuality with handwoven chainmail! The Chainmail Bra Top paired with the Gypsy Jingle Skirt will add an edge to your serpentine simulations! (Bonus points: add a one of a kind accessory like our Yarn Hair Falls to the look for an eccentric touch!)

The Burlesque Bombshell gets collars loosened and fans waving through the crowd, and you’ll be no exception to the rule with a stunning combination of a Lace Garterbelt, Cuban Heel Backseam Stockings, and a stunning underbust cincher like our Daisy Brocade Long Cincher! (Extra Credit: throw in a pair of Elbow Length Lace Gloves and make ‘em sweat when you peel them off later!)

The Strongman wows the crowd with impressive feats of strength matched only by equally impressive mustache! Frame those guns with the Latex Wrestler’s Singlet, and frame your face with the Ambassador II Mustache! (Bonus Points: go for the gold and add our 3 in 1 Beard Set and give ‘em yet another marvel!)

 

Before you run away with the circus, send us photos of your fantastical costume creation and you could win a prize in our Fantasy Photo Contest! CLICK HERE for more details on how to enter, and don’t forget to tag #PASSIONALboutique on Instagram, or #PASSIONAL on Facebook, and Twitter!

Masculine Movie Mystique: A PASSIONAL Costume Guide

Posted in Costume Carnival, Criminal Accessories, Gift Guides, Men's Style, PASSIONAL Persona: Photo Contest on October 23, 2014 by anacroniste

Fellas! Halloween is upon us, and costume parties abound! But what if you’ve exhausted all of the traditional options? Are you past pirating yourself? Ready to shake the sheikh? That tired old Dracula cape needs to be laid to rest? PASSIONAL has fresh ideas for costumes the other guys wouldn’t dare to think of! These cinematic costume ideas will have you in the spotlight in no time!

Kill Bill: Want a basic accessory to build a great yet inexpensive costume? Take that basic black suit in your closet, add a (not-actual) sword, and pair it with our molded leather Crazy 88 mask for an unexpected villainous look! (Your film buff buds will be totally into this!)

Rocketeer: Get inspired by science fiction of yesteryear! Whether you’re after a steampunk inspired version of Captain America, or your own patriotic Rocketeer, this unisex soft leather Superhero Crush Cap is just the thing! Pair it with our Victorian Goggles and the 20-eye Steam Boot for a steam (or diesel) powered look worthy of the silver screen!

Troy: Be a lion! If you’re after a look that will put fear into the heart of your foes, we have a combination worthy of Achilles himself! Our formidable Trojan replica Metal Cuirass (perfect for sizes up to 54″) and Trojan Corinthian Helmet together with our hand crafted Leather Trojan Kilt will catapult your party entrance into epic proportions!

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Found the costume idea of your dreams? Don’t forget to send us a pic to have a chance to win some great prizes in our Fantasy Photo Contest! Click here for more info, and don’t forget to tag #PASSIONAL on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with your costume pics!

Halloween Fantasy Photo Contest!!

Posted in Community, Costume Carnival, Criminal Accessories, Fantasic Femme Fashion, Men's Style, PASSIONAL Persona: Photo Contest, Snapshots, Transform Yourself on October 13, 2014 by Kali Morgan

It’s that time of year again! We want you to get PASSIONAL about your Halloween!!

Halloween’s our favorite time of year because, well, we LOVE playing dress-up! People have included our fashions in their costume ideas for years and not only do we encourage it, but we want to reward you for it!

Submit a photo that documents our product as part of your Halloween costume creation* by Tuesday November 5 for a chance to win prizes!

Winner gets a $100 PASSIONAL Gift Card plus 2 Diabolique Ball Tickets!
Honorable mentions (2): 1 Diabolique Ball ticket each!

It’s easy! Just email your photo to PASSIONALmag@gmail.com by 11:59PM on November 5. While you are at it, tag #PASSIONAL on Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

Winners will be announced and photos displayed on November 10!

Need inspiration? Check out some of the entrants and winners from last year!

 

* Photos can be cell phone or professional, but they must clearly feature at least one product purchased from PASSIONAL Boutique. Please include a description of your costume and the PASSIONAL fashions used. One entry per participant, please!

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Fashion Under the Shambles Fashion Show

Posted in Community, Costume Carnival, Events, Fantasic Femme Fashion, On the Road, Rubber Lover, Snapshots on October 7, 2014 by Kali Morgan

PASSIONAL was pleased to participate in the recent Fashion Under the Shambles show sponsored by South Street Headhouse District and The Philadelphia Collection. With 29 other participating boutiques and salons, Our staff had a blast strutting our looks on the runway along with many of our friends and neighbors! We would also like to thank Follicle Studio for the hair and makeup styling for our models!

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To see photos and commentary on the entire event, check out the article on Philly Chit Chat

More fashion in action is coming from PASSIONAL with fashion shows at DC Fetish Ball October 11 and November 21 at Diabolique Ball.

Labor Day Weekend at PASSIONAL

Posted in Community, Costume Carnival, Criminal Accessories, Events, Fantasic Femme Fashion, Men's Style, On the Road, Rubber Lover on August 28, 2014 by Kali Morgan

There is a whole lotta stylin going on all over the place from the Playa to the Festivals to the Conventions to the City!

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PASSIONAL is pleased to welcome NYC based designer Lethal Ware into the store for a leatheriffic trunk show this Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday in time for a weekend of celebrations all over town! RSVP to our Facebook event and invite your friends!

Where have our core collections gone? Kilts, Latex and Kink Gear are with Angel at Dark Odyssey Summerfest and Cosplay,  Kilts, Corsets and Critter Gear are at Dragon Con.

 

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