alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)
Wicked and uncanny belly dance performances to entice and chill your soul...  It's the return of Raks Spooki!

Raks Spooki VI:  A Gothic Belly Dance Event
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Club Oberon, 2 Arrow Street (Harvard Square), Cambridge
Tickets $17, available at

From the jagged and angry to the mournful and elegaic to the silly and sublime, the troupes and soloists of Raks Spooki will explore the many facets of gothic music and culture through the artistry of belly dance.  Dancers--and a few live musicians--from across New England and beyond will join together to haunt and thrill you.  I am extremely pleased this year to present Raks Spooki at Club Oberon, an elegant and atmospheric cabaret-type venue right on the Red Line in Harvard Square and featuring a full bar*.   Proceeds from the event will as always be donated to Women for Women International.  

Featured performers include:
Alizah Afet and Mahira
Aria Beth Michaels
Cait Capaldi
Selcouth and Stephen Carpenter
Shahla Nissa
Sybil and Dr. Druesome
and me, your hostess Badriya

There will be no Raks Spooki in 2012, so get your gothic belly dance fix now to tide you through the times to come...

*Please note that each individual under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18.  Additionally, performances and music may contain, as they say, strong thematic content.

Flyer behind cut:flyer )
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)

Me at Raks Spooki V, performing to "Bad Things" (Theme from True Blood), photo taken by Najmat!

We were afraid we weren't getting any trick or treaters this year, but surprisingly they all started showing up after 6pm.  Some really adorable costumes have been coming though :-)
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)
The Fifth Annual Raks Spooki--Call for Performers!
Sunday, October 17, 4-7pm
Regent Underground Theatre, Arlington, MA

I am now accepting proposals for Raks Spooki performance pieces.  Raks Spooki is an annual gothic belly dance event, so pieces must be gothic in nature, ideally performed to gothic music.  Dramatic story telling and overarching thematic content strongly encouraged--I am looking for diverse performances with plenty of thought and meaning in their conception.  Pieces should be no longer than 6 minutes.  There will be 15 slots available. 

Your performance proposal should include:

-your stage name/troupe name
-something about who you are as a dancer
-your music choice
-a brief description of your performance concept
-a link to a previous performance video (rehearsal or demo footage also okay)

Submissions will be accepted until July 31, and the line-up will be announced by August 8.

Send proposals via email to  Do not send your proposal via Facebook, LiveJournal or Tribe message, or via any other social network.  Your cooperation in this regard is appreciated.

*This year I am reserving 5 slots (1/3 of the total) for performers who have not previously participated in Raks Spooki (if you have previously performed as part of a troupe but would like to do your first Raks Spooki solo, you count as a new performer; new troupes/duets also count as new performers, if they are a combination of dancers that has not previously appeared together at Raks Spooki).  So I encourage those of you who have never participated to please submit proposals!* 

Looking forward to hearing from you all, and please feel free to ask me any questions you might have before submitting a proposal.

shimmy spookily,

alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)
Here's the Zombie Zeffa and my gothic shamadan to Einsturzende Neubauten's Wuste from the fourth annual Raks Spooki:

(we're not sure why the sound pops in and out, that happens in the original too)
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
It seems to be the thing to be doing, so my 2009 in a handful of points:
  • started 2009 with my foot still in pretty wretched shape, but by Feb or March the alcohol injections finally killed off that nerve in the ball of my foot, and slowly I've come to be able to count on my feet to be there for me once again.  I still have some resculpting to do (that's really how it feels, like I am rebuilding the way my ankles and feet work) and I'm still not 100 percent pain free but I'm optimistic that to a large degree I can change what nature and nurture dealt me and have strong functional feet again.
  • lost a fair amount of weight but more importantly gained a lot of strength in my legs and core.  I feel I have a lot more power in my movements now, whether it's dance or yoga or just daily activity.  I like this and I am determined to keep it.  It's hard work but it's rewarding.  On a related note, with the exception of the last two weeks or so, I've been happy with the diet I've created for myself--not diet in the sense of weight loss program, but diet in the sense of well rounded nutrition, food that tastes good and sustains me. 
  • Danced in a variety of different venues, and in the process have been sounding out what is important to me as a dancer in terms of my goals and ideals.  Definitely a work in progress, some lessons are not always so pleasant, but it's part of being an artist.
  • Lost my ferret Ianto, but that was tempered by being so glad that we were able to give him a good loving home in the evening of his life.  He was such a sweet fellow, with his little Ianto prancing walk.  And his loss meant that we were in the right place at the right time to give a home to Edgar, who is quite the endearing character and brings us much joy.  Little Sisiutl has stayed a constant, deepening her bonds with me and welcoming the new guy along with us.
  • Got a Zipcar membership and started driving regularly again, for the first time since 1995 or so.  It's been very freeing and liberating, and nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be.  I've enjoyed driving a variety of different cars through Zipcar, and I've equally enjoyed not having the responsibility of car ownership.
  • Took the kind of plunge I'd been promising myself I would do for *years* and applied for a new job which represented a step up in my career--and got it!  The whole process went so smoothly it was like a dream, and clearly meant to be.  I'm very happy in the new job, while grateful for all that I learned in the old job.  Executive Assistant may not seem like a glamorous or important sort of career, but trust me, all your companies, non-profits, universities, etc would fall down without talented and intelligent people providing structural support.
  • Held Raks Spooki IV--I can't believe it has now happened four times!  I made a leap of faith that the market was still there even in this economy and moved to a larger theatre, and my faith was pretty justified.  Lots of thoughts for how to run next year's!  As always, the variety of creativity and talent on display in the show was humbling to me as the organizer.  I'm very proud to be able to put on this show.
  • Bought an iPod Classic, which seems like a small thing, but I am loving it so it bears mentioning.
  • Set in motion the process of renting regular studio space in a quiet place, something I have been deeply craving for a long time.  The studio is part of a small artists' community and I am excited about the synergy of that as well.
For 2010, I essentially just want to keep on track with the things I've been doing well.  I need to be a little better with keeping up with foot exercises.  I am really looking forward to utilizing that studio time.  We will have our tenth wedding anniversary in 2010.  I want to get out to more concerts, live music of any style that strikes my eclectic fancy.  I definitely want to travel outside of the Boston area for dance workshops more often.  I want to keep learning more about mixology, and get brave enough to start making drinks up, drinks that actually taste good.  In the end, perhaps none of those things are individually that important, but in sum they equal the process of building my life onward and upwards, improving what I can and accommodating what I can't.

Happy New Year, everybody!  May the triumphs and joys of the past year continue to sustain you, and may those you have lost live on as beautiful memories within.


Dec. 18th, 2009 10:51 am
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)
I am told I will have the Raks Spooki DVDs in my grubby little mitts next Tuesday evening! Can't wait to see the whole show!!!

(note to performers: It's highly unlikely I'd be able to mail them before Christmas, but I can do it the week after, or performers who are local can come get them from me/meet me somewhere. I suspect I can deliver them in person to a lot of people at Aepril's Jan. 2 benefit.)
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
Was very happy overall with how Raks Spooki went last night.  A huge thank you to the dancers, my zombies, to everyone who helped with publicity, and to everyone who came to the show!  There were some problems with lighting through the first act, which is frustrating since one of the reasons I moved the show upstairs was so that there wouldn't be such problems, and the show start was delayed due to all the cds having to be loaded onto a laptop, but those were really the only problems through the whole night.  By the end of the night, the sound/lighting guy was super enthusiastic about the show and wants me to get in touch with him in advance for next year so that he can, as he said, set it up perfectly for us.  Unfortunately the first act won't have much in the way of photos, and who knows how the video will turn out for that act.  But the dancers were all wonderful to work with and everything else went smoothly.  I am really looking forward to watching the video so I can see everything I missed--even when I had a chance to watch performers, half my brain was somewhere else.  I have a bunch of thoughts about next year already.  It's a good sign that even as I am done with this show and taking a well earned day off, my brain wants to think about Raks Spooki V!

I enjoyed performing my piece as well, my zombie zeffa and gothic shamadan.  I danced to Wuste by Einsturzende Neubauten, with a general concept of dangerous but loving truth hidden in the dark deserts of the heart.  I didn't have a specific mythological character in mind, but in a way I'd say it's my first goddess archetype piece.  Hope I can do it again somewhere.

Apparently FedEx tried to deliver my iPod this morning before we woke up, and so we did not hear the doorbell :-(  I'll have to wait for it until tomorrow.  At least today I'm getting iTunes all set up, it's taking a while to import all my music and convert the wmp files.  Then when I get the iPod I'll be all set to start loading it up!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
and I have the video to prove it:

That's from Shimmies for a Cure held yesterday in Somerville, MA. It was a benefit for Dana Farber and around $4,000 was raised! I feel very honored to have a skill that I can give to these events that raise so much money for good causes. It really was a wonderful show with so many great performers. Samantha and Baseema also put on one of the best run shows in town, so it was a pleasure to be part of from beginning to end! I even won a couple of things in the raffles, breaking my long-standing losing streak: a signed Leyla Jouvana and Roland VHS, and 1-2-3 Bahaia, which I think is more of a beginner level DVD but I admire her dancing so I'm be interested in watching it.

Still sicker than sick. I reorganized my filing cabinet and went through my stationery/painting supplies this afternoon and it has left me exhausted. I think breathing all that dust was no good for me. Ah well--I feel absolutely no compunction to do anything at all productive for the rest of the day!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Half my foot is numb.  It's an odd sensation.

I seem to have decided by non-decision that I am not going to the Bellydance Superstars show at the Regent tonight.  I feel a little bad about that because I would like to support the dancers, and I'd be happy to see Bozenka again, but honestly I'd rather be dancing myself in class, not to mention saving the $30-50 that tickets cost.  And I don't think that seeing Bozenka up on the stage dancing to canned music could really compare to seeing her up close with a live band.  I admire all the other dancers, but none of them are truly superstar status to me.  Plus the show has gotten mediocre reviews.  So all in all, the non-decision is clear.

I am working on answering some interview questions, one of which is what do I see as the role of gothic belly dance in the larger world of belly dance as a whole.  I'm not sure GBD--or any other style, for that matter--really has a role, as such.  But it's making me do some interesting thinking about its role in my personal world of belly dance, which is really the only way I feel I can answer the question.  Ponder, ponder.
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
Here are photos from Descent, the homage to the Dark Goddess put on by Aepril Schaile on November 16.  I danced to "Tituba" by Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys and an edited version of "The Devil and the Dancer" by Sayed Balaha.  I think the photos really capture what I was feeling and trying to convey while dancing, anguish and anger and angst galore.  Many thanks to photographer Michael Harkavy for his excellent work!

More behind cut )
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (belly dance icon)
One doesn't often get to say "In yesterday's dance workshop I pretended to be a werewolf and then ill-advisedly bit a zombie, where upon the zombies ate my brains," but that is in fact one of the many things I can say about yesterday's dance workshop with Djahari of Desert Sin.  I went into the workshop a bit skeptical, due to previous modern dance experience which was good for me but somewhat painful.  The first hour or so of the workshop felt essentially like the first half of the modern dance semester, and I came *this* close to bailing when the contact improv was announced.  However I ended up with a really fun little group of dancers, which made all the difference in the world.  And from there the workshop became significantly more interesting.  The first half or so was concerned with creating arbitrary rules for yourself or for a group of dancers to see what possibilities might emerge.  For example, we had an exercise in which you could do any dance move you wanted, so long as your head stayed in contact with the floor at all times.  That's not a way one is ever likely to perform, but it does make one think about one's body and its possibilities in a new light.  The second half of the workshop was more about emotional content and character portrayal, how we express these things through our bodies and our faces (together and separately).  That's where the werewolf and the zombies came into it; my half of the group was given the assignment of being inhabitants of a house of horrors.  Finally at the end of the workshop we learned a few minutes of a Desert Sin choreography about carniverous mermaids to see how all the techniques we'd been learning fit into the process of creation, with Djahari giving us insight into how and why each movement was created and chosen.  Djahari is a very good teacher, keeping the pace going and very warm and personable and smart.  The workshop attendees were a very good bunch too, everybody game to try each challenge.  There was a lot of laughter in the studio.  All in all, it was very productive and enlightening (and validating in some ways too, as I'd been using some similar thoughts in creating my Tituba piece), and I would definitely recommend the workshop to any dancer (of any genre, except maybe somebody advanced in modern).

I was pretty happy with my performance that night.  Again, it would have been far better not to have gotten sick this week, but I was able to draw upon the feelings of being sick and disoriented and weak to help create something.  I do think it was a stronger piece after taking the Desert Sin workshop than before, which is probably about the best praise one can give a workshop experience.  And I got through it without any coughing, miracle of miracles!

I was able to see most of the show and was very impressed with all the creativity and conceptualization on display.  Every piece was thought provoking and moving.  And Desert Sin, oh my.  Provocative doesn't begin to describe their exploration of cultural attitudes about female mastubation.  I will never hear that Bjork song the same way again (I can even attest to that for a fact, as my mp3 player served it up on random during this morning's commute).  I gather they do a regular show in New York once a month--I think it would be worth the effort to see some time.  I can't wait to see the show video so that I can see everything from closer, having spent much of the show up in the balcony without my glasses.

I had a celebratory beer--oh yes!--when I got home last night, first in I don't know how long.  It tasted good and didn't make me sicker.  I feel like somebody took a sledgehammer to my IT bands today though, and the bottoms of my feet hurt.  Not the muscles of my feet, just the surfaces.  And I've got a mysterious enormous bruise on my right knee.  I think I got that while being a werewolf, or started it then and made it worse with the backbend drop in my performance.  But it's all worth it!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)

Event website

I'm in this show, performing a piece about Tituba of the Salem Witch Trials.  Dancers are coming in from all over for this one, it should be a very impressive show!
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)
more later but this is how I still feel:
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)
Just learned on MySpace that Wade Robson got an Emmy for the Hummingbird and Flower choreography--that makes me so happy!  It's so deserved.  I just wish the dancers could share in the award, because it wouldn't have been the same piece with anyone but Hok as the hummingbird.  Jaimie was good too, but he made it special.

Speaking of dancing, I had a blast performing at Ceremony last night.  Thanks to all of you who were there to help create a wonderful supportive audience!  I've been working with that song (Siouxsie's Into A Swan) for a while but that was the first time I performed it in front of people.  I was happy with how it went and I'm really looking forward to performing it again at Raks Spooki after working on it some more. There is just something about that song that grabs me and pulls, the way all your best "OMG This Is the Best Song Ever" songs do.  I felt like I was able to get some of that across in my performing.

I am also very glad I did not take out the disco ball or any of the lighting with my wings.  To my great relief, I was able to keep my windmill turns stationary enough to stay underneath the small bare area of ceiling just behind the disco ball ;-)
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)

Click image for website! Interested in performing or vending? Contact me!

alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Voodoo Dolly)
Save the date--it's the third annual Raks Spooki on October 19, 2008, featuring a workshop with the one and only Tempest!!!  It will take place in the usual location, the Regent Theatre Underground in Arlington, MA.

(do not send me a performance request now, I guarantee I will lose it.  Call for performers will go out in the summer :-)


Nov. 19th, 2007 12:42 pm
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (tarnished)
Raks Spooki II has now come and gone.  I think this was my favorite of all the events I've put on so far--everybody was so on their game and into their music.  I was just so proud to be able to provide a venue for people to present this kind of work to a welcoming, enthusiastic audience.  I loved seeing the goths expressing themselves, I loved seeing those who wouldn't really call themselves goths exploring powerful/darker themes in their dancing.  I loved looking over and seeing a little gothic belly dance shopping mall with all the vendors set up.  I loved seeing the rapt attentive faces of the audience, spellbound by the presences on the stage.  I loved seeing friends blossom like night jasmine and reach new places in their dancing.  I loved the music.  In short, all was full of love.  Dark spooky gothic love, but love nevertheless.

Still some issues with the venue--the music was SNAFU as we pretty much expected, but thanks to Mr. [ profile] meddevi  we were able to get the house sound up and running for the second and third acts, and my boombox was more or less adequate for the first act.  I wish I'd remembered to turn off the bass boost, because then we could have turned it up louder before distortion set in.  And there was a little thing with the stage lights that thankfully I was mostly oblivious to, and resolved itself easily enough in the end.  At one point, it did look like we had no sound and no stage lights, and that wasn't really a very good point for me at all.  But I was able to maintain my equanimity, and Maman Brigitte, to whom my performance was dedicated, was smiling on us and fixed everything.

Huge thanks to [ profile] rojagato  and [ profile] talesinsdaughtr for taking care of the door--it takes a big load off of me as the event producer to know that I have good reliable people right where I need them :-)

Sashi was a wonderful teacher and a great human being--I would really like to have her back if I can raise more awareness about who she is and what she has to offer around here, and also hopefully time things better in terms of the other events going on around town.  I gained a lot just eavesdropping on her workshop while I was doing administrative stuff and yoga in the other studio.  Her dancing of course totally rocked.  I loved the subtle quality to a lot of her movements, and her musicality and timing is superb. 

I barely remember my own performance, but I enjoyed it, I think.  I like surprising people with the sound of the anklets.  One dancer in the audience told me that the sound made her skin crawl, to which I said "Good!" ;)  The one photo I've seen so far definitely has the look I was going for with the piece, so hopefully I'll like the video when I see it. 

After the event I ate an entire small pizza, made myself a hot toddy and fell asleep on the couch before I reached the bottom of the mug.  Between all the work that went into the event and my lingering plague, I am completely wiped out, but I'm already thinking about next year...  muahaha! *insert evil plotting laughter here*
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
What a lovely weekend.  Friday was panicked sewing and dancing and the less said about that really the better.  But Saturday was the Animal Rescue League of Boston/Gorey House Foundation Moonlight Ball.  M and I and several other lovelies wore Gorey-inspired Victorian-esque outfits made by Kambriel and provided atmosphere, and occasional helpfulness where needed.  Anyone who has ever been to the Cyclorama on Tremont Street would not have believed how beautiful it looked.  The walls were lined with tall white panels on which Gorey window frames were projected.  The entrance featured a glowing fountain, curving benches and a giant scrim sort of deal with a Gorey type facade on it.  Gorey artwork was everywhere.  Chandeliers hung from the ironworks that blanket the ceiling; each table featured a candelabra and a centerpiece of roses, mushrooms and hunks of fake ice, which looked far nicer than it sounds.  Comfy armchairs and sofas (curious sofas, perhaps?) abounded.  We were able to eat once everybody was seated and the drinks were flowing.  Usually I am very out of my element when surrounded by rich people, very conscious of being a coal miner's granddaughter, but in my gown I felt like a fabulous alien creature or time traveler.  The fundraiser looked hugely successful, especially since I believe the catering and bar were donated.  There were several dogs present; if you thought the human tickets were expensive at $175, the canine tickets were $5,000 per dog!  But if you are the sort of person who would be making that kind of donation to charity anyway, this would be a very fun way to do it.  There were several moving speeches and stories about dogs and cats, and a lovely movie about the work of the ARL which included a fine sable ferret, prompting cheers from our table.  Since I am not the sort of person who can give that kind of donation to a charity no matter how much I wish I could, it felt very good to be part of the event in some small way.  My spirits still feel lifted today thinking about it.  Thanks very much to Kambriel for giving me that opportunity!

Then Sunday, finally came the Bela Lugosi Birthday Bash.  I've been thinking about that show for so long, it felt odd to have it actually happening.  I have to admit I was feeling a bit odd about doing full on gothic in the Athenian Corner, but as the readings that made up the first half of the show went on, I relaxed.  Some of the readers/writers were quite entertaining and I particularly liked one poem that was a post-mortem entry in Lucy Westenra's diary.  Then it was time to perform!  I arrived on stage and went into my opening pose of an inanimate dolly and waited... and waited... and waited... for my music to start.  I finally had to break my pose before I fell over.  This was just the beginning of sound problems that plagued the show all evening due to a very non-cooperative boombox (one poor woman couldn't dance at all since the boombox simply would not read her CD).  Finally my music played.  I felt like it went all right for the first time performing it.  I had a lot of fun stealing people's souls and stomping on them with my noisy anklet stomps.  I actually use a bunch of khaleegi steps because I can get such a great noise from the anklets with them.  I wonder if there is anybody else in the entire world who has done khaleegi to Siouxsie and the Banshees.  We should start a very exclusive club.  Anyway, it went well enough, and the audience was very receptive to what I was doing.  Some of the writers, not surprisingly, went to ManRay when they were younger, pretty much Siouxsie and the Banshees generation themselves, so they knew exactly where I was coming from and enjoyed it with their own sense of nostalgia.  I closed the show with Voltaire's The Vampire Club, fine except for small costume malfunction of a couple of horse hair tassels jumping ship.  I guess I did not test the belt to any energetic music.  But it's nothing that a little glue applied to some knots won't fix.  I was pretty well paid considering the type of gig it was, so all in all it was a good evening for me.  If Saturday night was all about a group coming together to raise money for a wonderful cause, Sunday night was all about a group exploring their common areas of creativity and making events happen, even when money is tight and the technology won't cooperate.

So I had much fun all weekend dressing up and wearing loads of dramatic makeup.  I don't really miss the days of applying black makeup with a trowel on a daily basis, but it was decidedly fun to live it again for a weekend.  Being older, I have better quality makeup now so I'm sure it looked much nicer now than it did back then ;-)
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (tarnished)
I need a Raks Spooki logo--the clipart silly walking bat I've been using won't cut it.  I have to think about what kind of images I'd want to use though.  Got a couple of ideas...
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (fruityoatytrio)
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