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Goth Day at Disneyland: November 8 and 9, 2008

29 Apr

Well, the official title of the event is Bats Day at the Fun Park . . . but plenty of us call it Goth Day at Disneyland. It’s the Year of a Million Screams! A thoughtful blog reader left me a comment yesterday to let me know that this year’s dates are November 8 and 9. That’s good news for those who prefer not to be wearing heavy black clothing in the August sun, as they did when I was there for the festivities in 2006, but bad news for those (like me!) whose travel schedules are dictated by our kids’ school vacations as well as our own business commitments.

It was great fun to see all the goths in the parks, especially those in the Gothic & Lolita fashions I love so much (they’re also a staple at anime conventions, since they grew out of Harajuku street fashion). There’s also a great shopping venue, the Black Market, where goth attire and tschotkes are available from independent and corporate vendors. It was really cool to meet one of the artists behind the Haunted Mansion comic books, I picked up a few odds and ends, and I deferred explaining some of the merchandise to my then-10-year-old son (I’m not sure he wanted his mom telling him why they were selling whips anyway). I’ll confess that I felt a bit out of place . . . I didn’t have the appropriate wardrobe as I’m not a goth myself, though given the circles I run in I definitely consider myself a spiritual kin. It was sweet and amusing how some of the vendors spoke to me, in the gentle tones of a kind soul explaining an alien culture . . . I’m sure they didn’t realize I was throwing up at CBGBs and dying my hair blue when they were but a twinkle in their mom’s eye.

If you’re going to be anywhere near Disneyland when Goth Days are in session, I really recommend heading over to check it out. If you have any goth or metal aesthetic at all, the Black Market is a great place to support independent vendors and pick up awesome stuff at decent prices. And, of course, the people-watching on the main day at Disneyland is phenomenal. And even if this isn’t your cultural thing . . . it’s still a great day to be in the park, as I commented on last year after reading a Disneyland Cast Member’s comments at Progressive U. I wish I could be there myself!

Toy Story Mania Mania!

3 Feb

I’ve got a fever . . . and there’s no amount of cowbell that’s gonna help. I’ve got Toy Story Mania mania!

This week’s WDW Today Episode 363 helped a little bit, and now this morning I see that WDW News Today has some info about both TSM and the expected opening dates for the Pixar Place section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The attraction’s expected to open the second week of June on both coasts, so (if life circumstances permit) I’m likely to either head down to Orlando for a Star Wars Weekend late in June, or make a trip out to Anaheim later in the summer, perhaps for Bat Day at the Fun Park, otherwise known as Goth Day. Bat Day hasn’t announced a date yet, but their web site promises that “The Year of a Million Screams will begin Fall 2008,” making me think that perhaps they’ll be holding the event too late for me, since my travel schedule is largely dictated by the school vacation calendar. Either way, I just love it when my geeky interests collide. Goths at Disney! R2D2 meets Mickey! Yay!

All In This Together: Goths, High School Musical 2, and Growing Up Gay

20 Aug

applescruff’s blog at Progressive U comments on being a Disneyland Cast Member during Bat’s Day at the Fun Park (aka Goth Day):

At first, I didn’t realize that some of my fellow cast members were frightened of these guests. Something about their black makeup and reputation made the Bats crowd intimidating, I suppose. I really didn’t notice. In high school, I had stepped out of my comfort zone and made friends with a few goths, to discover that, more often than not, they were far nicer than the “normal” people. It might have been because I was a misfit myself, but I believe they would have opened up the same way to anyone. As for the Disneyland guests, they came to have fun, same as anyone else. It was annoying to me that I had to initiate contact with “scary people” because…well, they were scary. Even after one of them managed to talk with one of the goths to discover that yes, I was right, they can be very nice, the cast members seemed very nervous about them.

Apparently, despite having it drilled into our heads from the time we are old enough to watch our first episode of Sesame Street, most people do not remember not to “judge a book by it’s cover.” It doesn’t matter that this particular event took place at Disneyland, because I see it all the time. I’ve been a victim of this kind of thing for as long as I can remember. I come from Long Beach, so I’m automatically into drugs, rap, and because of the high school I attended, I’m possibly mentally unstable, part of a gang, and prone to violence. It doesn’t matter that people get these ideas from poorly researched television programs and films, it must be true because that’s what they know. I’m also preppy because I’m intelligent, and therefore I must have good grades (niether of which is entirely true). I am supposedly a hippy, therefore (again) a druggie, because I like to listen to sixties and seventies music. The list goes on and on. Worse, because I have an uncommon and not-very-phoenetic name, people tend to think I’m weird anyway without even learning more than my name.

And while we’re being asked not to judge books by their covers . . . I’m reminded of a post I saw earlier today on the QueerSighted Gay Blog, discussing whether High School Musical 2 is “chock full of gay:”

Perhaps disturbed by the gay subtext [in High School Musical] that was pointed out to them by homosexuals with agendas, Disney attempts to butch up High School Musical 2, removing all traces of queer allegory and metaphor and amping up the heterosexual love triangle. Even so, this sequel (which exists in a parallel universe where the high school experience is so watered down that it might as well be clear) is perhaps even gayer than the first movie.

I must say, it did occur to me that the “I Don’t Dance” scene was as laden with coded references and knowing glances as any Hays Code-era Hollywood blockbuster. Ryan’s the pitcher, eh? Not surprising at all, to those of us who’ve spent a good bit of time wearing the pink hats ourselves. And did anyone else think it was odd that Troy could even pretend to be jealous when Ryan slung his arm, with platonic affection, around Gabriella’s shoulders?

It would seem we’re confronted with a post-modern dilemma: Do we choose to view Ryan’s fabulous, fey mannerisms as thinly-veiled references to his homosexuality, or do we embrace the notion that hetero men should also be free to love show tunes and camp it up? Either way, Ryan saves the day, so does it matter? Not to me. I’m a big fan of both gay rights and gender aberration, so either way I’m all for it.

But more to the point . . . maybe Ryan’s sexual orientation does matter if you’re a gay teen growing up today, watching High School Musical 2 and thinking maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to be who you are. Could it be possible that we really are all in this together?

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