It’s Sunday night in downtown Los Angeles, and where we’re going, nobody knows… immediately. That’s because the event location was only sent out the same morning, a detail that only added to the excitement. Links are underlined throughout.
No one knows what to expect, though the event creator, Victoria Lane, has been very good at building the mystery through posts on Facebook. I’ll lay my little soul bare here. The more I read, the more I saw, the more elaborate my expectations became. Hopeful is an understatement when you’re trying to tame visions of socializing with the darkest of the dark, nice wine that awakens your curiosity, and outfits that are the sweetest eye candy. The description itself gives nothing away:
“For our 1 Year Anniversary, we are taking it all to a new level. We are still dark, sexy, irreverent and full of adventure. Now we are pushing the boundaries of storytelling in a fluid environment. This is not your textbook Great Expectations. This is an updated exploration of a superficial society gone off the rails and the consequences. Join Miss Havisham as she opens the dusty halls of her home for the first time in decades and unleashes her army of gorgeous wards upon the world. The event takes place in a private venue and is all inclusive. Location is furnished day of the event. Black cocktail/club attire is the most basic dress code request. Use your imagination. Thrill us visually.”
Having just moved to Southern California, and having never heard of Lost Angels before, the anniversary note stood out for me. Anniversaries are a big deal to the more obscure events, the ones that are far from the maddening crowd. My optimism about tonight’s festivities increased because it’s got to be good right?
As I step into the hallway outside the door, in a corset, heavy skirts, and even heavier makeup, I am worried I’ll be underdressed. Even with chandeliers on fire on my face, I know how goth kids throw down when it comes to a ball. However, as the first people arrive, in suits (not tailcoats) and cocktail dresses (no frills), and in pairs, my fear morphs into…am I not the lost angel they’re looking for?
The door creaks open and we are invited into an anteroom, where our names are checked off the list. There’s no fussy business about cash or scanning a ticket, you’re either in or you’re wrong. From there, we’re ushered into another larger room, where the performances tonight will be taking place. It’s an ample sized space with room to move about, with a corner devoted to wine which has already been included with our ticket purchase. (Thank you.)
After wine is in hand, I take in the room, which may give cause for…well, concern. It is a dungeon playspace, known as Dungeon East, and it is as beautiful as it is intimidating. There are cages all around, a bed with silver rose petals, and ropes and toys laid out. Mhmm, I nod to myself and become very curious about fast I can drink what’s in my glass. But I am wrong, not for the last time tonight, because, with the exception of the rope and rose petals, none of it is for the ball. I am told that the space was available for tonight but it came with the decor, and as I look around, the other attendees are more intrigued than anything else. It’s a good indicator of the crowd though, open minded and ready to have a good time.
If you came out looking to be solely an audience member, you might find yourself in the wrong place. Although there is a pink haired DJ, performances and good looking people, this is not a club type of event. The key word here is interaction and you will most certainly get what you put into it. Remember how everyone came in pairs and groups earlier and I had my lonely sad girl face on? Well, that’s irrelevant after the first round of drinks as I watch strangers approach each other as friends under low lights and carefully chosen music. As more people arrive, in more elaborate styles of dress, you can feel the mood become what all event creators crave: promising. No one is standing by themselves for very long and the conversation is never awkward or boring. Everyone may not have known what to expect but there is an intimacy here you won’t find anywhere else.
As characters roam, there is a story playing out, though you don’t have to get lost in it to enjoy it. An immersive experience is just one level of what the Lost Angels offer. From what I gather, it’s an aspect the creators have been experimenting with and it seems they have found the right balance between a structured show and inviting people to make of tonight what they will.
For one performance we have a dance that meets story telling, by La Dulcinea and it is jaw dropping. It’s not particularly easy to move in ridiculously high heels, never mind stilettos, never mind the speed with which she moved. Blink and you’ll miss her dip into a perfect split with no hesitation. Look away and you’ll miss this doll transform into a mistress. This is one performance where if you give your attention, you will certainly be rewarded.
And the ropes on the table? Why they belong to Sir Finn, an exceptional artist of bondage and suspension. I know what you’re thinking, Zakkarrii are you just saying this to give them a good review? Shush your face. This is the one part of the event I was familiar with, because I see it performed all the time. (I don’t partake, I appreciate). I’ve never found it more interesting than I did tonight and I waited for the spell to be broken, for the focus to shift from “performing for all” to “this is all about them”. They, Sir Finn and his lovely ladies, really put on a show and it was noted by those watched.
Ah, but there is one more treat, and it is the attendees themselves. Sometimes it’s nice to find out how deceiving appearances can be, for there were people from a variety of lives and all of them the dark siblings I’ve been looking for. In general, people seemed to like the salon aspect of it, but this wasn’t superficial networking for weird people and it wasn’t just complimenting each other. To me, it really felt like the party you always wanted to go to, where the people around you actually influence how tonight goes and can give as much pleasant conversation as you can get your fill of. I don’t think I met a single person I didn’t like.
If there was any drawback, it would be that the host wasn’t loud enough to clearly announce performances. But as long as you were interested in what was happening around you, and these performers have a presence that can’t be ignored, you’d know.
It might have been that poorly timed, but thoroughly enjoyed third glass of wine, it might have been my curiosity, but as most people leave for the night, I linger. This is my favorite part of the night because you find out what kind of crowd you’ve really just spent hours with. It’s also something I see at a lot of goth clubs. If you’ve made any connection with anyone here, they’ll ask you how you’re getting home, walk you to your car, or wait for your ride with you. Those who go on midnight misadventures together also tend to look out for each other and that is a beautiful thing to see.
I also got to see the heart of Lost Angels, the crew, tear down the set. This is what confirms for me I will be back. A crew that works together that efficiently to pack up and move out means this wasn’t thrown together last second. From the bartender, Sarah, who gave off a comforting grounded energy to the DJ Skent, who never played a bad song and the photographer, Jo Ran, who captured the events in way you’ll have to see to believe, it all worked seamlessly. This was the cherry on top for me.
Hardly. Lost Angels is still picking up speed and you might want to pay attention as their events are limited engagement. It’s not always in a dungeon, but that was an interesting experience because people appreciated what it lent to the event. I was lucky to buy a ticket when I did, because they sold out all 80 spots. As for expectations, aim high, darlings, but bring your best with you. As I delightedly found out tonight, if you’re as welcoming to the possibilities as they are, you won’t leave empty-handed.
Remember the links for Lost Angels have been underlined throughout, but while I have your attention… take a moment to follow this blog by “Joining the Strange Collective” at the top of this page. For alternate views follow me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and now Twitter and visit the shop, The Dream Lounge.
Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels