Soundbites 

Trance to the Sun: Dark music from sunny California.
  • Trance to the Sun: Dark music from sunny California.

While the hippies went down to Hookahville for Memorial Day weekend, the Goths have the annual Gravediggers' Exhibit to look forward to. Held at least once a year since 1996, the Gravediggers' Exhibit is a Goth-themed festival that includes live music, vendors, and art exhibits. For the first time, this year's event will take place over two days (June 3 and 4). It will be held at the Phantasy (11808 Detroit, Lakewood); upstairs, there will be booths featuring a medieval art exhibit, and DJs will spin downstairs at the Chamber. It's the first Gravediggers' event since the Sabbatical, which was held on August 15 of last year. On Saturday, Detroit's Assemblage 23, Columbus's Flesh Field, Cleveland's Chew's Eye Shop, and Dayton's Dubok will perform, while Sunday's lineup includes Santa Barbara's Trance to the Sun, Detroit's Takhisis, and Cleveland's Thou Shalt Not.

"Some of the events have been great, and some have been flops," admits organizer Scott Gallagher (a.k.a. the Loon), who works as a stagehand at the Agora and does part-time work for a local sound company when he's not bringing together the white-faced, clad-in-black crowd to participate in medieval rituals. "For the first one I did, I had over 450 people. This time, instead of having vendors -- I've had some bad dealings with a fashion vendor in Cleveland -- I'm having an art exhibit instead. The Sabbatical -- the one I did last year -- was horrendously horrible. It's heartbreaking here in Cleveland. There's a huge Goth scene with newbies, baby Goths, or what you'd call "spooky kids,' but the scene is filled with fashion whores. This is the biggest motivation for me. Because when I came into the scene, it was more about music, art, and literature. How many of them have read anything pre-Raphaelite? Half of them are white trailer trash. That's why I'm having an art exhibit -- to remind people there's a lot of cool stuff out there and not just some print of a vampire that looks like it's right off of the box of your Dungeons & Dragons game."

To that extent, Gallagher has recruited the local graphic design company Monolith Graphics to set up a booth. He's also promised to bring in two tons of sand for Tremont-based sculptor Scott Radke to construct his sand sculptures. Gallagher expects the event to bring out Goths from around the region.

"I've got people coming in from Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Seattle to see these bands," he says. "I expect over 200 out-of-town people."

Tickets to the show are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the show, or $18 in advance and $25 the day of the show if you want to buy a ticket for both days. For more information, call the Phantasy at 216-228-6300 or consult the website http:// oh.verio.com/~loon/gravediggers.htm.

The local, Eastern European-minded world music ensemble Harmonia -- accordion and clarinet player Walt Mahovlich, cimbalom player Alexander Fedoriouk, violinist Marko Dreher, nai and sopilka player Andrei Pidkivka, taragot player Gheorghe Trambitas, and bassist Adam Good -- will perform its first show with singer Beata Begeniova on June 2 at Inside (2393 Professor Street, Tremont). Begeniova (she's lived in Cleveland for a few years now and played at private but not public functions with Harmonia) originally comes from Medzilaborce, Slovakia (the same town that produced Andy Warhol's family). She sings traditional music in Slovak, Romany (the gypsy language), Carpatho-Rusyn, and Ukrainian. Mahovlich first met Begeniova when she was on a tour of the States with the Eastern European group Sarisan.

"Beata is a young, beautiful, vivacious woman," Mahovlich explains. "She's an authentic folk musician, but she also has a master's in music and is an absolute ball of fire. She has a voice that has incredible clarity and power, and reflects the folk sound of the Carpathian Mountains."

The show will feature a selection of European folk music that will depart a bit from Harmonia's usual repertoire.

"She's bringing some new, beautiful, and challenging material -- a lot of stuff that has never been recorded," Mahovlich says. "She's also a beautiful arranger. Some of the stuff we will do will be very traditional, and some of the gypsy stuff we'll do is recently composed. No one in the group is of Romany heritage; however, the gypsies have a very lively musical life in Slovakia. They're the largest ethnic minority in Europe right now, and Slovakia is one of the places where their music is blossoming."

There will be two shows -- one at 7 p.m. and one at 9:30 p.m. -- and tickets are $15, $10 for students. A reception, with more music and dancing, will follow the late show. Call 216-281-8727 or e-mail mahovlich@juno.com to make reservations.

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