Swinging Wake revelers.EXPAND
Swinging Wake revelers.
Scott Feinblatt

Bats Day Swinging Wake Keeps Darkness Alive in Anaheim

As the date for the Bats Day in the Fun Park phenomenon crept up, Noah K lit the proverbial torches and presented his annual Bats Day weekend of festivities. The party started on Friday night with the costumed Bats Day Happy Haunts Swinging Wake ball, and although the party only consisted of a small fraction of the thousands of goths that have come to regularly descend upon Disneyland on the official Bats Day, those in attendance had an excellent time mingling with their costumed brethren and grooving to the tunes of Marquis & The Rhythm Howlers.

The party was delightfully colorful, as usual. Guests who arrived early enough dug into the “Dessert Horror D’oeuvres”. The cash bar featured stiff drinks, including a couple which practically glowed green or blue (gotta love that blue curacao)! Staff members played the roles of ghosts, who mischievously floated amongst the crowd, photo bombing attendants and performing similarly spirited mayhem. In one corner, a spiritualist was available to perform readings, and in another, the official event photographer shot portraits of the guests, while DJs Baron, Krieg, and Steph Infection kept the room alive with rhythm.

For the principal entertainment, Marquis & The Rhythm Howlers were the perfect choice. The quintet performs swing music infused with a dose of spooky atmosphere. During their two sets, they played all of the songs from their CD, Post-Apocalyptic Jukebox, which is principally comprised of covers of tunes ranging from those of jazz innovator Jelly Roll Morton to Ministry. The spooky element comes from both the mystical New Orleans jazz vibe as well as from the selection of goth and new wave songs, which they render with their howling jazzy vibe. To top it all off, they dress in skeletal costumes.

During a chat with guitarist / vocalist Marquis, the Weekly learned that the band got together after the group members met while working at Disney’s California Adventure Park. All of the jazz performers are part of the Five & Dime show, but since they formed their own band, they have regularly performed at various events throughout Los Angeles, and are regular performers at the historic Clifton’s Republic, in LA, which is a hub for local swing swing jazz groups. Additionally, later this year, Marquis plans to start publishing the Red Hot Jive Report, a print magazine dedicated to the swing scene.

One of the reasons goth culture has thrived so much since it first emerged, in England thirty odd years ago, is because of how many sub-cultures and communities have integrated its aesthetics and ethos. Bats Day in the Fun Park remains a thriving fusion of goths and Disney fans, and, as usual, the pre-Bats Day celebration of The Happy Haunts Swinging Wake showcased not only the goth/Disney connection but also highlighted the goth/masquerade love affair and opened a door to the goth/jazz world.

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