John Charles took this photo of my fiends singing me Happy Birthday. This is the most (live) people I’ve ever had in my apartment. It’s such a pain to hide all of the bodies.
Aside from the acute psychosis, crushing depression and the whiny angel that occasionally pops up on my shoulder berating me to be a better person and like, do stuff with my life — it’s pretty awesome to be me. But it’s rarely more awesome than it was on my thirtieth birthday.
Sunday, January 26 I summoned the most wicked specimens of my coven to come over for an I Want My MTV 30th Birthday Party.
MTV now is a pile of puke (I assume, I don’t actually have cable so I haven’t seen much of it in a few years.) But in the old days, when I was a kiddie, MTV was my window to a world of alternative culture and rock stars to hero-worship. My parents weren’t into cartoons at all. So my brother and I were parked in front of music videos instead for hours at a time. In fact that’s kind of all you need to know about me (my short attention span; my obsession with androgyny, big hair and rhinestones; my distrust of authority figures, all goes back to 1980s MTV).
Stefanie Vega took this picture of the mad hatter, Paul Koudounaris and Dahlia
Lani, Sonia and Keri forming a girl group
Since music videos are such a big part of my identity, I built my birthday party around them. I made a list of my favorite videos from the last 30 years (about 100) and played them during the party. Videos such as Like a Prayer by Madonna, This is the New Shit by Marilyn Manson, We’re Not Going to Take It by Twisted Sister, My Name Is by Eminem, Last Dance for Mary Jane by Tom Petty and The Next Day by David Bowie. Oh and, Get Ur Freak On by Missy Elliot, to which Paul Koudounaris said something like, What the fuck is this?
It was actually interesting to see the recurring themes that both the musical artists and I were frequently attracted to in videography. For instance, I picked a bunch of videos with Catholic iconography, characters with blood dripping down their chins, all things occult and candles. Maybe this is all telling me I should become the first serial killer nun witch. What do you think?
Showing music videos was a great party ice breaker. Though a few of my guests are very social, an equal number of us are stand in the corner and glower at everyone types who put the awkward in awkward silence. I think the videos alleviated any of that kind of tension and relaxed me because if I couldn’t think of something to say I just referenced whatever video was on at the moment.
I had a great group of freaks show up including artists you know from the blog such as John Charles, Chris the Creep, David Gough, Paul Koudounaris, Matthew LeVin, Kat Philbin and Stephanie Vega, as well as great friends Glen, Sonia, Keri and Lani-monster.
I was so lucky to have my parents there too (they not only gave me life, they overlook my homicidal tendencies and love me lots. Also, they put it in official documents that when they’re older I can pull the plug on them. Take that little brother man!)
Dahlia Jane and John Charles, yes that’s Matthew LeVin photobombing us in the right corner.
Stefanie Vega took this Parisian-like photo of artists Matthew LeVin and David Van Gough having an existential conversation.
I dressed up as a Black Virgin, inspired by Madonna’s Like a Virgin Wedding Dress from the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards (the year I was born). Somehow I made it through the whole party without anyone taking a full-body outfit shot. I had a lacy corset, full tulle skirt and authentic boy toy rhinestone belt. Being in a black wedding dress just felt so right (especially as I turn an age where some might see me as a spinstress). I had on a crucifix necklace and in case you were wondering, it didn’t sear through my flesh.
Just like a virgin (photo by Kat Philbin)
Stefanie Vega and Glen with Dahlia and Deirdre (photo by Paul Koudounaris)
Don’t think I’m suddenly going to start acting like an adult just because the calendar says I’m 30.
Also, it wouldn’t be a Dahlia event without something really bizarre happening. So I invited lots of people dead and alive. But one I did not invite was a neighbor my former roommate nicknamed Crazy L*** (and she lived with ME for six months, so she has a pretty high threshold for crazy). I wasn’t watching the door and my dad let Crazy L in. She showed up in a mumu and house slippers claiming she wanted to know what all the noise was about. And she stayed for at least three hours. She ate food and talked my dad’s ear off. We’re not friends or anything. It was bizarre and kind of hilarious! Invited guests were slightly perplexed at the pastel floral mumu shrouded creature in the corner.
But aside from that head shaker the day was perfectly rock and roll.
Look at some of the jaw-droopingly thoughtful and amazing gifts my friends gave me:
Rock photographer and professional bad ass John Charles gave me this concert photo he took of my love (and future antichrist baby daddy), Marilyn Manson. Photo of me opening John Charle’s photo by artist Kat Philbin.
and here is Marilyn hanging on the wall in my front room
David Van Gough painted this oil portrait of David Bowie from the Heroes era. Both of us are madly in love with David Bowie. I have not hung this painting yet because I’ve been carrying it around from room to room. Bowie is my Personal Jesus.
My other gifts were not specifically rock and roll themed, but they were all so very me:
Lisa Derrick gave me this delicate antique brooch which she found in Ireland. The locket holds an intricate woven pattern of hair. I like to think about how I’m wearing a dead girl’s hair on my neck. This is my first authentic piece of memento mori jewelry and it’s a real treasure.
Sonia gave me this deranged Women’s Ward Insane Asylum sign. It’s perfect for my wall of insane Dahlia art. It’s also really heavy. You could definitely bludgeon someone with it. That’s why I haven’t hung it yet. I need to get wall anchors (not because I’m planning to use it as a murder weapon first).
Stefanie Vega and Glen gave me this heart sculpture covered in gnarly nails, and black stitching which Stefanie made. I finally have a heart! The paper behind the heart is the incredible wrapping they put it in.
Paul Koudounaris gave me this gorgeous large print from his recent must-read Heavenly Bodies book. It’s in a temporary spot above my serial killer book collection until I find a frame grand enough for it.
And here’s Dahia shocked beyond words upon opening Matthew LeVin’s present (close-up directly below). Photo by Kat Philbin. Mind. Blown.
I don’t have words. That’s me! With fangs! By the world’s best sculptor and I’m really speechless.
And this gift made me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed (at least at something that didn’t involve human suffering). Chris the Creep painted this fantastic pop-art style portrait of the Matilda Beast. He completely captured her demonic presence in my life. It’s dead-on.
I also got some great new macabre art books that I’m very excited about and hope to review here soon.
My friends are way better than your lame friends. In fact, you should probably just kill all of your friends and come be friends with my friends. Unless you’re lame too, in which case go die in a hole. Happy Birthday to me!
Thank you so much to all my friends who came to the party, for the amazing artistic gifts and for making me feel loved. I hope you all had a wicked good time. And to my family who puts up with a lot, but always works to give me a special birthday. And thank you to all my friends who sent well wishes. I’m not the best at expressing non-murderous feelings. But I was overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity — almost makes me want to stick around or something. Really, thank you all so much. Anyway, birthday over. This was such a good birthday I think I’ll just stick at 30 for a bit now.