Exploring the wicked wonderland
By Deacon Gray
copyright March 2013
Let the “Deadmau5” and “Dreams an’ Stuff” of this world come and go; there can be little doubt that the Wicked Wonderland Empire is the premier mind-blower dark industrial psychedelica promotion ensemble of our time. The small city entertainment group originating in Boise, Idaho blew up at venues all over Seattle then on to other cities and wove a cold program of multimedia perfection, with wicked people and a coloring book.
I caught up with “The Redd Queen” Ginger Christiansen between performances with her band the “Lithium Dolls” and with an excited look on her face that reminds me at once of a dangerous Lolita wearing spikes and lace, she settles in for the serious moment. “I’m sure you have questions, but I’m bohemian at heart, always have been, and the Wonderlanders come first tonight!”
She retreats to the stage, her bright red hair and baby girl red dress drawing the eyes of the crowd. The group comes together and jumps right into ‘Psychosexual’. The crowd reacts in a frenzy as The Redd Queen moans passionately on stage, and I know for certain I am in for something new.
Maybe it was the reference to Bohemia, maybe it was the bright attire that seemed to mix insanity with sexuality, but for whatever reason I suddenly felt like I was going to see Jim Morrison or Timothy Leery walk into the room.
Ginger steps out of wonderland for a moment and sits back down at my table after the show; she blushingly smiles at me again. “It’s a good night.”
She would know. Wicked Wonderland has been running parties and club nights for 12 years, has branched out in many other cities, and continues to grow. Trying to explain what Wicked Wonderland is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind–to truly understand this event, you must participate.
With events like “Blood Bath” and the more mainstream events like the Clockwork Carnival, Wicked Wonderland has built a reputation for freaky, dark, industrial fun. The Big news, however is that on May 1st, the first compilation album from their new record label will be available for sale.
TRQ: In a few short weeks bands on the label will have songs on the radio & in clubs internationally.
DG: Is that your focus for the future? I know Wicked Wonderland has always seemed to have a lot of projects under way, are you narrowing your focus to music?
TRQ: Doing the record label was just another part of a larger focus of creating a dark subcultural community that is step away from old labels (personal labels that is, such as just being goth or emo or what have you), old scene habits, elitism, and cattiness in order to move forward toward something that is more inclusive, artistic, and respectful.
With the record label we are featuring artists that are truly creating art with their own sound & soul to help embody the voice of this movement. As we continue to add bands to the label, we will be looking for more of exactly that, artistic, painful, seductive, unique, twisted, beautiful.
DG: That sounds complex, but what makes it any better than other events?
TRQ: It is at heart the Ideal of being in love with beauty, art, adventure, and all things unusual that I’ve always run Wicked Wonderland. As I continue on building this empire, these are still the things that drive me on. When people come to a Wicked Wonderland event, they are not going to “another show” they are going to Burning Man, they are rolling in on their Harley Davidson to Sturgis, they are having an experience.
DG: That is a pretty big goal. Those events took years to build and had a solid location; your events hit venues all over the west coast.
TRQ: We are building a community where each individual brings their own unique flair to the army that is Wicked Wonderland; a community based on respect, compassion, unconventional tastes, & fun. I think each part of the community, each city brings its own vital beauty to the events, each new place that holds a Wicked Wonderland event adds its own piece of Wonderland history.
DG: Being spread out all over must have a lot challenges. How do you keep up?
TRQ: I have a lot of help. With friends, who are willing to invest a lot of their own time and energy into the events, I feel like I am surrounded by some of the most amazing friends a Redd Queen could want.
I wish I could name everyone who helps me out, the staff, each one of the band members, the great Wicked Wonderland army of fellow dreamers, artists and creative souls, but if I started I would leave one of them out somewhere and the Wicked Wonderland Empire isn’t about any one of us anyway.
I think when you really think about it, we are all just the same people we were as kids. Remember how amazing our dreams were about the future back in those days when we hung out at the park? I never stopped dreaming, I never stopped seeing the wonder, and I don’t think I am the only one. The Wonderlanders have proven that, really.