One of the beautiful things about living in NYC and being a carefree weirdo comedian and performer are the creatures I get to collect along the way.
Dame Darcy is one of them. I’m lucky and happy to count her among some of my closest and wonderfully wacky friends. We met on a tour years ago with Lisa “Suckdog” Carver and became fast friends. A few years later, we did a stint as roomies, and living with Dame Darcy was like a school field trip every day. She painted a giant unicorn on our living room wall, put hexes on my enemies that actually worked, and paid her rent every month on time.
Dame Darcy is an author, illustrator, graphic novelist, genius, feminist, Gemini, witch, and Victorian mermaid fairy princess who performs sea shanties on her ukulele, makes films and dolls, hangs out with celebrities, paints murals, and the dame knows how to party. Also, her whole shtick is no shtick—she is who she is 100%. She’s the real deal. Darcy has written dozens of books and is now back with what so far is my favorite, and it’s not just because I’m on the cover (and in it), but that doesn’t hurt things any. Handbook For Hot Witches is the must-have manual for today’s modern feminist go-getter. You’ll find information about how to cast spells, make raw food snacks, and even reanimated fairy tales where the girl gets what she wants in the end without having to settle for some stodgy prince. Dame Darcy is tall, beautiful, smart, a hard worker, a stylish dresser, a classy and sophisticated weirdo, and I’m glad to say she’s one of my dearest friends. I love this woman, and you should, too.
Check out her new book here or pick it up at DameDarcy.com.
Dame Darcy will be presenting Handbook For Hot Witches at the book release party on Thursday, Oct. 11, 7-9 PM at Forbidden Planet, 832 Broadway at 12th Street. This is also “International Day of the Girl,” so whatever exciting plan you had, cancel it and hoof on over to hang out at this newly renovated comic-book store.
While in town, Darcy is also showing her books and artwork at 154 Smartclothes Gallery with an art opening on Saturday, Oct. 13th from 6:30-9 PM.
I asked Dame some pressing questions and she gave me some titillating answers….
Why “Dame” and not “Lady” or “Princess” or “Senorita?”
I like the alliteration; also, my last name is hard to pronounce write, say, and spell. I love Adam Ant and when I was a kid I liked how he had the double-A thing and his dandy pirate prince look. I admired that he created a world for himself, a kinda kitschy punk royalty. I lived in a fairytale fantasy, and when I was 17 I knighted myself to have a pen name to put on my self-published comix. Meat Cake was hand-collated back then. The practical reason behind Dame is that I could legally add a title to my first name instead of having to go through the process of legally changing my last name; this way I could get a bank acct. with a DBA and cash checks in my pen name. If I’d gone the route Darby Crash did in changing his last name it would be more difficult legality wise—write me a check and see.
Tell us a little about your most recent work, Handbook for Hot Witches.
From the time I was 9, I would go to the library to find books about spells. I knew I had magical powers and I wanted to hone my psychic ability to guess the answers to tests, swim like a mermaid, see fairies, talk with ghosts, move objects through telekinesis, travel through time, make friends, make anyone fall in love with me, etc. I also liked playing with makeup, palm-reading, making art and music, tea parties, dolls, making snacks, and all kinds of other things. As a freaky unique grown-up lady, I wish I had a fun book like this as a kid but also with real advice as to how to deal with emotions, self-protection, creating a way in the world and making money, romantic and friend advice and the connection between loving the environment, knowing yourself, Mother Nature, and seeing the hot witch in all ladies. As women we have an innate power to create; if a young lady knows and owns her own power she can transform the world into a better place and has a great start from the beginning. I wanted to make a book today so that girls of the present and future could have the kind of advice and inspiration I wish I’d found in a witchcraft book when I was a girl.
Remember that time you painted a unicorn on our living-room wall? That was awesome. Done any other murals as of late?
In April I was commissioned to do a mural in Hollywood for a friend who I knew as a child but she turned 21 and moved into a new house so she asked me to recreate a room with fairies like when she was young. There is a YouTube video of it. I’m not allowed to disclose who she is, though. I also painted murals of mermaids on the yacht of a scientist this summer.
What is your favorite medium to work with and why?
I like pen and ink illustration, with text for graphic novels and paper cut-out style animation. Watercolor for color. And glitter. I design in Flash and Unity now. The painting I will always do and I like it. I was trained by my sign-painter dad as his apprentice during my childhood and teen years and that has been a useful skill for a lifetime.
If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Daryl Hannah—I would talk about mermaids, environmentalism, and what it was like to date a Kennedy. Yoko Ono—she’s had such an amazing life and such a unique perspective on performance art, culture, and feminism. Oscar Wilde—I would just laugh and listen to his hilarious anecdotes. Adam Ant—because I’ve been crushed out on him for a lifetime, but I would be too nervous and excited to eat my lunch. Terry Gilliam—the astounding dark fantasy director; I’d get some points on keeping artistic integrity while also marketing movies as art in a mainstream way.
Does society need men to exist?
I think if you ask anyone male or female (except for maybe gay men, whom I adore) the question: “If there were two islands, an island of all men and one of all women and you had to choose to live on one the rest of your life which one would you choose?” everyone would want to live on the island of all women.
What year will the world end?
Not this year. Only the ideas and preconceived notions of society are beginning to end now. 2012 is the rebirth of the Goddess culture which has been underground for 5,000 years. The astrological clock is moving from Pisces the age of the fish and the symbol representing Christianity into the age of Aquarius—an air sign and one of intellect, creativity, and thinking outside the box. Paganism is the initial source of Christianity and is an all-inclusive religious melting pot. So it can be inclusive to Christianity while also moving forward into an age without dogma. The fact I could have witch on the title of a book for kids published on a major company like Holt is a good sign that Goddess culture awareness is coming back. Also that the fantasy genre is becoming more marketable. I think the veil between the worlds is becoming thinner, and the fairies, ghosts, Atlanteans, Aliens, are bleeding through stronger into this one and will show us how to tap into and remember our Neolithic ancestry as pagans.
Are you a witch? What does it mean to be a witch? Are witches important to society?
They have always been the movers and shakers. They are outspoken or independent thinkers. If everyone lived a safe and comfortable life, our society would be like a stagnant pond. Witches are the catalyst in the societal experiment. The stream moving through the pond. They make people think and change the world. A hot witch is someone who owns her own special brand of beauty, way of thinking and talent, and uses it to better herself and the world around her. Even if it is an unusual or painful process, it can be seen as an interesting challenge. I believe in feminism through femininity and being ecologically responsible, because all women are manifestations of Mother Nature.
Can you talk about some famous historical hot witches?
Primordial Goddess: Like the way a starfish can grow a whole new version of itself from its severed leg, ancient humans were so unknowledgeable about how babies were made that they thought women for no reason would just swell up and one day another human would come from them. For this reason the Primordial Goddess was regarded as the primary creative force of the universe.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906): A well-educated woman with strong moral values. Susan Brownell Anthony was a major figure in the movement for women’s suffrage. In November 1872, she voted, thereby challenging the law prohibiting women from the polls. She was tried, convicted, and a fine was levied against her, which she refused to pay.
For over 50 years, Susan worked tirelessly for women to gain the right to vote. Although ridiculed, scorned, and discouraged at times, she never admitted defeat. It was not until 14 years after her death that women won their constitutional right to vote.
So whenever you as a woman vote, reflect upon the values of your candidate and whether they would be in line with the beliefs of Susan B. Anthony, because every time you exercise this right, you are not just voting for your candidate, you are also voting for Susan.
Carrie Fisher, Pocahontas, Siouxsie Sioux. The silent film stars: Theda Bara, Lillian Gish, and Clara Bow. I love stories about hillbilly girls that turn into “rock stars” like Patsy Cline. Astrid Lindgren, the lady who wrote Pippi [Longstocking]. Also, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, or Carmen Miranda. I like the fact music and art can do that: create a way out of poverty and obscurity.
Kali: When women’s power was taken from them, the usual recognition of a goddess representing both life and death was fractured into two forms, thus the Indian goddess Kali was manifest. She is a frightening aspect of female power, seen with multiple arms, three bulging eyes, and sharp teeth drinking blood, with a string of skulls around her neck. The personification of all the fury and frustration experienced by women who no longer had access to education, had lost all their rights, and were in complete control of men, seen with no worth as a person beyond being a baby machine and slave. She is the terrifying face of death and redemption.
Valkyries: both warrior tribes of women, one black one white but both hot.
The Snake Goddess: also where mermaids come from, and the analogy of the snake being evil and tempting Eve in Genesis was really demonizing the snake goddess pagan culture.
Lilith: Adam’s equal and original wife in the Old Testament.
Sappho: a bisexual poet who wrote the most heart-wrenching and beautiful prose.
Joan of Arc: saved France as a teen; led and inspired an army, then was burned as a witch.
Mary Magdalene: the patron and rumored wife of Jesus.
St. Brigid (ca. 451-525): the bridge between the goddess culture and Catholic Church.
Hildegarde of Bingen: a visionary nun who created her own abbess/coven, brilliant scientist and artist.
Marie Laveau: voodoo priestess from New Orleans in the 1870s. She was of white, black, and Native American lineage, a true American.
Victoria Woodhull: sold snake oil in a traveling medicine show then ran for president in the 1800′s in NY.
Maya Deren: The dada filmmaker from the 1940s. She is so beautiful and nutso. Watch her crawl on the ceiling and run in hot pursuit of the burka-mirror-faced woman all while wearing bohemian sandals. See how she seduces businessmen by crawling on their conference table while wearing a tight-fitting sexy dress. She watches herself as she sleeps. And what is that key for? Flying people dance among the stars in a dreamscape! She practiced voodoo and I heard she died young because she got possessed by a spirit at a party, threw the refrigerator, and died of an aneurysm. I don’t know if this is true, but if you’re going to go out sometime, you might as well do it so the art crowd is still talking about you + caring about your movies 60 years later and on into the future! Maya, wherever your witchy soul rests, may it find the same magic you brought to us while on your brief stint here.
Tell us about a day in the life of being a Dame living in Savannah, GA.
I work with my friend and business partner Beth Vantosh and a team of amazing people at our studio The House of Dame Darcy on 33rd and Bull St. in the Victorian District. It is an art gallery where we host tea parties and fashion shows for all ages. We also produce online content like animation, downloadable books and comics, e-cards, party planning, music, and video. Our home base on line is DameDarcy.com.
Our Band Death By Doll plays shows and does the Naughty Nautical Nite Cabaret with my band mate Skippy Spiral doing sea shanties and electro witch dance music.
Most recently I’ve been getting ready for the book-release parties and Pagan Pride events and art gallery openings in Chicago, NY, LA, and Dracula’s Ball in Philly. I like to ride my bike around the squares and through the scenic beautiful squares, fountains, mansions, and graveyards canopied by the old oaks dripping with Spanish moss. I live in a dollhouse mansion from the 1870s with a big veranda overlooking our community garden. On the weekends I enjoy mermaid water fun day in Hilton Head Island swimming in the ocean and learning to sail. I also like to hang with my magical gal pals going out at night to the seaport, art shows, and general nightlife. Lots of good times; I just need to get some beauty rest!
Anything else you’d like to mention or talk about?
Witches not bitches, frocks not jocks! Jessica Delfino Forever Rocks!