In the late '70s and early '80s, gothic rock emerged from England as a popular underground genre. Bauhaus, the Sisters of Mercy and the Cure played live stateside to appreciative crowds, enjoyed crossover success on the fringe of the British new-wave movement, and then went away.
Just as punk has been rediscovered by a new army of young fans, gothic rock is undergoing a similar resurrection with the runaway success of such newer bands as Nine Inch Nails and Filter. Two nights a month at Long Beach's Que Sera Sera, promoters Linda LeSabre and HotHead cater more to an appreciative crowd that never forgot the first gothic wave.
Que Sera (as the sign out front abbreviates it) can lay claim to the title of "grandmama" of the Long Beach alternative music scene, having outlasted Bogart's, Fender's Ballroom and a myriad of smaller venues. Ever since a then-unknown Melissa Etheridge trod the small stage more than a decade ago (Que Sera is one of the longest-running predominately lesbian bars in the Southland), the club has booked live music two to three nights a week.
The 200-capacity room is just as often peopled by local couples as by curious music fans, and the music enhances rather than overpowers the neighborhood bar draw that many similar venues lack.
The better attended of LeSabre and HotHead's two evenings is the "Kiss of the Vampire" night, the second Saturday of each month.
Trappings include eclectic and vintage video projections from the promoters' massive personal collection, ranging from horror movies to archival performances of gothic bands. Male go-go dancers, effective lighting and oodles of dry ice complete the mood.
The duo's other offering, "Head Hunter," a more extreme leather & bondage-themed evening, is the fourth Saturday of every month.
Dancing to recorded gothic rock, which is alternately sullen and abrasive, might seem difficult, but under the spell of HotHead (whose resume includes DJ stints with Hollywood's Sin-a-Matic and Silver Lake's Utero, and touring as a DJ with My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult), the Que is packed and pulsing. For those seeking an introduction, she spins on Tuesday nights, and it's free.
On other nights, notable bands play. The Geraldine Fibbers, hinged, 4-Gasm and Le Sabre's own Deathride 69 are just some that have appeared recently.
* QUE SERA SERA
* 1923 E. 7th St., Long Beach.
* (310) 599-6170.
* Open 3 p.m.-2 a.m. every day.
*$5 Fridays and Saturdays; varies weekdays.