Rich Howells

Ring in the new year with sexy Noir Nights masquerade party at Stage West in Scranton on Dec. 31

Ring in the new year with sexy Noir Nights masquerade party at Stage West in Scranton on Dec. 31
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Scranton may seem a little traditional or backwards to some, but the recent success of Noir Nights has shown that the city does has a provocative side, at least behind closed doors.

Debuting on Mischief Night just before Halloween and returning on Black Friday, the sexy and seductive pop-up bar is back at Stage West to ring in the new year on Monday, Dec. 31.

The kinky concept was created by Josh Balz, owner of The Strange and Unusual Oddities Parlor in Kingston and former member of Scranton metal band Motionless In White.

This time, the theme is a masquerade party, so masks and all black attire are encouraged. Details are slim so far, but past events have featured DJ sets by Balz, Joe Letz of industrial band Combichrist, and TJ Bell of Escape the Fate.

“The dark and sinful corners of the human psyche will be on full display as Noir Nights transforms the venue into a den of artistic hedonism. Attendees will be treated to an evening of heightened senses that will feature themed drink specials, music, and a ritualistic gathering of provocative subculture. Organizers invite attendees to dive into the world of the occult and enjoy an evening of sensory overload,” the description reads.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online via Eventbrite or at the door (301 N. Main Ave., Scranton).

No outside photography is permitted at this event. Those interested in learning more or seeing images from previous events can follow along at @DarkNoirNights on Instagram and on Facebook.

If anyone from Northeastern Pennsylvania has the credentials to host a truly freaky party, it’s Josh Balz. He is probably best known as the longtime keyboardist of Motionless In White, which he joined in 2006, about a year after the goth metal group was formed. He became an integral part of their sound, adding a layer of synth to their first three albums on Fearless Records and their 2017 Roadrunner Records debut, “Graveyard Shift,” before leaving the band early last year.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur has been keeping busy running The Strange and Unusual, an oddities shop he opened in Kingston in 2013 with tattoo artist and “Ink Master” winner Ryan Ashley Malarkey. The unconventional store, which sells clothing, antiques, vintage items, taxidermy, novelties, and more that have a distinct weird and/or creepy aesthetic, later expanded to a second location in Philadelphia and also supports an online shop.

In his farewell message to MIW fans, Balz emphasized that “this will not be the the last you see of me in the music industry,” even offering advice to fellow musicians during the panel discussions at the 2018 Electric City Music Conference. His new solo project, Strange Kids, released a single called “Wind Me Up” in February, and he plans to close the year with another track, “Ready to Die,” on Christmas day.

See NEPA Scene’s photos of Balz performing with MIW at the 2016 Vans Warped Tour in Scranton here. Listen to him talk about Noir Nights, his creepy collection and unique businesses that sell everything from dark clothing to taxidermy, 10 years of playing all over the world with MIW, Strange Kids, and more in Episode 81 of the NEPA Scene Podcast:

Photo by Tom Bonomo/Eyedesignstudios Photography