Arts Desk

Dirk Smiler, Prominent Washington Goth, Is Dead

dirkHe was the closest thing Washington's goths had to a bon vivant. Dirk Smiler, a flamboyant sommelier known for his joie de vivre in a scene most acknowledge for its joie de mort, is dead of a gunshot wound to the head, Fairfax police have confirmed. He was 37.

The incident occurred last night around 10:30 p.m. in Smiler's Annandale home, according to police. Officer Bud Walker from the Fairfax County Police Department's Public Information Office confirmed that police questioned—and are continuing to question—occupants of the home. Smiler lived with his girlfriend, Cara Cottle, with whom he had broken up with earlier in the day, according to Smiler's friend Skot Braunfeld, and made up with in the hours before his death. Police are still deciding whether to rule the incident a homicide or an accidental death. Walker said no one has been arrested.

Smiler, who worked at the restaurant Bezu in Potomac, "could quote Shakespeare like he could take a puff of a cigarette," Braunfeld said. He was known for his extravagant lifestyle and foppish style. "If you can stratify something as nebulous as the goth scene on a popularity scale, everybody knew him," said Braunfeld, who is updating a tribute page to Smiler and helping organize memorial arrangements. "All the guys knew him and all the girls had been hit on by him at least once." A Facebook memorial to Smiler has elicited dozens of comments. Cottle's Facebook page has been taken down.

Friends since their late teens, Braunfeld and Smiler shared a birthday—this coming Sunday, Feb. 21—which Braunfeld said would now serve as Smiler's wake. Braunfeld said he was glad to speak to a reporter about his friend. "He was definitely a prima donna, so he would have loved to have somebody write about him."

Above: Smiler's Facebook photo. On the right is Cottle.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Pingback: How Dirk Smiler Helped People Join, and Leave, the Goth Scene - Arts Desk - Washington City Paper

  • Pingback: This Week’s Greatest Hits on Arts Desk: Dirk Smiler, Bob Dylan, Door Polling - Arts Desk - Washington City Paper

  • Katina

    You left a mark on my heart. Thank you for your being in my life. Truly an individual not soon forgotten.

  • Andrij

    I am sure you don't remember me, but I remember you. Relax, justice will be done. I am in Phoenix now and cant help you out but remember, Dirk won't be forgotten by us and I am sure we'll all tell the new generation of gothlings about him as well!
    Innocent until proven guilty. Remember that brother. If she is in fact proven to have done this, then hate her for killing him. Hate her for anything else but not that which isn't proven yet.
    In the mean time, breathe, Dirk would just tell you to call down and have fun. Life is obviously too short, shorter for some, but ce la vie.
    I am sure the whole scene will help you if you ask for it. We look after our own.

  • Motivatrix

    Mischa, really?! don't you get that her lawyers will have access to all of the bullshit "excuses" that you have just spewed to draw attention to yourself.

  • Anastasia Blink-Warhol

    The below-linked video was produced from footage that will appear on the upcoming Delerium "Epiphany" dvd release. This is NOT the video from the dvd; this is a Tribute to Dirk Smiler who shall remain forever immortalized dancing front row center at the concert:

  • PW

    I would happily attest to who Cara is. . . . . .Elizabeth, yes, get Cara a lawyer. She has the tendency. . . I have seen it. . . I am so sorry for Dirk. I had never met him but I can see he was cared for in an enormous way. Cara may have too. . . .but Cara has a temper that has never been understood nor witnessed by many. . . . I am sorry for the whole situation. I could have seen something coming up to 3 years ago. . . . . .

  • Pingback: Into the Dark: The Life and Gruesome Death of Dirk Smiler - Arts Desk - Washington City Paper

  • TIP

    The finest man I knew
    Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.

  • Lindsay Hemerly

    cool thanks for posting this

  • Krimson

    Dirk was a close friend for many years, we called each other brother since the times we worked together at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Though time, distance and life had led us apart from the close contact we once shared, the sad news of his passing has not demisted the loss and pain I (and all who called him “friend”) feel. It was a privilege to share in a part of his life, to know him was to be greeted with a warm smile, a witty phrase and offered a quaff from his ever present flask. Tonight I raise my own flask to him and each time I do so from this moment forward I will hear is Scottish Brogue in my mind and shed a tear for a life that so enriched others and ended far too soon.