Trick or treat


by Lindsay Nelson

That can be said about Halloween? It’s kind of a wonder how this observance has survived in America, given our well-earned reputation for fear and loathing of all that is not holy. Sure, we all have our vices and the digital entertainment world is pretty darn drrrty, but when it comes to religious observance in this country, that which smacks of demons and death is just not that popular. But we love Halloween (and here, I am of course excluding many fundamentalist Christians who do not think it’s cute to dress children as ghouls and princesses and let them roam the neighborhood with pillowcases).

When I was a child, it was possibly the most highly anticipated holiday of the year, except for Christmas, of course. It’s a child’s dream, this Halloween business. You get to dress as outlandishly as you wish, playing with makeup and monster fangs and fake blood, then you get to go outside at night, knock on dozens of doors, and freely receive hordes of sweets from total strangers. Then, you go home – cold, exhausted, with your face melting off – and dive into that precious haul of confection. The next day, known to many as All Saint’s Day, is a day of giddy glucose overload followed by raging bellyaches that you always think will get better if you eat just one more Almond Joy. Oh, how wrong you are. But you go to bed happy anyway, satisfied that you’ve made the most of this one-of-a-kind night.

Now that we’re grownups, it’s harder to find the pure exhilaration and unfettered excitement in life. Happily, Halloween still exists in a form that can be as fun for adults as trick-or-treating was for kids. Think of it – how often do you get to dress in whatever bizarre costumery you wish, then go out in public with others doing the same to drink, dance and feel quite free of your usual persona? Not often – roughly once a year. So don’t waste it!

Halloween night, as our friend Ted once said, should always fall on a Saturday, but it does so only once every six or seven years. This year, it’s Wednesday. So half the town will call in sick to school and work on Thursday, who cares? There are plenty of places to wear your costume on that night, and because the Saturday before Halloween sort of starts the celebration, you can actually have several nights of dress-up play ahead.

The fun starts Saturday with the infamous, inimitable annual KDUR Transvestite Ball, the theme of which this year is “It’s a Disaster!” Think tsunamis, hurricanes, nuclear winter and Nick Nolte. DJs Brian Ess and Mr. Anderson will bring the beats, and the stunning visual backgrounds will once again be provided by Alex Oliszewski and Stacy Sotosky. Doors open at 9 p.m., show starts at 10, and at midnight, prizes will be awarded for “Best Natural Disaster” and “Best Man-Made Disaster” (’cause women don’t cause disasters). Get your tickets ahead of time for $12 (at KDUR, Southwest Sound and the Abbey), or $15 at the door while they last.

Join the party at Steamworks on Friday and Saturday nights as jam-funk band Liquid Cheese records their live album from the tiny stage starting around 9:30 p.m. Sure to be a packed house and a great place to do a first run of your costume idea, to see how it holds up to the rigors of downtown partying.

On the actual night of the living dead, the Abbey offers a free screening of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 9 p.m., complete with Absolut drink specials and probably more than a few patrons in themed attire. That’s big city entertainment right there. Across the street at the Summit, it’s the Giant Panda Gorilla Dub Squad, a reggae band from New York. Unclear whether the panda is the roots and the gorilla is the dub, or vice versa – either way, get ready for some irie beats and vibes.


Steamworks … er, Screamworks is going all out for the Wednesday night party, with three bars, a VIP room, two live bands – Half Hitch (rock/hip-hop) and Good Neighbors (funk) – plus guest DJs between bands (Tim Butler, DJ SoulCraft and DJ NiKidemus), and substantial cash prizes for best costumes, all for a $3 cover

Finally, El Rancho (yes, El Rancho) is hosting an Oct. 31 Halloween party/costume contest with a real live band – the Lawn Chair Kings, no less. Not a good night to live in the Central Hotel unless you’re a serious night owl, but for the rest of us, it’ll be a rollicking good time to be sure.

Halloween – the most fun and sometimes scariest nights of the year. Certainly the most frightening person I know celebrates a birthday on the 31st, so the dark spirits are definitely afoot. Watch your back and your eternal soul, people, lest you be one of them on the Day of the Dead.

Slightly less frightening is news of a post-career tour by ’70s country-rock bands Pure Prairie League and Firefall, stopping by the Fort Lewis College Concert Hall on Friday night. Pure Prairie League is known for its hits “Amie” and “Let Me Love You Tonight,” while Firefall’s hit singles have included “You Are the Woman” and “Just Remember I Love You.” The bands don’t exactly boast all the original members, and they definitely don’t wear the tight jeans so well anymore, but for the nostalgia-bound, it’s sure to be a transporting experience.

Fans of Wes Anderson (or Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, India or The Kinks) rejoice – the Abbey will show “The Darjeeling Limited” starting Friday, Nov. 9. Also – Neil Young’s newest classic, “Chrome Dreams II,” is in record stores now, complete with a song called “Dirty Old Man.” Reason to live? Maybe not, but it helps. •