The Summoning is Summoning YOU!
One must describe Theatre Bizarre in order to praise Theatre Bizarre. Simple enough, right? Wrong. It's not the limited number of adjectives and superlatives. It's not that there are just too many names to mention. It's not the danger of going overboard and making the whole thing sound like the greatest show on the planet – which it is, by the way. The chief problem is that this annual "walpurgisnacht" is the very heart and spirit of Detroit (or at least a joyous expression of its collective energy) and it's pretty difficult to summarize all that in 300 or 3,000 words. What was once a one-night only pre-Halloween party on State Fair is now a one-night only pre-Halloween gala within the Masonic Temple that draws a crowd from across the country and from around the world. It's a hive of side shows worthy of Rob Zombie. It's a tongue-in-cheek celebration of camp humor. It's vaudeville and it's disciplined artistry of the highest order. It's a breathtaking array of costumes with (attention, guys!) some of the best cleavage you'll ever see. It's loud music and hushed intonations. It's adult in the healthiest sense of the word and childlike in the most magical sense. It's an incredible and heartening example of talented individuals who would not permit a series of setbacks deter them from raising the curtain once more. Need we say more? Did we really need to say anything at all? No, we didn't, but it was a privilege to do so. So be advised that on 10/20, John Dunivant and his happy crew will be inspecting costumes at 500 Temple. And despite that plethora of names we mentioned, let's tease you with: Satori Circus, The Hounds Below, Roland Remington, Detroit Party Marching Band, Escape Suspension, Boopsie the Clown, The Weird Sisters, Lushes LaMoan, The Beggars, and (drum roll, please) Roxi DLite. More: theatrebizarre.com
And The Beat Goes On at The Beetle
It's Alice V. Schneider's turn to shine as this month's Emerging Artist at the Scarab Club. Shine? In light of what she's mastered in the way of painting, sculpture, and printmaking, she's a super nova. Her submitted body of work is entitled The Silent Guardian and it's a thread of visual meditations on the theme of movement. The artist sees film as being in itself a stylized form of what is usually depicted or caught on canvas, so the pieces you'll be seeing on 10/18 have the motion and the emotional lure of an almost physical reality. 6 to 10 p.m. at 217 Farnsworth And yes, Lushes LaMoan will be orchestrating the Dr. Sketchy session on the main floor that same evening.
We frequently hear the complaint that this column has more "canvas" than "stage" and we always try to make up for the imbalance. As it happens there are several shows worthy of love and attention, so let's groove with the following: The Bonstelle is heating up the always-relevant Arthur Miller drama The Crucible. Set in 1692 Salem during that interlude of mass hysteria known as the witch trials, Miller's play is a terrifying and uncompromising examination of what occurs when jealousy, revenge and hormonal surges are conveniently sanctioned by a theocratic society. Frequently described as an allegory for the McCarthy era, The Crucible now seems like a troubling mirror of the present time. More at bonstelle.com. Much closer to the spirit (or angst) of today is Picking Palin, a work by Stephen Padilla that Magenta Giraffe picked for its ongoing efforts at the Abreact Performance Space. Everything you've ever wanted to know (or would have prefered not knowing) about the unexpected ascendancy of a certain governor of Alaska/Tina Fey look-alike is right here in front of you – that is, if your seat is at 1301 W. Lafayette. Check magentagiraffe.org for tickets. And here's a very emphatic recommendation to go to the Ringwald in Ferndale for Flowers Up Her Attic. The Who Wants Cake? wizards have taken the gothic insanity of V.C. Andrews and literally made it crazier – and a hell of a lot more hilarious. If you eschewed the books or (better still) never saw the awful film version made in 1988, here's the gist: A widow with four kids decides that the best thing to do in the wake of family tragedy and financial setback is to move back into the family mansion. Right! So what if grandma is a sadistic monster. So what if the clueless urchins get sent to a cold and dank loft. So what if feeding arrangements aren't given the priority they deserve. So what if greed, madness and skewered puberty prompt one crisis after another. When you get right down to it, this is one way to guarantee that nobody's face shows up on a milk carton. Kudos to Joe Bailey and Mark Sobolewski for all the horticulture. More at theringwald.com.
A Reminder and Advance Word
Kevin LePine is ready to mesmerize you and others with his Uncensored Comedy Hypnosis Show at Ridley's on 10/24. And to get your seasonal mojo revved up even more, we recently found out that John E.L. Tenney is giving a Weird Lecture at O'Mara's in Berkley on 10/25. Check the respective venues for more deatils – then go out and buy a pumpkin! | RDW