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Wednesday, November 2, 2005

all hallows...

November! November!

Isn't November a great month? I've always thought so. Maybe that's just me.

Yesterday was All Saints Day, how 'bout that? In Catholic grade school I was taught that preceding All Saints Day was the *real* purpose of Halloween. Then I learned from "real Christians" that Halloween was originally a pagan holiday with the purpose of worshipping Satan and stuff. I like that purpose much better truthfully.

Halloween weekend was cool. Worshiping Satan is so much fun. Woo!

I've made some scary custom made costumes for myself in the last few years, I've frightened people, much to my pride. I have reveled in "Ron" which was a group costume in which several friends and I dressed in long witch hair wigs and hockey masks, calling ourselves Ron and generally frightening drunken college kids dressed as fairy princesses and things (2000) and "Bloody Razor Blade Man", in which I splotched red marker blood all over my face, attached dull razor blades to my chest and walked around with my creepiest smile on my face and speaking in my creepiest voice (2001)

The last few years haven't been as inspired. I had a lot of ideas but they were costly and/or impractical, until I hit upon the single most frightening piece of horror inducing horror that horror inducers have ever had cause to induce in the history of horror inducement: I would be a ghost. To accomplish this fiendish disguise? Simplicity itself. I got myself a white sheet, poked some holes in it and put it over myself, transforming me utterly into a SCARY, SCARY GHOST!!! A SCARY, SCARY GHOST FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!!!

I'd like to take this opportunity to reassure you that it was only a costume and it was only pretend. Please don't be frightened anymore. I realize it comes off pretty scary even in print.

It was in fact voted "Scariest Costume" in my office Halloween party. I failed to elect John Kerry to the presidency one year ago today but I've done some other great things with the democratic process.

Friday night I accompanied my theatre critic roommate to see a staged adaptation of several short stories Kurt Vonnegut's "Welcome to the Monkeyhouse" by the Springloaded theatre company. Being a Vonnegut fanboy since I was about thirteen I figured I would enjoy it and I did. The performance was held in one of those strange industrial loft type places young punk theatre companies sometimes rent out. Reminded me a little bit of the Chicago Actors Studio in Wicker Park, a converted industrial space which now where I did one show and have seen a couple of others, except not positioned directly above and across from several incredibly loud rock clubs. It was a really enthusiastic and talented young cast, and the director was obviously quite a Vonnegut fangirl herself, as her extensive notes and decorations on the walls demonstrated. Yet...Some of the choices of stories were odd. I haven't really read the stories since high school but Vonnegut has always maintained they were mostly commercial hackery. They did "Harrison Bergeron" which is probably the most "Vonnegut" of Vonnegut's short stories, despite being a bit like an Ayn Rand story if Ayn Rand didn't suck. In the second act, they wonderfully dramatized the very sentimental but always a favorite of mine, "Long Walk to Forever", then they made the rather incomprehensible decision to close with the title story they say these days, is "problematic". Published in Playboy in 1968, it would be an entertaining bit of sci-fi satire if it wasn't I don't think KV really meant it that way, and I still regard him as the greatest living repository of human wisdom and all but I was surprised, not merely that they staged it, but chose it as the last piece. Still, they seemed like a really great bunch of kids and they gave me a rice krispie treat.

Then my roommate took me to a party hosted by the House Theatre company, regarded by many as the coolest young theatre company in Chicago. I felt immensely cooler by being there. I also had a much more fun conversation with Hester Prynne from the Scarlett Letter than I ever would have envisioned.

Saturday night, I saw my old friend Paul Czarnowski in the stage adaptation of a Buffyesque comic book called "Hack/Slash". My aforementioned theatre critic roommate had pretty much hated it because it made the transition to the stage so poorly, with the kind of quick cut scene changes that are eminently possible in printed or filmed works that really aren't in theatre. Nonetheless, I had a pretty good time, it was a very fun, mostly well written, and well acted show. And I'm biased but my friend Paul stole the show as both a monster and a frat boy killed by a different monster just as he was about to score with a hot chick. His dying words: "So close..."

Monday night, Halloween itself, I watched the Boystown Halloween parade go by. Fun stuff but at that point I was pretty Halloweened out at that point.

And that was the Halloween that was...

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