All Hallow's Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve

Greetings, my festive gang of ghouls and goblins! It's a "howliday" edition of The Unvarnished Truth. This means that great pains have been taken to ensure high quality amidst low quantity. And by pains, I mean celebration, excess and, yes, recovery from a Punch Drunk Hallowe'en weekend. But please don't let my over-indulgences cheapen your reading enjoyment. I know I don't.


Hallowe'en Apples

Two of the biggest shows of the year are usually New Year's and Hallowe'en. Your fiendish fops in Punch Drunk Cabaret were fortunate enough to headline the Bailey Theatre's Masquerade Ball in Camrose this past Saturday. Personally, this is my favorite time to perform. Truly a fun & snazzy night for all! Dressing up in one's kooky costumes or finest of finery... inhibitions down... naughty bits up.... and the audience looked wonderful as well!

When the good denizens of the burg you're playing in are required to pay a ticket price, you, as a responsible artist, should provide the fruits of value and put on the best show possible. This night, was certainly no exception. Caught up in the spooky spirit of the holiday, theatre staff did the grand ol' girl up with decorations, costumed employees, etc. Your pals in PDC followed suit, as it were, sporting makeup, masques, wardrobe changes, festive lighting and guitar gymnastics (more on that later)!

Things That Go Bum In The Night

The universal theme of comedy/tragedy could also describe how your humble scribe's evening went. At soundcheck, I had some technical difficulties with my wireless guitar technology. My regular one had a bum cable so it was replaced with an inferior brand rental. I tell you it's days like this that I yearn for the abacus. Anyhoo, It did the job but if you were there, you might've heard my signal cut out on me a few times, much to the house soundman's chagrin. Love this old theatre but I swear the ghosts of her hallowed past enjoy playing tricks on me every time we do a show here.

Skull & Sawbones

Continuing the com/trag vibe.... for the occasion, we rigged up some fancy skeletal lighting that flanked the drums with the happy/sad face motif. Sadly, the one on my side decided to not light up properly. Happily, it was repaired in time for the show. I was starting to get a complex. Will everything I say, do, touch or stand next to turn to poop? But it all works out anyway.... perhaps that would be the end of my needless paranoia. (Ironic foreshadowing!!!)

Criminal Activity

Opening act, Camrose's The Criminals did a feloniously fabulous set of hard rock cover favorites. If you looked closely, you'd have noticed PDC's very own Rev. Robin Eklund pulling double duty on the trap set, for he also moonlights as The Crims's regular drummer. The Hallowe'en makeup he wore looked like he had no skin at all! An expert application of a scarily skullified persona. Witness The Skinless Skinsman! He lives.... he breathes.... he plays drums!

Devil In The Details

The Punch Drunk Fashion Metamorphosis was for this one evening only and also included the following chilling changes...

Ringmaster Randy's villainously Victorian look sported a more regal but no less sinister vibe. Resplendent in his red & black face makeup and, for the first time onstage, faithful fan, hatless visage, RR seemed more stage-possessed than usual as he at one point in the show slid his guitar with devilish abandon all the way across the stage. Normally, I would've stood stunned at this punk-worthy act of axe abuse except I was too busy gettin' out the durned way!

My "costume" of the evening was merely an augment of my already dapper but dubious dress. I acquired one of those Venetian plague doctor masks with the giant proboscis (No jokes, please. Heard 'em all on Saturday). It looked cool enough though, especially with my top hat. But the thing would shift and threaten to fall off with every aggressive head movement (again, no jokes) and getting only worse with perspiration. It was a constant battle for the first half of the evening, thereby putting a slight damper on my otherwise always perfect performance (ok, now you can make a joke).

Social Faux Pas #1

During the social course of the evening, I observed to a dear friend of mine who was dressed as a vampire that her fangs looked really good. She, of course, was not wearing any. <sigh>  On this Hallowe'en occasion, dying a thousand deaths at that point seemed apropo.

Social Faux Pas #2

At masquerade or costume balls, the odds are pretty good that you'll see many lovely ladies letting their hair down a bit and come dressed to kill. All manner of titillating getups guaranteed to make even the most gentlemanly of males do a double-take: sexy zombies, sexy witches, sexy pirates, sexy mermaids. STOP. Right there. The damned mermaid. You know... the sweet siren that lures sea-faring men to their crashing, watery deaths. There was one such mermaid this evening; scantily clad in a green outfit which highlighted her fiery red hair, unabashedly displaying her feminine charms enough to take one's breath away..... a simply stunning, young woman -- until I realized too late that this "woman" was the daughter of a friend of ours.  <sigh>  I cannot tell you, dear reader, the pumpkin-sized measure of sheer embarrassment and regret I felt at that moment. I truly wish someone would have carved out my eyes, scooped out my innards and lit a fire inside my empty head. Moral Of The Story: Take a good look before you ogle. Or... Moms don't let your beautiful daughters out dressed like that! There are old fools like me everywhere.  

Trick Or Teat

On the plus side, a "tragedy" that took place a few weeks ago turned into a "comedy" complete with a happy ending, so to speak. See, the last time we played the Bailey, I whined about a certain comely lass who wanted a CD signed. After I had asked if she wanted anything else autographed, she pointed to her ample cleavage, I accepted the terms and she then retracted the offer just as fast. I, in my blog, cried foul (not to mention tears of nerdy sadness at having missed the opportunity to sign a bosom) and carried on with my life. Well, to my pleasant surprise, the lovely renege-r returned to let me finish the job! She apologized for her previous spurning and said something about her boyfriend "letting me". He very well could have been standing right there but I was oblivious with pre-pubescent glee as I scrawled something incoherent across her mostly bare, chestal area. Moral Of The Story II: Do not offer if you're not prepared to deliver. Or... Be prepared to live with crushing the hopes and dreams of a desperate, single man, then watch him geek out when you pull your top down a little.

Performance Drivel

The well-oiled steampunk swing machine that is PDC lets no costume snafu, technical glitches nor temptress-mermaid-political-incorrectness get in the way of a crackerjack rock 'n' roll show. Added to the usual rootsy, sing-along goodness were a few bonus extras to treat the Hallowe'en crowd. Custom smoke and lighting! Costume changes and contact lenses! Makeup and mayhem! Dependable back-catalog Punch Drunk ditties like "Everything You Know Is Wrong" to just-for-this-occasion numbers like "People Are Strange"!

'Twas both agony & ecstasy, triumph & failure, comedy & tragedy at the ol' Bailey this October 27th, All Hallow's Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve. Never have I felt the heavenly highs of artistic satisfaction while tasting the trickster-driven lows of devilish denouement. Never had I had so much fun in the midst of so many minor but maddening annoyances. But you know what they say.... well, do ya? Cuz I sure as hell don't. 


What To Wear.... What To Wear.... (Costume Highlights)

 - the Spy vs. Spy couple. Bravo! Alfred E. Newman would be proud.
 - a fellow Venetian plague doctor mask... well-played, sir.
 - The Criminals... who actually dressed like their moniker.
 - Johnny Depp-style pirate, naturally.
 - too many young, scantily clad females for my comfort.

Pals, Brothers, Kooky Knuckleheads:

 - General Thane, Snarlin' Barclay (or maybe that was his mask) and our road manager/parole officer, Kevin

The End

Finally, I must apologize to a brave gentleman who approached me after the show and said: "You entertained the shit out of me." My sympathies, friend. Do send me the cleaning bill.

And that, you poor, lost soul, is the unvarnished truth.