devil steps out: “Josh” having fun at the Corpse Cabaret.
PHOTO: Leif Zurmuhlen
of the Undead
every nightspot around offered a Halloween party last weekend,
but Ballinger’s, located in the historic Ogden’s building
in downtown Albany, had more to offer than most Saturday night
(Oct. 27): With three floors of romping room and a décor that
can be described as a mix of High Victorian salon and louche
hookah parlor, it had a built-in advantage. By the stroke
of midnight, the club was comfortably crowded; the first floor
bar was two-deep, the cellar was stocked with dancers, and
the plushly upholstered lounge areas of the second floor were
filled with schmoozing clots of partiers. Almost everyone
was in costume, and of a quality that made garb-gazing one
of the evening’s most enjoyable activities.
with friends on settees and couches, Josh was a Devil’s
Advocate-style devil, his face mask sculpted in latex
and foam with evil expression lines and horned protuberances
painted a hellish red. Surprisingly, it was his first attempt
at making a mask. He bought materials at the Costumer and
free-styled his creation, he says. “I wanted to be a devil,
and I thought it would look cool to wear a suit.” He made
a pact for the evening with Ballinger’s, he says, because
he wanted to go somewhere “low key but fun,” adding, “I’ve
never been here before, it’s awesome.”
Cabaret, as the party was dubbed, also featured performance
models and an art exhibit that included works by Nina Tucciarelli
(one of the zombie vamp models), Daniel Wilder, musicians
Dan Neet and Kevin McKrell (the party was organized by Kate
Neet and Katie McKrell), and Rebecca Lefevre. Dressed in an
Elizabethan gown cut-off at the knee, a black wig with chopped
bangs, and a bone-white plaster mask, Lefevre was one of the
party’s eeriest creations. “I’m a spooky doll,” she says of
her character. “Like a doll you would find in an abandoned
house in a horror movie, with a cracked face, and one eye
broken.” Lefevre was even more chilling than the legion of
zombie vampires who let loose occasional screams and draped
themselves in death throes over the balustrades.
had been a prize for cinematic elegance, Kate Dorwaldt, a
hairstylist from Albany, would’ve taken the cake for her Marie
Antoinette. Dorwaldt’s inspiration didn’t come from the recent
movie of the same name, however, but from a dress she bought
at Special FX several years ago for a punk-rock prom. She
changed its era by adding hoops and ribbons, and she remodeled
a wig into a towering pink confection. Her boyfriend was at
her side in a musketeer shirt and cape. “He’s my serving boy,”
tower of hair seen bobbing through the crowd was the blue
stack atop Marge Simpson, aka Hilary Goldman. Goldman made
the wig from poster board, cotton balls, and spray paint,
she says, and hand-sewed the dress. Her boyfriend, whose skin
was a matching shade of cartoon yellow, was playing Homer
on the dance floor. “We went over a list of couples’ costumes,”
she says of their choice of disguise. And why did they decide
on Ballinger’s for a hallowed night out? “We’re regulars here,”
she enthuses. “We’re having a great time.”
As a big
fan of comic illustrator Ben Templesmith, I was excited to
see his aesthetic come alive in the big-screen adaptation
of 30 Days of Night. I was looking forward to seeing
the Oct. 18 sneak preview at Regal Mega-ginormous-plex Crossgates
with my boyfriend Dave and fellow Metroland staffer
David King, both comic buffs. I would love to say what I thought
of the film, but the moviegoing experience turned out more
horrifying than the movie itself.
with plenty of time to spare, and, to our surprise, they were
letting people in already. By “they” I mean a special unit
of uniformed, gun-toting security guards hired specifically
for the event—gatekeepers of the escalator. A middle-age redhead
in a light blue uniform threw her arm out in a crossing-guard-style
halt: “No one will be allowed in the theater with a
cell phone that takes pictures.” She repeated it like a mantra.
“If you have a phone that takes pictures you must return it
to your car or you will not be allowed in the theater.”
took my phone back out to the car.
reached the theater door, where each person was security-wanded
to electronically ferret out hidden cell phones. Every bag
was searched. I overheard a theater manager say, “We need
to get more officers up here or these people are going to
miss their movie.”
had snagged exceptional seats. Well, except for the fact that
the man in front of us, who identified himself as David McBride,
was drinking. Despite the intense presence of Cell Phone Security
Squad Alpha, the man had smuggled three cans of Schlitz into
the theater, wearing only shorts and a Miller Light T-shirt.
He was sitting smack in front of us with a Schlitz in each
cup holder, being loud, when David King finally made it into
the theater and up to our seats.
we would have let the drinking slide. Maybe the loudness.
But when the beer drinker adamantly decreed that David King
could not sit with us, because those seats were being held
(They were being held. By us. For David.), we were done. We
discreetly reported him to a security guard, who escorted
him out of the theater after a brief altercation.
settled in, and made it until day 28 (of the 30 days of night)
when a pair of officers came in and took away the two guys
sitting behind us. We watched about 23 more seconds of movie.
Then the lights came on, the movie went off, and we were told
to evacuate the theater due to a “technical emergency.”
to be the only theater being evacuated. No one would explain
what was happening, if we should wait it out, if we should
go home, if we were in danger. I attempted to hand my Metroland
business card to the theater manager, who was standing a few
feet from me, but I was physically blocked by three security
guards. It was made extremely clear that no one was going
talk to me.
phone calls the next day revealed the details: Two bomb threats
were called into the theater between 7 and 7:30 PM. None-other-than
our theater neighbor, David McBride, had been charged for
calling in false threats (as well as driving while intoxicated,
and disturbing the peace). Curiously, the theater was not
evacuated until after 8:30 PM.
looking forward to seeing the movie. Kind of. I doubt it will
be more thrilling than this night of cine-madness.