By Ian S. Port
By Tony Ware
By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
I try to squeeze as many dancing girls into this column as is tastefully possible, but rarely do I get really excited. This is a different story, kittens. Last year, musician and flesh-peddling visionary Brian Lease put together a titillating shindig called Fisherman's Famous San Francisco Burlesque. It was a one-off, aptly held during Fleet Week, when sailors traditionally troll through North Beach looking for girls and a good time. Lease's show offered both, in spades. It was a genuine, old-fashioned burlesque show, complete with a torrid, all-girl, tap-dancing troupe, one long and lithe fire swallower, a wild and wooly cabaret band called Fisherman's Xylophonic Brass Orchestra (comprised of some very dangerous musicians from Frenchy, Mingo 2000, Polkacide, and Karate Dog), and an unstoppable Master of Ceremonies named Mad Dog, from whose mouth bawdy one-liners flew like bad chop suey. But mostly, there were girls. Girls with feathers, girls with hats, girls with tassels, girls with fur, girls with fans, girls with fishnets, and girls with nothing much at all. It was the first real burlesque show to be on Broadway in decades, but every dancer seemed well-versed in the fine nuances of old-fashioned tantalization: less tits and ass, more bump and grind. Some of the props may have been too cumbersome for the club, and some of the routines may have been too long for a standing-room-only crowd with a millennial attention span, but overall, the show was sassy, seductive, and silly, and when Miss Exotic World 1999 Lotus Derringer took the stage, it was easy to see why men once gave up their fortunes to dancers like Lily St. Cyr and Gypsy Rose Lee. Thankfully, Lease has brought the tease back to Broadway again this year, along with Mad Dog and his dancing darlings, the Cantankerous Lollies. If you're looking to be tickled, give this show a twirl. I can promise you won't be disappointed. This year's featured dancers include Cherry Malone from Sacramento, Kitty Diggins from Oregon, Omaha Betty from Hawaii, and Miss Exotic World 2000, Kitten DeVille. Fisherman's Famous San Francisco Burlesque will be held on Friday, Oct. 27 at Hi-Ball Lounge at 8 and 11 p.m. Ticket price is $15-20; call 397-9464.
Legend has it the Haunted Barn is constructed entirely from the planks of a misbegotten ship and insulated by the bones and sinew of the hapless crew that died aboard. Every year, near All Hallows Eve, the insane captain of that ship rises from the grave to act out all sort and sundry of diabolical deed to terrorize the good people of the port in which he died. Despite my warnings, hundreds of reckless souls have found their way to the barn, looking to test their mettle and fortitude against the nefarious Captain Hooker. I cannot reiterate enough, this is not an entertainment for the mild mannered and faint of heart. I have seen the barn become the site of gruesome blood fests involving syphilis, drug addiction, lunacy, incest, cannibalism, and worship at unholy altars. I have seen men fall and women run screaming. I have felt the slimy hand of death slither across my shoe. But if you are still determined to go, please heed my caution: Wear disposable clothes and fortify yourself at the costume party held beforehand, prior to descending into the depths. The Haunted Barn will be held on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28, at the Barn from sundown until 3 a.m. Call 285-8103 or visit http://www.thehauntedbarn.com for directions and ticket information.
If you are of a more delicate and discerning nature, as well you should be, an evening of fine cinema in the open air should suffice. Arriving back from Europe in time to resurrect their Halloween show, Jill Tracy and Her Malcontent Orchestra perform an original score for the 1922 German expressionist film Nosferatu. Uniquely qualified to give voice to the hallucinatory vampire that stalks F.W. Murnau's black and white movie, Jill Tracy conjures the crimson shades of the Grand Guignol and the emerald hues of absinthe through piano, cello, violin, marimba, and her haunting vocalizations. Nosferatu will be shown on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27-28 at Foreign Cinema at midnight. Ticket price is $5; call 648-7600. Jill Tracy and Her Malcontent Orchestra will also perform for "Mysteria: An Evening of Halloween Oddities and Samhain Curiosities" on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at Café Du Nord, along with Rosin Coven, Puppets and Pie, and Spellbinder Magic at 9:30 p.m. Ticket price is $7; call 861-5016. Tracy's velvet voice is also featured in the new movie In the Wake, about a turn of the century dancer and poet, which previews at the Film Arts Foundation Film Festival at the Asian Art Museum on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.
And finally, if destruction and mayhem are more in keeping with your Halloween dreams, Destroy Ape Technology (members of the machine-art group Peoplehater, decked out in inflatable Hazmat suits and gorilla masks) present the Mad Scientists Halloween, an evening of chainsaw pumpkin carving, sound-manipulated robots, surgical videos, and mad scientist look-alike contests. Again, disposable clothing (and earplugs) are recommended. The Mad Scientists Halloween will be on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 21 Grand (at Broadway) in Oakland at 8 p.m. Ticket price is $8-10, or $5-10 in costume; call (510) 444-7263.