Overtaken by Darkness

About a decade ago we visited New Orleans in late October, and a local couple assured us that we had never seen anything like Halloween night in NOLA. We politely assured Mr. and Mrs. Local that because we'd lived in San Francisco since way back when, Oh yes we have. But then the hallowed ground shifted. The once-lusty and risky Exotic-Erotic Ball changed its name to Drunken Frat Guy Boundary-Free Gauntlet of Abuse and ceased to exist. The grim reaper claimed Lux Interior of the Cramps, who'd maintained an annual tradition of being one of the dirtiest Halloween shows in the city. Then a number of young men with self-worth issues shot and stabbed to death the big public costume ball in the Castro. What will we say the next time we go to New Orleans? One word: Masquerotica. It's a staggering mix of people and acts from sex-positive, theatrical, performance, and musical circles. Represented are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Dark Garden Corsetry, Kinky Salon, and drag and film legend Chi Chi LaRue. There's a Hookers Ball Brothello with Annie Sprinkle, Margo St. James, and Carol Queen. (The Hookers Ball was another Halloween tradition S.F. lost.) There's a Vampyre Village, a Zombie Hookers Cage, and a Pasties Fashion Show. Although it doesn't happen on Halloween proper, costumes are mandatory, which means it's less likely to devolve into a spectator-driven amateur hour. We'll leave those bragging rights for some other city.
Sat., Oct. 22, 8 p.m., 2011

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