Halloween is an innocent holiday. It's all tiny children dressed up in cute outfits heading out to collect money for UNICEF and bob for apples, for Pete's sake. But the Houston Witches Ball -- a music- and flame-filled costume party for grown-ups -- is a little more intense than your usual trick-or-treat experience."You take a cacophony and you orchestrate it into something beautiful," says Rhavyn of Rhayvn's Keep Productions, which is putting on the two-evening event. "This is for somebody who enjoys the idea of a rock opera, who wants to witness the very essence of a musical miracle on stage."
This year's theme is Dante's Informal Ball and features all-original music by Liviya Compean, Canvas, Wyrdgrl and Dreamtrybe. "Dreamtrybe has a song called 'She Wolf,'" says Rhavyn. "Some of their fans are inclined to howl and dance in circles when they play it."
But it's not just about music. Professional fire performers Spytfire and the three-woman troupe Embracing Embers are also on the bill.
Attendees are invited to dress in a costume that embodies one of the seven deadly sins or seven cardinal virtues, and at the event, they can visit a "museum of sins and virtues." If all of this troubles the Halloween traditionalist in you, never fear -- an apple bob is also scheduled. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, October 24, and Saturday, October 25. 610 Arena, 5515 1/2 South Loop East. For information, visit www.rkpro.com. $13; 21 and up. -- Jennifer Mathieu
STIRRED AND SHAKEN
TOMMY'S CLUB'S THE HAWK
Somebody told me about a Thursday-night, post-midnight "Back That Ass Up" contest at Tommy's Club (17567 Imperial Valley Drive, 281-872-5772). First prize is 75 bucks, and from what I was told, people will do just about anything for that kind of scratch. The place is located in a nondescript strip mall outside Greenspoint. A white boy like me doesn't always get out of certain neighborhoods, but hey, I can boogie with the best of them. When I got there, I started slugging back a drink called the Hawk, a most peculiar combination of Hennessy cognac and an aqua-colored liquor called Hipnotiq. When the two are mixed together, the result is a murky green brew that tastes as bad as it looks. After my third, I moved a little closer to the dance floor, where I had a better view of people busting moves normally reserved for the bedroom. The DJ seemed to be pumped up on something other than Starbucks, and as he moved around the room, he more or less assaulted clubgoers with his brash sense of humor and a rally cry to "get off those damn bar stools and show us what you got!" Well, I definitely didn't have what he was looking for, so I just smiled a sheepish grin and went to get another drink.
1-1/2 ounces Hennessy cognac
1-1/2 ounces Hipnotiq
Measure out equal parts of cognac and Hipnotiq into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, strain and pour. Repeat until you can back that ass up with the best of 'em. -- J.W. Crooker
Crying on the Inside
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High drama will descend upon the 1415 Bar and Grill this weekend at a Halloween bash and benefit thrown by Mildred's Umbrella Theater Troupe and dos chicas theater commune. The cover not only buys you the chance to mingle with some of Houston's most talented thespians, it also includes tarot readings, chair massage, fashion, music and, naturally, theatrics. Performances will include a ten-minute version of The Glass Menagerie, a piece by the Marquis de Sade and an all-too-rare performance by Mortando, the world's most bitter clown. Anyone who shows up without a costume (there will be a contest) will be taunted by Mortando. Just pray his tongue hasn't been sharpened by drinking. 7 p.m. Sunday, October 26. 1415 California. For information, call 832-418-0973. $10. -- Scott Nowell
Wanna get piss-drunk for a good cause? This Thursday, several downtown bars are taking part in the Martini March, a one-night bar crawl where barflies, night owls and lushes can travel to one watering hole after another, getting bombed for charity. Marathon social drinkers can register and drop off food donations (for the Houston Food Bank) over at the Mercury Room, and then guzzle house martinis at such spots as Boaka Bar, Solero and Sambuca Jazz Cafe. Here's a chance to get wasted, belligerent and charitable -- all at the same time. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 23. Mercury Room, 1010 Prairie. For information, visit www.themartinimarch.com. $25; $20 with food donation. -- Craig D. Lindsey