By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Okay, boys and ghouls, there’s something sinister coming this week. Oh — and Halloween’s happening, too! See Music and Film/Video Events for even more Halloween-related celebrations.
FRIDAY, October 31
New this year to the blockbuster-sized terrors of Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights is Terror Tram: The Nightmare Tour. Knowing that Freddy Krueger is out there in the dark somewhere should keep your spine tingled. This is the ultimate “immersion experience that will shatter preconceptions, transcending notions of horror-genre theatrics and Halloween maze experiences to take visitors to a state of extreme dread, shock and terror.” Yep, it’s even scarier than rush hour on the 405. You can tiptoe around the Psycho house and Bates Motel, and the War of the Worlds disaster scene. There’s also a new maze this year with masked killers. Masked killers are the scariest killers of all! Not for kids under 13 — unless you want them to hate you forever, then it’s great for kids! Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City; Fri.-Sat., through Nov. 1; 7 p.m.; superconvoluted pricing scheme: $44 & $54 & up (way up). www.halloweenhorrornights.com.
Shipwreck at the Queen Scary, which is rumored to be haunted any time of year, has seven dizzying mazes, including the 3-D House of Hallucinations, that are gonna put you through the spin cycle. Walk through its dark decks and corridors, but watch out for the “monsters, mutants and maniacs” hiding at every turn. New this year is the Sinister Stage Show, spotlighting the Freak Show Deluxe. After the demons have been exorcised from your body, join the dance party at Exhibit Hall with live bands pounding your skull. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach; Fri.-Sun., through Nov. 1, 7 p.m.-mid.; $34 (not recommended for children under 12; no costumes allowed — strange but true). (562) 435-3511.
Who dresses up better than West Hollywood? Join the wigged-out throngs on Santa Monica Boulevard for the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival. Who will be popular this year? Sarah Palins, drag and not, should be roaming free-range along the boulevard. I am going as a mariachi paparazzo — basically an excuse to wear a really big hat and carry a toy squirt camera filled with tequila. If a WeHo elf hands you a bracelet, that means you’re dressed outlandishly/creatively enough for the costume-contest finals! Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard; Fri., Oct. 31, 6 p.m.-mid.; free. (323) 848-6503.
You classy sorts might eschew all that spurting blood and prefer a sit-down creep-out. Halloween Silent Movie with Clark Wilson: Phantom of the Opera features Mr. Wilson at the organ accompanying Rupert Julian’s 1925 film. (And you can always hit West Hollywood for some wilder fun after the show.) Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111. S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Fri., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.; $24-$49. (323) 850-2000.
Okay, hiperati, this one’s for you. Echo Park Time Travel Mart Presents a Very Special Halloween Dead Author Reading featuring special guests Edgar Allan Poe and Washington Irving and music by Common Rotation. You’re encouraged to dress as your favorite dead author. Yes, it’s okay to wear a bandanna on your head and put a rope around your neck and go as David Foster Wallace. Benefits 826LA, nonprofit creative-writing classes for kids. Echo Park Time Travel Mart, 1714 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Fri., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.; $10 suggested donation. (213) 413-3388.
Spooky House has been the scariest destination in the Valley (and that’s saying something) for 13 years. Take the “hellavator” to the foreboding and thankfully not foreclosing manse’s 25 rooms overrun with creepy zombies, torture chambers, manic killers and those annoying ladies from Studio City. 21512 Nordhoff St., Chatsworth; nightly 7 p.m.-mid., through Nov. 2; $20-$39; toned-down daytime adventures for kids are $10. www.spookyhouse.com.
Something called “Rotten Apple 907” presents The Wizard of Odz. It’s a haunted house built on the premise, “What would have happened if Dorothy had taken the red brick road instead of the yellow brick road?” And dig this, it’s free (but you’re asked to make a donation for Autism Speaks). 907 N. California St., Burbank; Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 30-31, 7-10 p.m.; free. (818) 257-1271.
Laugh away your fear of dressing up at The Halloween Fake Show, wherein Frank Conniff and Eddie Pepitone join Calavera Comedy to keep it real — real scary, that is! Fake Gallery, 4319 Melrose Ave., L.A.; Fri., Oct. 31, 9 p.m.; $10. (323) 644-4946.
Not to be confused with last week’s show called The Witching Hour is this week’s show called The Witching Hour. It’s a collection of four tales of terror, à la Tales From the Crypt and Twilight Zone. How do you spell “Mwwwaaaaaahhhhhh!”? The Actors Workout Studio, 4735 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.; runs through Nov. 8; $20, $15 in advance. (323) 378-5910.
How scary is a place called the “ Hammer Museum”? Better watch your back! The museum presents Halloween in Hades, a devilish presentation of “ghoulish music, ghastly dancers and gruesome visuals” in the museum courtyard, featuring performances by Hecuba, Discount Cruise to Hell and We Are the World. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., Oct. 31, 7-11 p.m.; free but ticket required and can be claimed one hour before showtime. (310) 443-7000.
SATURDAY, November 1
Who’s your deady? Honor your loved and liked ones who’ve gone to the other side, dropped dead, expired, passed on, etc., at Goya’s Festival De La Gente: A Dia de los Muertos Celebration. There will be L.A.’s largest altar and musical ofrendas by Quinto Sol, Santos De Los Angeles, the Wise Guys and a surprise guest. Barker Block Lofts, 519. S. Hewitt St., dwntwn.; Sat.-Sun., Nov. 1-2, 1-9 p.m. (213) 617-0696.
Have fun with death at Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s ninth annual Dia De Los Muertos. Party near the souls of some Tinseltown immortals and enjoy a traditional procession with Aztec blessings, dance groups, calaveras art exhibit, lecture, theater performance and much more. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Sat., Nov. 1, 4-11 p.m. (323) 447-0999.
SUNDAY, November 2
Now in its 35th year, Self-Help Graphics’ Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration is L.A.’s longest-running tribute to the formerly breathing. This year’s began two months ago with an art and altar exhibition. The big day features an art exhibition, amazing altars, children’s art workshops, Aztec dance blessing and ceremony, music, arts and craft vendors and yummy food. Paint your face like a calavera and dance your metatarsals off. Self-Help Graphics, 3802 Cesar Chavez Ave., East L.A.; Sun., Nov. 2, 2-11 p.m.; procession at 4 p.m.; free. www.selfhelpgraphics.com.
MONDAY, November 3
Comics Brently Heilbron and Liz Feldman are getting right to the point with their Don’t Fuck It Up Election Eve Show. Says Feldman, “We know that on Election Eve, you’re gonna be restless with frenzied anticipation. We’re both political comedians who want to commiserate with you. We also want to get our Palin jokes out before they spoil. I just know if we weren’t doing this show, I’d be home biting my nails down to the knuckle. So come join some real Americans and get your comedy catharsis on. We’ll move you, soothe you and give you a full release. I think we’re all praying for a happy ending.” They’ll be joined by Janeane Garofalo, Jen Kirkman, Erin Foley and Seth Morris. Tangier, 2138 N. Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; Mon., Nov. 3, 9:30 p.m.; $8. (323) 660-1033.
TUESDAY, November 4
There’s this election happening today that may be distracting, so cut people off and talk on your cell phone carefully when driving. If you’re not glued to the TV, you may enjoy Exchange Rate: 2008, an installment of the “political reckoning” event. In L.A., we have works by Lora Ivanova, along with a “voyeuristic puppet show about Michelle Obama’s secret powers” by Sibyl O’Malley and Caitlin Lainoff. Remy’s on Temple, 2126 W. Temple St., dwntwn.; Tues., Nov. 4, 7-10 p.m.; free; www.exchangerate2008.com.
WEDNESDAY, November 5
Pleasant Gehman has been known as many things — writer, punk-rocker, poet, bad girl, good girl, performer and, most recently, belly-dancer extraordinaire. She’s also a knockout and funny as hell, though surprisingly short in person. (Full disclosure: I fed her cats once.) It’s no wonder someone would want to make a film about Plez. Director Steve Balderson’s Underbelly: A Year in the Life of Dancer Princess Farhana should gain her even more fans. “Seeing myself on film made me hyperaware of my personality quirks ... and after I saw the movie, I realized that I have a lot of quirks! Steve interviewed a wide cross-section of students, teachers, star performers, workshop sponsors and fans — not to mention male belly dancers — and let them express their varied opinions, which helps the viewer see what it’s really like to be a professional dancer. I think Underbelly will help clear up a lot of misconceptions about this amazing art form.” There will be belly-dancing performances before and after the screening. El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Wed., Nov. 5, 9 p.m.; $10. (323) 668-0318.
THURSDAY, November 6
Madonna, we need to talk. Your arms look like strangled eels and your face like a mortar in search of a pestle. We haven’t seen a sincere smile on your face since ... a long, long time. So a few of us are getting together at Dodger Stadium to come to your aid. Don’t think of it as an intervention. Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Elysian Park; Thurs., Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m.; $55-$350. (213) 480-3232.