Wednesday I got a desperate phone call from my friend Michael, who had no idea what to wear for Halloween. He didn’t give me much to work with — just the beard on his face and a hot, young girlfriend.

“Charles Manson and Sharon Tate?” I offered.

“Kristen has no idea who they are,” he barked, referring to his 20-something, live-in love with the enviable shoulders and the ’80s infancy.

“Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand from A Star Is Born?” I countered.

“She doesn’t get your obscure vintage-pop references, Dani,” he scolded.

After a dozen more bearded man/hot chick suggestions, he decided he liked my Richie and Margot Tenenbaum suggestion — at least The Royal Tenenbaums came out this decade.

The next day I found myself accompanying Michael downtown, to a Santee-adjacent wholesale suit store. A coolly uttered code word allowed us escorted entrée into a basement filled with “new on-rack vintage” suits and jackets, where we hoped to find a size 44 extra-long camelhair, à la Luke Wilson’s Richie Tenenbaum character.

I pulled a shrunken camel-colored corduroy sports coat off the rack and held it up for Michael to try.

“What size is it?” he asked, squinting, doubting.

“Forty-four,” I said, passing it to him.

“Do you think by saying it’s a 44, you’re going to manifest it larger?”


“Sorry, hippie,” he said, maneuvering out of the tiny coat. “It doesn’t work like that.”

Luckily, Reese, the basement manager with bright eyes, gray beard and an infinite arsenal of animal calls, found the perfect Richie Tenenbaum suit for just $75. Moments later, Michael was being fitted for next-day adjustments by the mustached tailor next door.

But Halloweekend’s festivities really kicked in for me Friday night when my boyfriend (Dead Schoolboy) and I (Girl Scout) scoped the opening of Andrew Krasnow’s “Of the Flesh: Skin Works” at ADM Project gallery in Hollywood. The show comprised a 10-year span of installations — mostly politically charged protest pieces, all carefully sewn together with swaths of human skin, “legally acquired,” according to the gallery. Krasnow’s skin art included several American flags, a map of the United States, a Bible, a human heart, a surprisingly lovable walrus and a hamburger — topped with human teeth in addition to skin lettuce and skin tomato. While I admired Krasnow’s seam work, I was largely repulsed by the flesh-as-fabric medium, bored by the reactive antiwar/anti-Bush message and put off by the Jewish-artist-as-skin-tailor theme.

“Too meta,” I commented while leafing through a short stack of slides that recorded the surgical removal of Krasnow’s skin from his very own torso.

“I know,” affirmed Dead Schoolboy, who made the obvious comparison to last year’s equally horrifying “Body Works” spectacle: “He’s just the next guy on line to make a sucky art thing about the body with the suffix ‘works.’?”

We fled skin city to check out a friend’s party at a Rudolpho’s in Silver Lake, where an overwhelming collection of creative costumes almost made up for the crummy DJ. We saw a deep-sea-dredged Natalie Wood, a Karma Chameleonic Boy George, a bookish zombie and an uptown bunny, the most dapper of the lot, not to mention a stunningly realistic John C. Reilly costume that everyone tried their best not to stare at. Unfortunately, the music outweighed the eye candy (who plays ’80s music at parties anymore?) and we hightailed it to Torung to scarf down cheap chile shrimp and veggie dumplings before conking out for the night.

Saturday crept in, and I decided to sprinkle some dead on my Girl Scout outfit with a quickly crafted back story (mauled by a rabid raccoon) and a few well-placed flesh wounds, thanks to a deft application of “fresh scab” ($4.95 at Robinson Beautilities on Venice). We headed out at dusk to tour the altars at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, raised annually in honor of its Dia de los Muertos celebration. Apparently the better part of Los Angeles had the same idea, and we wandered blood-caked elbow to blood-caked elbow with thousands of costumed altar gawkers, alter kockers and concession hawkers through the cemetery. Some of the altars were truly inspired, making creative use of sand and food and flowers and skulls of all shapes and sizes, while paying homage to loved ones passed. We nibbled Thin Mints while listening to an unlikely grouping of accordion, standup bass, bongos and clackers serenading a formidable audience Latin style on the well-groomed grass near the cemetery pond.

Next we headed west to see the Poetics (with guest MCs Leggo and Buddha Black of the daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra) rock a jaw-dropping backyard set at a tiny Venice house party. Gilligan, Don King and the Humpty Hump bumped up against Rainbow Brite and a busty St. Pauli girl. We were all smiles, dancing in wigged and masked splendor under the stars on a balmy pre-Hallow’s eve, greedily sucking down daylight saving’s extra hour until the cops (real cops that is, neither slutty, Keystone, nor dead) stopped by to say hey, grab a beer and ask ever so sweetly if we might turn that music down, lest we receive a loud-party citation ($300 to $1,800).

Midnight found us grooving at Warszawa on Lincoln with throngs of local Westside gals donning various versions of “Slutty ___” (Snow White, milkmaid, FBI agent, et al.). The DJ spun incongruous hip-hop gems slammed against party-killing nostalgic Top 40. (Who plays ’80s music at parties anymore?) We headed to the Aero Theatre to ponder the 2 a.m.-ish screening of Pumpkinhead, but chose instead to head home and engage in a little necromancy before washing off the fake blood and calling it a Halloween.

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