A roundup of comedy, music and mayhem
Friday, Oct. 29, had the foreboding element of heavy rain hovering in the night sky like a million drops of determent. Still, the holiday vibe coursed through the Santa Cruz community strong enough to bring several hundred hopeful to the Rio Theatre for an evening of guffaws, entitled “Jack-O-Laughter.” Brainstormed by Capitola resident John Brown, the night featured Bay Area Comedy Central star Kevin Camia—but the balmy evening belonged to UC Santa Cruz graduates Emily Heller and Brendan Lynch. Heller and Lynch both share a deadpan delivery that provides a foundation for their snarky humor, and each found their way into the audience’s heart.
Later in the evening on the other end of town, a voodoo party was gearing up to unleash the power of the Dead. Moe’s Alley has become the favorite digs of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, and with his latest incarnation, 7 Walkers, the thick crowd was bordering between jubilant and too drunk to funk. Local openers Shady Groove unleashed the gremlins and by the time 7 Walkers took the stage, the sound became a mix of cacophonous caterwauling. New Orleans mainstay Papa Mali, resplendent in golden dreads and a girth that far surpassed Jerry Garcia, took the helm. With a few precise Vodon chants, he killed the feedback dead.
Last minute Halloween preparations on Saturday, Oct. 30 meant scooting up Highway 1 to Rodoni Farms for an annual hunt through the pumpkin patch. Slogging through the mud at the gourd orphanage I nimbly avoided being led into the corn maze. Having seen The Shining one too many times, my fear of being stuck in any sort of a labyrinth without a machete kept my eyes on the ground looking for the perfect orange buddy to take home.
And finally, the arrival of Oct. 31 meant only one thing—strolling Pacific Avenue and watching, participating in and being one with the freaks of Santa Cruz as the annual, almost-anything-goes costumed parade emerged in a strictly organic manner. Always better than Burning Man, as we’re not stuck in a desert, the streets came alive with mischief, magic and meaningful mayhem. Sock Monkey chased down a wary banana, a Toblerone candy bar ran into a carton of milk, a silent movie complete with Charlie Chaplin, Keystone Cop and flickering movie camera enacted silent vignettes, a makeshift wresting ring emerged complete with masked marauders, and a large group of pirates took seize of a corner and started a swarthy drumming encampment.
Truly a hallucinatory swirl of visions best to escape from before 10 p.m., when Zack Friend’s friends began to try and contain the revelry with cops and copters recreating the feel of Apocalypse Now, Halloween was, and will hopefully always be, a time for us to come together as a community of cleverly costumed characters.