Da Em, da Witch and a switch


Finally, the time is upon is us once again for the penultimate holiday of the year, Halloween, the Christmas for us freaks and weirdos. This weekend was killer for Halloween bashes; there were so many parties under way it was possible to cram three, maybe four different costumes into two days. So, Friday night I slipped into costume No. 1 and tramped out to “Da Em in da Clem” — also known as the Emerald Ballroom in Mt. Clemens, for part one of its two-day costume party. Upon arrival, I was roped into acting as a judge for the costume contest by the Emerald’s faboo promotions diva Aimee Spencer; and thus it was off to the stage with lovely MC Carolyn Spencer, numbered cards clutched in hand, to determine the fates and crush the hopeful spirits of the contestants … well, you wouldn’t have thought it was all that big of a deal, but some people take these costume contests waaaay too seriously.

In fact, I learned of an entire new sub-subculture; akin to carnivals and their carnies, they are like “costumies” — people who invest an enormous amount of money and time into a costume, wear it every single year and make the rounds of costume contests, attempting to score as much cash as possible.

I was told one of the contestants, a guy in an immaculately accurate Chewbacca costume, had entered at the Emerald last year and carried away first place, so out of fairness — well, you know. Of course, the audience loved Chewy — as they should have, since the costume was fantastic — but when I held up my low score for all to see, I was mercilessly booed. Having never been booed by several hundred people all at once, I thought this was pretty damn cool.

Having incurred the wrath of the entire Emerald Ballroom, and a 7-foot-tall shag carpet, I made a hasty exit out the back door before some drunken pirate or devil accosted me in the name of Chewy’s vengeance. Sorry, Chewy! I thought you were great, I just don’t dig hairy guys.


So unless you’ve entered an early hibernation state, you’d heard all about the Season of the Witch party, presented by the Cultural Corridor Collective, and spearheaded by Paul Horton. On Saturday night, 20 or more bands took over a raw space in the New Center area for an evening of music, novelty performances and good old-fashioned rabble-rousing (and there actually was a fair amount of rabble in said building).

Although it was a bit tricky to find in that particularly lovely stretch of urban blight, the event still drew a large crowd, on a night when there were plenty of competing parties.

Unfortunately, there was a slight problem with heat — there wasn’t any. This was especially a problem for the group of scantily clad vixens who were putting on the burlesque show by SPAG. The lovely SPAGettes included Danielle Arsenal from Crud, Karen Neal from Queen Bee, Madame Matrix, Lisa the Spag Hag and yours truly; we were blue-lipped and goose-pimply the entire night, clad in naught more than pasties, filmy bits of sheer fabrics and strategically placed strips of duct tape. Fortunately things warmed up a bit when we got our blood flowing — literally — in the grand finale blood bath where we slaughtered a golf yuppie — played by the beloved Popeye the Punk-Rock Sailor Man — to the tune of Huey Lewis. Popeye was supa stylin’ in his canary yellow polyester pants and cream sweater vest, and was even passing out condoms with his actual cell phone number written on the back — we’re still not sure if that was part of the act or just classic Popeye.

One of the highlights of the evening was the show by the Ruiners, who managed to maintain an electrifyingly energetic performance, despite the fact that the power died about a half-dozen times during their set. Lead singer Rick Ruiner took full advantage of the building’s layout and his cordless mic, as he swung from the rafters in his loincloth and raced throughout the audience into other rooms, even venturing into the women’s bathroom.

There was also a plethora of unique and creative costumes, but the costume contest was hampered slightly, as the entire stage was still slick with blood from the bloodbath, a particularly acrid concoction of corn syrup, barbecue sauce, ketchup, red dye and cocoa powder. Trust me, it’s even more disgusting than it sounds, especially when it’s dried in your hair.

So despite the cold and power outages, it turned out to be a very fun evening which felt more like a party at a friend’s house than a club event, and the extra hour of drinking time allotted by the time change was a nice little bonus. Spotted in the mix throughout the night: Devilish Devon and Father Michael, DJ Gingersnapp, Pat Hogan, Damian Fergusen, Erik Jensen, Laura Buben, Thaylin Burns, Ada, and DJs Macross, J-O-Y, and Riccer from IPM Radio.


The Motor was closed this weekend, as a revamping and redecorating project was under way. Detroit’s institution of electronica will reopen this Friday (Nov. 2), with a brand-new look and two new nights. Check it out with your own eyes this weekend.

Sarah Klein has a teddy bear in leather. Send hot tips, party invites or desperate pleas for attention to [email protected], or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial
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