Entertainment Local

A Halloweekend of artsy thrills and chills

By Brian Paterson

Parade of Lost Souls. (Supplied Photo)

Parade of Lost Souls. (Supplied Photo)

With All Hallows’ Eve arriving on Tuesday, this weekend promises to come alive in the form of costumed club nights and haunted house parties.


Never to miss out on a good theme, Vancouver’s artistic community has stepped up as well, offering a variety of spine-tingling experiences to commemorate the creepiest time of the year.

Fear of the Unknown: Improvised Edgar Allan Poe

The quick-thinking comedians of Instant Theatre take over Havana Restaurant’s back venue with devised-on-the-spot tales of terror.

The evening is inspired by gothic horror author Edgar Allan Poe, who penned such iconic stories as The Tell-tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher.

Each night, steel-nerved audience members will be invited to share a childhood fear, from which the improvisers craft a spontaneous, original work of humour and horror in the style of Poe.

Performances run Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with different opening performances each evening, including improvised Twilight Zone and a One-Man Slasher Film.

More information at www.instanttheatre.com.

One Man Stranger Things: A Parody

Sixteen years ago, Victoria-born Charles Ross stepped onto a stage to perform the entire Star Wars trilogy by himself in 60 minutes. His life would never be the same.

The success of the show would see Ross perform on Conan O’Brien, at San Diego Comic-Con and even for George Lucas himself. It also led him to mount one man productions of such canonical works as Lord of the Rings, Batman, and — debuting this Friday and Saturday at New Westminster’s Anvil Centre — Stranger Things.

Just like Stranger Things, Ross and his longtime director TJ Dawe are products of 1980s culture, and promise to create a loving, hysteric send up of the supernatural adventure’s first season.

More information at www.anvilecentre.com.

Parade of Lost Souls

One of East Van’s best Halloween traditions, this uninhibited, all-encompassing celebration takes over a winding series of back alleyways with art installations, spontaneous music, and endlessly imaginative revels. Part art walk and part street party, the more than 10,000 brave souls who turn up to explore can expect all manner of expressions: From puppetry, fire dancing, elaborate costumes, and stranger – harder to define expressions

The location is a closely guarded secret until the night before. This year, however, the cat is out of the bag early for this Saturday’s festivities. The route will encompass an area bordered by Commercial Drive on the east, William Street on the south, McLean Drive on the west, and Threshold Alley on the north.

Running amidst alleyways and school fields, visitors should prepare to see garages given over to bands, art installations tucked in every corner, and open spaces occupied by all manner of theatre, dance, and circus artists. For those who don’t want the night to end, the part will continue at The Legion, with DJs and all manner of devilish delights.

More information at www.dustyflowerpotcabaret.com.

Fringe Cabaret: Back from the Dead

If you make it through the weekend and live to hear more tales, Vancouver Fringe has an evening offering for Halloween itself.

A flock of 16 frighteningly funny Fringe artists take to the stage with “promises of clever social commentary and possible nudity.” Think of this as the grab-bag of Halloween treats: a rapid-fire line-up of actors, musicians, songwriters, and more sharing dark creations from dementedly imaginative minds.

The evening is hosted by Vancouver’s own “Phantom Signal”, whose horror-tinged live performances of old-timey radio drama have earned a cult following in the city’s comedy circles.

More information at www.vancouverfringe.com.

Festival of Hallows

If laughter isn’t the medicine you seek on Oct. 31, this reflective festival in Yaletown’s Emery Barnes Park offers an alternative way to mark the day.

Inspired by Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the multicultural celebration invites participants to honour loved ones who’ve passed beyond the veil by visiting shrines adorned throughout the park.

The evening will also include live mariachi music, family activities, food and art installations.

More information at gatheringfestival.wordpress.com