Volume 81, Number 19 | October 13 -19, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photo by Hal Hirshorn

Spirit photography, 1800s-style: See “The Merchant’s House.”

Stop it, you’re scaring me
Horrifying Halloween events worth embracing

COMPILED BY SCOTT STIFFLER

THE MEETING: ROCKY HORROR TRIBUTE
“The Meeting” is a monthly gathering hosted by the I.O.S. — who you probably know better as the International Order of Sodomites (that cheeky “centuries-old secret organization of homosexuals and their friends”). Much more droll and far less threatening than their name lets on, the I.O.S. is about to launch their third season of their gay comedy/variety show at The Duplex with this seasonally appropriate tribute to the gay iconography of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Well packed, so to speak, among the “Rocky” references will be the usual gay old romp through politics (sexual and otherwise), social news, music, comedy skits and other matters of earthshaking importance. Your host, as always, is writer, comedian and actor Justin Sayre. Be afraid, Mary. Be very afraid.

At The Duplex (61 Christopher St., at 7th Ave.). Thurs, Oct. 20, 9:30pm $10 cover charge, two-drink minimum. You must be 21+ to attend. For reservations, call visit theduplex.com. For info on The Meeting, visit themeetingpodcast.blogspot.com.

HALLOWEEN AT HOUSING WORKS BOOKSTORE CAFE
The frightening folks who book events at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe are stirring up a lit-centric witch’s brew of terrifying events sure to prove that the pen is bloodier than the sword. On Mon., Oct. 17 at 7pm, “Around the Campfire” is a fright-inducing installment of Storychord’s regular every other Monday gig at Housing Works (at which one story, one image and a one-song “soundtrack” is offered up — each by underexposed talent). This time around, it’s all about eerie campfire-themed fun: Miles Klee and Tim Mucci will read ghost stories, and musical guests Will Stratton and Katie Mullins will perform spooky sets. On Tues., Oct. 25 at 7pm, “The Coffin Factory: A Reading to Celebrate the First Issue” has Bonnie Nadzam, John Reed, Fred Reynolds and Steve Danziger reading their featured pieces from that new literary magazine, The Coffin Factory (a “magazine for people who love books”). On Mon., Oct. 31 at 7pm, “The Housing Works Horror: A Literary Halloween Party with Granta Magazine” encourages you to don a literary-themed costume, and then be thoroughly traumatized by tales of horrors real and imagined (including a reading of a new, never-before-published Stephen King story).

All events take place at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (126 Crosby St., btw. Houston and Prince). For info, call 212-966-0466 or visit housingworksbookstore.org. For Facebook: facebook.com/housingworksbookstore.

THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW: LOVEY DOVEY
A good amount of time before people paraded through the streets dressed up as Anthony Weiner or Snookie, real and lasting terror came from the simple act of storytelling. That ritual is what gave the long-running “Pumpkin Pie Show” its name (specifically referring to the Southern tradition of good old boys sitting in a field spinning tall, bloody tales). Getting your spine tingled and your sense of security shattered by PPS creator Clay McLeod Chapman and Hanna Cheek has become a LES October tradition. Both are charismatic and skilled performers who project a sense of calm and likeability that, by monologue’s end, has been thoroughly perverted in the service of scaring the living hell out of you. Expect to be traumatized well into the Christmas season. This year’s fall PPS (“Lovey Dovey”) tells macabre tales of romance gone rancid. “Michelle” features a man who recounts leading the search party for his next-door neighbor’s missing teenage daughter. In “Ascending the Stairway,” seventh graders are taken through a step-by-step process of making out to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Also (based on a true story), “Condo Lothario” concerns an outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases spreading throughout a retirement community. Helping the overdose of medicine go down: music and lyrics from Obie Award winner Kyle Jarrow, as performed by the husband and wife duo Sky-Pony.

Oct. 13-29, Thurs.-Sat., 8pm. At UNDER St. Marks, (94 St. Marks Place, btw. 1st Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($18, $15 for students/seniors), call 212-868-4444. For info, visit horsetrade.info and pumpkinpieshow.com.

THE MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM: SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY, GHOST TOUR
As haunted houses go, you can’t make this stuff up. Currently celebrating its 75th year of providing a frozen-in-time glimpse of NYC domestic life as lived from 1835-1865, the Merchant’s House Museum long ago staked its claim as “Manhattan’s most haunted house.” Dozens of unexplained events and spectral sightings have taken place over the years (the most recent just a few weeks ago, on two successive nights during public events). The brave and curious will get a great history lesson — and maybe even a playful prod from a friendly spirit — at any one of the upcoming paranormal-themed events.

Through November 28, “In the Spirit — Modern Photographers Channel the 19th-Century” is an exhibit of historic and modern images, including 19th century spirit photographs (considered to be proof of communication with the spirits of departed loved ones). You’ll also see current works by Sally Mann, John Dugdale, Hal Hirshorn and RA Friedman — modern “medium photographers” who use early photographic techniques. The exhibit is free, with regular admission to the museum.

Hear true tales of unexplained encounters (some of them told by the people who experienced them) and learn about the servants and Tredwell family members said to have stuck around after their deaths — during the “Candlelight Ghost Tours.” They happen Fri.-Sat., Oct. 21/22; and Thurs.-Sat., Oct. 27-29. The 50-minute tours begin every half hour. The 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30pm tours are $25. The 8, 8:30 and 9pm tours are $30. The 9:30pm tour, for $40, includes a trip to the fourth floor servant’s quarters.

On Sun., Oct. 30, 3-5pm, “From Parlor to Grave: 1865 Funeral Reenactment” finds the Merchant’s House parlors draped in black crape, for this recreation of the 1865 funeral of Seabury Tredwell. After the service, mourners will follow the coffin to nearby New York City Marble Cemetery for a tour ($30; $10 for graveside service and cemetery tour only).

On Mon., Oct. 31 (at 7 and 8:30pm), “Spine Tingling and True: Ghost Stories of the Merchant’s House Museum” is presided over by Merchant’s House ghost-storytellers Anthony Bellov and Dayle Vander Sande — who’ll read 19th-century horror classics interspersed with true tales of the supernatural, as experienced by Merchant’s House visitors and staff (cost: $25). Bellov and Vander Sande return at 7pm on Fri., Nov. 18 as two of the four-member Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society. The latest program from this gifted vocal ensemble (“Chant Macabre: Songs of Death & Enchantment”) offers an atmospheric concert featuring 19th-century songs and classical arias ($25).

All events take place at the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Museum Hours: Thurs.-Mon., 12-5pm. Admission: $10 ($5 for students/seniors). For info, call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org.

GHOST IN THE MACHINE
The NYC debut of this work from 22-year-old Queens-based playwright Mike Leon marks his latest collaboration with Nathaniel Basch-Gould. The Williams College alums are like minds who bonded over mythology, as well as four plays written by Leon and directed by Basch-Gould. “Ghost in the Machine” is, as described by Leon, a “tragedy with jokes.” The four-character drama concerns a dead girl named Rachel (victim of a drunk driver) and her lover. Grief-stricken James can’t seem to let go. Through flashbacks, and a “sort of enhanced-dream” disorder, he replays the relationship. Assisted by everything from old voice mails from Rachel to a dose of Ambien, the trip down memory lane soon becomes more intense than he bargained for — as the flashbacks lock James into a nowhere zone between dreaming and memory, in which he must re-enact his role playing with Rachel in a perfect playback or lose her forever.

Thurs., Oct. 13 through Sat, Oct. 15, at 8pm; Sun., Oct. 16 at 2pm; Mon., Oct. 17 through Sat., Oct. 22 at 8pm; Sun., Oct. 23 at 2pm. At Theater for the New City (155 First Ave., btw. 9th & 10th Sts.). For tickets ( $18), call 212-868-4444 or visit smarttix.com. For info visit theaterforthenewcity.net.

JEFFERSON MARKET GARDEN HARVEST FESTIVAL
Free kid-sized pumpkins and supplies to decorate, entertainment sponsored by the New York Public Library, seasonal autumn crafts, goodies and the rare opportunity for city kids to commune with big bales of straw are what makes this event an essential part of your fall calendar. It’s also one of your last chances to enjoy that Greenwich Village urban oasis — the Jefferson Market Garden. One of NYC’s most beautiful and enduring community gardens, this treasured oasis of flowering plants and shrubs is open to the public Tues.-Sun. afternoons through October (then returns anew in May).

The Harvest Festival is a free event. Sat., Oct. 15, 11am-2pm (rain date: Sun., Oct. 16). At the junction of Greenwich Ave., Sixth Ave. and W. 10th St. For more info, visit jeffersonmarketgarden.org.

POLICE MUSEUM HALLOWEEN PARTY
The New York City Police Museum guarantees “a howling good time” to be had by all, at their annual Halloween Party. Come in costume, decorate a treat bag, and then, partake in trick or treating on the premises. There will also be fun and slimy activities (appropriate for kids ages 3-11). Museum staff will provide tips on how to stay safe this Halloween and every child will receive a free Halloween wrist reflector. This event is free, with regular admission ($8; $5 for students, seniors and children; free for children under 2). Sat., Oct. 22, 11am-2pm. At The New York City Police Museum (100 Old Slip).

For info, 212-480-3100 or visit nycpm.org. Regular Hours: Mon. through Sat., 10am-5pm and Sun., 12-5pm.

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