The Post-Halloween Blues? Thoughts on RBCM’s Night Shift Series and Nov 3 & 4th in #YYJ

IMG_20171028_201614920Post-Halloween, I’m not sure what I want to do next. Thankfully, the season is not over with Last Chance Productions bringing Evil Dead the Musical to town November 3rd and 4th to the Metro Theatre! You can click here to buy tickets. I mentioned them in an article last year about them finally coming to town, and this show is worth revisiting since it’s bloodier than Rocky Horror. As with live theatre, there will always be refinement. It’s not often audiences get sprayed than toss stuff in celebration of a scene in the latter.

Honestly, I should not have to leave my hometown of Victoria, BC to have some spooky fun. Usually, I’m tempted to go to Vancouver so I can enjoy Fright Nights at Playland. With this island community, a few events are more or less going to be the same year-after-year. Sadly, Rocky Horror Show fits under this bill as with slightly different Corn Mazes and variations of the Haunted House to navigate through. To get the route you want on Ghostly Walks requires getting a specific tour guide. What I want to experience are the special one-off’s. This garden city is home to an annual theatre production at Craigdarroch Castle which Launch Pad Theatre Company is doing a great job.

About four years ago, the Royal BC Museum (RBCM) experimented with the idea of making a Night at the Museum style fun and having a party like none other — perhaps inspired the film of the same name. Other museums around the world offer something similar, and they are usually geared for the whole family than adults to enjoy. There are even a few which get a touch academic. The articles I read online about these events often makes me think I should travel to check these other options but I always hold back, hoping my town’s museum can offer something similar. In what I’ve experienced at RBCM’s Night Shift, the organizers do a great job. They also touch up a few of their permanent exhibits to get into the spirit.

The photo booths are always fun to get your memento for the year, the food catered by Truffles Catering is very good (the prices are high but after doing enough media conventions, I’m just used to this fact) and the mini-concerts are the highlight! There are dance floors with DJs providing a variety of pumped-up tunes to dance to.  I am here to get my spook on! (sorry ghouls)

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I want to see local acts and dance to live music! Bučan Bučan are regulars since I started keeping tabs on this show. New this year are two additional groups. The group Labs is great, but Fortune Killers knocked it out of the park. My only criticism is that the night should have closed with the cover of Michael Jackson’s Thriller than adding an encore song.

Because of the venue, security eventually has to enforce the no feeding the masses after midnight rule. Nobody were nasty gremlins about this fact, but if only this show can go into 1am instead of midnight. This event is definitely popular. Atomique Productions is a joint partner and they put on a high-quality show. To bring it up to an explosive level would mean catering to the nitpickers. Instead of generalizing some aspects of this event, let’s get specific:

The Majestic Theatre is underutilized; a lot of great vintage films are in the public domain besides Charlie Chaplin and to have a festival within a festival in there would be great. I think there’s a sixty seat limit, but if organizers can figure out a way to draw the cinephiles to this chamber, the experience will be worthwhile.

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I really enjoyed the cocktail demonstrations and hope more side attractions can be offered. Mixologist Solomon Siegel gave the perfect blend of a history lesson, how to and reveal about the art of the cocktail. If the organizers are listening, please offer more!

I saw very few carnival type games (one seemed to have been put away halfway through the event) as I wandered around. Perhaps, weather permitting, having this outdoors can be better or be putting more on the main floor so people can win drink tickets (this event is for 18+) can be enticing.

In the section for First Nations display, the ceremonial house was roped off for good reason. I feel to host something scary within the aboriginal section of the museum is disrespectful to the culture. I see no problem to have traditional supernatural tales (not the kind where skinwalkers are doing harm) told. This idea would be more of an enlightening treatment than to consider this time of the year about the dark. Interestingly, the adjoining space where crafts were offered had me spooked; disembodied voices were calling out for help and other groans were echoing around the room. The potential exists for other parts of the museum to be made up into a House of Horrors and as I recall, this concept was done the first year this Halloween show started.

There are rumours of this museum being haunted. I’m not talking about Helmcken House which sits next to it, but there are whispered stories about shadows skirting about in Old Town. Any paranormal researcher will talk about how relics are able to store memories (energies) which sometimes causes it to animate.

This event has the potential to be bigger and the talk of the town. Just how large depends on the resources and budget available. While I do not need to come back year after year since Vancouver has the SPARK Animated Film Festival the same weekend (yes, I love this medium as much as I love the season) but if I hear this event is adding more stuff to do than dance and socialize, I’m there. Once ticket sales begin, they sell out within hours and only the brave and bold will have to keep tabs every early September to secure passes. There is an active trade market for those who find out they can not attend last minute, but they are usually sold at inflated prices. Yes, this event  is almost like San Diego Comic Con because locals want to attend this show that bad.

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