Theatre Bizarre 2018

It’s been about two months since Theatre Bizarre, and I’m still in awe about what I saw that night. I remember the dapper mime in the DJ booth, with phonographs surrounding him, playing electro-swing to all those dressed in costume below. The memories of burlesque are burned in my mind. The words “Hail Zombo” ring through my head, and we worship who brought us into this other world.

Let me rewind a bit.

First of all, Theatre Bizarre is a yearly Halloween party thrown in Detroit’s historic Masonic Temple. This venue is huge, and this party fills up the space appropriately. I wouldn’t even call it a party, but more of a create-your-own-adventure. With eight floors of interactive art, music, shows, etc., there’s no limit to what you can do in a night. John Dunivant started this masquerade illegally in a studio space in an old warehouse in Detroit, but eventually went the legal route and opened it up to the public. For those who love Halloween, it’s a spiritual experience. For those who don’t, it’s still a fun time.

Your night doesn’t start at the party. It starts with getting ready. A costume is 100% required for entry, and everyone gets really into it. I dressed up as a dead Playboy bunny, full in a leather skirt, corset, fishnets, and a leather pair of bunny ears. I also took the opportunity to play with prosthetic’s, and fitted myself with an awesome gash across my throat and blood spattered everywhere.

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Ready for the party!

After your costume is ready, you are finally allowed to enter Zombo’s world. We walked in, and started the night by visiting the Sinema. They were playing old vintage horror pornos (???), and giving out popcorn in exchange for your most embarrassing story. The other partygoers were chatting all around the theatre, hardly paying any attention to the movie.

When we had our fill of shame-ridden popcorn, we made our way to the Burlesque show. The room had a long catwalk-like stage, and we were lucky enough to snag a seat on the side of the catwalk (others had to stand near the back). We were then entertained thoroughly by all the burlesque dancing. I was sad to see it end. But alas, it was time to explore the rest of the party.

The rest of the night was a blur. We stopped and saw clown shows where, for a small fee, you were able to staple money to the clown himself as he put swords down his throat. There were women suspended from giant hooks, metal bands playing in the basement, silent rooms with actors playing the clown king, and secret dance floors everywhere throughout the building. We created our own adventure, and it became one of the best nights I’ve had this year.

I’ve attached the few photos that I took below, but it’s nothing compared to experiencing this party for yourself. The price is steep at $100, but it is absolutely worth every penny. Try it out for yourself, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

-Nina

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