Nonstop theater, a costume competition, and ballroom dancing bewitches the East Village in Theater for the New City's 29th Annual Village Halloween Costume Ball. This unique festival continues as a grand coming-together for everyday New Yorkers and artists alike. A fall tradition, it celebrates the creativity that comes with the season. Crystal Field, TNC's artistic director, notes, "No matter what your religion, you can come together for this holiday -- it's not religiously attached. Fun and joyousness are what we need now, and this costume festival is above all, fun." The one-night fiesta takes over all four of TNC's theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues.
Customarily over 1,400 wildly-clad celebrants gather for dancing, dining, showing off costumes, and viewing acts from the cutting-edge of cabaret and theater. Costume or formal wear is required. Dance orchestras will include Paprika, the noted Brazilian jazz pop orchestra, and Hot Lavender Swing Band, an all-Gay and Lesbian 18-piece orchestra. With its Witches' Cauldron, the event can justifiably claim to have downtown's most sensational Halloween cafe. The Community Theater of TNC becomes an atmospheric grande buffet for the event, with a variety of American and international delicacies available at peoples' prices.
Holiday dishes are contributed by neighboring East Village restaurants and a variety of private chefs. You can gobble couscous from a coffin lid beginning at 7:30 pm while enjoying spine-tingling jazz by Arthur Abrams, Norman Savitt and more. Outside, there are bluegrass and jazz bands, fire eaters, jugglers, storyweavers and stilt dancers, all free to the public and a gift from TNC to its neighborhood. Inside, there is theater all evening. Since its beginning in 1977, TNC's Halloween extravaganza has been a point of origin for many of the City's most original entertainers.
Now the event takes up every available inch (both floors) of TNC's multi-theater complex at 155 First Avenue and adjoining outdoor spaces. Doors open at 7:30 pm and indoor entertainment begins at 8:00 pm. There will be two continuously-running cabarets. Outdoor entertainment, free to the public, starts at 5:00 pm with music and more and an assortment of jugglers and vaudeville acts including fire breathers. Outdoor entertainment is capped by "The Red and Black Masque," an annual Medieval ritual show written by Arthur Sainer, scored by David Tice and directed by Crystal Field which is performed by torchlight. Scattered through the event will be stilt dancers, jugglers, fire-eaters, Vaudeville playlets and Burlesque. Lobby attractions will include a Wiccan Psychic Reader, Astrology/Numerology, an Aura Reader, throwing of the I Ching, belly dancers, Hellsouls, and Paganini Apparition. The entire facility will be elaborately rendered for Halloween, featuring intricate and massive environments by leading theatrical scenarists, sculptors, and artists.
The annual costume judging begins at 11:30 pm with the "Monsters and Miracles Costume Parade," as all revelers are invited to march past a panel of celebrity judges. Winners in twelve individual categories will receive one-year passes to TNC and a bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne. Attendees will be judged in such categories as "Most Magickal," "Most Psychic," "Most Bo-Toxic," "Most Hurricane-Blown," "Most Pissed about Iraq," "Most Socially-Promoted," "Most Faith-Based," "Most Martha Stewart," "Most Hopeful Pacifist," "Most Disrupted in Afghan Elections," "Most Gas Guzzling," "Most Undecided," "Most Newly Registered Voter," "Most Recurrent Afterthought" and "Most Easy to Amuse While Standing in Line."
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