When the giant inflatable green-and-purple Frankenstein arises from the center of the store to welcome all visitors, you know it's... Halloween at Amoeba L.A.!!!
The store looked spooky for weeks... cobwebs, bats and pumpkins everywhere, skeletons dancing... even a skeleton with a handlebar moustache over the info counter! Hmmm... also an old-timey gentleman skeleton in a top hat lounging above the opera CDs in the Jazz Room. A spectre from beyond the tomb hung over our eerie Halloween section, filled with spooky sound effects, every compilation ever made with "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo on it, and some Jennifer Lopez movies. Creepy!
Halloween dawned bright and sunny (as it sometimes does in L.A.) but we kept it appropriate in the store with some Cramps blasting on the stereo and candy bowls everywhere for trick-or-treaters. Many folks arrived in costume... I was particularly startled by a co-worker dressed as Richard D. James a.k.a the Aphex Twin! Pretty scary... and a really good cardboard robot (the Bot-O-Tron) and a girl with her head in a milk carton that said "Missing", and many more... Minnie Mouse, a mime, an evil clown, a melancholy bumblebee even!
At 3 we kicked the party off with our Halloween DJ, DJ Heebie Jeebies (real name Mike Dehlin, frontman for local psychobilly outfit The Goddamn Gallows). He kept it real (scary) with lots of good old evil tunes from "She's My Witch" by the Sonics to "Run To the Hills" by Iron Maiden, interspersed with amazing horror movie trailers (the one for the transgender "Dr. Jeckyll and Sister Hyde" was my favorite!). Around 5 the excitement was building... it was almost time for our annual Halloween costume contest!
As the many spooky contestants gathered round the stage, I donned my giant silver head with the monocle and purple moustache (no catchy name for this costume... I called it the Old Time Space Gentleman, others thought it looked like Mr. Peanut or the Monopoly Man, but all in aluminum foil). Like Ed McMahon to Johnny Carson, I introduced our host and handed off the mike -- it was our old friend Lance Rock!
Mr. Rock worked with us for many years, and made a name for himself as a fantastic DJ and all-around raconteur before blasting off into television stardom on the wonderful kids show Yo Gabba Gabba. When he stepped out onto the stage in his witch hat, afro and orange '70s sunglasses, the crowd went bananas! Proclaiming himself the "funky warlock", Lance welcomed all costumed Amoebites to the stage, and the contest was on!
When it comes to Halloween costumes, Amoebites are creative and competitive, as the photos show... the judging was difficult but we came out with a Scariest Dude (DJ Heebie Jeebies in black skull mask and '50s attire), Scariest Lady, Funniest Dude (Chris Carmena as Mystery, the Pickup Artist), Funniest Lady (sorry I can't remember these... I think this one was Jessy Schwartz and her dog as Pippi Longstocking and dog)... I think the "strangest" went to Richard D. James, and the final pose-off between rival sexy dudes Paul Jones (as a pimp, er -- entrepreneur) and Chris Byerly (as Officer Dingle from Reno 911) went to... the man with the short shorts, Officer Dingle! Chaos and craziness reigned after that... the members of Kiss were tossed into the crowd, in puffy doll form anyway, and Danzig came on the stereo to get us all in the mood for the evening's festivities!
It was a howling good time... I'm already excited for next year!!!