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BY SCOTT STIFFLER | THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW: SEASICK
From haunted houses to slasher films, there are faster ways to go to hell this Halloween — but nothing worms its way into your brain and stays there quite like a Pumpkin Pie Show. Clay McLeod Chapman, who never met a car trunk he didn’t want to stuff a body into, excels at crafting sinister monologues that have all the simplicity of a good old boy’s campfire story and all the frustrating complexity of an onion whose toxic rot isn’t revealed until the final layer has been peeled back. We’re still reeling from last year’s collection, which included a protective mother whose little girl develops murderous, avian instincts. Then there was Chapman’s own (true?) story of his heterosexual awakening during a trip to see Broadway’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” Still…in…our…heads.
This year’s edition is a departure in terms of performance style, but a welcome return to form in the blood and guts department. Rather than a collection of monologues covering a variety of gruesome scenarios, “Seasick” has one lone tale to tell. With music by Kyle Jarrow, the Pumpkin crew (Chapman, Hanna Cheek, Abe Goldfarb, Katie Hartman and Brian Silliman) portrays a group enjoying all the perks a luxury cruise ship has to offer. But when an outbreak of norovirus divides the passengers into haves and have nots, their sense of morality veers as far off course as the boat they’re floating in. That’s the decisive moment when “one family must fight for their survival onboard this sun-and-blood-drenched cruise into madness.” Not for the weak of stomach, we’ve been warned — and they’re not talking about the midnight buffet!
Oct. 16–Nov. 1, Thurs. –Sat. at 8 p.m. At UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Pl., btw. First Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($18, $15 for students/seniors), call 888-596-1027 or visit horsetrade.info. For artist info: claymcleodchapman.com.
THE PINK ROOM: DAVID LYNCH BURLESQUE
Soon to celebrate its silver anniversary, it’s just been announced that the cult TV show “Twin Peaks” is coming back for a nine-episode arc, in what we hope will be all of its strange and wonderful glory. Peaks Freaks jonesing to immerse themselves in the world of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s dark, eccentric and occasionally murderous small Pacific Northwest logging town don’t need to wait until 2016 — or subscribe to Showtime. Long before there where whispers of a small screen revival, Francine “The Lucid Dream” (an old soul with an eye for new talent) was producing “The Pink Room: David Lynch Burlesque.” This Downtown theatrical tribute began with a focus on “Peaks” but soon branched out into exploring other, equally unsettling, works from Lynch (including “Inland Empire” and “Lost Highway”).
The Pink Room’s new season kicks off with “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Burlesque!” Preview your Halloween costume by showing up dressed as Agent Cooper or The Log Lady (and don’t be shy about putting a sexy spin on it). Booed at Cannes in 1992, “Fire Walk With Me” (Lynch’s big screen prequel, released after ABC pulled the plug on “Peaks”) is still a divisive topic among fans. It did, though, have one thing going for it: an R rating that allowed Lynch unfettered access to bare flesh and adult behavior too explicit for network TV. That’s the promise of Showtime in 2016, and The Pink Room on Oct. 24, 2014 (hosted by Schaffer the Darklord as Agent Gordon Cole, with performances by Amelia Bareparts, Apathy Angel, Bunny Buxom, Granny Fluffer, Matt Knife, Nasty Canasta and Francine. Go-go by Seedy Edie).
Fri., Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. At Parkside Lounge (317 E. Houston St. at Attorney St.). For tickets ($15), visit brownpapertickets.com. $20 at the door (cash only). Two-drink minimum, 21+ to enter. Also visit parksidelounge.net and francineburlesque.com.
GHOST TOURS AT MERCHANT’S HOUSE MUSEUM
A Merchant’s House Museum Candlelight Ghost Tour can be a touching experience, and not just on an emotional level. Over the years, more than one person has turned to see who gave them that gentle nudge, only to find nobody there. Take your chances, if you dare, on this room-by-room trip through the Merchant’s House and back in time. Hear about life as lived in the mid-1800s, by family members and servants who may not have left when their hearts stopped beating. Filled with creepy photos, unsettling audio and first-person accounts of paranormal encounters, these tours have a way of making believers out of skeptics. On Oct. 21, the ultimate skeptic, Dan Sturges, gives a “Ghost Hunting 101” lecture based on his many investigations of the house.
Beginning every half hour from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the 50-minute Ghost Tours ($25) happen Oct. 24, 25 and 28-30 (with a few kid-friendly versions available). Super-spooky version (including fourth floor servants’ quarters) is $35. Reservations highly recommended. Call 212-777-1089 or visit merchantshouse.org. At Merchant’s House Museum (29 E. Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery).