Friday, September 28, 2012

End o' week musings

Last Friday I told you I had a weekend of adventure ahead, so I'll jump right in.

That night I went to the opening night of Knott's Scary Farm's Halloween Haunt. It may sound weird, I don't really get scared by creepy stuff, but I get a huge kick out it. I think it stems from those years in my childhood when my father dared me to watch the horror films on the television at night with the lights out. It was a big joke to him, but it was a dare to me, one I took seriously and I sat through everything no matter how scary.

My brother is the same way. I remember going with him to a haunted maze in the Guasti vineyards in Rancho Cucamonga. We stopped on our way through to look at how one wall had been coated with some oozy liquidy looking stuff. A monster crept up to scare us and Jason put out "the hand" to the creature. "In a minute please," he said. I laughed and apologized. How embarrassing- to stave off a scare - and then adding to my blush, my brother turned and asked the poor teen trying to do his job if he knew how the effect was made!

But I digress... Knott's does Halloween better than any theme park around, but with 40 years of experience it should. This year there are 11 mazes, plus the Evil Dead Log Ride and eight shows. My friend Dean joined me for the evening and we managed to take in every maze. I especially enjoyed the totally new one, Trick or Treat. Here, you ring the doorbell to trick-or-treat and the door opens to reveal the interior of the witch's house. As you explore the rooms learning more about her, costumed  trick-or-treaters come out to make you jump or just add to the experience.The little touches were the best, such as hats hung on the wall in the bedroom, candles in the bathroom and "blood" smeared down the oven door. Hmmm.... don't think I want to stay for dinner there!

The other maze I relished was Dominion of the Dead. I understand that it is a revamp (oh, that's too punny!) of a vampire maze from the past. It was actually quite beautiful in a gothic, eerie way. Some of the vampires are very attractive, while others are scary and Nosferatu-like. Along the walk-through are pretty tapestries and tableaus with vampires playing instruments, such as violin and cello, painting on big canvases and other artistic pursuits. It lulls you into a sweet, timeless dream and hits you with a few really good scares.

As for shows, we caught "The Hanging Games" of course. Haunt just isn't Haunt without the Hanging. It's the stunt show mixed with popular culture and is always a crowd-pleaser. This year was fun as always. "Zamora's Sideshow of Torture" was creepy and little icky. Zamora walks on glass, eats a lightbulb, lays on sharp swords and more, while his assistant Dr. Odd amuses the audience with quirky stunts and a penchant for body parts. If this show doesn't make you squirm in your seat you're not paying attention.

The only disappointment of the night was "The Witching Hour" - nine minutes I'll never get back (thank goodness it wasn't an hour!). It sounded promising, but first made me angry and then frustrated. The basic storyline is a woman is going to be hanged for being a witch and fights back because, well, she is a witch. The problem here is the actress has a shrieky voice and yells incessantly whether she's trying to save herself or telling the crowd that she really controls the town. I hope Knott's looks this one over and either rewrites it or cuts it.

The highlight of the Haunt every year is the Boo-fet. You get a break out of the noise and craziness for an opportunity to sit down and enjoy a terrific repast. The spread is amazing. There is Mexican food, a pasta bar with a chef cooking your choice fresh, a carving station with prime rib, rack of lamb and more, an ice sculpture-graced shrimp and crab claw station, a row of table with chicken dinner favorites, nice salads, fresh fruit and gorgeously gory desserts, including Frankenstien and coffin mousses, cupcakes and pumpkin cheesecake. There is also an open bar with soda, wine, beer and simple cocktails. It's one price for everything too!- $25 at the door, but there are also specials online for as low as $18. Either way, it's definitely worth it.

Knott's Halloween Haunt continues selected evenings through Oct. 31.  Visit

Sunday was Doo Dah on the Green, a music festival at the Pasadena Museum of History ( ) in conjuction with the "What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been: 35 Years of the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade" exhibit. Horses on Astroturf and Snotty Scotty & the Hankies supplied the bulk of the music, with some guest appearances like Tequila Mockingbird. Dean went with me to this as well. I coerced him into dressing as a Hawaiian tourist with me with the promise of a picnic. We had the complete setup- lawn chairs, picnic basket, ice bucket with sparkling water chilling and a small table with a candle on it! Too fun! It was a nice time.

On Monday I went to see Owl City in concert at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood. He was terrific! If you want to know more about this cool pop artist, read this

Anyone who knows me, knows I like my music hard, so Owl City is way outside my usual milieu. I discovered him on a collaborative CD. Intrigued by his way with words, I researched and discovered his crafty lyrics are the norm. He has a good feel for music, plays all his instruments and composes and arranges well too. I couldn't resist and now own three of his albums!

This weekend I have lots to do. One big excitement is performing for the opening of the new exhibit at the Punk Rock Museum, here's the skinny:

"Punk Royals" opening reception
4-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29
Punk Rock Museum, 1640 N. Spring St., Los Angeles 90046 (Chinatown)

I will be dancing with my swords around 9 p.m. and there will be other entertainment and surprises as well.

On Sunday I'm in the parade at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona at 12:30 p.m. If you're out there, wave as I pass by. I'll probably be on one of the floats-- whichever one least matches my belly dance outfit ha ha ha!

In rotation this week: Owl City, Dio, Incubus, Dead Kennedys and Toy Dolls.

Photos we got 'em: Desserts at the Boo-fet at Knott's Halloween Haunt and a photo of Dean and I at Doo Dah on the Green in Pasadena by  Brad Macneil.

Thought o' the week: Do what you love. Oh, it's oh so good to be back in my Polynesian/Tahitian dance class. Yes, my instructor Tavana is working us hard, but it's sooo worth it!

Sometimes you don't realize how much you enjoy something until you can't. Work got in the way big time for me to continue my dance classes last session and I was debating whether I would go back, as my life is always too busy. I'm so glad that I decided to go for it. I'm enjoying hanging out with the rest of the students and conquering new steps.Sure, my body and my brain are tired when we finish, but it's a good tired and I'm realizing how much I missed it. It's like taking a little Hawaiian vacation each week.

I'm sure there's something in your life that makes you feel good that you've pushed aside because your life is too busy. Perhaps it's time to make some room in your schedule and add it back in. You'll feel better and be happier overall if you do what you love.

Keep on rockin'

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