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Good Old Skull Days

Bone-Fire of the Vanities: Vultures pick at the bones of the unfortunate deceased in one of the elaborate papier-mâché creations of the Linares family.

Day of the Dead artists at MACLA, and a guide to Halloween events around the valley

By Michael S. Gant

IN The Skeleton at the Feast, their book about Mexico's Day of the Dead, Elizabeth Carmichael and Chloë Sayer include a photograph of a candy skull wearing a pumpkin-shaped helmet fashioned of spun sugar. In this marvelous blending of traditions, the Day of the Dead calaveras coexists with the carved, grinning jack-o'-lantern of Halloween. Despite the misgivings of some cultural critics who see such cross-pollination as a form of holiday colonialism, the confluence of images and motifs demonstrates how traditions remain vital by absorbing and reworking outside influences.

Halloween costumers favor goblins and demons, while the major-domo of Dia de los Muertos is the skeleton spirit, sometimes worn as a black garment with painted white bones but more often appearing as a painted toy with movable limbs or a large papier-mâché sculpture. Of all the makers of Day of the Dead figures, none are more celebrated than the members of the Linares family of Mexico City. For three generations, the Linareses have turned the craft of papier-mâché into an art form. In their most ambitious works, they have taken the satirical skeleton posters of José Posada and turned them into 3-D tableaux.

Leading up to this Saturday's Day of the Dead celebrations, MACLA, the San José Center for Latino Arts, is hosting an exhibit and a series of workshops by two members of the Linares family--Miguel and son Ricardo. Working from the simplest of ingredients, the two men create exceptional scenes of human folly enacted by gleeful skeletons. Atop brightly lacquered skulls, prancing skeletons torment sinners with pinchers, saw and pliers; one unfortunate bony soul is lowered by a rope into a pit of hell. These flights of Boschean whimsy elicit both a shudder and a laugh--exactly the best response to both holidays.

Halloween Events Guide
Also, check out Metroactive's Halloween links and costume resources.


Beach Street Haunted House
Thru Nov 1. Wed-Sun, 7-10pm; Fri-Sat, 7pm-midnight, $7.95. Corner of Beach and Cliff streets, Santa Cruz (408/423-6540).

Oct 31-Nov 2. 8pm and 10pm. $24. Kimball's East, 5800 Shellmound St, Emeryville (510/658-2555).

Open Oct 30-Nov 1, 8:30pm-1am. The disco club presents dance favorites performed by Velvet Jones, drink specials, a costume contest and more on Oct 31. Elegant dress code. Call for more information. 369 S. First St, San Jose (408/971-0798)

Goodwill Store Costume Sales
Costume shoppers can find the greatest selection and help a worthy cause. Located in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Campbell, Milpitas and Santa Clara. Call for more information (408/998-5798).

GYRO's 3-D World of Terror
Featuring the Museum of Terror. Thru Nov 1. $9, Sun-Thu, 7-10pm; $12, Fri, 7pm-midnight; $12, Sat, 6pm-midnight. The Pavilion, 150 S. First St, San Jose (408/492-0600).

Haunted Forest
Featuring the Phantom Express. Thru Oct 31, 7pm. $8/$6 children. Oak Meadow and Vasona parks, Los Gatos (408/354-6842).

MaliBoo Mansion
Thru Oct 31. Sun noon-10pm; Mon-Fri 2-10pm. $5. Proceeds benefit Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Call for more information. Malibu Grand Prix Castle, 320 Blomquist St, Redwood City (650/367-1906).

Pumpkin Junction
Thru Oct 31. 7am-8pm. Casa de Fruta, 6680 Pacheco Pass Hwy, Hollister (408/637-9316).

Pumpkin Patch
Pick the perfect pumpkin at the benefit patch sponsored by Walnut Avenue Women's Center and Habitat for Humanity. Ends Fri. Daily. Beach St, SC (426-3062).

Pumpkins in the Garden
Children from all over the county display their wild, scary and just plain silly carved pumpkins. Daily 11am-6pm. The Pergola, 2590 Main St, Soquel 464-2590.

West Bay Opera Guild
Halloween costume rental. Thru Oct 30, 5-9pm. Holt Building, 221 Lambert Ave, Palo Alto (650/843-3903).

Winchester Mystery House
Flashlight tours. Oct 31-Nov 1, 6pm-midnight. $18. Winchester Mystery House, 525 S. Winchester Blvd, San Jose (408/998-BASS).

World's Largest Haunted House
Thru Nov 1, 6-11pm, $8.50/$6.50 10 and under. Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Rd, San Jose (800/848-9520).

October 30

Hard Way Disco Hell
Halloween starts early at the world-premiere screening of The Best of Josh Palmer, followed by three hours of raging disco. Come in costume and get ready to dance. Thu 8:30pm. $5. Palookaville, 1134 Pacific Ave, SC (454-0600).

Swingin & Jumpin Halloween
With Ben Marcato and his Mondo Combo Swing band. Oct 30, 7pm-midnight. $12. Foresters Hall, 1204 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, (650/579-1122).

October 31

Indigo Swing. Wear a costume and get in free. 399 S. First St, San Jose (408/287-4087).

Britannia Arms Almaden
9pm. Frank Joseph. $100 prizes for best '70s costume and best non-'70s costume. 5027 Almaden Expwy, Almaden (408/266-0550).

Britannia Arms Cupertino
9pm. Dick Nixon. 1087 De Anza Blvd, Cupertino (408/252-7262).

Candy for Kids
6-7pm. Trick-or-treat candy will be available for children dressed in costume at Children's Corner, 1600 Saratoga Avenue, Westgate Shopping Center, Saratoga and Campbell avenues, San Jose (408/370-0444).

Cheers' Biggest Halloween Bash
6:30pm. $3,000 in cash and prizes. 685 El Camino Real, Sunnyvale (408/749-1288).

Children's Corner Halloween Party
7pm. Favorite ghost stories, monster bingo and trick-or-treating. Children may come in costume. Children's Corner, Barnes & Noble, 3600 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose (408/984-3495).

Clicks and Treats
Bring your costumed kiddies for a Halloween picture and treat, plus enter 'em in a costume contest. Fri noon-5pm. Cotton Tales, 1201 Pacific Ave, SC (429-1956).

Costume Ball
MamaJam Productions presents a costume ball to benefit the Lesbian/Gay/ Bisexual/Transgendered Community Center. Fri 9pm. $7-$10. SC Dance Gallery, 418 Front St, SC (429-6636).

Don your swankiest costume duds and groove to the Digbeats rhythm at this high-class Halloween ball. Fri 9pm. $10. Brookdale Lodge, 11570 Hwy 9, Brookdale (338-7633).

The Duke of Edinburgh
9pm. Costume contest. Music with Spanking Machine. 10801 N. Wolfe Rd, Cupertino (408/446-DUKE).

The Edge
7pm-3am. $10. Win a share of $3,000 cash in prizes for best costumes. Featuring Black Lab and Head Swim. 260 California Ave, Palo Alto (415/324-EDGE).

Fang-tastic Fun
5-8pm. Free. With Pinky the Witch, Halloween sing-alongs and more for children ages 2-10. Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto (650/329-2121).

Fibbar Magee's Mountain View
Costume contest. Music by Milk. 223 Castro St., Mountain View (415/964-9151).

Fibbar Magee's Sunnyvale
Costume contest. Music with Floyd's Ordeal. 156 S. Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale (408/749-8373).

5th Quarter
Costume contest, music by Party of Five. 1373-B Kooser Rd, San Jose (408/265-7033).

Fairy grandfather Bill Burke hosts a Creature Feature, with proceeds to benefit the children's program of Spectrum Hospice. 6554 Mirabel Road; 5 p.m.; photos with monsters, $3; bring gift for terminally ill children (707/887-2222)

Freaks Come Out
8pm-1am. $8 with valid high school ID. DJ dancing, interactive games, skating, a video arcade, fortune-tellers and a costume contest. Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, 344 Tully Rd, San Jose (408/292-7292).

Ghost Train
Follow Ichabod Crane through Bear Mountain on this spooky Legend of Sleepy Hollow ride through the forest. Reservations required. Fri 4:30pm. $15/costumed children free when accompanied by a paying adult. Roaring Camp, Graham Hill Rd, Felton (335-4484).

Great Halloween Fiasco
Improv comedy, a costume contest and prizes. ComedySportz, 3438 El Camino Real, Santa Clara (408/985-LAFF).

Halloween Alternative
6-9pm. Games, crafts, prizes and an Astro Jump. First Presbyterian Church of Milpitas, S. Park Victoria Drive and Clear Lake Avenue, Milpitas (408/262-8000)

Halloween Bash
5-10pm. Costume contest and live band. Santa Barbara Grill, corner of Hwy 280 and De Anza Blvd, Cupertino (408/253-2233).

Halloween Concert
8pm. $8. A selection of spooky classical tunes for Halloween. St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave, Palo Alto (650/326-3800).

Halloween Dance
9pm. $10/$8. Zorba's Restuarant, 1350 S. Bascom, San Jose (408/737-5319).

Halloween: The Event
9pm-5am. $15 dr. 21+. DJ Bruce, Jason Edwards and Miguel. Visual show by Multi Media Meltdown, costume contest with cash prizes, fresh oysters and more. V/SF, 278 11th St, San Francisco (415/281-0823).

Halloween Fetish Ball
9pm-6am. Power Exchange invites trick and treaters. Power Exchange Mainstation, 74 Otis St, San Francisco (415/974-1460).

Halloween Howls
Best monster/drag queen/couple costume contest. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (408/423-7117).

Halloween in the Park
Costumed kids are invited to meet the "animals" on a non-scary walk through the redwood grove. Fri 5-7pm. Free. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, off Hwy 9, Felton (335-1743).

Halloween Masquerade
Oct 31, 7-11pm. $49.95 plus tax and gratuity. A ghoulish feast with witch's brew and screaming stew, dancing with music by Alphie Dryffus Productions, fortune telling, costume prizes and more. Reservations required. Byington Winery, 21850 Bear Creek Rd, Los Gatos (408/354-1111 ext 206)

Halloween on the Wharf
Costumed boys and ghouls under 12 can gobble goodies, parade in a costume contest and carve pumpkins on the wharf. Fri 4-6pm. Free. Municipal Wharf, SC (429-3477).

Halloween Pool
A costume contest plus half-price pool, soda and beer. Fri 9pm. Fast Eddy's, 4300 Capitola Rd, Capitola (462-1882).

Halloween Skate
Dance, skate and enter your costume at this Halloween celebration. Fri 7pm-midnight. $8. The Rink, 251 Kings Village Rd, Scotts Valley (438-2233).

Halloween Spook-Tacular
9pm. $7 adv./$8 dr. Featuring Slow Gherkin, the Hi-Fives and Monkey. Palookaville, 1133 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (408/454-0600).

Harvest Festival
6-8pm. Free admission. Games, candy, prizes. Park Victoria Baptist Church, 875 S. Park Victoria Dr, Milpitas (408/263-9000).

Hawaiian Chieftain
6-10pm. $2. With Lady Washington. Come aboard the haunted pirate ships at the Bay Model, Sausalito (415/331-3214).

Hookers' Halloween Ball
VIP party 7pm; main event 8:30pm. $75/$80 door, VIP; $45/$50 door, main event. Dr. Harry Lovecraft and his Magical Medicine Show, Scarlot Harlot, Dutch Falconi and his Twisted Orchestra and more. Maritime Hall, 450 Harrison St, San Francisco (BASS).

JJ's Blues Club
9pm. $7. Costume contest. Music by Josh Smith. 3439 Stevens Creek, San Jose (243-6441).

Old Courthouse Square
Meanwhile, Ralph the Hot Dog Man celebrates five years in the great wide open with music by Eric Lindell and the Reds. Downtown Santa Rosa; 4 to 6 p.m.; free (707/523-2636)

The Palace Halloween Extravaganza
10pm-2am. $15. Nonstop dancing, costumes and more. The Palace Restaurant, 146 S. Murphy Ave. Sunnyvale (408/739-5179).

The six-piece steel band provides an unlikely musical backdrop for Halloween celebrating. Fri 10:30pm. Costa Brava, 1222 Pacific Ave, SC (425-7871).

P.J. Mulligan
Costume contest $1,000 first prize, $500 second prize. $3 cover. 19979 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (408/255-0588).

A Raging Ideal Party with costume prizes, drink specials and music by RST. Fri 9pm-1am. No cover. Ideal Bar & Grill, 106 Beach St, SC (423-5271).

Rooster T. Feathers Halloween Night
10pm. Wear your costume and get in free. 152 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale (408/736-0921).

San Jose Live: Halloween Contest
8pm. Win over $2,000 in cash & prizes for best costumes. 150 S. First St, San Jose (408/291-2234).

Santa Clara Halloween Party
3:30-6pm. Free. Games, crafts, a coloring contest and more. Youth Activity Center, 2450 Cabrillo Ave, Santa Clara (408/984-4511).

Schermer & Hanck
Mike Schermer and Terry Hanck sing the blues at Moe's Halloween costume bash. Fri 9:30pm. $8. Moe's Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, SC (479-1854).

Sebastopol Community Center
The Women's Circle of Remembrance is an invitation to gather outrageously, sing, and dance in honor of our ancestors; bring a percussion instrument and photo of beloved dead. 390 Morris St.; 8 p.m.; $13-$20 (707/829-2833)

Sonoma Community Center
Those Cajun champs the Gator Beat band stomp; come in costume for cash prizes. 276 E. Napa St.; 8:30 p.m.; $4-$8 (707/938-4626);

So She Stirs
A trance-formational ritual for All Hallow's Eve hosted by Shekinah Mountainwater. Wear black and bring a comfy sit-upon. Fri 8pm. $10-$20. Pacific Cultural Center, 1307 Seabright Ave, SC (423-7639).

Steele Lane Community Center
Those under 5 can enjoy safe trick-or-treating at Steele Lane Community Center's open house; no scary costumes; bring your own bag 415 Steele Lane, Santa Rosa; 4:30 to 7 p.m.; $3 (707/543-3282)

Stormin' Norman
Norman and the Cyclones scare up a party with their rock & roll tunes. Fri 9pm. Fogbank, 211 Esplanade, Capitola (462-1881).

The imitation '70s superstars boogie-oogie-oogie, while costumed partners compete for up to $500 in cold hard cash. Fri 9:30pm. $16.50/$15. The Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., SC (423-1338).

Swinger's Masquerade Ball
8pm. $30 dr./$25 adv. The New Morty Show, Royal Crown Revue. Hyatt Regency, 5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco (415/675-6208).

7pm. $500 costume contest. Music by Dig This. 52 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose (408/292-7464).

Trials Pub
Chamber of Horrors Halloween Party. 265 N. First St, San Jose (947-0497).

Trick-or-Treat at Happy Hollow
2-5pm. $1. Halloween in a safe atmosphere. Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, 1300 Senter Rd, San Jose (408/277-4193).

Trick-or-Treat Food Drive
5-7pm. Children 10 and under can enjoy trick-or-treating with the donation of nonperishable food items. Vallco Fashion Park, 10123 N. Wolfe Rd, Cupertino (408/255-5660).

The band provides the ghoulish tunes for Callahan's sexiest and scariest costume, screaming and howling contests. Fri 9pm-1am. Callahan's, 507 Water St, SC (427-3119).

The Usual
8pm. $10 adv. Second annual Freak Show. $500 best costume. Laser show and dancing. 400 S. First St, San Jose (408/535-0330).

The Village Inn
8:30pm. Come in costume. The Bud Girls will be on hand to help celebrate. The Village Inn, 1355 Hacienda Ave, Campbell (408/871-2025).

Waves Halloween Bash
9pm. $8/$10 at the door. A live performance by the Yardies. Waves Smokehouse & Saloon, 65 Post St, San Jose (408/885-9283).

Youth Halloween Dance
DJ dancing for ages 18 and under. 7-11pm. Free. Billy DeFrank Lesbian & Gay Community Center, 175 Stockton Ave San Jose. (408/293-3040).

November 1

Halloween Bash
The holiday spirit keeps going with "A Night in Old Morocco," a cabaret and tribal-style performance with belly dancing, a costume contest and more. Sat 7:30pm. $10. Brookdale Lodge, 11570 Hwy 9, Brookdale (338-6433).

Day of the Dead

Calaveras y Calacas
A reenactment by Los Lupeños of the popular Mexican custom. Nov 2, 2 and 6pm. $6/$4 children. Milpitas Community Center, 457 F. Calaveras Blvd, Milpitas (408/292-0443).

Day of the Dead Ceremony
A performance by Los Lupeños (7pm), storytelling by Olga Loya (8pm) and a Ceremony of Remembrance by Vercila Chacón (9pm). Nov 1. MACLA, 510 S. First St, San Jose. (408/998-ARTE).

Dia de los Muertos
Nov 1, noon-4pm; Nov 2, 6pm. Free. Exhibit opens Nov 1; Candle procession, Calvary Cemetery and Teatro de los Pobres Center, Nov 2. National Hispanic University Auditorium, 14271 Story Rd, San Jose (408/254-3878).

Evergreen Day of the Dead
With the Xipetotec Azteca Dancers, a poetry reading by Alfred Arteaga and a procession. Oct 30, 6:30pm. Evergreen Valley College, 3095 Yerba Buena Rd, San Jose.

Fiesta for the Day of the Dead
A dinner and rock en Español. Nov 2, 7-11pm. $10. Benson Student Center, Santa Clara University. (408/377-6807).

Una Celebracion
A celebration of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, with a community altar, interactive storytelling, Ballet Folklorico and art activities. Sun noon-5pm. MAH, 705 Front St, SC (429-1964).

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From the Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 1997 issue of Metro.

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