The Big Collage Halloween Meltdown
By: Elise Hugus, October 25, 2011
Courtesy Big Collage - Big Collage collaborators Drew Dunne and Damen Zellars prepare to trick n' treat this weekend for the group's Halloween extravaganza.
For most adults, Halloween has become a sickeningly sweet mixture of nostalgia and annoyance.
We’ve traded our candy for cocktails and cute attempts to look scary to scary attempts to look sexy. We decorate our houses with cheap crap from China in the hopes that we can attract neighborhood children for the only time all year when their parents let them ring strangers’ doorbells.
But for others, Halloween is not just another Hallmark holiday. It is a non-denominational, uniquely American celebration of “the dark side” at a time of year when daylight is fading faster than you can say “trick or treat.”
For the Big Collage Art Collective, Halloween is not just a day: it is a way of life. For weeks, the group has been scheming like gothic football coaches for this weekend’s Big Collage Halloween Meltdown.
It’s a month-long extravaganza of “Dark Art” exhibits, silent film screenings, and musical performances, culminating with “the creepiest party ever” on All Hallow’s Eve.
“We’ve never attempted anything on this scale before. It’s our first festival, so to speak,” says Artistic Director, Greta Ribb.
Not only is it the collective’s most ambitious event of the year, Halloween provides an opportunity for Big Collage to “showcase its wild side,” she says.
“Halloween is a time when the bizarre is completely acceptable. For us, it’s a chance to do things we wouldn’t pull out all year long, at a time when people are up for embracing that kind of thing,” says Ribb.
What’s more, Halloween is accessible to anyone with an imagination, she says.
“It doesn’t have all the stress that our other holidays have. It’s not about gifts or fancy dinners. It doesn’t conjure up feelings of loss or not having enough. Even the poorest kid can pull together a costume with whatever they have and get all the candy they can eat for free,” Ribb comments.
So whether you’re a film buff or a surfer punk, Big Collage likely has something up its long, flowing sleeves to suit your fancy.
A vampire fundraiser
On Friday, the collective will host a screening of W.F. Murnau’s classic silent film Nosferatu at the Cape Cinema in Dennis.
With an original score composed and performed by surf garage band The Inframen, this is bound to be a Nosferatu experience like no other.
Come early to the cinema at 9 PM to peruse the artwork up for raffle, donated by local artists to benefit Big Collage’s new studio space in Chatham’s Commerce Park. (Tickets are $1 each and will be drawn immediately following the film. Check Big Collage’s Facebook page for clues as to what you can win.)
Ribb says the group hopes to raise $1,000 in order to purchase a PA system and soundproof the new space, with plans to be open for exhibits and shows starting in January.
On Saturday, Big Collage is combining forces with Polka Dan’s Beetbox Band at the Claddagh Inn in West Harwich.
The music, Ribb says, is derived from Polka Dan’s ethnic Polish roots.
“It’s an incredible mix of authentic polka and original songs with a punk feel to it,” Ribb says. “It’s probably the best dance band on Cape Cod. I don’t see how you can go to one of their shows without dancing.”
Plus, the band dressed in full zombie attire—revelers are encouraged to follow suit, lest they get eaten.
Punks of all ages are welcomed to Commerce Park in Chatham on Sunday night for a truly hellacious block party featuring the sounds of grindcore band Eaton, metal punk rockers The Antibodies, and The Inframen.
“All you have to do is follow the noise and smell the barbeque,” Ribb says of the event, hosted by the SO Shop.
Bring 5 bones for the bands, plus a few more for the vittles.
The Creepiest Party Ever
The Big Collage grand finale takes place (duh!) on Halloween night at an undisclosed location in Harwich.
Without giving away too many details, Ribb describes how party ghouls and gals will be escorted by a possessed demon through a terror walk through the deep dark woods decorated with scenes dating from 1850 to the present day.
“Our intention is to scare people really bad. Assuming you haven’t had a heart attack by the time you get to the haunted house, you are allowed to go to the party,” she says, admitting that there is “a wimp walk” for the truly faint of heart.
Inside, Big Collage has let its artistic impulses loose on a machine shop crime scene, replete with severed limbs and hand-made sculptures.
As you fill up on food and drink and listen to the creepy meditative sounds of House Nancy, Blue Dress, and Codeine Schoolboy, don’t be surprised by the strategically placed sonic booby traps.
You can capture the horror with your friends and a few props, courtesy of Zach’s Photo Booth.
If you go…
A word of warning: children under 15 are not allowed to this event, and those 16-18 years of age should be accompanied by a really hip adult.
The event will set you back 10 big ones. Not bad for the fright of your life.