It is October, friends, the time of All Hallow’s Eve, and this year the freaks and ghouls and rootless spirits of doomed souls will wreak a cruel and terrible vengeance. Indeed, the Benefactors here at our very own Preservation Pub have declared Halloween all month long, and verily, so shall it be.
We have spoken, already, in this very space about the dark celebration of Knoxville’s best gift to the world of fantasy and horror. That would be Karl Edward Wagner, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention. Wagner was the ruddy, hard-drinking leonine demi-god of weird fiction who called our fair city home through the formative years of his short life.
As a writer, Wagner would conjure strange and unholy tales of sorcerers and barbarian killers and mad gods in a lost world, and it won him no small acclaim in the wider world of genre fiction. But here in his own hometown, he’s been shunned like some drooling waterhead third cousin, best shuttled quietly to the back of the house and locked in a storage closet when guests arrive and the good china comes out.
No longer, tho, as Wagner is at long last being inducted into the East Tennessee Writer’s Hall of Fame come Oct. 10, and will be honored in town by his own inaugural fantasy and horror festival. Here at our very own Preservation Pub, the festival kicks into high gear on the evening of Oct. 13 with a costume party, complete with prizes and fanfare aplenty. It is not to be missed, lest you place your very soul at hazard.
In fact, it’s best to keep that costume at the ready, hanging by the door on a nail, that you might throw it on and dash at a moment’s notice. Because there will be other calls for masquerade this hellishly festive season, including several here at our beloved Pub.
Not that you need an excuse to raid the attic or the costumier or the walk-in closet and assume the guise of whatever devil suits your black fancy. ‘Tis the season, Jake, and we offer naught but steadfast encouragement to those who wish to don masks and weird vestments any time they damned well please. Go ahead and show up at the office dressed in zombie drag or a gorilla suit, or made up like Judas Iscariot, who hung himself by the neck until his gut burst and his intestines spilled out of his festering abdominal cavity like so much bad spaghetti. It will make an impression if you do so, and teach those weasel-bastards that you’re not to be f@#$ed with.
But for the rest of you, who prefer the company of like-minded fellows, Oct. 18 will offer up a prime opportunity for charade here at the Pub, when singer-skinsman extraordinaire Dave Campbell’s hard-hitting Badlands will host the ‘70s Rawk Rising from the Grave costume party, in the downstairs Smokeasy at 10 p.m.
As will Oct. 25, when tribal/Celtic/pagan outfit Tuatha Dea presides over the All Hallow’s Eve Appalachian Celtic Celebration, also 10 p.m. And lest we forget, there is the night of All Hallow’s itself, Oct. 31, when Pennsylvania’s sinister indie-progressive outfit Hiding Scarlet joins Knoxville’s own piano-Goth goddess Christina Horne with Hudson K, and local rap terrors The Theorizt for a night of scarifyingly good death ‘n’ roll. Woe betide those who leave their costumes at home.
But did I mention zombies? Because a Halloween without zombies is like a blue movie without a money shot, Jake, and we needn’t ramble on about that sad state of affairs. Not to worry, though, because the Pub will be a full and unrepentant co-conspirator in the Market Square Zombie Walk, Oct. 12 at 3:30 in the afternoon. Not to be missed, if for no other reason than it will be the only day of the year that the consumption of brains will be viewed with favorable disposition on Pub grounds.
And it will be naught but a couple nights later, on Oct. 14, when those lusty devils in the Royal Hounds—purveyors of singularly scurrilous rockabilly—will take point for “I’m in Love with a Zombie” night, so named after the Hounds’ recent local CD.
And there you have it, Jake—a light but savory sampling of the wicked nightlife goodies to be had in this autumnal Season of Fright. We have told you the awful and lascivious truth, and given you ample length of rope with which to hang yourself from the gallows of debasement and iniquity. If you don’t have any fun this Halloween, it is your own damned fault.