(Don't) Abandon All Hope
Theater Bizarre 2005

Words and Pictures
by Danielle Kaltz



(While Theatre Bizarre has come and gone for the year, it lives on in the memories of those who witnessed it as evidenced by the pictures and words of correspondent Danielle Kaltz.)

Although he looks fairly 'normal,' John Dunivant's macabre and fucked up world could only come from a deeply disturbed mind. This world is otherwise known as Theatre Bizarre — home of Detroit's (and most likely the whole Midwest's) best Halloween celebration and the creation of Dunivant located at 967 W. State Fair in Detroit and neighboring houses. Shit, if just one visit to Coney Island as a child can bring this world into existence then we should be thankful his mother didn't take him to see the Barnum & Bailey Circus, or better yet we should wish she had.

After last year's record attendance of 1650 revelers, the core group who work with Dunivant on this project wondered if they would do it again. Cops, security, and good old liability all played a significant role in the decision as did space, because it seems like every inch of space is occupied by inconceivable creations (but more on those later.) Luckily for those of us there this year, the organizers decided to toss a much smaller party by making it invite only and a week earlier all to ensure crowd control.

Once you make it through the maze of hanging corpses in full size body bags and bloody body parts in the abandoned house of Edgar Joseph Torrent, you have to then make your way through the darkest twisted tunnel of his subconscious mind before finally bursting through to blinding strobe lights. Here you emerge out of an open mouthed devil clown and find yourself planted in the most surreal, insane Fun House where anything and I bet everything is possible.

Dunk Tanks with skeletons, delightful Spook Shows, and the Devil's own Dirty Peep Show. This version of hell has everything. Even Zombo the Clown has his own Emporium, while Mr. Toots the Monkey performs along with acts included Dolly Dimple the 667 lb woman, Filthy S. Person, (who by the way has a huge member that dangles down at least two feet and if I am not mistaken it is named, Cheese-us H. Christ — all of which gave the crowd much to gawk at.) There was the bearded four legged woman with plenty of holes in case you were wondering if extras legs meant that…I know I did. Zombie Burlesque of Chaos Detroit performed with Grinder Girl, and of course, there were Fire Acts! This year's musical groups included 'Los Minstrel del Diablo', 'Country Bob and the Blood Farmers', 'Brain Saw' aka 'Thrall', 'Downtown Brown' and a highlight was 'The Ruiners' finishing their act by engulfing a motorcycle in flames.

Despite the smaller mini Bizarre this year, new to the event was the addition of a home made roller coaster, or should I say 'Roaster Coaster of Death' because of the fire that was directed at the riders from a propane flame thrower. This mad mad creation from the band Snake Out comes from an idea that was drawn on a napkin over breakfast and built by the bands front man, Puch. He and Speed Cult, his functional metal arts/hot rod-customizing company built a 35-foot-high, flaming, U-shaped roller coaster. It was built six years ago and trucked out to Burning Man for the Uber Carny camp.

The ride had a single car that rode on a track shaped like a huge letter U. Flanking the ride are two go-go cages. Last night there was only one stripper doing her thang and I don't know how she did not freeze her bazookies off it was so damn cold. As you approached closer to the ride, you noticed the coffin for any would be accidents! Once two victims are strapped into the car, then told; "Prepare to die", they were hauled by a winch to the top of the U, where it hung for a few moments to make sure that they were thoroughly terrified before being dropped. The cage spun at warp speed as it ascended and descended up and down the two sides until it came to a stop at the bottom where you hope the person next to you had not vomited or pissed their pants from fear. The line for this ride was pretty long, but it was so worth the wait, and besides you could see the bands on stage as you waited.

So what could these guys possibly think of next? Can they top this, if in fact there is another? Will they find another place big enough to handle what this could eventually grow into? God hopes not, but my bet is that even if this is a sight to store away someday they will conjure up more twisted nightmares for the next version of Theatre Bizarre!


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