Costumed COMO children get taste of haunted history
By Sarah Alban
Haunted history came alive this weekend when Columbia's young witches and ghosts - and their parents - gathered for the fourth annual Haunted Museum Tour at the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology.
Upstairs, museum docents guided small groups of parents and costumed children through exhibits, stopping to listen to flashlight lectures from the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti and a Roman ghost, among other costumed performers.
"As an adult, I actually learned some things," MU Information Technology Project Manager Christine Mayer said. "It makes me want to come back to the museum during the day."
As the children shifted to peer at ancient artifacts, the speakers lit them up.
Downstairs, animal specialists from various organizations offered guests the opportunity to interact with live owls, bats, frogs, spiders and a python.
Before deciding to examine the large brown bat that Sybill Amelon, a United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service biologist, was cupping in her hands, one boy asked her what it ate.
"Meal worms and insect larva," Amelon said, picking up a squirming larva from her container and slipping it into the bat's mouth.
The live animals sometimes startle young children, Museum Advisory Council of Students member Janet Kasper said, but they don't stay scared for long.
"It does happen, but they usually calm down soon," Kasper said.
Clusters of children gathered around craft tables to color pictures. In a separate room, the classic film "Fantasia" ran on a projector for a small audience.
"We don't want it to be scary, we want it to be fun," Museum Educator Cathy Callaway said.
The animal specialists also donated their services, allowing the museum to offer Columbians the event for free.
Callaway said she enjoyed the beginning of the night when the preparations were over.
"Because then there's nothing else you can do, you just have to enjoy it," she said, snapping a photo of a ghoulishly costumed college student standing beside a young boy dressed as a short skeleton.
Nine students from Westminster College and 10 from MACS dressed up to help with the event, handing out tour tickets and entertaining children.
"I have the best group of volunteers in the world," Callaway said. "These people are donating their time. I think that's the most valuable thing."
Local artists role play for peace
By Kiran Kaur
A clown stepped up to the mike on the stage of The Blue Note this past Friday and asked the audience, "How many of you favor invading Iraq?"
He was one of many who took the stage that night, in costume, to promote peace and harmony as part of the second annual Howl-O-Ween Character Ball.
The ball was a costume-party benefit and supported seven organizations that promote environmental awareness and sustainable living.
Organizations involved included Missouri River Relief, Columbia Access Television and Theatre NXS.
Mid-Missouri Peaceworks promotionally sponsored the event.
The show was presented by Holy Road Tours, a non-profit organization that aims to support local touring artists whose music supports peace. The organization helps cover their artists' costs of touring on the road, provides temporary housing and creates a network between holistic artists.
"We're tired of a world where everyone is killing each other," managing director Mike Robertson said.
Audiences gave a standing ovation to a dancer and flute player duo called The Restless Natives.
The dancer performed classical South Asian dance steps while asking for remembrance of historical tragedies including examples such as Sept. 11 and the plight of people in Africa.
The beneficiary organizations set up tables outside to supply information about their group.
The Missouri River Cultural Conservancy, which documents performances of developing artists at local shows, taped the evening's musical show.
They then put the shows on the Columbia Access Television at Stephens College; the shows are also available via cable access.
The organization aims to bring to the public the music of developing artists by putting their music on a local channel, Board of Directors member Doireann O'Brien said.
People were encouraged to come in costume, especially as historical figures that have brought peace to the world.
Aim Me Smiley of the Troubadours of the Divine Bliss was costumed as Rachel Corrie, an ambassador of peace from Olympia, Wash., who died on the Gaza Strip in 2003, while trying to prevent a bulldozer from crushing a civilian's home. Smiley expressed discontent at the media's lack of coverage on the situation.
"They give one month to Anna Nicole, but this gets a day in the headlines," Smiley said.
Host and local musician Lizzie West used songs of her own and inspiring messages for the audience as she announced each act.
"We're going to meet a lot of beautiful characters tonight," West said.
Tribute Bands for Ween and Weezer face off
By Kristin Torres
Half a dozen bee-people, John Lennon and gang of ninjas walk into a bar. It might sound like the setup for a bad joke, but on Friday, it was the scene at Mojo's for HalloWEEN vs. HalloWEEZER, which featured two local tribute bands covering Ween and Weezer. The venue was packed from the stage to the door, with people decked out in their Halloween best. Drinks flowed all night and a jack-o-lantern sporting the iconic Weezer-esque box-framed glasses decorated the stage.
Fans were loud and energized as they joined the bands in choruses of their favorite songs, such as Weezer's "Buddy Holly" and "El Scorcho." Fans demanded encores, pandas and lions grinded on tables and chairs, and costume wigs were ripped off and twirled in apparent frenzied excitement.
And since the fans weren't the only ones drinking, their enthusiasm had extra perks for the band members, who kept glasses of booze at hand throughout the night.
"It's good when you cover a band that so many people like and when they know the words to all the songs," attendee David Aulgur said. "That way, their singing along drowns the band out when they make mistakes."
Aulgur didn't come in costume, but he later took his shirt off and made a makeshift ninja mask out of it.
Some, like MU sophomore and Weezer buff Kurtis Hunt, said they were under the impression that the real bands were putting on a show.
"I just now realized that it's a Weezer cover band and not really Weezer," he said.
But some fans said they thought the bands were just as convincing.
"I've never seen Ween live, but this must be the next best thing," attendee Sarah Albert said. "I'm not even drinking and I still think the Weezer cover band sounded just like the real thing."