Event Review: Monster’s Ball

This past New Year’s Eve was killer at MONSTER’S BALL. Check out my review below.

monstersball[1]Have you ever thought to yourself “Man, I wish there was a New Year’s Eve event for the horror fans of the world?”  Well Chicago’s Stage 773 has answered your sacrificial rituals for two years now with it’s Monster’s Ball.  The vent has both VIP and regular ticketing options, with discounts for couples and larger groups.  Stage 773 is the home of Chicago’s very own Musical of the Living Dead (co-created by Brad Younts and Marc Lewallen), and many of the cast and crew are involved in this event.  I was unable to attend the first Monster’s Ball, but was lucky enough to make it to this year’s ghoulish extravaganza as a VIP Guest.  The price of admission included an open bar, appetizers, entrance to a haunted house, your fortune read, a champagne toast at midnight, and a little photo shoot area.  VIP had the added perks of an open bar with a wider selection, as well as access to a second room with a private bartender.  Monster makeup was available free to VIP guests and for $5 to general admission ticketholders.  A zombie band was to play and costumes were encouraged.

The VIP bar was definitely a highlight.  It was stock with locally distilled spirits and locally brewed beers, the option of grabbing a drink at the VIP or regular bar also ensured I was never waiting in a line.  The bartender’s of course are an essential part of any event, and they were all in the spirit of the event and pouring perfect cocktails.  There were appetizers carried around on trays, as well as a room full of other options set up buffet style.  I have to admit by the time I was ready for food it was when that drunken hunger had set in.  The ravioli I found in that buffet line was perfect for that.  There was a good variety, carnivores and veggies alike would have been able to snack satisfactorily.

The first thing I did upon arriving, after downing a drink of course, was explore the various rooms.  One of the theaters was set up as a photo booth with a lovely gypsy telling fortunes in the corner.  So my date and I took some photos and then took turns having our fortunes read.  The fortune teller was one of the cast from Musial of the Living Dead and she was pretty much perfection.  In true horror spirit, everyone was going to die.  Also boobs were used in her fortune telling technique, and we all know boobs are a staple in horror.  As consolation for your impending demise you were gifted a lollipop from her cleavage, to help make the news of your soon to be death a little sweeter.

Let’s talk monster makeup.  I have been a huge fan of special effects makeup for a long time.  I am beyond jealous of those skilled in the art.  I was looking forward to getting my makeup done more than anything else.  There was one artist working for the entire event, but she kept the line moving and churned out fantastic make-ups for all that lined up.  I wound up looking like I was infected with some vicious disease and it took her under 5 minutes to complete.  If I had not been VIP I would have gladly paid for the makeup.

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The haunted house opened at 10 pm, and my date and I wound up being one of the last groups through.  I’m a jumper.  I don’t like people to know I’m a jumper so I actually tend to avoid haunted houses.  I jumped, it was fun.  My date and I were sent through with another couple.  We got lost. It was a small haunted house, being it was set up in one of the theatres, but we got lost.  We wound up between the curtains somehow and had to ask a Viking lady for directions.  It actually added some panic to the moment because we could not see to get out of the curtains at all.  Word of advice, do the haunted house somewhere between sober and tipsy so you don’t get lost.  Or do get lost, it was actually a blast.

I’m always wary of bands at events, mostly because I grew up spoiled with a very rich music scene.   The band that played definitely got the energy level right where it should be.  It was great to see them in costume and makeup getting in to the horror theme of the night as opposed to just showing up and playing music.  That participation in an event’s theme can definitely go a long way.

Champagne was passed out in time for the countdown to midnight, a detail which sometimes gets overlooked.  Red and black balloons fell as the clock struck 12 and then the band started to play again.  The party went on for another 2 hours.  My highlight was getting to spend time with the people involved with Musical of the Living Dead.  Not only have they created a brilliant play, but they are all such lovely people.  Congratulations are in order to one of Musial of the Living Dead’s writers Marc Lewallen and his partner who got engaged at this year’s event.  I was so pleased to be a part of this amazing evening and wish you two a lifetime of happiness!

The bottom line, if you love horror and want a break from the typical New Year’s Eve event, Monster’s Ball at Stage 773 in Chicago should definitely be added to your to-do list.  I look forward to seeing all the monster’s again next year.

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