NIGHTS ON THE CIRCUIT: Fun for Boys and Ghouls

Eight years strong and 54 is still giving back

Xania Woodman

Monday, October 31, 12:45 a.m. Should I be concerned that Jesus is laying his hands on a nurse's bum? When an eager doc gave Dorothy a free breast exam in a VIP booth, should I have averted my eyes? What about when Wonder Woman straddled the Skipper from Gilligan's Island? Was that wrong? Nahhh. It's Halloween; anything—and I mean anything—goes.

"So, are you Jewish?" I ask a tall, young man in a long, black robe with a large felt Star of David on his chest, yarmulka and fake peyas sidelocks dangling into his drink. "No."

I see, so is this a statement to get back at all the people who dress up as Jesus, nuns and priests, then? "Yeah, I guess. Sure," he smiles and I cringe. Oy vay. Must be something in the spooky fog they're pumping around our ears because I'm taking this costume-choice-as-political-statement thing way too seriously. I take a figurative chill pill and make merry.

This is Studio 54's eighth five-day Halloween extravaganza at the MGM and the Beaux Arts Ball has been a significant part of the festivities every year, with the past six benefiting Golden Rainbow, a charitable foundation working with Las Vegas' HIV and AIDS community. Frighteningly enough, in addition to this being my fifth Halloween in Las Vegas, it is also my fifth at Studio 54. According to the MGM's Executive Director of Nightclub Entertainment Michael Milner, attendance has increased steadily each year. By my calculations, 54 should be bursting at the seams by now and we should be partying in the bathrooms and back hallways. Not too farfetched, according to Milner and program director DJ Frankie, who share a laugh reminiscing about all the stars who have spent their Halloween with the Studio 54 Las Vegas crew.

"They get their faces painted up in the back hall; we have 15 (makeup) artists back there. Then they can go mingle with the crowd." Back in '99 or 2000, as Frankie tells it, Michael Jackson visited 54 on Halloween and wanted to DJ. "He put 'Get Down Tonight' on the turntable. But he never took it off so it just kept skipping!" This year, the event focuses more on the local celebrities who are willing to donate their time, thus putting more funds into Golden Rainbow's appreciative hands. Just as he says this, Amazing Jonathan queues up, and Chippendales aplenty duck inside for a performance.

"All the entertainment kids came out to support each other, as well as other nightclubs," says Milner. Sure enough Pure, Tabú, Teatro, La Bête, Tao, the Pussycat Dolls, Club Paradise, Spearmint Rhino, Scores and the Rainbow Bar and Grill are all present. Last year's event brought in about 3,500 costumed souls; this year, with Beaux Arts falling on the actual night of Halloween, they're expecting even more.

"Oh my God! I will never wear wings again!" gasps a shirtless, be-glittered and be-feathered fellow in vinyl booty-shorts. His substantial wingspan that was so impressive in the mirror is now cumbersome. I, myself, will be beaten about the head with angel wings, butterfly wings, fairy wings, goth wings and the odd pimp hat.

In the center of the room, a rising star sitting on a star is lowered slowly from the rafters. "Ooooh, Patty LaBelle!" calls a lithe gent in leather. "Girl, that is not Patty LaBelle," answers his stout, shirtless friend. "Puhlease." Jennifer Hudson of American Idol's third season dismounts from the star into the arms of two rippling assistants and wastes no time getting the crowd into her funky dance number. The evening is a nonstop string of classic Halloween vignettes: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, "Thriller" and some less-traditional such as the best drag contest. I was totally rooting for Frankenstein's Baby Momma but a purple-festooned showgirl named Severe took the prize.

A greasy, raven-haired pimp in cherry-red crushed velvet approaches and peers at us over his smoky glasses. He greets us with a syrupy drawl, revealing himself as a close friend of mine, Travis. MGM's DJ Digital Boy sneaks in the door, completely buried within his headless horseman ensemble. I'd love to see him spin with DJs Joey D and Lisa Pittman, holding the earphones to his severed head.

"It's the year of the hero," observes a brunette beauty. "Firemen, cops, FBI, Superman, Captain America ..." I want to contribute the Tick but fear I might lose her on that one. Recognizable or not, there's something about Halloween that, like a strong shot of tequila, loosens up the inhibitions. Just ask Wonder Woman, but wait till she climbs off of the Skipper.

Xania's Hot Spots for November 3-November 9

Thursday, November 3

Light: SEMA kick-off party with guest DJ Funk Master Flex

Tangerine: Backstage Booty welcomes Sirens of TI's two-year anniversary party

Friday, November 4

Ice: Thank Glaude It's Friday presents Girls Night Out

Mist: 702 Subculture 2006 models calendar signing

Saturday, November 5

Rain: Playboy Bunny uniform fashion show with DJs R.O.B. and Hollywood

Sunday, November 6

Light: 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' release party

The Joint: Tao presents Beacher's Madhouse local industry night with comedian Butch Bradley

Monday, November 7

Tao: Rock Sushi Mondays with DJ 5ive

Tuesday, November 8

Empire Ballroom: Metal Skool with DJ Scotty Boy and Vince Neil

Wednesday, November 9

Mist: Vapor industry night premiere, Las Vegas socialites and industry pros enjoy a hosted bar Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m.

Xania Woodman thinks globally and parties locally. And frequently. E-mail her at
[email protected].

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