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Time Again to Dance With the Devil

It's the night of nights for L.A. scenesters who are getting ready to do Halloween right.


Life is a cabaret, old chum, and believe me when I say, the party's just getting weird.

H-town animaniacs crank up their hair volume to a metaphysical Gothic pompadour around Halloween--Hollywood's official jolly holiday. Now, I've pondered this phenomenon more than once, and it seems quite clear to me that in our own little "paradise lost"--where people wear masks all day--it feels gooood to let one's hair down.

This is undoubtedly why Club Make-Up is such a super saucy success: Underneath those leather bustiers and feathers, you just might find the accountant next door. Naturally, the promoters behind the monthly glam slam Club Make-Up are throwing the fiercest bash of all, the Halloween Masquerade Ball (Variety Arts Center, 940 S. Figueroa St., downtown L.A., [323] 644-1811 or [323] 769-5500, 21 and older. $35 presale; $45 at door). For the fourth year in a row, Coven 13 and the Fetish Ball--which both feature Club Make-Up promoters--are combining forces to create one-stop Halloween shopping for the truly twisted at heart.

Headlining this year's Halloween Masquerade Ball on Saturday at downtown's Variety Arts Center are the Cramps--and it's a real coup for the promoters. The House of Blues scored the legendary act--the definitive band of Halloween night--over the past few years, but this year it's only playing the Masquerade Ball. Translation: The event will sell out. But then, it also sold out the last two years, sans Cramps.

The Chamber of Horrors in the club's basement is hosted by "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows" (even if the sequel ain't great, it's still gonna be creepy); the fashion shows by Leon and Terri King are mind-expansive, making the New York event "Fashion Week" look like a stupid knockoff; and of course, five total floors of deejay-driven music from artists who really live Halloween all year round. Did we mention that it's fun? Every year, you meet great people in wild costumes who are really nice. Can't say that about too many night scenes.

Also on Saturday, if you can make the trek to Irvine, the all-ages Blood Drive (Hidden Valley Ranch, 8808 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine, [714] 639-6282; tickets through Ticketmaster) is sure to rock your witchy world. Featuring performances by X, the Damned, the Misfits and two of my personal faves, Hellbound Hayride and Throw Rag. Fun starts at 1 p.m., leaving plenty of time to make it back to L.A. for the Cramps show.

Meanwhile, back in Hollywood, folks can justify their love for freekazoids on Tuesday, the actual Allhallows Eve. Options include the Cafe Bleu- and Shout!-hosted third annual Halloween Dance (El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. [323] 769-5500, 18 and older. $10).

Also on Tuesday, Spaceland (1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake, [323] 661-4380 or [213] 833-2843, 21 and older. $7 with costume; $10 without) has channeled a creepy triple-header of Texas Terri & the Stiff Ones, Fuzztones and Witch's Brew. At KROBAR, the new name of Tuesday's rock feast at Goldfingers (6423 Yucca St., Hollywood, [323] 962-2913, 21 and older. $5), you can catch the Exxies, in a special Halloween performance, along with Candy Machine, Liar's Inc. and Smashing Grandpa clothing line giveaways. Fairly warned be you, says I: They're also having a Madonnathon, with a dozen babes dressing like the Material Mom at different boy-toy phases.

Yonder on the Strip, music lovers can mosh in Slash's Snakepit, which we hear is slithery good fun these days. Come to think of it, Slash is a pretty mighty disciple in the Halloween hierarchy. Glad to have him back in black at the Roxy (9009 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. All ages, [310] 278-9457).

If you're feeling really frisky, get a full tank of gas and half a pack of cigarettes and high-tail it to Vegas for Club Rubber's Pimp 'N Ho 2000 costume ball. Promoters are setting up shop in the Mandalay Bay Arena and look out, because they've flown in deejays from around the world to rock your shagedelic world (tickets are $40; call Mandalay Bay box office at [877] 632-7400 for more information).

And finally, Hollywood boasts a tradition of being weird all year round, and the following clubs--Clockwork Orange, Velvet, Perversion and Helter Skelter--which define weird, have teamed up on Tuesday at the Ruby, (7070 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, [323] 462-7442. 18 and older. Call for cover). United in Goth-love they stand.

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