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Whitehorse: Halloween hub

What do eight-foot birds, a singing mermaid in a bathtub and a $3 box of vinyls all have in common? They are all part of this weekend's Whitehorse Halloween bonanza.

What do eight-foot birds, a singing mermaid in a bathtub and a $3 box of vinyls all have in common?

They are all part of this weekend’s Whitehorse Halloween bonanza.

Let’s start with the mermaid, shall we?

Hank and Lily are “a vaudeville-inspired, theatrical rock show with a punk-rock ethic,” said Fiona Solon who, along with Brian Fiddler, has been organizing Yukon’s Varietease for the past three years.

After putting on a Halloween show last year, Varietease decided to save their ammunition for a big show in May and bring up an Outside act instead.

Hank and Lily were an immediate choice.

“They’re like razzle dazzle,” said Salon. “They toured across Canada with a singing mermaid in a bath tub. Seriously, who does that? They do. They’re just weird and wonderful.”

The Hank and Lily show is based upon the adventures of their comic book series. Hank is tall, dark and mysterious and carries around his dead girlfriend in a garbage bag. Lily is a half-deer, half-human forest creature who can tap dance. They are entertaining and they play tons of music that crosses all genres.

The show, at the Yukon Arts Centre on Saturday, will be cabaret style with the bars, dance floor and audience cluttered around the stage.

“DJ Double D, who is Brenda Barns, is going to be spinning actual records: funk and soul, in between their sets,” said Solon. “Their sets are going to be: first, vaudeville, then rock ‘n’ roll, then home-made-techno-fighting-robots-in the future.

“And their thing is: anyone can be on stage so long as they’re going to dance and do stuff.”

The Varietease photo exhibit by Gary Bremner, called Undressed is also still on display at the Arts Centre until Monday.

The doors to the centre will open at 8 p.m. on Saturday and the show starts at 9 p.m. sharp. Tickets, available at Bent Spoon, are $40 and there are only 35 left. Costumes are definitely encouraged, said Solon, and the scuttle butt is that cast members from Ride the Cyclone will be joining in on the fun.

Now, on to the giant birds.

The four, original art installations will be just one aspect of how the Yukon Transportation Museum will be transformed on Saturday night.

The Northern Masquerade is taking over the museum’s multiple rooms to create a multi-dimensional masquerade experience.

There will be three main rooms including the “chill room” designed by local artist Kaija Loeks, which will have a wine bar, desserts and “lots of cool lights,” said organizer Lauren Tuck, while watching Loeks and fellow artist Emma Barr reconstruct a tiered chandelier on Wednesday.

The chill room will also feature DJs Pacesetter and the Blown Breaka.

The main room of the museum may not look much different than it usually does, but it will be where the many, local, musical guests of the evening will be performing.

Agents of Chaos have reunited for the first time in three years for the event, said Tuck. They will be joined by the Root Sellers, Soir de Semaine and emcee Claire de la Lune.

This is not the first Whitehorse Masquerade.

Tuck organized one four years ago and has learned new tricks since then, she said.

“It will be similar in the sense that it will be the best party of the year,” she said. ” But there will be small things that will be different. But the concept remains the same: multiple rooms, gourmet appetizers, prizes, fantastic entertainment.”

The night’s inclusion of musical and visual artists - from the handmade posters to the night itself - is a main objective, said Tuck.

“We are making an effort to bridge the artist community together,” she said. “It’s really cool.”

And while it is a masquerade, any old Halloween costume will do.

“Ideally, I want to do a Venetian masquerade, but you can’t set limitations like that for Halloween,” said Tuck. “You want people to dress up as crazy and freaky and sexy or fantastic as they want. There really are no limitations on what people can and can’t do.”

The party starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday and there will be a free shuttle, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are available at Well-Read Books for $40.

If neither of these parties on the hill has piqued your interests, perhaps you’ll prefer to keep driving.

For the past four or five years, Yukon’s metalheads of all ages have gathered together on All Hollow’s Eve to celebrate their genre, their bands and of course their long, luxurious locks.

Heavy Metal Halloween will be on the top of the hill at Yukon College this Saturday.

The main difference between this event and the others, except musical preference, is that the metalhead’s mash is all-ages.

The biggest, annual, metal show gets kids as young as 10 - who are just starting to be exposed to different types of music, to 30 year olds - who still like flipping their hair around and headbanging.

Thirty year olds like Julie Enman.

Enman is one of the this year’s organizers.

Her own band - Whitehorse’s first, all-female metal band - played the show last year.

“For a lot of bands, this is their first opportunity to play,” said Enman. “This year we have a couple new bands in town and so this is going to be their debut show.”

This year’s lineup includes Drifting, Cervexecution and Kung Fu Aliens.

Despite the stereotype that Halloween is for kids, the heavy metal show actually feeds a niche that tends to be ignored this time of the year, said Enman.

“There’s so many events geared at adults and drinking and sexy costumes,” she said. “I feel like it’s really important to have an event that’s fun for youth and incorporates youth.”

All-ages shows aren’t very accessible in Whitehorse - despite the thriving metal scene, said Enman, who grew up outside of Halifax, one of Canada’s punk and metal capitals.

Enman got into metal when she was only about 12 or 13, she said.

“I bought a box of records, vinyl, from a guy whose son was supposedly a DJ,” she said, reminiscing about how excited she was when the whole box only cost her $3.

“There was a bunch of Iron Maiden and Molly Hatchet in there and I remember just putting them in and being blown away.”

But it’s hard for metal bands, especially young metal bands, to get started in Whitehorse.

It’s expensive to rent a venue and there are only a few, all-ages functions each year where kids get to play, said Enman.

“It would be nice if there was more,” she said. “Comparatively in Halifax, it’s a bigger city, but we had punk shows in all the high schools.

“It had a humongous impact on my life. It exposed me to a lot of ideas and thoughts.

“And it’s just fun to jump around and scream your face off.”

Doors to the Yukon College cafeteria open at 6 p.m. Saturday and the show goes until 11 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door and proceeds will go towards recording a compilation album of the bands.

For more Halloween events, see Get Out! on page 55.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at