Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Watch the monsters stumble home from Adams Morgan at 3am

pink z Posted by Hello

LOCATION: Corner of 18th and Willard St TIME: Saturday night (esp Halloween) EQUIPMENT: Yourself, spirit of anthropological inquiry OPTIONAL: Friendly stuffed platypus

Have you seen those photo series of butterflies slowly emerging from their cocoons? I once saw an exhibit where the artist ran the photos backward: a jewelled monarch crunched itself up into a green sack then oozed back out as a fat, creeping, hairy caterpillar.

There are few chances for nature photography in the middle of a city. But someday I'm going to set up a tripod on 18th St. and do time delay photography series of the people walking up to Adams Morgan at the beginning of Saturday night, and then stumbling back down late. The metamorphosis is particularly striking with a certain species of slimly chubby, well-groomed blond girl in a silk halter top, peach lipstick, and mascara who strides stiletto-heeledly uphill in a coed gang. At 3am the mascara has run, the inside part of the lipstick has been eaten off, there are sweat stains on the silk top, and she is hooting at strangers while being half carried, half dragged by her slightly less drunk friends, some of whom are also gnawing on yard-long slabs of pizza which leave trails of red grease spots behind them. Imagine if you could run such a time series backwards! It would be like the rise of civilization, in miniature.

So yes, 3am at the base of Adams Morgan is always a sociologically interesting time, but it's even more so at Halloween, since everyone is in an exciting costume, and the social games and scoping of strangers and all the other things you must be hoping for when you go out, otherwise why not just stay home with your friends and a cup of tea, can be much more explicit.

And DC may be square as cities go, but there is still some pretty interesting plumage strutting and fretting its hour upon the stage. I notice that male costumes tend towards either a military theme: Indian hunter; monster; superhero; or a joke: my favorite was a hawaiian shirt, baseball hat, camera round the neck and a giant, inflatable, open shark mouth around his waist, as "a Florida tourist being eaten by a shark." Female costumes are usually sexy-funny (negligee scrawled with double-entendres as a "Freudian slip"), sexy-poetic (a crown of leaves: "I am the spirit of autum!"), sexy-historical (Cleopatra, etc.) or just sexy-sexy (the Playboy bunnies seem to multiply like, well...)

So trying hanging out around the corner of 18th and Willard St. sometime on a Halloween Saturday. (It's a perfect location because it's right below a taxi zone boundary, so DC natives all walk down past 18th and U to catch cabs). The monsters have been monsters all night. Some of them are ready to be people again; they've already taken their costumes off and you can see the red sweaty lines printed on their foreheads by their masks.

But some still want to play. I'll always remember one bear, skipping and tapping his toes together in the light of a streetlamp. He had sharp claws and mardi-gras beads around his neck. He saw me out of the corner of his eye, rushed to where I was perched on the hood of a car, and growled in my face. I've never met anyone else in Adams Morgan so charming. His friend rushed up with a tired, human face. "I'm sorry, he's so drunk. Hey, John - John - "

Exeunt, pursued by a bear.


Blogger alena said...

Hey, I have enjoyed...your blog is informative - even entertaining.

I have a halloween sites. They pretty much covers costumes and masks related stuff.

Thanks again and I'll be sure to bookmark you.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

3:59 AM  
Blogger Connor Wilson said...

Every year my son Dylan and I have been building our Halloween animatronic display. This year we added 12 new figures and my wife had been making the clothes etc. but then I clued in that Halloween Costumes were the ideal solution - ya, ok I'm slow but...This year is really cool because we've done an HP Lovecraft display that I'm sure he'd appreciate but I'm not so sure he'd approve of this - The Necronomicon - Is it just me or is that just plain goofy ? Anyway, everybody is doing their own Haunted House thing now but hey - it's fun and if you've got kids I really suggest you try it yourself if you haven't already. It's a nice change from the usual Christmas Lights routine and a lot of scaaarrry fun. Happy Halloween everybody.

3:39 AM  

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