Castro Halloween Lives on

Opera mixes politics and costumed antics

Decades of wild Halloween shenanigans in San Francisco's famed Castro District were capped last year because of violence at the mass gathering. Shutting down streets and diverting traffic for the spectacle is no longer a city-sponsored mission.

Then last week, the San Francisco Police Department put the final nail in the coffin when they issued a memo solidifying their crackdown on Halloween in the Castro.

It was short, but not too sweet: "There will be no City-sponsored venue in the Castro district for Halloween, Saturday, October 31. There will be no official entertainment provided and no street closures are planned. The San Francisco Police Department will be enforcing a zero-tolerance policy regarding public drinking and any other criminal activity."

But, hard-core halloweeners won't be silenced. This year, there's an answer for the nay-sayers of the scary streetfest in the form of, what else -- a musical -- an opera, to be precise, called Halloween in the Castro.

The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco puts a spin on the event, mixing the politics and celebratory antics into a contemporary show. Actors and singers will take to the stage Friday for the premier of the show, which poses questions about the politics of Castro Halloween.

Merging local politics with murder and mayhem, the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, under the direction of Stephanie Lynne Smith, presents Jack Curtis Dubowsky's horror opera Halloween in the Castro, a biting, in-your-face social commentary about what has gone wrong with Castro Halloween.

So, no, though there's no official celebration going on. But, you can be sure that in a city bursting with talent and aching for a way to come together and show its love for all things spooky on Hallow's Eve, the Castro Halloween show will, indeed, go on.

Halloween in the Castro starts Friday at the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco at 8 p.m. Visit their site for more on tickets and show times.

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