Halloween doesn't have to be about children exacting revenge on the adult world. At least not at TERA's circus-themed Halloween party, where the cast of characters includes:
• Livingston, a friendly lion who will greet guests as they enter the big top.
• Madame Bella, a psychic who knows all.
• A twisted contortionist.
On Saturday night, Oct. 27, raise your spirits with The Eagle Rock Association as it hosts Cirque du Rock, an annual fundraiser at the Women’s Twentieth Century Club of Eagle Rock from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Replete with exotic edibles and a full bar, the extravaganza is programmed to leave you thrilled, evoking memories of a bygone time when the circus coming to town was the year’s most exciting event.
Eagle Rock Patch recently sat down with Cirque du Rock co-chairs Bob Gotham and Maura Duval Griffin to ask them about people can expect at the party—and why TERA chose a circus theme this year.
Eagle Rock Patch: What kind of event will Cirque du Rock be?
Bob Gotham: Its intention is to be a Halloween party that is themed to adults. There’s so much that goes on in the neighborhood that is really children-focused that we thought it would be interesting to do something themed more to adults.
What kind of color—and look—can people expect from Cirque du Rock?
Maura Duval Griffin: Initially, we were really inspired by Cirque de Soleil. The idea of circus past—that timeless look—[has] informed our color palette. Halloween’s autumnal look, and to use an overused Eagle Rock word—eclectic—that was sort of our inspiration. Mostly, we want to have fun with it. We wanted an environment that’s beautiful but also fun and a little tongue-in-cheek. That has also informed all of the activities that we’re trying to put together for the night, trying to track down oddities in the décor—heads in jars, that kind of thing, the things you’d see in an old-time circus or traveling sideshow.
Bob Gotham: I think the distinctive thing about this event, as compared to many—many—events that have been held at the women’s club is that we will have invested quite a lot of effort in staging it. In other words, we are really trying to make that wonderful space look a little different than it usually does.
So this goes way beyond just putting tables out with linen on top of them. We’re spending considerable effort in transforming the place into an environment that, as far as possible, has a circus feel. Someone said she felt as though it was kind of like Goth with color. A little edgy but not grim.
Whose idea was this?
Bob Gotham: To do this was an idea that I’ve been talking about with the [TERA] board for a couple of years. We discussed it about two years ago and the board was kind of, Well, maybe, maybe, maybe—but they didn’t have the appetite for it. And they said, why don’t we do “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” again. Which had been very successful for us for two years [running].
It had been so successful the first year that there wasn’t a good argument about not doing it again. And so we tried it again. But there are a finite number of hosts and hostesses in Eagle Rock who are able and willing to invite people into their homes. And so we did stage it for a second year. But we didn’t have as many homes as we had hoped. I’m sure if we had more homes we could have sold more tickets. We discovered that that was not sustainable—that you couldn’t do it every year.
You mean you couldn’t switch the homes around and get fresh homes?
Maura Duval Griffin: It was becoming a bit of a challenge. Even though the event was great and people loved doing it, it is a little intimidating to invite 10 strangers into your home. Both years it turned out to be a fabulous event and I really hope we are able to do it again—people loved it. But the organization of it alone was a pretty monumental task. You had people who were willing to do it, but the date didn’t work—you had to coordinate all those variables. And we thought, well, why don’t we try something different. Maybe it’s easier to throw a big, fun cocktail party.
So I guess the idea was, let’s give our community a break. Because prior to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner we had the home tour, which was also effectively asking 12 or 16 homeowners to allow 400 to 500 people walk through their homes and gawk at it [the homes]. And again, that’s a tremendous amount of organization and a huge team of volunteers that coordinated that effort. So we thought this [Cirque du Rock] would be relatively easier in terms of organization and we weren’t really burdening any homeowners in the community with opening their homes. We just invite everybody down to enjoy the night with us.
Bob Gotham: Our hope was that this particular format is attractive to Eagle Rock and that it’s something that’s sustainable—that it can be done year after year—and didn’t rely on people opening the doors of their homes.
So, it’s not an event for kids—but what if somebody wanted to bring kids or couldn’t avoid bringing kids?
Bob Gotham: What is more likely to happen is that people will bring teenagers. We’ll have a full bar, and we have put together a system in which bartenders will be easily able to identify who is legal age and should be able to buy a drink and who should be staying with their Coke or whatever. If you were going to bring your three-year-old, I just don’t think the three-year-old would have a good time.
Maura Duval Griffin: I wouldn’t bring my five-year-old because it wouldn’t be any fun making sure she didn’t get into any trouble or get lost walking outside. It’s a night for grown-ups to have fun.
But if the kids got scared, it would be in the spirit of the occasion, right?
Bob Gotham: (Laughs). I don’t think it’s going to be scary either.
Is it a costume-oriented event? Are costumes required?
Bob Gotham: Not absolutely. Obviously, it’s themed to circus costumes, and that can have a very broad interpretation. But if somebody says, I like a good party but I don’t want to get dressed up, [he or she can] just come in your jeans and pullover, and that would be just fine.
Are there going to be any clowns of any sort?
Bob Gotham: I suspect there will be many clowns. That will be a popular costume. I don’t want to give too much away, but we do have some surprise entertainment from Eagle Rock that, I think, will be very well received.
Cirque du Rock, Saturday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m, Women’s Twentieth Century Club of Eagle Rock, 5105 Hermosa Ave. Tickets: $50 (TERA member price); $60 (Non-member price).