This Halloween, I found myself face to face with Clive Barker. One would think I would’ve blogged about it sooner.
The encounter involved a fetish club, a costume contest, and a broken branch antler.
I heard through reliable sources (a mess of flyers littering my Facebook feed) that Clive Barker was hosting a Halloween ball at Miss Kitty’s in Los Angeles, and that he would be judging a costume contest that night.
For once, I hadn’t procrastinated on my costume and actually took some pride in it, so I jumped at the opportunity and purchased a ticket to the event.
This is how events (and I) unravel…
Barker is nowhere to be seen when I arrive, but that isn’t a surprise. With celebrity hosted events said celebrity usually makes a brief “onstage” appearance. So Miss Kitty, an intimidating and queenly type, makes the rounds and personally handpicks contest participants. When she chooses me, I try to act all “whatevs” about it, but my giddy excitement is pretty obvious. She has all of the participants line up in the hall to wait and I’m scratching and slapping people with my branch antlers as they pass. I worry not that I’ll find a dislodged eyeball on one of my branches, but that someone will break the headpiece as they’re impaled by it.
Miss Kitty finally introduces Barker and, in a flash, I see someone all in white ushered onstage. This is when I get really nervous. I was a theater nerd in high school–it’s not like I’ve never stood on a stage in front of people, but being in a judged setting is a different matter, especially when the judge is a writer you respect and are inspired by (a heart defibrillator and years of intensive therapy would’ve been necessary had it been a contest on my writing as judged by the author in front of a large crowd).
Shortly after his entrance, I hear the announcer call the “Winter Witch” and I’m pulled up the stairs. As my foot hits the stage, the curtain latches onto my antlers and time stops. Something crunches and cracks on my head. I can almost hear the creak and whine of a redwood capsizing as my right antler begins to collapse. The base tears off the headpiece but I grab at the antler before it falls off completely and hold it in place as I head onto the stage. Disaster and recovery occur in the span of about three seconds.
Everyone’s clapping and shouting. I’m still in too much of a panic to even see Barker sitting on the throne downstage. All I can think about is how stupid I must look gripping the antler as I walk. A pageant smile emerges from I don’t know where and sets itself on my face as I march down the runway.
As I’m coming back around, resisting the desire to dash madly down the stairs leading off the stage, I’m directed to stand before Barker so he can get a good look at the costume. I walk up to him smiling like a clown, sweating like a pig, and curtsy. Of all things. I don’t know why, it just seems like the thing to do.
Then he nods and says, “That’s a really great costume.”
…Actually, I lost to a Silent Hill nurse who did that creepy stilted walk. Ah well. I made it into the final round and Clive Barker complimented my costume. I consider that a win. (But don’t count on ever seeing me on ANTM.)