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CarnEvil's Show Will Go On 

Halloween party staying at Hanford Mill for now

Here's what organizers of Charlotte's annual Halloween blow-out, CarnEvil, recently learned: If donning costume and giving voice to your inner Id is a hoot, dealing with county government officials is pretty much your polar-opposite experience.

In its 13th year, Charlotte's fastest-growing costume party -- which takes place Friday, Oct. 28 from 8 p.m.- 2 a.m. -- has consistently overflowed its venues' banks, much like a busty lass clad in corset (just going with the theme here, folks). CarnEvil began as a humble Halloween party Jade Wills held at Jim McGuire's photo studio, but grew enough that McGuire eventually became event co-organizer. In 2002, the party was popular enough to move to a 10,000 square foot space at the Hanford Mill on Hawthorne Lane off Central Avenue. By last year, CarnEvil sold 2,000 tickets, and had to turn away almost another 1,000 would-be revelers, according to Wills.

So in an attempt to find a space big enough for the growing hordes, Wills and McGuire recently found what they thought was the perfect new venue on 28th St. in North Davidson, where an additional 5,000 square feet were available. Being conscientious organizers, they then sought the proper permits to make the move.

Unfortunately, this is when things went from event planning to red tape-navigating.

Without getting into the sleep-inducing intricacies of Mecklenburg County zoning and building standards, let's just say CarnEvil ain't going anywhere new this year.

"We left on a frustrated note," said McGuire. "We'd never had such permit issues, and there's zero flexibility -- for instance, they wanted us to actually build 50 bathrooms for a five-hour event."

"Basically we learned that a Change of Use permit for a five-hour party can take a year," Wills added. "We'd have been working on this months ago if we'd had to deal with this in the past."

Luckily, CarnEvil was able to renew enough of their existing permits at the Hanford Mill to hold this year's party. And the fundamental nature of the bash -- part Carnival and part Burning Man -- remains intact. In addition to a potpourri of music acts and DJs, there'll be belly dancers, Tarot card readers, a West African drum group, fire-breathing clowns and the ever-popular Dungeon, a torture chamber featuring all manners of public discipline for the naughty.

"To me, it's one of the highlights of the party," he added. "CarnEvil is a deep-urban type of event that's not quite so civilized."

In addition to the catered food, spirits (beer and wine), and public spankings, the bands begin playing at 9 p.m., quite possibly in this order: gogoPilot, JT & the Blame, Lamb Handler, Alternative Champs, Taradactyl, Suburban Shaman, and Anders Manga. Guest DJs spinning in the groove lounge include D'Nooch, Starseed, Anthony Ramirez, Spaceboy, Tober, Kate, Jeff Nagel and Christian.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at Common Market or Jeff's Bucket Shop; as this is a charity benefiting Carolina Rain (the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network), the suggested donation is $25 ($40, cash only, at the door) to eat, drink, be merry and, as McGuire said, "let your freak flag fly." And of course, no costume, no entrance, no exceptions. For more information on the night's events, the sponsors' list or charities, go to www.carnevil.org.

Musical Tricks or Treats: More Halloween alternatives include the Neighborhood Theatre's "Halloween Hootenanny" Oct. 31, which features a nice lineup mix of the New Familiars, the Houstons, Lowry, the Aqualads, and Ian Thomas & the Hobos ... the Milestone's Oct. 31 treat is a free show with Cemetery Thieves, Black Elk, Carry On Bomb, and 25 Minutes to Go ... On Friday, Oct. 27, Tremont hosts "SiHK-or-TreAT!" with Brain Modulation, Streifte Geist, Astrid Haven and the Shock-Pop All Stars; the after-party presents DJ's Lechter and Shawn Doe, and live bands VooDou, Feline Unit X, and Terrorcouple, as well as demonstrations and stage shows by a cast of erotic and shocking performers ... and on Saturday, Oct. 28, Ang-Wish, Roxic and In-V play the Double Door Inn's All Hallow's Eve gig ...

This 'n That: Ambient electronic duo Farfalla will be shooting a video for "Black Pepper" in Charlotte in November. If you're interested in being an extra, contact the band through its MySpace site ... Ten Millimeter Omega records plans a 10-year anniversary compilation for release early next year, including cuts from Baleen, Latino Chrome, DJ D.R., Samurai and Crtl Alt Sleep ... Billed as "progressive y'allternative," bluegrass-based the Moonshine Racers are set to enter the studio to record the follow-up to last year's Skyline Motel; look for an early '07 release ...

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