Hallow Art returns to Phoenix Café

Spooky art exhibit, concert and fashion show set for Oct. 19

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published October 9, 2013

HAZEL PARK — Halloween is a multi-faceted affair. It nourishes the imagination with fear of the unknown and a fascination with the fantastic, finding beauty in the grotesque or cheap thrills in blood and gore. 

It’s fitting, then, that Hallow Art IV is just as varied in its appeal.

Back by popular demand after a one-year hiatus — the venue having undergone major renovations — Hallow Art IV features an art gallery, of course, but also a concert, a fashion show and more. It’s all set to a Halloween theme, with an emphasis on the creative spirit of the holiday.

The latest installment will be at the new-and-improved Phoenix Café, 24918 John R, from 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, to 3 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Music is until 2 a.m.

The café serves Chazzano Coffee, as well as tea, soft drinks and bottled water. Snacks will be provided for the art opening, and pizza, chips and cookies will be sold all night. 

There is a $5 cover fee. All are welcome, marking the Phoenix Café’s new status as an all-ages venue. That being said, the event won’t water down its content, offering horror aficionados an array of dark art and suitably atmospheric music.

Guests can come to the event wearing their costumes. The venue will be filled with gory props. There will also be silent horror movies playing in the background, on a large screen in an area where people can sit and relax.

Hanging from chains on the wall will be at least 50 art pieces — paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography and mixed media. They are the work of local artists, including Jason Raven, Gregory Wyrick, Paolo Pedini, Geno Bisoni and Sandra Stuetzler.

Guests should expect the unexpected, said Steven Gamburd, co-owner of the café, gallery director and event coordinator.

“It’s not just about the cutesy, typical designs like jack-o’-lanterns,” Gamburd said. “It’s more about what the holiday represents to you, and how it lets you be creative, bringing out the beautiful but darker side of the artistic experience.”

As for the concert, the lineup continues to grow but currently includes The Counter Elites, performing a complete Ramones set; Wizard Union, doing doom/sludge metal; Zombie Jesus and the Chocolate Sunshine Band, doing a half-roots rock, half-Dead Milkmen set; Freak Ache, an experimental psychedelic rock group; Me and The Ghost, an atmospheric rock band; Wood Zombie, described as “zombified hip-hop;” Storytime with the Impaler, a Dracula-themed act; Jason Milan, a guitarist dabbling in classical and psychedelic; and Hans Barbe, café co-owner, playing “darker works” of classical piano.

Many of the bands will also be in costume.

And then there’s the fashion show. Laurette Designs will roll out a number of stylish designs being modeled by women in undead makeup.

“This will be later on in the night — sort of an interlude between acts,” Gamburd said.

Other interludes will take the form of short films by local filmmakers, roughly 10-15 minutes long. Filmmakers with a scary movie to share are free to contact the café.

It’s a unique experience, and one that introduced Brian Lewandowski, the current gallery assistant, to what the Phoenix Café has to offer.

“There’s something for everyone,” Lewandowski said. “When we have shows like this, we aim for variety. And everyone who’s been here since the renovations can’t even believe it’s the same place. It’s like we doubled in size, giving it more of an open feel.”

Gamburd said the event’s theme helps it stand out.

“You have the opportunity to view works specifically for Halloween,” Gamburd said. “You also have the props and décor — it’s not a haunted house, but you’re going to a themed setting, hanging out with your friends, eating some food, talking, and all of the acts are very happy to be a part of the show, performing at least a half-hour each. It will just be an entertaining time, with many surprises.”

Hallow Art IV will be at the Phoenix Café, 24918 John R, from 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, to 3 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Music is until 2 a.m. There is a $5 cover fee. All ages are invited.

Local filmmakers interested in sharing their 10- to 15-minute short horror film can contact Steven Gamburd at artisnormal@yahoo.com. For more information about the Phoenix Café, call (248) 667-8817.