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It’s the Harvest Season!

Gather up some great art, fine craft and ARTfully “ghoul” it up for Halloween.

The month kicks off with three great ARTful events: October 5-7 is the Best of Missouri Market at Missouri Botanical Garden—great art, fine craft, great food and drink, live music, kids’ activities—all locally sourced. Don’t miss it!! Info at mobot.org.

While you’re there, just outside the Garden’s gates is the Historic Shaw Art Fair, October 6-7 (shawstlouis.org). Plus, on the same weekend, the 13th annual Open Studios StL offers the chance to peek inside over 130 artist studios and art spaces. See where creativity really starts. Spaces east of Grand Avenue are open on Saturday, west of Grand are open on Sunday. Details (and a map) at www.camstl.org.

The Foundry Arts Center in St. Charles offers a free opportunity for kids of all ages to get creative on October 14. From 1-3 p.m., this month’s 2nd Sunday celebrates Halloween. Let the kids test out their Halloween costumes and head to The Foundry for some indoor trick-or-treating and Halloween-inspired art activities. Details at www.foundry artcentre.org/2nd-sundays/.

Running now through October 20, New Line Theatre (self-described as the “bad boy of musical theatre”) presents the world premiere of Gilbert & Sullivan’s long-lost comic opera, The Zombies of Penzance. Wait, whaaaat??

Here’s the scoop: One of the best-known works by the legendary team of W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan is their work, The Pirates of Penzance, which debuted in New York in 1879, has been entertaining audiences ever since. However, it was never known that there was actually an earlier work entitled, The Zombies of Penzance, although it was initially titled At Night Come the Flesh Eaters. Intriguing, huh?! This 1878 piece, with mostly the same characters as Pirates, but a somewhat different plot, was only recently discovered.

The plot is this: Major-General Stanley is a retired zombie hunter, who doesn’t want his daughters marrying the dreaded Zombies of Penzance (for obvious reasons). Pretty scary stuff for 1878.

In early 1879, Gilbert and Sullivan’s producer Richard D’Oyly-Carte refused to produce the opera, declaring it, “vulgar, impolite, …an operatic abomination, an obscene foray into the darkest of the occult arts.” Writing a letter to his cousin, Gilbert himself expressed his deep disappointment by saying, “I fear the walking dead shall be the end of me yet.” Unaware of the existence of this early work, music scholars have been completely baffled by this statement…until now.

Reluctantly, after a long battle with D’Oyly-Carte, Gilbert and Sullivan agreed to rewrite the show, eliminating all references to zombies. In December of 1879, The Pirates of Penzance was produced and The Zombies of Penzance was hidden away.

Fast-forward to 2013 when New Line artistic director Scott Miller discovered the original manuscripts under a pile of various, old scripts in the second sub-basement of the Judson Memorial Church in New York. He worked to reconstruct the bizarre show, now being performed at the Marcelle Theatre, on Samuel Shepard Drive, between Washington and Delmar, in Grand Center. So you know, you’ve got to go see it! Details at www.kranzbergartsfoundation.org/the-marcelle.

Keep those chills running down your spine with a classic silent film series presented at Moore Auditorium on the Webster University campus at 470 E. Lockwood. On October 25, shiver to the 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney as the horribly disfigured recluse who lives beneath the Paris Opera House. Live musical accompaniment is by the Invincible Czars (all the way from Austin, Texas!). This frighteningly stark black-and-white film is definitely not Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of the Phantom! The film runs 93 minutes, beginning at 7:30 p.m., $10 special admission.

The scariness continues on October 28 when the 1926 silent film A Page of Madness is screened at the same location. One of the few Japanese films to survive World War II, this rare avant-garde film depicts one woman’s graphic descent into mental illness through astounding cinematography and emotion. Minimalist live musical score by Alloy Orchestra increases the audience’s sense of ongoing insanity. By the way, Alloy Orchestra from Cambridge, Massachusetts is considered to be “the” new sound of silent films. So, don’t miss this creepy performance for just $10! Details for both films webster.edu/film-series/.

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