Promises of “ghoulishly good prizes,” “wicked WZLY tunes” and a gallery talk with Professor Justin Armstrong of the anthropology department brought a substantial crowd to Davis After Dark at the Davis Museum this past Thursday. The event was hosted by the Davis Museum Student Advistory Committee (DMSAC). The event is hosted annually at the museum, and this year it received an overhaul with a new name: “Danger After Dark: Gala-ween.”
Even the spam featured cleverly alliterated activities, including “sinister stories from Upstage” and “menacing mocktails and haunting hors d’oeuvres.” While DMSAC advertised an array of events, the party started similarly to many Halloween gatherings; students awkwardly milled around in their costumes while listening to Halloween classics, including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the theme from “Ghostbusters.”
However, the night quickly picked up when the gallery doors opened and guests were invited to peruse the museum’s broad collection. Shortly thereafter, party-goers meandered upstairs to the museum’s fifth floor gallery, where Upstage performed a unique take on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” That night, four of the troupe’s members alternated acting as the tale’s main character. The troupe’s fifth member played the story’s secondary character — an old man. Students were invited to either observe the performance or to wander through the museum’s latest installation, “Hanging with Old Masters.”
After the performance, guests roamed the museum; many returned downstairs to the museum’s lobby to enjoy food and drinks. The hors d’oeuvres included skewers, mini pumpkin cheesecakes and chocolate-covered strawberries. In addition, there were three Halloween-themed mocktails: the Bloody Shirley, Hocus Pocus and Mad Scientist. After enjoying the snacks, party-goers migrated to the galleries to enjoy a gallery talk.
Professor Justin Armstrong of the anthropology department was the selected guest speaker for Danger After Dark. Though he is well known for his study of ghost towns, Armstrong spoke about a variety of subjects, from his aforementioned field of expertise to street art. He described his travels in Newfoundland, where he produced music for a boutique hotel by collecting sounds native to the island. Additionally, Armstrong highlighted his pursuits of art and anthropology by discussing his studies of street art in New York. While his stories captivated the audience, the gallery talk was cut short to include time for the night’s costume contest.
The contest included three categories: Best Group Costume, Best Artist Costume and Best Overall Costume. Chitti Desai ’17 and Ningyi Xi ’17 won the Best Group Costume dressed as Frida Kahlo. Elena Najjab ’18, dressed as Luna Lovegood, won the Best Overall Costume.
“I feel great about winning the contest. DMSAC’s prize choice of Fly Art t-shirts was super unique,” Najjab said after DMSAC announced her win. Christie also received a prize of a Fly Art t-shirt, while Desai and Xi won a giftcard to Wasik’s Cheese Shop in the Ville.
Overall, the event was a success. Students enjoyed the “ghastly twist” on the Davis Museum’s usual offerings, with the added bonuses of a photo booth, food, holiday music and decor fit for a Halloween gala.
Photos by Soojin Jeong ’17, Photography Editor