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All kinds of news as we move into the final thrust of 2002. Long-time rocker in Chico Craig Mazur (What You Like Salad, Antfarm) has taken a gig in Antarctica. Like the jackass I am, I tried to get him to watch John Carpenter’s The Thing before he left, but like most of my friends he wisely chose to ignore my advice. Here is part of his tales:

“The sun just dipped beyond Mt. Erebus, the local active volcano. It’s quite gorgeous in Antarctica at this hour; sunset lasts about three hours before it’s sunrise again. We will only experience sunset for maybe three to four days longer, after that it’s sunny all day, every day. It was such a bizarre moment walking out of the Air Force transporter, onto the sea-ice, three days ago, peering about the surrounding mountains. It felt like stepping out of the space shuttle and taking a walk on the moon. In fact, the whole experience up to and including this moment feels like being on the moon. … Well, actually like being in high-school on the moon. … That’s another story altogether—just take my word for it, when you have 1,000 people living in extreme isolation, working, playing, eating, sleeping together, you have an environment super-sophisticated, stunning and interesting and bitter childish at the same time. It’s beautiful and bizarre.” I can’t wait till he talks about the giant penguins, so stay tuned.

Yes, I’ve written about it for years, but finally the E-R has made it into a headline. Last week the town smelled like ass; I think we should call it “Ass Day.” Once a year, I walk around all day checking my shoes. I keep turning my neck to see if I sat in a large pile of pooh, and I get on my hand and knees and search the carpet for big brown stains. Check your local history on this one, as I have made my claim. Perhaps my face can be used as the logo for the day!

Amber Miller’s directorial timely version of Dracula is a hit! It all hinges on Padraig Downey’s excellent and believable characterization of the fanged one (though David Clyne’s deliriously insane Renfield makes for a great juxtaposition to Downey’s creepy intensity). A great supporting cast is the reason it keeps selling out, so get your tickets in advance!

And the rumor is true: Halloween has been moved to Saturday, Oct. 26. Meet in the Downtown Park Plaza at 6 p.m. to catch live music. No cops! And live music featuring Razor Death Squad!