Friday, February 29, 2008

Haunted Vancouver, Reclusive Jeff Mangum, Acquanetta Too

The Hidden House - Vancouver, WABlogging from my dad's slow but purposeful PC today. A smattering of info-bits before I head out to visit friends tonight.

At belly dance class this week, my teacher Ruby asked one of the dancers if she would be able to perform once more at the Hidden House in Vancouver, WA. Ruby wanted to know if an encore performance would be possible after what happened last time. If you say something like that in a room full of belly dancers, several voices will shout out at once, "Why?! What happened LAST time?!"

Turns out the dancer and her friend were upstairs in the house, which is also a Greek restaurant, and couldn't find a light switch. She heard a very distinct heavy sigh right behind her shoulder. Her friend bumped into a chair that mysteriously ended up in a doorway that had been clear before. The belly dancer who heard the sigh said her mom didn't want her performing at the Hidden House anymore, but she felt it would be OK.

Is the house haunted? we all wanted to know. Ruby nodded emphatically. "Oh yes," she said with many more head nods. "It's most definitely haunted." Then she told us of the time she was in the bathroom (no light on either--what's with the light switch situation over there?) and she heard, at first very softly, a woman screaming, that got progressively louder and louder. She jiggled the handle to the door but couldn't get out and the screaming became unbearingly full-on wailing, then began to die down again. Ruby finally got the door opened and booked out of there, "But I left my cell phone behind," she said, laughing. "I had to ask George to retrieve it for me."

George runs the restaurant, A Touch of Athens at the house. According to Ruby, he knows the house is haunted too and won't go in there without other people around. I found this such an entertaining way to start my class and even though I threw my back out this week, I was able to dance most of the time and really enjoy myself. Maybe we should start more group activities with some rousing ghost stories. It's quite a bonding experience. And though I worry that people will not frequent a haunted restaurant--I'm more eager than ever to go. I will test all light switches before entering any rooms, and take a belly dancer with me at all times. It's hard to be scared when you're surrounded by spangles.

In other news, Keith sent me this Slate article on Jeff Mangum, super-mysterioso front-man to beloved pop group, Neutral Milk Hotel. Taylor Clark calls him The Salinger of Indie Rock--an apt description. After two CDs, Neutral Milk Hotel slipped quietly into the ether and Mangum traveled the world, had a mental breakdown, and now lives happily with his wife, making art but not music.

Keith and I met him and the band when they toured after releasing their first album "On Avery Island." They were just sitting on some folding chairs and on the floor of Aquarius Records on Valencia Street in SF, playing away like a bunch of creative guys at a college dorm party. Really nice guys. I'm sorry that Mangum has had so many spiritual crisises to contend with. He kindly allowed me to use an intro to one of their songs for my failed opus, Fog, even though he was a little hard to track down at the time.

Singer/songwriter Sean Hayes, co-starred in Fog. He just played in Portland and will return this summer.

And finally, Captain Bijou had posted the Captive Wild Woman trailer on YouTube, featuring Acquanetta as the Gorilla Girl: (Creature of evil, running amok, blazing a trail of fear-crazed horror.) Unfortunately, YouTube ousted the trailer in a bout of copyright pillaging by whoever owned the property. I guess trailers from the 40s are now free from copyright infringement--everyone breathe a sigh of relief.

Here's "Tarzan and the Leopard Woman" instead from a Tarzan doc. in the making. Acquanetta IS the Leopard Woman.

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