Ghouls and goblins, angels and witches, Austin Powers-look-alikes and Spider-Men everywhere: If you've got a costume, or just a desire to celebrate Halloween with a group of party animals (some with glued-on whiskers and tails, no doubt), Fairfax area clubs and theaters offer a variety of ways to howl at the moon. Here are a few suggestions:
* The area's prime hard-rock venue, JAXX, is hosting a multi-band costume party that includes Bludshot, Welbilt and 33 West. A Chantilly-based sextet, 33 West has toured nationwide, sharing stages with the likes of New Found Glory and Good Charlotte. In 2002, the group won first place in a national battle of the bands sponsored by guitar accessories manufacturer Ernie Ball and more recently has had its music licensed for use by MTV and the hit CBS series "Joan of Arcadia."
Welbilt scored its own cool national promo exposure recently when it was picked to be in a Budweiser True Music radio spot, which is calling attention to the band's late 2003 CD release, "A Beautiful Mess."
* The State Theatre, meanwhile, calls its concert costume party "Fright Night," featuring Fighting Gravity, Jackie Gino, Yes No Maybe and DJ Howl (how appropriate). Being on the road about 250 nights a year, Fighting Gravity has a rep for great live shows and has shared stages with acts such as Aerosmith, Cowboy Mouth and Vertical Horizon. The group also takes pride in blending and bending musical styles in multiple genres from funk to pop, alternative rock to roots and dance hall reggae.
Depending on the flexibility of your costume, you'll have your choice of activities at the State -- eating at one of the seated tables, jumping around the dance floor or settling into one of 200 balcony seats to watch the parade of ghouls, which should be a good one, with a $500 prize for the night's best costume. And the venue is no-smoking, so no one has to worry about their wings catching fire.
* If you'd rather groove than growl, Falls Church blues haven Bangkok Blues is hosting what it calls a "Halloween Save the Blues Benefit Party." Take advantage of restaurant seating for the tasty Thai menu, or hang at the bar, enjoying a triple bill of jazz vocalist and Fairfax native Danielle Westphal, Carol Gaylor (female half of the contemporary pop duo Lambert and Gaylor) and the establishment's tireless proprietor, Chai Siribongkot.
The owner of Bangkok Blues is a musician himself, whose career stretches to his childhood in Thailand. After touring with Thai rock and pop outfits, he landed in Los Angeles, doing a solo act that took him on the road for seven more years and eventually brought him to our area, where he founded Bangkok Blues, a veritable shrine to the music he loves.
* And finally, for those who prefer cinematic thrills to musical ones, the Alden Theatre in McLean is hosting a double feature of cheesy 1950s horror films: "Creature From the Black Lagoon" and "20 Million Miles to Earth."
In "Creature From the Black Lagoon," a scientific expedition on the Amazon River encounters a dangerous humanoid amphibious fish. (Don't you hate when that happens?) Added bonus: "Creature" will be shown in its original 3-D format!
The 1957 movie "20 Million Miles to Earth" features a dinosaur-like creature from Venus that grows to monstrous proportions, thanks to outstanding stop-motion work by animator Ray Harryhausen, after whom the restaurant in the 2001 motion picture "Monsters, Inc." was named.
-- Marianne Meyer
JAXX Concert Hall and Nightclub is at 6355 Rolling Rd., Springfield. Admission is $10 for this all-ages show. For more information, call 703-569-5940, or go to www.jaxxroxx.com.
The State Theatre is at 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-237-0300 or go to www.thestatetheater.com.
Bangkok Blues is at 926 W. Broad St., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-534-0095 or go to www.bangkokblues.com.
The Alden Theatre is in the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave. Tickets are $8 for McLean area residents, $10 for others. For more information, call 703-790-9223 or go to www.mcleancenter.org.
You can send your LIVE! ideas to email@example.com. Or you can curse the silence. Press kits and music are also welcome, but please write for the correct mailing address first.