The Prairie Dogg seeks Halloween costume inspiration.

Trick or Treat 

The Prairie Dogg seeks Halloween costume inspiration.

I deserve the contaminated candy. The lollipop coated with cooties. The Butterfinger basted with Ebola virus. The razor blades hidden in the candied apple.

I haven't done anything wicked lately to warrant such a fate -- unless you count my "Angel of Mercy" phase at that nursing home in Sarasota -- but I need to be punished for my persistent incompetence in the Halloween costume department.

I have been dogged by a creative dearth for the better part of two decades. White sheet? Boo, I'm a ghost. Eye patch? Arrrrrgh, I'm a pirate. Bathrobe? Say heeeeeee-ya to the Karate Kid.

My most inspired costume was a malfunctioning prophylactic, having only garbage bags, rubber bands and plain yogurt at my artistic disposal. But you can only pull that off -- so to speak -- once.

I was resolute that this year was different. But I needed guidance. I needed somebody who was stylish, graceful and whose mascara didn't run under pressure. Jenna Jameson was unavailable and Freddie Mercury was dead, so I headed out to some rock shows instead.

But musicians are stingy little bitches. And I suspect someone gave them advance word of my plan. When I arrived at The Granada to do Revlon recon on top schtick bands like Swill, Vibralux and Descension, I was met with silence.

Granted, I had arrived too fashionably late to catch much of Swill -- think of Rob Zombie and the Penguin (of Batman fame) wearing leather, painting their faces and playing power chords -- or the glamazon chicks-with-dicks in Vibralux. To further thwart my efforts, local schlock-rock stalwart Descension was a no-show, and headliner Truth Cell offered pointers on lacerating lungs with ear-piercing howls but was severely lacking in black-eyeliner theatrics.

The same couldn't be said of the Dresden Dolls, who performed at the Uptown as part of Halloweenie Roast the next night. The drummer looked like Charlie Chaplin starring in The Crow III, but the campy mime-as-goth thing was blotted out by their epic rendition of "War Pigs."

PJ Harvey avoided giving me any costume tips by not showing up. Posted signs attributed her absence to "travel difficulties," which could have meant everything from a blown tire to having her band hacked to pieces by a shifty-eyed hitchhiker. But I wasn't buying it.

That left Sonic Youth. The aging hipster gods whispered and roared with a cacophonous symphony of ambient art rock that was equal parts genius and gibberish. Singer/bassist Kim Gordon and gentle guitar giant Thurston Moore -- who looked like a cross-dressing Iggy Pop and an indie Cousin It, respectively -- drove the spastic instrumental meltdowns and lulling shoegazer melodies but didn't offer a single costume idea.

Sigh. Oh well. Luckily, I have plenty of garbage bags.

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