Friday, March 28, 2014

Whatever Happened to Gary Seven?

I've been home with bronchial pneumonia for a couple of weeks now, and it has been a tepid nightmare of muddled ennui.  Physically too weak to do anything constructive (I'm completely disgusted that unloading the dishwasher takes me three times as long, and requires an actual rest afterwards), and head too clouded by sleep deprivation to get any substantive reading done.  Instead of catching up on unwatched BluRays or anything on the PVR, I've succumbed to the allure of nostalgia and have been re-watching things I've seen before, unchallenged by new characters and comforted by familiar stories.

Thankfully, the original series of Star Trek on BluRay arrived from Amazon about a week ago, and I've used my time under a multitude of blankets to revisit many episodes of TOS, now with re-mastered effect shots, and the ability to toggle between them and the original vision.  I was very surprised to find how much I preferred these updated scenes featuring one of my all-time favourite starships, especially in episodes like "The Ultimate Computer" and "The Doomsday Machine" which required a lot of exterior shots of the Enterprise in order to help the story unfold.

Reaching the end of the second season I re-encountered the episode "Assignment: Earth", which has the least amount of Star Trek of any episode; most of the episode centers around the efforts of intergalactic secret agent Gary Seven (Robert Lansing), a human raised on an alien world and sent to Earth to protect it from itself, and his flighty but intelligent secretary Roberta Lincoln (Teri Garr).  Kirk and Spock are almost incidental to the plot, sent back in time by Starfleet to make sure things unfold as they should, and initially opposing Seven, but eventually helping him prevent the weaponization of space in 1968.

Knowing as we do that Star Trek did a lot of its work on a shoestring budget, re-using props and costumes as much as possible, makes watching Assignment: Earth a bit puzzling: Why so little of the Enterprise and her crew?  Why so much backstory on Gary Seven and his mysterious patrons?  Isn't a new set, like Gary Seven's office with it's teleportation vault and Beta 5 supercomputer hidden behind rotating wall units, a bit extravagant for a single episode?

Well, yes, until you realize that a) Gene Roddenberry fully expected Star Trek to be cancelled, and b) he was hoping to use this episode as a 'back-door pilot' for a new series to be called "Assignment: Earth".

Star Trek actually was cancelled by NBC shortly after the second season, but a massive letter-writing campaign brought it back for a third.  Assignment: Earth, sadly, never went to series, so we never got to see what Roddenberry might have intended for this 'spy-fi' venture, but it turns out that others have been intrigued by the potential as well.

At The Complete Assignment: Earth website, you can peruse this series-that-never-was to a remarkable depth.  Curator Scott Dutton has collected an astonishing amount of material, including:

  • the original pilot script
  • the series proposal
  • cast information
  • photos of custom toys
  • a credit sequence edited from existing footage
  • props, costumes, and set blueprints

Most interesting to me, however, was the collection of blog entries written by a gentleman named Adam Riggio entitled "Roads Untaken".  In it, he laments the lost opportunity of AE to present social justice issues in an entertaining medium, similar to what Star Trek itself did.  He then goes on, however, re-casting the series (with Lenoard Nimoy and Diana Muldaur!) and outlining the broad strokes of  four seasons.

Riggio's vision probably draws a little too much from modern-day television insofar as it has a comic-book-like continuity, building through various arcs to a season finale, unlike the stand-alone episodes of the period that suited syndication so well.  Having said that, he makes a truly compelling case, and after reading Roads Untaken, I find myself joining him in lamenting for a series that never did, and could never now, exist.

This is not to say that Gary Seven's mission has to end there; comics legend John Byrne, a devoted Trekkie with a number of TOS books published by IDW, has written and drawn 5 issues of an Assignment: Earth comic book that is simply marvelous.  It not only gives a faithful rendition of Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, but expands upon their mission and objectives, and even revisits another Star Trek episode, "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" which shows the two of them working behind the scenes to help the Entrprise crew reset history in 1969 after accidentally abducting an American fighter pilot.

The idea of of a more advanced culture sending someone to Earth to help us make our way through tumultuous times resonated highly in the late 1960s, as North America wrestled with the war in Vietnam, generational friction, women's rights, and racial strife.  In fact, as the internet Movie DataBase notes:
Spock mentions all the events that would happen the week of 1968 that they arrived in. Among the events he mentioned was an important political assassination. As it turned out, there were ultimately two important political assassinations in 1968. Just six days after this episode aired on March 29, 1968, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, and two months later, on June 6, 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was killed in Los Angeles, California on the night he won the California Democratic Presidential Primary.
I like to think we have made some decent progress as a planetary society since that time, even without assistance, but as we watch events unfold in Crimea, the furor around same-sex marriage and the attempts by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to chronicle the damage done by the Indian Residential Schools, I start to wish that there were people like Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln to help us out.  Don't you?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pub Nuptials

Back on Family Day, my sister got married again. Audrey stood up with Tara, and Jerry's son Jason was his best man, which in thought was all kinds of awesome. It also did a great job of keeping his bachelor party in-bounds, which I believe resulted in all of them going go-karting, which is also quite cool.


It's a darned good looking crew, I think you will agree, and Tara gave Audrey special kudos for not looking like her feet are freezing, despite wearing open-toed shoes in the snow.


It was a fairly small wedding as such things go, and they had considered having the ceremony in their home. With a dinner to be served afterwards, however, it became far more practical to have the ceremony and reception at the same place: Murphy's Irish Pub in Leduc.


Our own Rev. James conducted the service, which was wonderful in its acknowledgment of a new beginning and new family and inclusion of Jason in his address. It turns out this wasn't even his first pub wedding, which I thought was delightful. His husband Glen sang 'Night & Day' while all the signing took place after the vows were concluded, and I got to do the scripture reading which, for once, was not the wedding at Cana!


While I have to say I am always skeptical of an Irish pub that doesn't have Guinness on tap, they did have Guinness, and the hospitality was first rate, as was the meal (and amenities!) they provided.


Most importantly, it was wonderful to have family around; Mum flew in from Osoyoos, and Audrey's sister Betty drove in all the way from Rocky Mountain House with her husband Hank and daughter Kara-Lynn just to 'crash the reception'.


(To make things even stranger, and to illustrate that whole 'Small World' theorem in detail, Hank's cousin Mike is actually married to Jerry's sister, adding a whole other layer of relation to the affair.)


At any rate, when your family swells to include a couple of great gents like Jerry and Jason, the most appropriate emotions are those of gratitude, which we certainly have, and of hope for a long and beautiful future together for all three of them, which we certainly do!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cello Shots

I've been a fan of diverse musical styles for about as long as I can remember, and my introduction to many of them came through movie soundtracks.  When I was 10 years old, I used my allowance money to buy the double LP Star Wars soundtrack, which not only came with a nifty poster, but a comprehensive set of liner notes wherein composer John Williams outlined his approach to the project and the various themes that comprised the score.

I didn't yet know who Wagner was, and had no idea what a leitmotif might be, but when Williams explained how many of the major characters had their own short theme that could be 'quoted' as needed within the score, I started to get the idea.  I listened to that soundtrack just about every chance I got, and when I got to see Star Wars again probably a year later in the theater (as home video wasn't even a glimmer in anyone's eye in 1978), I paid just about as much attention to what I was hearing as to what I was seeing.  When we first meet Luke Skywalker, the realization that we were hearing the brilliant opening fanfare played softer and slower was like an epiphany to me, and I was hooked.   Listening to the soundtrack would now let me see scenes of my favourite movie played over again in my mind's eye, provided I had access to the record player.

Film music and soundtracks have continued to expose me to new sounds and ideas, from the punk rock of Repo Man to the bluegrass of O Brother Where Art Thou?, but it was listening to Yo Yo Ma on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon that first got me to appreciate a specific instrument in the cello.

The skillful blending of Eastern/Western styles and instrumentation make the Crouching Tiger soundtrack a standout by just about any measure, but the amazing range and versatility of the cello, combined with its borderline supernatural ability to elicit an almost visceral and emotional response in the listener really captivated me, and I have made a point of listening for it in symphonic music ever since.  On occasion, Fenya's choir will be accompanied by one, and the opening notes of "God Bless the Master" now provoke an unconscious declaration by myself that, yes, actually, my allergies have been acting up lately, and my eyes will probably start leaking at any moment now, but this is hardly unexpected by those who travel in our circles.

Recently, a "You Might Also Like" e-mail from made me aware that the Finnish cello group Apocalyptica, a band who gained notoriety by moving from period music to covers of songs by noted heavy metal musicians Metallica, had a 'Best Of' album on sale.  Now, I would by no means consider myself a Metallica fan, but find their musicianship and longevity easy to respect, and also own a bluegrass cover of their anti-war song "One" which I consider to be fairly excellent.  Having heard Apocalyptica a few times on CJSR and CBC, I decided to take a gamble on this 2006 release.

And I am very glad I did.  The album contains both instrumental works and tracks with vocals (including a stunning cover of Rammstein's "Seemann" with Nina Hagen!), and the handful of tracks I recognized sounded fantastic in this new instrumentation and arrangement.  The one that most caught my ear, however, was a cover of Metallica's "Harmageddon", itself an instrumental which I had never heard before.  

The vividness and range of the sonic spectrum used in this piece is something I find altogether compelling and dramatic; it is the kind of music that makes me wonder what kind of short film could be made to accompany it.  To say nothing of the musicianship of making four comparatively ancient stringed instruments sound convincingly similar to a hard rock quartet.

Obviously this kind of juxtaposition is hardly a new idea, even when taken to such extremes.  After showing the Harmageddon video to my friends, they immediately introduced me to another video featuring a duo called 2 Cellos covering AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" that is making the rounds, and is quite clever.

And once again, I am left gobsmacked at not only the musical inventiveness of the artists, but the versatility of this particular instrument.  Given the cello's ability to sound like a violin and bass (among other things!), I find myself wondering why orchestras even bother with other strings, but I am certain that is only a layman's ignorance at work.

Best of all though, some artists are going full circle and bringing rock/roll sensibilities to the symphonic music that attracted me to the genre in the first place.  Now, to be fair, The Piano Guys here do use a lot of multi-track and backing instruments that some may consider cheating, but in the end, it is still a new way to enjoy an established instrument and freshen up a sound that, to my 10-year-old ears at least, sounded new and old at the same time when I first heard it all those years ago.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Form and Function: The Dartington Ultimate Tankard

Following my sister's wedding on Family Day Weekend, she presented me with a thank-you gift (needlessly, I think; she had already fed me and paid my bar tab, so I was already waaaay ahead on the transaction!) of the Dartington Ultimate Tankard.


Obviously, as a beer fan this was tremendously appropriate and much appreciated. I'm a huge proponent of using a glass for beer as opposed to a bottle, as my consternated and occasionally annoyed friends will attest to, as bottle drinking not only eliminates the nose entirely from tasting the beer, but also needlessly agitates it.


I have a few different types of beer glasses in my collection now, from tankards to pint sleeves to a set of kolsch-style rods (or stange, if you will), and I don't think I've bought any of them. The majority are branded promotional items included with the purchase of a particular beverage, but the rest are all either commemoratives or gifts: The earthenware stein that Island Mike lugged all the way back from Berlin for me actually predates my marriage and has survived being moved to Toronto and back. My pewter five-year veteran's mug from GW is engraved with an imperial eagle as well as my name, although I don't drink from it that often. The girls bought me a Guinness tulip glass with a vintage "Lovely Day for a Guinness" ad on it Which is in fairly regular rotation. The one exception I can think of is the enormous (1 litre) Klingon drinking stein I bought at a Calgary convention with proceeds (and tribbles!) going to the children's hospital there, but it sees very little use as a drinking vessel.


Now, there is quite a bit of speculation as to exactly how much effect the shape of the glass can have on what you are drinking, for both wine and glass. Pete has done the Pepsi challenge, sampling the same wine from two different glasses and though initially somewhat skeptical, was suitably impressed at the improvement in taste from the specialty glass. For myself, my attitude is on the topic is the same as the one I have on ghosts: while I am sure it is possible, and will never discount the accounts of others, I haven't any direct experience. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the simplicity of my palate and a lack of discipline in my tasting, for whatever that's worth.


Even without somehow enhancing its contents, the Dartington is a wonder to behold as well as a joy to drink from; the ample handle permits gracious accommodation for all four of my fingers, and its low positioning leave a full pint well balanced and comfortable in the hand. The trumpet flare of the mouth of the tankard is not only a stylish design flourish, but also permits you to build a good, sturdy head on the appropriate beer, as well as providing a better fulcrum for the thumb when tipping the glass to imbibe.


The flared edges do require a certain amount of caution when orienting to drink, as a frankly surprising amount of liquid can be dispersed along a wider than usual surface area in a very short period of time, with almost no warning whatsoever.


There are many different styles of beer glasses, some regional, some historical, some designed for specific styles of beer; Belgian ales (especially Trappist styles) are often served in a chalice, and are designed so the beer can be warmed in the palm of the hand. Other strong ales are served in a snifter or balloon, similar to brandy, in order to collect and concentrate the aromas. As a result of this, it is difficult to assert that all beers will taste or feel better in this particular glassware. It's 573 cL size also means that a regular (355 mL) bottle looks a bit small once decanted within it. Having said that though, I feel fairly confident that the Dartington Ultimate Tankard will be my go-to glass for pint-sized beers for some time to come. Slainte, Tara and Jerry!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Fan Service

Dedicated supporters of a person or enterprise are sometimes referred to as fans, short for fanatic, and they can often simultaneously be the best and worst people to have in your corner. Having fans in your corner, especially in things like arts and entertainment, brings a degree of guaranteed support and credibility to whatever you are trying to accomplish. Conversely, anonymous broadcasting and networking tools give disgruntled fans an undue amount of influence and an audience for their perceived grievances.


The Batman movies are a prime example of this; studios often 'test' movies before release but showing them audiences and surveying them afterwards, allowing them to tweak their product as needed. Then fledgling movie gossip site Ain't It Cool News began reporting on the poor response to screenings of Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin (even though they are supposed to be secret), and that was the end of that particular franchise for almost a decade.


Christopher Nolan, hot off the success of his brilliant indie detective-with-no-long-term-memory flick Memento, was brought in to write and direct a reboot, which everyone was tentatively excited about. The faith of the fan base was rewarded, but when Nolan announced the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker in the sequel, that same community was outraged, and made sure everyone knew it. With one voice, they claimed that a 'pretty-boy' like Ledger could not possibly do justice to a killer clown character created a half century before. Besides, some argued, no one should go up against Jack Nicholson's performance in Tim Burton's Batman almost twenty years ago. The most understanding perspective you might find on the message boards of the time was that this egregious mishandling was no doubt the result of studio interference.


At any rate, Nolan's reputation for composure under pressure stood him in good stead, remaining aloof while the studio released simple sketches of their vision as Ledger as a completely different Joker from anyone seen before in either the movies or the comics that inspired them. Some smart marketing campaigns centred around the San Diego Comic-Con brought a lot of fence-sitters into the fold, and had even the most entrenched fans saying they might be willing to give The Dark Knight the benefit of the doubt.


In the end, Nolan did the impossible: he made a movie that not only satisfied an initially hostile fan base but also intrigued mainstream audiences, becoming an enormous hit and making almost a billion dollars for Warner Bros.


It is intimidating to think about huge communications behemoths like AOL Time Warner (who own DC Comics and iconic characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) or Disney (who now both the Marvel Comics and Star Wars properties in addition to Mickey and the Muppets), devoting even a small portion of their budgets to researching, predicting and managing fan reactions to their plans, but obviously they must. With the time, money and energy at stake, it is critical to make sure fans understand that the creators and owners of these franchises respect the material they are working with, even when they make necessary departures from it. The DC animation arm used to excel at this sort of 'fan service', with cryptic nods to historical comic trivia and nerdy shibboleths salted into episodes of Justice League and Brave and the Bold, but they have lost much of their mojo in this arena. After disappointing (Green Lantern) or divisive (Man of Steel) efforts at the cinema, they seem to have largely ceded this ground to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.




The most recent Marvel One-Shot "Hail to the King" from the new Thor BluRay is a perfect example. In Iron Man 3, director Shane Black said there were no plans to include Tony Stark's arch nemesis The Mandarin for a number of reasons, the most prominent of which were the fact he is pretty much a racist caricature in the vein of Fu Manchu. Someone getting their powers from magical rings found in a crashed spaceship would be a real test for the suspension of disbelief, even in a summer comic book movie. But mid-production, Black reversed himself, saying they found a way to reinvent The Mandarin as a premier ideological terrorist, and that he would be played by the great Ben Kingsley. And in the movie, his chilling affect, ruthless manner and multi-accented voice make him a very credible threat, and a formidable foe for Iron Man.


But when it was revealed that the Mandarin was essentially a stalking horse, a puppet, a patsy, and this fearsome presence was actually a drug-addled thespian named Trevor Slattery, I roared with laughter, partially due to the great way he was written by Drew Pearce, partially for Sir Ben's brilliantly comedic portrayal, but honestly, mostly for how I knew the more 'serious comic fans' (it feels weird to even type that...) were going to react. Sure enough, their indignation began making the rounds shortly after the movie's release, but they soon found themselves outnumbered by people like myself who enjoyed the twist, and thought a comic version of the Mandarin was a poor fit for the movies.

Hail to the King is a ten minute film that centres around a documentarian interviewing Slattery in his rather plush prison cell, but what makes it most amazing is that writer Drew Pearce has done the impossible: it somehow, amazingly, reconciles the fans of the 'real' Mandarin with those of Trevor Slattery. Kingsley is brilliant in his return to this hapless, oblivious actor whose sense of his own importance is vastly overstated, but believed with such a degree of conviction that he has begun to convince those around him that it is legitimate. If you enjoyed IM3 or the ongoing evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I recommend seeing this Marvel One Shot as soon as possible.




In addition to opening up the MCU a teensy bit wider, Hail to the King may even have a hat-tip to a other future project: Trevor's new residence, Seagate Prison, is also the scene of the origin of one Luke Cage, better known as Power Man. Power Man, his occasional Heroes for Hire partner Iron Fist, blind crime fighter Daredevil and one time super person Jessica Jones are all getting their own limited-run series on Netflix, then coming together for a Defenders mini-series. Tiny asides like this, otherwise negligible remarks or references overlooked by the majority of onlookers, show the attention to detail that is the hallmark of great fan service.




Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series, although a little slow in finding its feet, has now begun to reward viewers who have stuck it out by revealing that an established character is turning into the cyborg assassin Deathlok, a relatively obscure character who nonetheless has had his own comic at various times since his creation in the '70s. Whether this will be enough to silence critics who feel not enough has been done to establish ties to either the Marvel Comics universe or the MCU remains to be seen, but hearing that tomorrow's episode will feature Bill Paxton, one of my favourite genre actors, playing agent Jack Garrett is pretty encouraging.



Garrett was introduced in the trippy and groundbreaking Elektra: Assassin miniseries by Frank Miller and Bill Sienckiewicz I bought off the racks at Starbase 12 back in 1986, and has, unbeknownst to me, made several appearances as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the decades (ugh!) since. Again, they probably could have had Paxton playing an agent named Phillips or Robertson, but bringing in a comics reference is another means of restoring confidence in the fanbase.


DC may be re-learning the craft of fan service as well. Recent episodes of the CW superhero soap opera Arrow has seen the formation of popular anti-hero team The Suicide Squad, linkages to The League of Assassins and Batman villain Rās Al-Ghul, as well as serving as a 'back door pilot' to a new series featuring famed speedster The Flash. In the most recent episode alone:

  • We got to hear Officer Lance's radio call sign of Delta Charlie five-two, i.e. DC 52. DC's controversial universal reboot, they re numbered every comic they make back to number 1, was called "The New 52".
  • We see a team of robbers infiltrating Kord Industries to steal a high-tech device; Owner and CEO Ted Kord is also known as The Blue Beetle, a gadgeteer crime fighter and member of the Justice League.
  • During a scene in which Oliver Queen/Arrow races past a bus in order to keep it from crashing into a malevolently guided train, we can see an ad on the side of it for "Blue Devil" a lesser known comics character from the DC Universe.

And a clearer look here, courtesy of Bleeding Cool:

(See the Blue Devil one is really clever, and a bit meta, since the ad is for a Blue Devil 3D movie, so even those who are aware he's a comic character are likely to think, oh hey, in the Arrowverse, BD must be a comic that has been made into a summer movie, BUT, but, Blue Devil's origin story is that he is actually a Hollywood stuntman/special effects artist who gets trapped by sorcery within the costume he has created for a movie called...Blue Devil! If they end up actually having Blue Devil on either Arrow or The Flash after this ad, I will just...why are you staring at me like that?)


At this rate, it is only a matter of time before someone on Arrow mentions Gotham City or Metropolis, or something from there, like Wayne Industries or The Daily Planet, and even if they don't take it much further than that (which is likely, since they will need to keep the ground clear for the next Superman movie, which will include Batman, Wonder Woman and possibly a whole host of other costumed heroes), it's still a wonderful bit of fan service.


Fan service at its best is not about pandering, it is about sharing details regarding an imaginary world in a way that resonates with the most dedicated of fans; those who are smart enough to recognize the limitations of working within multiple media channels with dozens or hundreds of creative collaborators on thousands of projects spanning decades, but despite knowing all that, still hunger for this make-believe world to be as believable and consistent and detailed as possible.


Maybe this is because these fantastic universes seem so much better than our own sometime , so much fuller with potential and promise, where super-science, alien technology, ancient wisdom and unexplainable phenomena make the impossible real and the marvelous part of every day life. Who wouldn't want to look at the situation in the Ukraine and attribute the troubles there to agents provocateur of Hydra, looking to consolidate power, or AIM, needing the natural resources of the Crimea for some malicious purpose? Knowing full well that Captain America or Iron Man will doubtlessly arrive to shut things down with authority, but as little loss of life as possible?


On the other hand, not being invaded by countless alien races or used as pawns by one of the many secret societies jockeying for position in the world of comics has its benefits as well,I suppose.


For myself, I am certainly willing to give committed creators the benefit of a doubt, especially when they take their time establishing their bona fides with offhand references that wink broadly at those of us looking closely enough to perceive their significance. That is a service that this fan is only too happy to render.


Oscars 2014

There was a time when the Best Picture and Best Director awards went hand in glove, but for the second year in a row, it was a split. Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director for his existential space drama Gravity, and Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture for his unflinching and spartan look at slavery in the American south.


I didn't see all this uear's nominees, but I was glad not to be an Academy member; having to choose between the two films mentioned above or the brilliant performances in American Hustle and Dallas Buyer's Club would have been a hard choice, but is think in the end, Gravity would have won me over. The paradox that a movie so grand in scale that a number of new technologies had to be created to accurately capture the isolation and desperation of life in space can also contain such an internalized and personal story that it could almost be done on stage is still something I find remarkable. I am certainly not disappointed with 12 Years winning, and not just because I don't want Ellen Degeneres thinking I'm a racist!


Ellen did a great job as host, keeping things moving except when she was bringing in some hapless delivery boy to serve pizza to some of the biggest movie stars in the world ("I lied, we're not going backstage..."), or breaking Twitter with one of the most star-studded selfies ever. It's one of the toughest gigs in the world, and she did it with considerable aplomb.


There seemed to be much fewer laundry list acceptance speeches this year (Cate Blanchett, please work on this!), but I was especially touched by the sincerity of Matthew McConaughey's speech. The humble and honest manner in which he acknowledged the hand of God for the many blessings in his life without ever becoming jingoistic or proselytizing was impressive, as was the bit where he spoke about his hero being himself (ten years from now). The rhyming couplets of the two co-directors of Disney's Frozen was also a delight.


James won the Oscar prediction contest (for what I believe to be the third year running!) with an astonishing 19 correct, with only Bruce, the 2011 victor, even coming close with 18. Next year I intend to move towards a raffle system or something similar to introduce some randomness and even out the playing field a little. The temptation to use sites like Gold Derby takes a bit of the fun out of it. Maybe we will also have a 'heart vs head' ballot, to compare the movies you expect to win with the ones you want to win. Well, I've got a year to figure out an alternative...


In other news, Pete and I topped the March of the Dead this year with 6 shots apiece.


Best of all though, was the food and fellowship throughout the night! Pulled BBQ beef, chicken cheese dip, Hoisin meat balls, stuffed portobello mushrooms, cheesy potatoes, and caramel apple Rice Krispie treats on a stick made sure no one left hungry.