Fetish freaks, goth groupies, and costumed geeks...oh my. All of these types turned out by the hundreds for the Thriller Costume Party at Monsterland in Mesa this past Saturday for one last hurrah before the haunted house-themed nightspot headed for the gallows.
They weren't only party monsters packing into Monsterland for what was officially the final fiesta at the joint, as all manner of fringe types showed up to bid a fond farewell including Burning Man regulars, punker chicks, cosplayers, rivetheads, and plenty of pierced and tattooed alt-fashion models.
Soon-to-be-shuttered nightspots generally attract record crowds before closing for good, and - as we mentioned -- Monsterland was certainly no exception to that rule. It once again caused us to scratch our heads and wonder, "If all these cats turned out every weekend, the place would still be in business."
Gregory "Darkseid" Holmes, a bouncer and doorman at Monsterland, wondered the same thing too when we spoke to him during the party.
"Yeah, its one of those bittersweet, 'If only,' kind of things that we've all been thinking since [co-owner Kevin Wynn] told everyone that Monsterland was closing," Holmes says.
While the occasion might have been a sad one, few - if any -- were shedding any tears on Saturday. The mood was quite fervorous as the dance floor was packed shoulder to shoulder with costumed revelers and others dressed in goth finery.
Mohawked mixmaster DJ Con rained down party rock remixes and club bangers from Monsterland's second floor elevated stage while a trio of sensual sirens from Burlescapades shook their moneymakers and a live drummer accompanied the beats by beating the skins furiously.
Then came the stroke of midnight, when DJ Con dropped the titular track of the evening (a.k.a. Michael Jackson's "Thriller") and both the go-go dancers and seemingly everyone else in the place started mimicking the shuffling, stumbling, and strutting from the landmark music video for the chart-topping song.
While Saturday night's party was the last chance to do the "Thriller" dance at Monsterland for the foreseeable future, it might not necessarily be the final time you can catch goths and geeks busting out with zombie moves at the nightclub. That's because there's a silver lining to the dark cloud of Monsterland's closure: Two separate efforts have been undertaken to help the establishment pull a Lazarus and rise from the grave.
As our sister blog Chow Bella reported last week, Holmes and other Monsterland employees have launched a crowdfunding project via Indiegogo in an attempt to raise $300,000 by early March to buy the joint from Wynn. Thus far, they've only raised around $400, which is an infinitesimally small fraction of their goal and only have 38 days left to go.
Its also been reported and rumored that local über-geek Marco Regalado, owner of Tempe's Pop Culture Paradise, may wind up buying the place. According to scuttlebutt, the 38-year-old -- who was in attendance at Saturday's party - is currently in talks with Wynn about possibly taking over Monsterland and becoming its new lord and master.
Keep your fingers crossed goths and geeks. In the meantime, check out all our hot shots from the party via this week's Club Candids slideshow.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.