Scott Lucas from Local H ascends the pulpit. Saints bedeck the walls behind him. He pulls out a leather bible, opens the cracked binding and breaks into the opening verse of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.”
It is Saturday at the Epiphany Episcopal Church, a 120-year-old house of worship that is pounding bass music from within. Lucas is performing with the Final Salvation, one of many music acts at Collaboraction’s fifth annual Carnaval, a fundraiser for the innovative non-profit theater troupe. Bushmills, Solve RGB, Dark Wave Disco and the Blue Ribbon Glee Club all contribute their time, money and talent to the divinity of this ethereal rock party.
Shirtless Lost Boys with punk mohawks and women with sky-high beehives mingle with the crowd, oozing aloof sensuality. They are living gargoyles, black paint morphing their faces into tribal masks. A frenetic light show by Collaboraction’s lighting designer, Jeremy Getz, dances across the vaulted ceiling, creating a spinning stained-glass mosaic.
“We moved a lot of pews!” says Anthony Moseley, the artistic director for the fundraiser. He describes the event’s inspiration, “I was an altar boy. I went to Catholic high school, and I’ve spent a lot of time in beautiful basilicas. I’ve always wanted to do something artistic, experiential and fun in a church.”
At the altar, DJ LA Jesus dons his Christmas light crown of thorns and spins pulsating techno. Behind him, strobes illuminate a verse from Revelation 21:3, “They shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them.” (Laura Hawbaker)