With the exception of Secretary’s Day, the occasional bender, and Yom Kippur, no other holiday, official or personal, requires a designated driver more than Halloween. This wasn’t always the case.

When I was a kid 30-odd years ago, the children did the dressing up and the partying while the adults supervised. Then the world got scarier, and now while All Hallow’s Eve has become just another excuse for youngsters to goof off in class, the adults – who remember how much fun trick-or-treating was back in the day – gladly do the dressing up and the partying. Just about every Halloween since I’ve been of-age, I’ve hit mostly the same places, especially Red Goose Saloon, in Sundance Square. There’s always a, um, killer party there. I’ve also hit some of the spots on West Seventh Street, where all of my dumb-ass guy friends dress as Transformers and evil clowns and shit. Their girlfriends, as if you had to ask, go as naughty schoolgirls, naughty nurses, naughty teachers, naughty cheerleaders, and naughty Little Bo Peeps, to their boyfriends’ great joy. Either every guy 35 and under harbors a perverse fascination with childhood, which, of course, has been exacerbated by corporate America (Britney Spears, awful ’70s tv shows turned into awful ’00s movies, cartoon porn), or, y’know, the women who dress as schoolboy fantasies do.

Anyway, I got so hammered last year and covered so much ground – and blew so much dough – I swore off paying for cab after cab after cab for good. This year, I jumped on newbie nightclub Blue Grotto’s inaugural Booz Cruz bus and had as good a time as ever if not better.


Grotto owners Rick Cashen and Cody Hickman didn’t have nostalgia on the mind when they created the tour. They wanted to have safe fun, sure, but they also wanted to capitalize on an existing market. Up until a couple of years ago, Michael’s Ancho Chile Bar did something similar and always drew a busload. Cashen and Hickman have just picked up the slack.

For $20 a head, about 30 other revelers and I hopped on board and got hopped up, at Ten, Embargo, City Streets, The Mule, and then back to the Grotto for last call.

Cashen and Hickman are planning more cruises and not just for Halloween and not just in Fort Worth. Other holidays and spots in Big D are also potential Booz Cruz material.

Here comes another childhood fantasy: Getting blotto on the school bus on the way home from class. Sweet.

Comedy Benefit

At a benefit last week for comic Gary Hood at Hyena’s Comedy Night Club in Arlington, a pack of funny folks spent two hours razzing the old fart.

The evening was as much a take on The New York Friars Club as it was an good opportunity to round up some medical bill money for Hood, who, after a lifetime of smoking, drinking, and once in Arizona ‘shrooming on stage and projectile-vomiting into the front two rows – not to mention having suffered three marriages – now has cancer and is fighting hard.

As if the foul-mouthed 57-year-old Fort Worthian would have wanted his friends and peers to take him to a nice dinner.

Dan Merryman, a longtime friend of Hood’s and another pillar in the comedy biz, put together and hosted the event – eight rookie comics, half of which were students of Hood’s, tearing into the big-boned baldy in front of a crowd of about 50 friends and comedy fans. Merryman did some seemingly improvised material between sets.

Youngster Dustin Ibarra was one of the funniest of the bunch. “Gary Hood’s liver is so black, it’s on parole” was one of his zingers. Another: “The first time Gary got high and got the munchies, that was the great potato famine.”

Another young comic, Chris Dodgen (a.k.a. “Gary’s Flunky”), had some punchy lines, but he also unintentionally reminded everyone of the gravity of the situation. “I might be crying now,” he said, and he was. “But I don’t give a fuck what you people think.”

There’s no word yet on how much money was raised, but one crowd member gave Hood a get-well card with $400 inside.

To help out one of Tarrant County’s most committed, talented, and lovable cultural icons, contact Hyena’s in Arlington at 817-226-5233.

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