Miss dEdmonton 2009

Last night, on October 13th, the first ever Miss dEdmonton was crowned at the TransAlta Arts Barns. About 65 people were on hand to see Joey Tramer beat out four other finalists in a four-stage competition to claim the title. She won some great prizes and will be the face of dEdmonton for the next year!

The first stage of the competition was for all contestants to submit a 90 second video to YouTube. Here’s Joey’s:

Stage two was to demonstrate a “spooky skill” in front of the crowd. In the third stage, each contestant described what Halloween meant to her, and answered one question drawn from a skull. The final stage saw Brandy Jo Ewashko (you can see her video here) and Joey Tramer go head-to-head in a “scream-off”. It was quite the show! In the end, both the crowd and the judges felt Joey had what it took to be Miss dEdmonton.

Miss dEdmontonMiss dEdmonton

The judges were Shaw TV’s Angelika Gawronski, the Edmonton Journal’s Scott McKeen, and The Gateway’s Mike Kendrick. I thought they did a great job of providing short, witty comments throughout the evening, and seemed to enjoy raising their score cards for all to see (scores ranged from 1 to 6, making a perfect score 6-6-6).

Miss dEdmonton JudgesdEdmonton Co-Chairs

Kudos to dEdmonton Co-Chairs Darryl Plunkie and Christian Nelson and their team for a great event! Some friendly advice for next year: add some music or shorten the program, because at times the evening seemed a bit slow. Other than that I thought it was great, complete with three hearses parked outside, some sort of jelly brain dip and many other decorations inside!

Congrats to all of the Miss dEdmonton finalists, and especially to Joey!

Here are the rest of my photos from the evening. You can follow dEdmonton on Twitter for updates and be sure to check out the Events Calendar for all the Halloween events taking place over the next few weeks. Both DEDfest and the Scarecrow Festival are taking place this weekend. Get out and enjoy the first ever dEdmonton – Canada’s Halloween Festival!

dEdmonton – Something for everyone this Halloween!

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t really written about dEdmonton since February! Six months might seem like an eternity on the Internet, but it’s not very much time to put together Canada’s Halloween Festival. But that’s just what the dEdmonton team (or Council of E-ville) have done. In case you’re new to the concept:

dEdmonton is dEdicated to the celebration of all things Halloween. Our vision is to unleash a new Halloween festival upon our city – stitched, bolted and brought together from existing events across the Edmonton region. “The More…the Scarier” sums up the spirit of dEdmonton – a spirit personified by our fiendishly fun family activities; our devilishly diverse nightlife; and our horror happenings. Halloween in Edmonton offers something for everyone and so will dEdmonton.

Last week, organizers held a “stakeholders meeting”  to get everyone up-to-speed on recent progress. It was really inspiring to hear how well everything is coming together! Though this year was supposed to be an opportunity to get established, there’s no doubt in my mind that dEdmonton is going to be a major success.

Already there are more than 20 events on the dEdmonton calendar for October 31st. There are dozens of other events taking place in the weeks leading up to Halloween too. One of those is the Miss dEdmonton contest:

As Miss dEdmonton you will be needed over the next year to let the world know all about dEdmonton and your duties will include parade appearances, general appearances, photo shoots and other promotional opportunities – some will be in bars, but some of them will have young ‘uns around. That’s right, this isn’t just a weekend gig, you get to be in costume several times over the next year!

Anyone interested can submit an original 90 second video to YouTube (deadline is September 30th – the winner will be announced on October 13th). I think this is a great idea, and I hope to see some amazing submissions! Full details and rules can be found here.

With less than two months until Halloween, dEdmonton-related news is starting to appear more frequently. Check out the website (and subscribe) for updates. You can also follow dEdmonton on Twitter and Facebook.

Introducing dEdmonton – Canada’s Halloween Festival

Tonight was the kick-off meeting for dEdmonton, a new festival to celebrate all things Halloween! dEdmonton grew out of Christian Nelson’s presentation on reclaiming the word “deadmonton” as well as a general desire to celebrate Halloween and everything that goes along with it. The goal is to become Canada’s Halloween Festival, and for Edmonton to be known as the Halloween Capital of North America!

That won’t happen right away, of course. This year the focus is on establishing the brand and setting the stage for bigger and better things in the years to come. Tonight we introduced the name and nearly-finalized logo:

About thirty people attended the meeting to learn more about the idea and to offer their support. Another thirty or so couldn’t make it tonight but are also enthusiastic about the festival. I was fortunate to get involved back in November, and have been helping with the web side of things. The website will be especially important this year as our primary platform for tying the various Halloween events together. We’ve got some cool stuff in the works for it.

Our Co-Coordinators, Darryl Plunkie and Christian Nelson, have done a fantastic job of getting the right people together to get dEdmonton off the ground (the group is affectionately known as the Council of E-ville – Derek Clayton and Kenn Bur are also leading the charge, and Kevin Nienhuis and myself have been helping where we can). They’re really inclusive, and are eager to talk to anyone interested in the idea. It’s worth noting also that everyone involved so far has been volunteering their time! It’s quite impressive to see how far we’ve come in such a short period of time.

dEdmonton 2009

The main event will be 13 Days of Mayhem, running from October 19th until October 31st, 2009. The idea is to connect with the many Halloween-related events that already take place in Edmonton and area, to pool resources and do some cross-promotion. Let’s make people aware of all the cool things that already happen, and set the stage for an even bigger and better dEdmonton in the future!

What happened to the ‘a’?

You might be wondering why it’s called ‘dEdmonton’ and not ‘deadmonton’. A lot of thought went into that decision:

  • If we’re reclaiming the word, let’s get rid of the negative connotation that “dead” carries
  • dEdmonton is a new word, something that’s unique (and not already used elsewhere on the web)
  • dEdmonton is just Edmonton with a ‘d’ in front of it – we want this to be a showcase for the city

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about ‘dEdmonton’ but now I really like it. I think it was the right decision, for sure.

How can you help?

This event is still in the early stages of planning, so if you have any ideas, feedback, or even just random thoughts, send them to info@dedmonton.com.

Beyond that, we need you to help us spread the word. We’ve just got a placeholder (and very cool teaser poster) up at http://www.dedmonton.com but we’re already working on a proper site, so check back soon. You can also join the Facebook group, and follow us on Twitter. Tell your friends!

Halloween in Edmonton: Deadmonton

I was fortunate enough to be invited to an organizational meeting tonight for a new Halloween-themed festival here in Edmonton. More than just a festival however, the three principals behind the idea (Darryl Plunkie, Derek Clayton, Christian Nelson) have a vision to establish Edmonton as the Halloween Capital of Canada. I’ll admit that I don’t feel as strongly about Halloween as many of the individuals in attendance tonight do, but I am passionate about my city and I think they’re on to something.

Like many Edmontonians, I hate the word “Deadmonton” as it is often used. It’s entirely negative and disheartening. It’s no surprise that I fell in love with Christian Nelson’s presentation back at Pecha Kucha 2, where he suggested we reclaim the word and use it for good. Tonight’s meeting grew out of Christian exploring that idea with Darryl, Derek, and others. The general idea is to create a Halloween Festival to tie together all of the various events that already take place in the city. It was suggested that the festival be a week long, until Darryl said “it should be 13 days!” He also suggested that the organizing board be called the “Council of E-ville.” The meeting was both productive and fun!

i *heart* deadmonton

The first step was for everyone to introduce themselves (we had 17 people attend). The group was quite varied, which meant we had all kinds of experience and insight available. Kenn Bur from EEDC hosted the event and kept us on track. We had Ellen Finn from the Civic Events Office at the City of Edmonton, Shirley Lowe from the Old Strathcona Business Association, and John Mahon from the Edmonton Arts Council join us and they all shared their experience on how other festivals have been started and managed. The remainder of the group was made up of individuals in the Halloween industry, and Edmontonians-at-large like me and Debra Ward.

The three principals shared their ideas, and then we went around the group for additional comments. There were lots of great ideas thrown around, and a number of interesting questions were raised. What’s clear is that there’s passion for this event. Some of the ideas I found particularly intriguing included:

  • Taste of Deadmonton
  • Miss Deadmonton
  • Worst Yard Contest
  • Horror Theme Music by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
  • Some sort of Halloween Blood Drive

There are already many Halloween events that take place in the city of course, such as the Scarecrow Festival, Edmonton Ghost Tours, The Bear’s Halloween Howler, and many more. I think joining forces to share the marketing muscle of the Deadmonton brand is a great idea.

Some of the questions that came up included:

  • What kind of festival would it be? John Mahon said there are basically two models. The first is the Fringe/Heritage Festival model, in which the participants are mostly independent and just share the site and/or marketing of the festival. The second is the Folk Fest model, where things are much more controlled. The Halloween Festival would probably be the former.
  • Would the event need a dedicated venue?
  • Do we need a board? Where does the funding come from? Etc.

Finally, here are a couple comments I found particularly interesting:

“Edmonton has more goth stores than any other place in Canada.” – Rona Anderson

“Winnipeg can try to top The Fringe, but you can’t really top Deadmonton. It’s truly unique.” – Christian Nelson

The next step is to try to digest some of the ideas and excitement that came out tonight, and figure out a way forward. The goal for the first year is really to get the festival established, with a website and some common branding. We can then build atop that foundation.

If you have ideas or would like to get involved, please email HalloweenEdmonton@gmail.com. You can also leave a comment here if you like!

UPDATE: I should have linked to Kerry Diotte’s article on this meeting in the Edmonton Sun. Published on Tuesday, it has a bit more background information.

Halloween is sexy not scary!

Post ImageOver the last couple days I have had conversations with at least two friends about Halloween and how the girls dress up in revealing costumes. As you might have guessed, I am generally in favor of the trend! Then today while browsing the NYTimes, I came across this article on the phenomenon:

In her thigh-highs and ruby miniskirt, Little Red Riding Hood does not appear to be en route to her grandmother’s house. And Goldilocks, in a snug bodice and platform heels, gives the impression she has been sleeping in everyone’s bed. There is a witch wearing little more than a Laker Girl uniform, a fairy who appears to shop at Victoria’s Secret and a cowgirl with a skirt the size of a tea towel.

Anyone who has watched the evolution of women’s Halloween costumes in the last several years will not be surprised that these images — culled from the Web sites of some of the largest Halloween costume retailers — are more strip club than storybook.

Is that really so surprising? Sex sells, as they say. Halloween is basically an excuse for women to dress in something they wouldn’t normally dare admit they own, much less wear. The feminists of course don’t like the idea very much, and they are quick to point out that there aren’t many sexy costumes for guys. But you have to ask yourself why there aren’t as many for men: is it because there’s a double standard, or is it because there are more sexy females than sexy males? Or maybe it simply tells us that more people like to see sexy females, including other females, rather than sexy men.

I’ll never forget last year. I was with a bunch of friends at Denny’s at around 3 AM, so after the bars have closed and people have started to trickle into reliable old Denny’s. A group of girls walked in, with a couple of them dressed in sexy bunny costumes. They walked by our table, and one deliberately dropped something and bent down to pick it up, allowing us to have a good look if we so chose. Maybe she was drunk, or maybe she was just what I like to call an “attention whore”. Either way, it was memorable to say the least.

What are some of the sexiest costumes you’ve seen? Have you worn one, or would you consider wearing one?

Read: NYTimes