Culture Calendar: Theatre Bizarre, Ringwald Theatre’s Sweet 16, and a New Book from Colpa Press

Ryan Patrick Hooper, host of ’CultureShift’ on 101.9 WDET, offers a curated guide of this month’s arts and entertainment.
Photo by Mat Dunlap

Detroit’s Greatest Party Returns This Halloween Season

After a pandemic hiatus, Theatre Bizarre returns to the Masonic Temple this year. Travel + Leisure has called it “the world’s most spectacular masquerade party,” and it’s not an exaggeration.

Theatre Bizarre brings to life the artistic vision of John Dunivant, who marries the whimsy of Tim Burton’s aesthetic with a deep affection for pre-Depression carnival sideshows.

Patrons dress in elaborate costumes pulled from pop culture or their own imagination, sometimes even bringing to life characters Dunivant has drawn in the past or expanding his universe with their own takes on his designs.

Spanning a maze of rooms and multiple floors, Theatre Bizarre is immersive and rich at every turn — fire-breathers in one room, body suspension in another, live music in the ballroom.

If you woke up from a coma in the middle of Theatre Bizarre, you’d be convinced this was the new reality. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, the gala events on Fridays offer a more curated experience for a much smaller audience.

If you haven’t been before, however, the full-on Saturday affair is one of the greatest experiences you can have in the city.

Theatre Bizarre spans two weekends in October (Oct. 14-15, Oct. 21-22) and takes place at the Masonic Temple. Find more info via their official website,

A Key Cog in Detroit’s Indie Theater Scene Celebrates its Sweet 16

It feels like The Ringwald Theatre is perpetually under the radar, and that’s a damn shame. With a relatively new location inside of the queer community center Affirmations in Ferndale, it’s well worth a visit.

To celebrate 16 years of alternative theater programming, The Ringwald and its creative crew announced a “sweet 16” season that includes Misery, the Stephen King classic-turned-movie by one of the all-time greatest screenwriters, William Goldman.

There’s always an inclusive twist with Ringwald’s productions, so even if you already know the story oh so well, don’t expect this to be a straight-ahead adaptation. The Ringwald Theatre’s adaptation of Misery runs from Oct. 7 through Oct. 31 with showtimes ev- ery Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Tickets are $15 to $25 and available through their website,

Detroit’s ’90s Rave Culture Design Gets its Due in New Book

A new book from Colpa Press is bringing a niche piece of Detroit’s design aesthetic to the forefront. At the height of the city’s rave scene in the ’90s, flyers were the counterculture message board that spread the word about where events were taking place — usually off the radar in illegal locations, so many simply listed a phone number to call for the address.

Amateur archivist Nicky Warczak started collecting these flyers for an Instagram page before publishing it in book form, joining a lineup from Colpa Press that includes similar flyers from places like Paris, New York, and London (which also lets you know where Detroit sits in the lexicon of great parties, great design, and great music).

It’s an ultimate niche time capsule that any design fan will adore, offering a window into one of the most significant eras in Detroit music history. Detroit Rave Flyers 1993-1999 by Nicky Warczak for Colpa Press is out now.