All Things Debauchery: “Bloodello” returns to Koot’s

At the end of the month, the worlds of haunt and burlesque will collide once again for the return of “Bloodello,” a burlesque show and haunted house tour at Chilkoot Charlie’s.

The cast of Bloodello 2017. Photo credit: Lola Pistola

For just $10, those 21 years old and up can enjoy performances by Anchorage-based burlesque troupe, VivaVoom Brr-Lesque, and then brave the frights 907HauntAK has prepared in the haunted tour that brings to life odd and unsettling takes from Anchorage’s red light district.

“Bloodello” will take place on Oct. 26, 27 and on Halloween night. This 21+ show starts at 7:30 p.m. with subsequent shows happening at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be some good, scary, adult fun,” said Lola Pistola, founder of VivaVoom Burlesque. “Most Halloween [events] are for children… This show is perfect for those adults that also really enjoy Halloween.”

“Bloodello” first took place last October and is a fundraiser for Alaska’s only international burlesque festival: Freezing Tassel Burlesque Festival. It’s put on by VivaVoom and takes place annually in March.

“There are a lot of costs associated with organizing the festival,” said Pistola. “This event helps us offset those costs.”

Chilkoot Charlie’s, otherwise known by locals as just “Koot’s,” has been operating in the heart of Spenard since the 1970s. “Bloodello” mixes the burlesque expertise of Pistola’s troupe with the expertise of Scare Bosses and owners of 907HauntAK, Tim Flynn and Lydia Johnson.

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According to Flynn, Koot’s, which is a sprawling old building with three stages, three dance floors and 10 bars, is the “perfect space” to transform for a haunted tour. Flynn works at UAA as the Student Union Operations Coordinator by day, and actually has an extensive background in horror and haunted house production.

In 2001, Flynn entered the macabre world of haunt by getting involved with the Haunted Catacombs at Oregon State University. From there, Flynn went on to sharpen his spooky skills as a professional “scare actor” at the Haunted Plantation in Waipahu, Hawaii, a professional haunted house establishment that has been open for 13 years.

When Flynn first met Johnson, she told him about a fantastic haunted house she had enjoyed attending at the Alaska Pacific University in 2012. Unbeknownst to Johnson, Flynn had organized and produced that same haunted house. Shortly after the two bonded over their mutual love of all things Halloween, they got married and embarked on creating their own haunting business, 907HauntAK.

At this year’s “Bloodello,” the haunted tour focuses on the odd history of Spenard’s red light district, taking patrons back in time through the gold panning days of the 1890s, the neo oil boom of the 1970s-1980s and all the way up until the modern times.

“It’s basically a snapshot of what Spenard has been through the years,” Flynn said.

Flynn explains that they gathered inspiration for this year’s haunt by thinking of the Spenard Windmill, which sits right at the edge of the Koot’s parking lot, as a “vortex of paranormal activity.”

“The Windmill is kind of like a magnet that attracts all things paranormal,” Flynn said. “Anchorage has always been weird, especially Spenard… and we’re excited to showcase that. There’s going to be all sorts of debauchery.”

According to Flynn, in addition to instilling fear into patrons, “Bloodello” also seeks to challenge the gender stereotypes that befall what could be referred to as a “house of ill repute.”

“In [Bloodello], it’s women who are in charge,” he said.

Jamie Logan, a psychology major at UAA, is looking forward to “Bloodello.”

“I’ve always loved Halloween and horror… but I also love dance and burlesque and that performance side of it,” said Logan.

After participating in the first “Bloodello,” Logan was drawn back to the event and will be reprising her role as a tour guide, responsible for leading guests through the haunted tour.

While the haunted tour is scary, it is accompanied by a motif of humor that offsets a bit of the terror, Logan said.

“I’ve never really seen or heard of anything of this nature going on in Anchorage,” she said. “If you’re looking for something to do for Halloween, it’s a great option.”

Logan shared that at last year’s “Bloodello,” part of the haunt had two scare actors chasing guests with real chainsaws.

“The blades are removed but I think that part scared people the most,” Logan said.

For Flynn, safety for both actors and patrons is a priority.

“Safety is number one for our staff and also for our patrons and our actors. Koot’s has great security so we’re making sure everyone has a good time,” he said.

Flynn encourages those aged 21 and over who may be interested in getting involved as a scare actor to contact him.

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To learn more about the event, visit VivaVoomburlesque.com and you can find the VivaVoom Burlesque troupe on their Facebook page, VivaVoom Brr-Lesque, or on Instagram @vivavoombrrlesque.

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