by Paul Bowers
After getting chased out of several Lowcountry venues, the organizers of Skinful Halloween have found a home for the 13th annual adult costume party — right where they held it last year at the Brick House Kitchen on James Island. The event's planners, the owner of Brick House, and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office have confirmed that the event is a go.
According to organizers, the party will still be hosted by hip-hop legend Flavor Flav and will still feature musical performances by Ozomatli, Dirt Nasty, Blowfly, Cee Know the Doodle Bug of the Digable Planets, and the Dubplates featuring Zumjay. The event will still be BYOB and will feature DJs, circus acts, burlesque pole dancing, belly dancing, art installations by Patch Whisky and Scott Debus, and a light show. Tickets will still cost $100, and previously purchased tickets can no longer be returned. Part of the proceeds will still go to the Tanzania Education Foundation and Keepers of the Wild.
Earlier this week, organizers announced that the party was going to be held Oct. 26 at the Music Farm in downtown Charleston. But shortly after that announcement, the Charleston Police Department called the City Paper to say the announcement was inaccurate. Leadership at Skinful and the Music Farm claimed that Skinful's lawyers were in discussion with police about allowing the event to happen, but a police spokesman denied it. "I just spoke with the chief, and we're not meeting with anybody," the spokesman said. "There's no meeting, there's no plans, there's not going to be a meeting."
So, in an eleventh-hour move, Skinful organizers David "Big Hair" Brisacher and Brian King moved the event back to the Brick House Kitchen, which is located on unincorporated county land on Folly Road. Planners had originally shifted the event away from the Brick House because of new county noise ordinances, but now they have found a creative solution: At 11 p.m., all amplified music will shut down and the revelers will be handed headphones with which they can continue to listen to DJ and electronic acts until 2 a.m. closing time. It's called a silent disco, and event organizer Brisacher says it should help keep the neighbors happy. "Our whole goal with moving in the first place was not disturbing anybody," he says.
The latest landing spot for Skinful is actually Plan F for the year. Plans A through E were, in order, at Dolphin Cove Marina in Charleston; on a property in Meggett, S.C.; in Poplar Grove in Dorchester County; at a historic plantation on Edisto Island; and at the Music Farm downtown. All of those plans fell through for various reasons including local opposition, last-minute challenges to event permits, zoning issues, and pushback from the City of Charleston, according to Brisacher.
Brick House Kitchen owner Christopher Thomas says he figured Skinful had outgrown his venue, but he offered to host it again after he heard about all of its tribulations. "When I saw all the trouble they were having and everyone was closing the doors in their face, you know, I just figured, I'm a friend to Brian and Dave, and if I was in that position, possibly losing that much money, I would hope that someone would try to help me out too," Thomas says.
Brisacher confirms that he and his business partner have sunk a good deal of money into architectural renderings, legal fees, and booking fees for artists. "We're definitely going to lose money on this," he says. "It's one of those things where we've lost months of our lives, and it'd be a very hard thing to yield a profit on this." He says he had originally hoped to expand the party this year to include multiple thousands of people, but now he's limiting ticket sales to 1,500. He hopes that sales will at least break 1,000.
"This isn't a business venture anymore. It's more just about passion and the right to be able to do this," Brisacher says. "We refuse to let all these people down, so we're willing to fight the good fight."