Halloween masquerade: 'Dance With the Dead' at Institute of Texan Cultures

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Image: "Bailando El Jarabe Tapatio" by Raul Servin, 2008

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(Oct. 3, 2011) -- While it has been years since Audie Murphy fought his way across battlefields and Bonnie and Clyde waged a crime spree across the South and Midwest, these Texas legends and many others may be among the characters depicted at "Dance With the Dead," a Halloween masquerade at the Institute of Texan Cultures, 8 p.m.-midnight, Friday, Oct. 28.

At the age-21-and-over event, guests can dress as their favorite departed Texans and enjoy an evening of entertainment including a DJ and dancing, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

"There's more to it than just dressing up as a departed Texan," said Lupita Barrera, director of education and interpretation at the museum. "It's an opportunity to study up on famous and infamous Texans. It will be great fun to bring historical figures to life in a unique and memorable way."

Texas history is dotted with heroes, villains, innovators and eccentrics. In 1973, reporter Marvin Zindler (2007) ran an expose on the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, embroiling proprietor Edna Milton and Sheriff Jim Flournoy (1982) in a scandal made famous by the Broadway musical and movie, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

Texas history includes celebrated Tejanos such as Juan Seguin, who fought against Santa Ana in the war for Texas Independence, but joined the Mexican army a decade later in an invasion against the United States. Several other cultures claimed Texas as home including the Karankawa Indians and the Franciscan monks.

Musicians Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan are among those remembered fondly by Texans with Holly from Lubbock, Joplin from Port Arthur and Vaughan from Dallas. Hollywood bombshell Jayne Mansfield claimed Dallas as home and studied dramatics at Southern Methodist University.

A costume contest will be among the many diversions, along with stories of the paranormal happenings at the ITC and ghost stories from staff members who have collected eerie tales from around the state.

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"Dance With the Dead" admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door and $15 for museum members. Attendees must be age 21 or over. The Institute of Texan Cultures on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. For tickets, call 210-458-2269.

>> Order tickets online.

The Institute of Texan Cultures serves as the forum for the understanding and appreciation of Texas and Texans through research, collections, exhibits and programs. The museum strives to become the nation's premier institution of contemporary cultural and ethnic studies focusing on Texans and the diverse cultural communities that make Texas what it is. An agency of the UTSA Office of the Vice President for Community Services and a Smithsonian affiliate, the 182,000-square-foot complex features 45,000 square feet of exhibit space and five recreation Texas Frontier period structures.