Nightmare Before Christmas musical! Steampunk clothing shop Wells & Verne, Portland pirates.

pirate girl costume, lip service pirate hat

ARR you ready for XXX-mas yet?

While in Portland, my film team and I went all around town, shooting segments about the kooky subcultures here. We ducked into a Pirate Day-Glo golf course, Steampunk boutique

jack skellington makeup, nightmare before xmas costume

… and wound up at a Nightmare Before Xmas musical, with live actors and a nine-piece orchestra! Read on for the spook-tacular story.

pirate crew, portland pirates cosplay

Let’s begin with Captain Carmina and her band of pirates. These Portlanders are part of PDX Yar, the crew responsible for pirate-themed karaoke, balls and other scurvy deeds. First mate Naomi described their shenanigans in this post.

Pirate lace hat: gifted by Lip Service, similar to this pirate hat
Pirate jacket and skirt: gifted by Wheels & Dollbaby
Black laser-cut boots: Yosuke Tokyo

Glowing Greens portland mini-golf

We met at Glowing Greens, a blacklight indoor mini-golf course with a pirate theme. (509 SW Taylor St, Portland, OR) Every square inch is lit up in neon, and decorated with piratical elements like sea monsters.

day-glo golf course, glowing skull

I’ve never seen a miniature golf course as crazy as this one. The themed holes included a graveyard, a mansion with a shaking gate, a pop-up zombie.

portland Glowing Greens, blacklight Miniature Golf

The acid-trip environment inspired filmmaker Melissa. On the spot, she dreamt up a pirate adventure tale, and we acted it out on camera. Can’t wait to show you this funny footage.

theme park pirates

If ye be in a piratical mood, and twitching for a round of golf… ye know where to sail!

wells and verne, steampunk clothing portland

I was excited to shoot travel footage at Wells & Verne, a neo-Victorian shoppe inspired by Goth, Industrial and Steampunk culture. (Located in the Sellwood district at 8315 SE 13th Ave, Portland, OR)

art nouveau steampunk girl painting

As soon as you walk in, you’ll see this magnificent Art Nouveau steampunk gal on the wall. (It reminded me of the Alphonse Mucha art exhibit in Tokyo.)

brass goggles, steampunk glasses

This newly-opened boutique carries handmade goods from “our local Portland family,” as well as artisans from all over the world. The display case had these brass goggles, a steampunk must…

steampunk laser gun, accessories

… and a hand-crafted laser gun. (Photography by Melissa Rundle, Eric Bergemann, Naomi Rubin and La Carmina.)

leather mask, victorian steam punk shop

At Wells & Verne, clothes are works of art. Great care went into the making of this leather mask and holster.

portland steampunk boutique, wells verne sellwood

Many items, such as velvet three piece suits, are tailor made to order. This is the place to find something elegant and one-of-a-kind.

steampunk fashion outfit, brown dress

I fell in love with this steampunk Victorian dress, goggles necklace and mini top hat.

vampire bat, kitty cat scarves

How cute are the vampire cat bat scarves? I hope you’ll drop by to see my new friends at Wells & Verne in Portland. They often hold special events, which you can see via their Facebook page.

nightmare before christmas makeup, jack skellington face

Darkness fell, as we drove to Secret Society for “The Nitemare B4 Xmas,” a live-action musical tribute to Tim Burton’s cult film.

nightmare before xmas mayor makeup

The Mayor invited us to their final show. Audience members are encouraged to sing along as his nine-piece troupe, The Saloon Ensemble, performed every song in the movie.

sally nightmare before christmas makeup, tim burton costumes

We arrived early to witness the preparations. The actors and musicians transformed into the Nightmare Before Christmas characters, with the help of deft makeup skills and costumes.

live musical, tim burton film nightmare before xmas

The set design was spot-on, incorporating the movie’s signature swirls and tombstones. On the left side, there was a normal Christmas tree. On the right… a scary X-mas one.

day of dead facepaint, girl sugar skull makeup

This show received lots of positive buzz, and was sold out that night. Quite a few of the ticket-holders wore Day of the Dead makeup, since it was November 1st. My film team and I ordered popcorn and Dark & Stormy cocktails (rum and ginger beer), and practiced singing “This is Halloween.”

the Saloon Ensemble portland, love bomb orchestra

Each performance featured a different opening act. We clapped along to the Love Bomb Marching Skeletons, a go-go group of scantily clad, skull-faced musicians and dancers. They got us revved up and ready for the headlining musical.

sing-along nightmare before christmas musical

What a treat for fans of Nightmare Before Christmas: the band played the songs, sang, and did hilarious character voices. Meanwhile, Jack and Sally tottered on stilts and acted out their parts to perfection.

tim burton theatrical makeup, corpse bride

I was smiling throughout the entire 60 minute show. To mix up the action, there were sing-a-long segments and contests. Everyone cheered for Zero the dog, a puppet manipulated by this ghostly lady.

Oogie Boogie dance, song dancing

Oogie Boogie’s wacky dance was picture perfect. Amazing, how the actors captured the movements and expressions of the animated characters.

saloon ensemble, Nitemare B4 Xmas screaming contest

Several guests went on stage for a screaming contest, including filmmaker Melissa. It was a lock. She had by far the loudest, longest and shrillest scream!

What a delight to “make Christmas time” with The Saloon Ensemble and friends. They plan to do more musical shows based on films, so stay tuned to their website. And if you haven’t watched Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Xmas film yet… what are you waiting for?

christmas lights bokeh, xmas light

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you like this spooky musical? Would you visit the Portland Pirate golf course, or Victorian steampunk shop?

PS: if you’re looking for a last-minute Xmas gift, please keep my Jpop books in mind. Click to order Cute Yummy Time and Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo via Amazon. Thank you.


  1. MelissaR
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Yay! I totally love Portland and this post just makes me want to go right back!

  2. Hibari
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    That show sounds amazing! The shop looks really cool too. I want one of those vampire cat bat scarves.

  3. Gren
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    This is a 10 so are you ;-)

  4. Michael
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    Nice write up :)

  5. Paul fe
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    That’s my favorite movie

  6. Klaus
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas or nightmare before Christmas!!!

  7. Kiki
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    That looks like my dreams store. I would buy like everything in it. I like the dress you model.

  8. Marie
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Awesome. Sad I didn’t know about the musical

  9. Carrie
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Love it!!

  10. arty
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink


  11. Girl Friday
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Bahh I wish I knew about it.

  12. Irene
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    The vamp cats are love. Merry Christmas

  13. L¥all
    Posted December 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink


  14. Bev
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Oh, nice! I’d go to all these places,

  15. Claira
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Love the dresses!

  16. 99balloons
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    Pirate hat look great on you.

  17. megan
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    That’s awesome. Sounds like a you had GOOOOOD trip.

  18. Dale
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Everything about this is gorgeous. Happy Christmas.

  19. Jeanette
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    We wish you a Merry Christmas we wish you a Merry Christmas ^^

  20. Sue
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    How do they do make up like that, what product ?

  21. russcarswell
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Ohh Wow ….it’s sound like wonderful. all are looking little bit scary but I love all this picks of Christmas .

    • lacarmina
      Posted December 27, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      <3 happy!!

      • russcarswell
        Posted December 30, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Ohh that’s my pleasure @lacarmina:disqus <3 .

  22. Victoria Victoria
    Posted November 30, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Nice Blog and very appreciated
    We are providing best alternative clothing online in Australia and that are very affordable. Our all product is 100% checked and genuine . You can rely for our quality and elegant design.

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  23. Joseph Rose
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    That looks like my dreams store. I would buy like everything in it. I like the dress you model. Is it of clothing boutique portland?

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