Thursday, May 23, 2024

Kevin Harrington, Marc Baizman, Olivia Rizzo and Stephen Wrobleski perform in GoreFest last year at ImprovBoston in Central Square.

Cambridge Day is part of a project called Voices of MainStreet — a weekly, nationwide Q&A in which editors at the money and lifestyle site ask questions and bloggers answer them. For this entry, we were again allowed to choose our own topic.

Sure, Salem is more haunted than Cambridge. There’s no denying it when even the iParty Halloween pop-up store that came to Porter Square a little over a year ago — when an optimistic manager envisioned doubling the staff and keeping the space — doesn’t even make it back for the high season.

(A pop-up competitor, Spirit Halloween, seems intent on repeating iParty’s mistake this year in the Cambridgeside mall. But those in the know will likely just head to the Garment District, which long ago carved half its secondhand clothing store into an obsessively comprehensive costume shop.)

But surely this 375-year-old city is close behind the home of the highly celebrated witch trial. For starters, there are claims to at least 10 haunted sites in the city, including four at Harvard University and another at Verna’s Donut Shop, where the ghost thinks it’s funny to walk around and make the employee buzzer go off (even though the buzzer was disconnected years ago).

And we love our Halloween decorations, much more so than Christmas decorations and so much so that all of Dudley Street goes nuts Oct. 31 and throws an annual party drawing some 800 family-friendly revelers.

Cambridge also has some unique ways of celebrating, mainly due to a natural resource produced in such copious amounts that even Salem can’t keep up: nerds.

Tonight at 8 at Central Square’s Middlesex Lounge comes the monthly Nerdnite presentation, this time with Tufts University postdoctoral associate Ravi Subramanian speaking on “Dinosaurs, Zombies and Shapeshifters: A Paleovirologist’s Guide to Our DNA.” (For a hint of how these talks go, check out this video of a scientist identified as Sarah K. presenting “The Virology of Werewolfism (Lycanosis): What Werewolves Have in Common with Cold Sores” last year in Madison, Wis.)

And of course there’s the, um, hallowed tradition of ImprovBoston — also in Central Square and not in Boston in the least — called GoreFest. Whatever you think about Cambridge, this has nothing to do with Al Gore and climate change. It has everything to do with being disgusting and fun. To make sure no one misses the “disgusting” part, here’s the warning offered by the comedy club, writers Misch Whitaker and Laura Clark, composer and lyricist Melissa Carubia and director Bobby Smithney:

This show is not appropriate for children under 16, and boasts a total disregard for audience cleanliness. We provide plastic sheeting as protection, but be advised you may still get splattered. GoreFest will literally throw fake blood, fake gore, fake entrails, etc., at the audience. It is full of innuendo, irreverence and is generally upsetting in a way that is PERFECT for Halloween but not perfect for the young, faint of heart or well-dressed.

This year’s “GoreFest 9: MASSacre General Hospital” started Wednesday but continues through Halloween. Tickets and information are here.

“I’m scared about the amount of fake blood in the GoreFest budget, but I’m honestly excited,” said the club’s new managing director, Zach Ward, who hasn’t been around for the previous large-scale re-creations of the trailer for “The Shining” (you know — the one that’s just a flood of blood pouring out of an elevator).

Take that, Salem.