Face Time: Tair-Chad B. Parsnow


By Andrea Reindl and Alexis Rodriguez

You're running rampant around Syracuse's various costume shops for that perfect disguise—be it full-coverage or barely there. Of the various bagged-costume shops and pairs of animal ears, Dougherty's Masquerade stands on its own as a Central New York institution. We caught up with the shop's Director of Operations, Tair-Chad B. Parsnow, to talk ghosts, Les Mis, and Audrey vs. Marilyn.

In one sentence, what do you do all day? I help people be who they want to be.

How did Dougherty's Masquerade get started? It actually started as a novelty store in the ‘70s selling things like plastic vomit. Soon in the October months, demand became high for costumes, so we started carrying them. In 1985, the decision was made to stop the novelties (they were becoming passé anyway) and go to full time masquerade.

Do you believe in ghosts? I do. I bought a house here in Syracuse and it’s 114 years old. The house came with an abstract when I bought it, and the story according to the abstract was that it was built for a doctor and his family. A couple months after they moved in, the wife and kids were found slain, and the doctor was found in the attic hanging from a noose. I’ve heard the children playing ball in the living room and my pets freak out and won’t even go into the attic.

What’s your favorite thing about Syracuse? I grew up in New York City, and it was very intense. What I like about Syracuse is that it’s the same diversity and urban feel without the stress, pressure and attitude of New York City. It’s also a lot easier to get around. So, I guess I would say it’s that feel of being in a city without being in New York City. It’s like New York City, but polite.

What celebrity would you most like to punch in the face? Ke$ha. She just really irritates me. She has this annoying 'I’m drunk and I’m proud of it' thing going on. She’s like a female frat boy.

What’s the top item on your bucket list? I’ve actually done a lot of things on my bucket list already. So, I guess sky-diving. I’ve always wanted to do that.

What’s your favorite scary movie? The Shining. Gory movies don’t interest me (it’s what I do for a living). I love psychological horror. I like the mental aspect of it. And, the casting is brilliant.

So what type of person rents the full-body costumes? If they were a demographic that would make life easier. Anything from college students to senior citizens. Anyone who wants awesome costumes without the price.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? For a year and a half, it was my job to “commit suicide” twice a day by jumping off a bridge. I was an actor.

What was the best thing to happen to you in college? Graduation.

What was your first job? The National Touring Company of Les Miserables. I was Javert (hence the bridge-jumping).

How do you feel about reality TV? I hate reality TV. I have enough drama and reality in my day-to-day life that when I get home, I don’t need anyone else’s. I want an escape when I watch TV. A good narrative or script helps me escape.

If you could be one type of candy, what would it be? I would be a Peppermint Patty. I have a dark exterior, but inside, I’m cool and calm.

What is your favorite Halloween costume? My werewolf. I do a full prosthetic thing. It gets the best reaction when people see it.

Where and how did you learn to do full prosthetic makeup? I went to school for it. I majored in business and minored in theater. It came to me pretty easily. It’s like sculpting but with a face instead of clay.

What is your favorite “genre” of makeup? Horror is my favorite makeup. I like the zombie stuff especially.

Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe? Audrey Hepburn. Marilyn Monroe was pretty, but Hepburn was a consummate actress.

Ice-cream or frozen yogurt? You know, since Yogen Früz opened in the mall, that’s a really difficult question. I’m going to say frozen yogurt, but only if it’s from Yogen Früz.

Do you like haunted houses? I’m a fan of haunted houses, but they don’t really scare me. I like seeing the different technique of all haunted houses, and I get a kick out of seeing how scared everyone gets.

Favorite food? Paneer shahi korma. It’s an Indian dish. It’s rich, creamy, spicy curry sauce usually over chicken and rice.

Cats or dogs? Both. I can’t like one or the other.

So what’s your favorite musical (other than Les Miserables)? I would have to say Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

What is your favorite website to procrastinate on? Reddit.

Romney or Obama? Obama. I’m very firmly convicted in that.

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