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New Orleans torn between Madonna show and Halloween go-go boys

By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - In a city that loves nothing better than flamboyant costumes and extravagant parties, the annual Halloween bash in downtown New Orleans on Saturday night to benefit people with AIDS would seem like a sure-fire hit.

But patrons of the costume contest and stage show are also wild about Madonna, whose first local concert in almost three decades is scheduled the same night at the New Orleans Arena.

"When Madonna comes to town, how do you go up against that?" asked Arthur Roger, organizer of this year's Halloween show and a founding member of Halloween's in New Orleans, Inc.

Halloween party organizers fear the Madonna concert will draw crowds away from the main event of their charity show - billed as a Monster Brawl with "hot go-go boys" performing in a boxing ring.

Roger reasoned that since his party's main event does not begin until midnight and goes until 4 a.m., people should be able to attend Madonna's concert, which begins at 8 p.m., and then hurry over to the Halloween show.

Still, he said, he is worried about reports her concerts in other cities have run late, with some going until 1 a.m., and he has reached out to the pop diva's representatives asking them to end the performance on time.

So far, organizers have not received a response, Roger said.

Nick Nevares, an event producer and previous chairman of the Halloween bash, plans to attend both events. He doubts that hard-partying denizens of New Orleans will overlook the famous annual show.

"Next to the Southern Decadence festival, this is the largest gathering of gay men and women in the city, and we have a good following from out of town," he said.

Roger hopes that when Madonna ends her concert, she might consider coming on over to catch a round in the boxing ring. "It would be fantastic, I think she'd love the performance," he said.

Phone calls to a spokesman for Madonna were not returned.

(Reporting By Kathy Finn; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Mohammad Zargham)

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