Last Saturday was San Antonio's First Annual Zombie Walk. Has anyone heard about these unusual culminations of the masses? Apparently it's a national phenomenon; an epidemic if you will.
The concept is horrifyingly simple. Choose one or more landmarks in your city's bustling downtown. Select a time. Spread the word. Dress up your friends and self in zombie attire, make-up, and gear. Accumulate at rendezvous point. March a la un-dead with hundreds of fellow zombies along designated route. Easy breezy.
My friends and I were totally stoked as you can imagine. Unfortunately, there were a whole host of problems – the biggest being that the guy in charge of this sordid affair did not have our confidence. Through his Myspace page, we concluded that the decisions being made to bring the zombies of San Antone (and beyond) together were poorly thought through. First, we were supposed to meet at 5 o'clock and begin stalking the passers-by en masse at the stroke of six. This seemed way too early. It wouldn't even be dark yet! Secondly, the route seemed WAY too short. With no doubt the two biggest landmarks downtown are Tower of the Americas and of course that little limestone mission with the funny roofline. But a walk between these two features is at most four blocks. Four blocks didn't seem worth the trouble. Then the big kicker was that the after party was planned for a venue in Loop Land. We inner-loop snobs can't deal with spending a Saturday night in some crappy club way out. No thank you.
And then there was that little issue of the scheduling conflict. Apparently there was to be Ale Fest at the Hemis-Fair park, which is where the Tower is located. Oops. Turns out that event organizers can work together on occasion and the good people of Ale Fest agreed to allow zombies in for a 75% discount, which was really sweet of them. Phew! Crisis averted.
Despite the lack of our approval regarding various facets of the event, I think we all agreed that this was going to be a scream no matter what. And thus we marched on toward the abyss.
Melissa and I were particularly excited, as we had assigned ourselves the task of zombification. There are few things that I can say with over-abundant confidence, but I am a rather skillful zombie make-up artist. When I was a lad, my father was involved in a volunteer organization that benefitted local charities. For several years they built a haunted house to raise money for Diabetes Cure? Helping the Homeless? Saving the Rain Forest? Take your pick, I can't remember. For the most part, presumably because I was like twelve, I was relegated to mere zombie roles as part of the Haunted House cast. And every night, some make-up professional would do me up. I watched and learned and then proceeded to do my own zombie make-up for practically every Halloween that followed. Then in college, during my Resident Assistant days, I made up countless zombies for our special Kellum Hall Haunted House fundraiser. That was fun, but I hadn't made any zombies in a really long time, so like I said, was pretty excited by the opportunity.
Melissa and I bought our supplies on Friday. We were set to go. But there was that little problem of this event being at that super awkward early evening time. This meant we had to convene super early at like 3pm on Saturday. Melissa learned the art of zombie during a stage make-up course she took in college and I was eager to see her academic approach in practice. Contrary to my paper bag technique, she employed and was more partial to using tissue paper. The effects are staggeringly different. Coarsely-ripped, brown paper bags can provide the illusion of deep, mangled gashes, while tissue paper can produce a sculpted peeling effect. Either way, it would take quite some time to do everyone's zombie make-up. And our friends were sure taking their time to get their asses to Melissa's apartment for grotesque abrasions and appletinis.
Eventually, our crew of zombies-to-be arrived and there was a fierce scramble to get ready. We were seriously running late, but regardless, I managed to make some good looking zombies. My masterpiece of the day was a rather large gash on Libby's (a.k.a. Prom Queen Zombie) back which featured an eyeball protruding from the wound that even matched her turquoise prom dress.
At about a quarter to 6 – we were SO late – our zombie crew hustled over toward the Tower. I dived into the backseat of Melissa's VW Golf and thanked the heavens that she volunteered to drive as I watched our carefully applied zombie make-up fake blood rub off all over her car's black interior.
Libby – Prom Queen Zombie, and Melissa – Swimmer Zombie. We bolted over to the meeting spot in a very un-zombie-like fashion and then had to cope with the fact that everyone had already left. Luckily zombies move slowly, and because a herd of one hundred and fifty zombies does not go unnoticed, people we able to point us in the right direction.
We caught up with the group…you can see me in there somewhere. I should mention that I did not have my camera with me so a lot of these photos were snatched from Google searching "San Antonio Zombie Walk photos," in addition to some from Mark Jones and my friend Penny (below) - I totally did her make-up.
I think this is my favorite photo of Libby, Kristen, and Melissa taken by Mark Jones who was a spectator.
These kids were so good!
Ok. I should come clean. This, in fact was, a rather well-planned affair. The Ale Fest conflict worked out, zombies were actually let in for free. The short route was actually quite long because walking like a zombie forces you to stumble about slowly and very deliberate. Thus, walking to the Alamo actually took about a half hour. And the fact that it was just before dusk was perfect, because it ensured there to be a lot of spectators and also that they could see us. And more importantly that cars could see us.
Daddy and daughter zombies. (Check out the menace behind them!)
Zombies at the Alamo…
You're probably wondering, how the hell did the people of San Antonio react to such mayhem? Well, there was a definitely the expected hooting and hollering. There was the unexpected delight of some folks who stopped as though watching a parade, which they kind of were watching – a zombie parade! Then there were the people who surprised me by actually exhibiting uninhibited terror. There were half a dozen people who were genuinely frightened. This amazed me because even though some people made very convincing zombies, there was a rather evident spectrum of stayng in character. It was harder than you would think, especially since we got there so late, and we didn't get to see everyone's costumes before the walk.
Anyway, we arrived at the Alamo.
The guards (because, you know, it's always guarded) would not let us onto the sidewalk in front of the Alamo. They explained that the ground was sacred. I'm not kidding.
Lots of people, some zombie, some prey.
Our zombie group….mmmmmm…brains.
And the fun didn't stop there. We went in just our small group down to the River walk where we continued to freak the crap out of everyone around us. We had drinks at a bar which was fun. Then we went to the DIY Fest at a club near downtown. We were still in our zombie costumes which were totally DIY so we fit right in. Although, we tried to keep our fake blood-laden paws off the hand stitched bags for sale. Later we went to a party at Penny's house. Still. Dressed. Like. Zombies.
Libby and Brent express their evident discomfort.
BIKE GANG SUMMIT II: THE RECLAMATION
We all knew it was coming. Ever since the last one brought us more fun than anyone should have on a Saturday night, we have been anticipating its arrival. And because of this, you would have thought we'd have had a few bike gang ideas saved up for the occasion. But noooo, the Halloween Bike Summit was going to be as much as scramble as all the other ones. Brian and Alison with Vicki and I only started brainstorming two weeks ago! We wanted to do something easy and outwardly offensive. And the best thing we came up with to fit that criteria was "Bloody Tampons," but Brian refused because he wants to go to law school someday and thinks that he won't get in if people find unsavory photos of him on the internet. As if I would ever do that! And besides, if we did it right no one would recognize him. So we kinda threw around a few other ideas eventually settling on a Bladerunner theme. Or in the style of, rather.
But controversy was to be had! As I started collecting additional Bladerunners and Replicants for our gang, Brian made other plans. He wanted to somehow have us be connected with pantyhose and call us "Siamese Bikers" a concept that would be virtually impossible to execute which is why I wondered why he settled on it without any discussion. Meanwhile, I was stuck with his Bladerunner idea; a movie I don't even like all that much.
Never the less, the day arrived, and I had all us North-Siders meet on the roof terrace for cocktails.
Kristen and Sky arrive.
Kristen, after I adorned her with our Bladrunner-esque Post-Apocalyptic retro futuristic motif. The make-up was really goopy, but glowed in the blacklight that came with it.
Sky as terrorist Cat Stevens.
Terrorist Sky, Flapper Victoria, Replicant Kristen, Harrison Ford-ish Marc, and Nico, who really had a sorry excuse for a costume.
Not Harrison Ford. Marc and I invited his long time friend Hale from Austin to come on the ride. Hale was to borrow my bike which ended up being a huge fiasco when he arrived rather late, but we don't need to get into that now. It all worked out rather splendidly anyhow.
Onward to the rendezvous point!
Under the highway.
The group expands.
So does Jeremy, seen right with Desiree and Utah.
Kristen, Victoria, and Libby – as Never Ending Story Princess.
Mark Jones – our fearless leader, who spent many months in preparation to wear a denim jacket.
Heather as Rosie "We CAN do it!" and creepy cross-country coach Jeremy.
Humans or replicants? Hint: Humans wouldn't be caught dead in a Hanson shirt.
Oh look – it's the Lame Gang. Brian and Alison and Simon were the Skeletons. Like that's never been done before…
And then… my bike broke. Yes, 'tis true. Someone decided that it would look especially "Post-apocalyptic" for his bike to be donned in fake rusted barbed wire. Let's just say that was a really stupid idea.
Eventually, I barely made it in time to hang out in the old town cemetery.
Dictator Matt Fleeger, and Vicki – who also ditched the Bladerunner costume despite it being her idea, for the SARS victim costume. Oh! And Krystal Fleeger had the greatest wig on ever!
Jennifer Lloyd as the murdered bride's maids gang.
Kristen in full Black Light make-up.
Nico, who joined the one-eared bunny gang.
We stopped at a Valero station for treats.
Libby and Matt.
Nico, Hale, and Marc – who finally met back up with us after the aforementioned fiasco of leaving a cell phone in Austin and then missing us but then miraculously finding the bike we left for him then us. Anyway, we met up with him and Marc at a house party.
Jonathan as SNAKES ON A PLANE!
Hale, newly inducted into our Bladerunner Gang.
As with Keith.
The ride continued and rode around quite a lot before coming to our final destination in a field by the river.
Cameron – also a SOAP! With Vicki an Jonathan
Me & Des.
Marc – wearing the awesome dread wig I bought for him.
Me and Melissa and Justin Parr – whose camera took these very professional looking photos…
Me and Mel.
Kristen and Sky.
Nico and Marc.
Nico and Libby.
Hale and his marshmellow shot-gun.
Finally holding a gun like a true Texan,
Alison gives it a whirl.
Brian and Simon.
Back of Hale.
A devilish Beto Gonzalez and his lady friend.
Later we tried to go to some after party at Blue Star but that didn't work out, so we went to an ice house down the street.
Fun, but oh-so tiring. Too tiring for worthwhile reflection or insight.
Happy Belated Halloween! Or Happy All Saints Day! And Happy premature Dia de Los Muertos.