2008-10-22 / Arts & Entertainment News

The dead walk: Zombicon returns to Fort Myers

Oct. 25 event promises more blood, more gore, more music

PHOTO BY RITCHIE MULLIGAN Winner of the zombie costume contest - Zombicon 2007. PHOTO BY RITCHIE MULLIGAN Winner of the zombie costume contest - Zombicon 2007. The streets of downtown will once again play host to legions of the "Living Dead," as Zombicon returns to Fort Myers on Saturday, Oct. 25. Last year, more than 1,000 people turned out on the Patio de Leon in full costume to participate in the first Zombicon, a gruesome spectacle at which attendees dressed as zombies and enjoyed live music and performances.

"The success of last year's event caught everyone by surprise," said Zombicon creator and "Dark Hostess" Janet "Planit" DeMarco. "This year we have planned more music, more art, more blood, more guts… more things for people to participate in, all while raising awareness of world hunger. Like it or not, we are all going to be dead someday... It's funny to be in a society so obsessed with staying young and beautiful, and for one night, to do the opposite."

Veteran New York actors Damion Da Costa and Zero Boy will offer a free acting class in preparation for Zombicon. The "Walk-Like-A-Zombie" Acting Workshop is Saturday, Oct. 25, 2-4 p.m., at The Florida Repertory Theater Acting Studio on First Street. It will cover some basic acting techniques, such as getting into character and structured improvisation. Participants will create some simple routines, which they will perform later that evening during the Zombie Walk. The first Zombie Walk, which is the heart of Zombicon, will officially kick off the event at 6 p.m., as the assembled horde walks the streets of downtown, entering local bars and businesses.

"Unlike conventional theater, in which the audience sits passively watching professional actors, Zombicon encourages everyone to participate," event organizer Gerard Damiano said. "You are the show. As artists, we are hoping to use the zombie metaphor to help raise downtown Fort Myers from the dead."

Although many people create their own elaborate costumes and make-up, The "Kiss Me/Kill Me Booth," sponsored by Spada Day Spa, will provide a free make-up and hair treatment to "zombify" all comers into living corpses. Zombicon entertainment will begin with Justin Zero, and other area DJs accompanied by The Zombie-A-Go- Go Dancers. The FyreFly Fire Dancers will perform, with live music provided by the What We Do drummers. Bradenton psychobilly band, The Downshifters, will rock the Patio de Leon. Space 39 Gallery (39 Patio de Leon) — whose second annual "Dark Art Show" is a Zombicon tradition — will be awarding prizes to the show's best entries. The annual costume contest, a highlight of Zombicon, will recognize the most outstanding zombies. Zombicon's midnight Zombie Walk coincides with World Zombie Day. More than 50 cities around the world will be participating, including New York, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, San Jose, Sydney and Zagreb. World Zombie Day organizers intend to break the Guinness Book World Record, which they set last year when more than 1,000 zombies assembled at Pittsburgh's Monroeville Mall, location for George Romero's seminal zombie film "Dawn of The Dead." Fort Myers has its own zombie history, serving as the location for Romero's 1984 followup film "Day of the Dead," shot downtown and on Sanibel Island.

World Zombie Day, in conjunction with the It's Alive 2008 Zombie Fest, is using this occasion to raise awareness of world hunger. Organizers will be collecting food for local food banks. The Harry Chapin Food bank of Fort Myers will collect donations of non-perishable food items during Zombicon.

To help prepare Fort Myers for this onslaught of the living dead, Ricky Mortis will host "Premature Burial," the Zombicon pre-party, on Friday, Oct. 24, from 7 to 11 p.m., at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center. Zero Boy, international chanteuse Kimona, DJ Slinky, TTX, DB Evolution and The Shining Stars Dance Group will provide entertainment for "Premature Burial." Premature Burial includes The Zombie Trailer Trash Film Festival, featuring Florida Gulf Coast University student film "Body Farm," directed by Cord McConnell, and a special presentation by Southwest Florida Paranormal Investigations. Tickets are $5 at the door or partiers can "Pay in Blood!" to vampires from the Lee Memorial Blood Center who will be on hand to collect blood in exchange for complimentary admission and free gifts.

Zombicon is sponsored in part by The Arthouse Foundation Inc., The Fort Myers Redevelopment Agency, Empowerment Pilates, Spada Day Spa, Sign-A-Rama, Needful Things Tattoo, Space 39 Gallery, The Florida Repertory Theater, The Broadway Palm Dinner Theater and Cool Comics and Games.

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