Thanks for the great review Rex. It was great seeing you there!
Rex B. Hamilton reports on the Cleveland Charity Zombie Walk
May 1, 2009
Greetings, Fellow Haunters:
The third annual Cleveland Charity Zombie Walk took place here in Lakewood, Ohio this past Saturday afternoon (http://www.myspace.com/osszombiewalk). About 150 happy souls staggered, lurched and cried out for “brains!” in a late-afternoon benefit for the Cleveland Foodbank (www.clevelandfoodbank.org).
I had never attended until this year. Why? Simply because I completely forgot reading about it last year in the local paper. A couple of friends (who later turned out to be among the event’s make-up artists) e-mailed me a few hours before the opening bell. It only goes to show you how far we haunters have yet to go to embrace all the related community and public events in our twisted world.
The sponsoring tavern was a hard-core drinking joint near the East end of Lakewood called “The 5 O’Clock Lounge,” located at 11904 Detroit Avenue (http://www.myspace.com/5oclocklounge). When I arrived on my first visit of the afternoon, just after 2 P.M., the place was packed with people in line to register. Participants had to donate two cans of food to join the Walk. If they needed a quickie make-up job, the cost was three dollars.
I threaded my way through the Lounge’s dark bar and concert area and burst out into the nice-sized outdoor patio out back. As I popped out into the sunshine, here were six experienced make-up artists furiously applying looks to attendees, mostly with airbrushes. All of them were veteran Cleveland haunted house performers. In no particular order: Joe Shaw, Katie Lane, Matt Seal, Glen Gilmore, Rob Huck and Dave Greathouse were the talented ones who made most of the Walkers look hideous. Near the end of the Walk I asked Joe Shaw if this day was the craziest in his career as a make-up artist. He looked up at me and grinned his big crazy grin - yes it was more intense than anything before it.
While snapping photographs of the finished zombies, the zombies in process and the make-up artists, I chatted up a reporter from the “Lakewood Sun Post” named Christina Tesar. The Sun Post is the biggest of the weekly, community newspapers here in Lakewood. She was taking photographs of her own while alternately scribbling furiously on a green steno pad. I’m no expert but my guess is that Christina hasn’t been out of college for very long. She told me that she got the assignment from her editor just the day before and how she went madly searching for information on the event via the social Web sites. Christina was like so many other media people who have attended a haunted event for the first time. She was nearly overwhelmed by the talent, energy and happiness of the event. Christina is obviously a product of the 21st Century culture but even she had never come into contact with the fervor that we haunt people have for Halloween and all that it inspires.
So far, we haven’t seen anything on line that we can refer you to. The Lakewood Sun Post’s print edition on Thursday, April 30 featured a color photograph of a zombie being made up by Katie Lane on the front page, A1, with the bold caption “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” On page B1 were four more color photographs under the banner text “Day of the undead benefits Foodbank.” One of these photos depicts actor Bill Hinzman, one of the zombies in the 1968 horror movie “The Night of the Living Dead” who was the event’s special guest.
I drove home (just a few blocks away) at around 2:30 and did some computer work for a couple of hours. Around 4:30, maybe a little later, I returned to the Lounge for the promised grand cast photographs. Except that the grand cast photographs never took place, as far as I know. I don’t have an explanation.
What I can tell you for a fact is that a gruesome gaggle of zombies began its walk around Lakewood shortly before 5 o’clock. Traffic suddenly slowed to crawl, fingers were pointed and cell phones were thrust out of car windows to take photos as zombies stumbled and mumbled along their merry way. Later as they trudged their way home along West 117th Street, the dividing line between the cities of Cleveland and Lakewood, a thundering Norfolk and Western freight train chopped the stream of zombies in two as it crossed this busy street with barrier gates down, red lights a-flashing and bells a-clanging.
Half of the zombies crossed over the railroad tracks before the train chugged through. The other half of the Walk’s participants were pinned behind the train. But I discovered that both groups did the right thing by harassing the packed masses of vehicles crowded behind the flashing warning gates on both sides of the tracks. The train itself turned out to be a very slow one, but gratefully a short one.
As I walked with Dave Greathouse, a long-time movie effects artist, back to the Lounge he lamented about how the large number of people the Walk attracts never seems to show up for work at haunted attractions when the cool October nights arrive.
Charity zombie walks have zoomed in number over just the past few years. Perhaps they are a new tool for producers who need to attract more performers for their shows.
Very truly yours,
Rex B. Hamilton
13993 Clifton Boulevard
Lakewood, Ohio 44107-1462
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