Long Beach Zombie Walk

BY: SOFIA YASSINE

Halloween weekend in Southern California holds a different meaning for everyone.  For some, it's a time to present their costumes to the world while going door-to-door collecting large quantities of delicious, cavity inducing treats.  For others, it's a time to show off post-summer bods in the latest versions of sexed-up pirate and devil outfits. For the local nonprofit, Long Beach Cinematheque, it's a time to dress up like the undead and put on the Fourth Annual Long Beach Zombie Walk Street Fest, their largest and most ambitious event yet.

This year, the creators of the Long Beach Zombie Walk have decided to transform the event into an all-day street festival that will take place on Saturday, October 29 from 2-11:30 p.m.  The event, which usually takes place on Fourth Street's "Retro Row", has been moved to the Pine Avenue area of downtown.  There will be live music and plenty of Halloween-themed entertainment, all culminating in an attempt to break two world records.

The first world record is an attempt by the organization Thrill the World Los Angeles, who would like to have the Largest Choreographed "Thriller" Mass Dance.  The current world record is in Brazil, with 11,000 people.  Thrill the World L.A., formed in 2008 as a group of dancers wanting to pay tribute to the late Michael Jackson.  Now they participate in annual world record events throughout the globe to support a variety of charitable organizations.  The dance, also called a flash mob, will take place at 7 p.m., prepping all those for the ghoulish Zombie Walk to follow at 8 p.m.

The second world record attempt will be for the city with the Largest Zombie Walk in the world, currently held by Seattle with 4,700 undead street-walkers.  While the number of attendees is still uncertain, Logan Crow, Executive Director and Event Programmer of Long Beach Cinematheque, says he expects 12,000 to 15,000 people to be at the event.

The Long Beach Zombie Walk first started in 2008 after Long Beach Cinematheque members, also known as Mondo Celluoid, caught wind of the Zombie Walk craze and decided the city needed one of their own.

We thought, ‘hey, this could be a great way to promote horror cinema in Long Beach,'" said Crow.

Their goal as a nonprofit is to bring the community together by experiencing film classics throughout the city, "curating special events that incorporate film with live music and multimedia art."

In past years, the Zombie Walk on Fourth Street has been a great success and Long Beach Cinematheque still holds close ties with many of the businesses on Fourth Street, such as Lola's Mexican Cuisine and the Art Theater of Long Beach. Both businesses remain sponsors of this year's event.

"We have a lot of friends there, but we had to look for a bigger venue," Crow said. "It's going to be an amazing event, and we've never had live music [before this]."

While the event plans to be on a larger scale this year, some may be wary of attending. "The more people think of Long Beach as a city instead of a group of territories, the more it will grow. People need to focus on the event and support new territories, it's vital," assured Crow.

The event will span four blocks and include 100 street vendors featuring food, art, and other products as well as dozens of bands playing throughout the day.  Musical performances include local bands "Potential Lunatics" and "wild pack of canaries," set on two stages provided by The Press Telegram.  Shannon's on Pine will be transforming the downstairs of their bar into a haunted house, and the Long Beach Pedaler's Society will be hosting a Zombie-themed art show showcasing local artist's original work, with wine provided by Art du Vin Wine Bar of Fourth Street.

Don't worry, there will be beer tents for the 21 and over. Also, if you don't feel like attaching shards of imitation glass to your face in the comfort of your own home, there will be make-up stations with professional artists who you can pay to paint a ghoulish face on you.

Tickets to attend the event are free. To be a part of the Zombie Walk, simply sport your best zombie gear, and you'll be counted towards the world record tally. If you'd like to partake in the "Thriller" flashmob dance, email gilbert.ttwla@gmail.com for more information.