I’m probably just kidding myself but I’ve always imagined myself as a survivor if there was a zombie apocalypse. Maybe that’s why, as a reasonably literate horror fan, I’ve never participated in events like Zombiecon. Well that and I’m kinda shy, fearful of large crowds, and can barely put on eyeliner, much less apply prosthetic bite marks. However, I am a firm believer in taking interesting opportunities given to you, even if they are somewhat out of character. When the opportunity to DJ a Zombie Prom/Gwar show presented itself I happily accepted.
However that does not mean I wasn’t nervous. The prom was two days after I got back from Texas. I was exhausted and got word the day before the event that the other DJ had dropped out. Entertaining zombie prom-goers is a lot more pressure than playing records at some shitty bar to help drunken assholes get laid. I also felt like an outsider. I mean, listen, I’m no slouch; from Romero to Fulci, I’ve seen just about every classic zombie movie ever made. It’s just…what the hell do you play at a zombie prom that’s also a Gwar show?
I decided on packing a collection of classic metal vinyl like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest with some sassy lady shit like Girlschool, Rock Goddess, and Blacklace thrown into the mix. I picked Bathory’s “Raise the Dead” as my opening track. I figured the Misfits and the Cramps were essential and then racked my brain (and my music files) for every morbid, dark love song I could find. Obviously “I Walked with a Zombie” by Roky Erickson was necessary and I figured playing L7’s “Pretend We’re Dead” couldn’t hurt anyone. Besides, they made an appearance on the surprisingly excellent Pet Sematary 2 soundtrack which is kind of zombie-adjacent, right?
The show was at Irving Plaza and I quickly found out that I was DJing on stage. I suddenly felt like an asshole for not dressing up. I just assumed I’d be tucked away in a corner somewhere. Thankfully a friendly zombie offered to bloody me up before doors.
In case you can’t tell, this picture was taken in Gwar’s prop room. Trust me, I was more excited than I look, I’m just not very good at taking pictures of myself in a mirror.
I DJed and it went well. I got to see a hot zombie with a light-up hula hoop dance to “She Rides” and I also got to watch a bunch of romantic zombies slow-dance to “Some Velvet Morning.” The Thrill the World people were there and they danced to "Thriller." An annoying zombie dude with giant plug holes in his ears requested Choking Victim and the Dead Milkmen. In the midst of it all was a zombie beauty pageant which was won by a very beautiful zombie drag queen and the crowning of the zombie king and queen. I couldn’t take pictures of any of this because it was all happening directly on stage in front of me. However I did get a great picture of Oderus’s ass.
Pretty banging behind considering dude is almost 50. Yep, that’s right, Dave Brockie aka Oderus aka only original member of Gwar will turn 49 this summer. Gwar itself has been around since 1984. I am convinced that he has the best job ever.
The crowd of zombies loved him. Of course they did, he’s fucking Oderus. It was surreal to look out onto the dance floor and see it full of lurching spastics in ripped tuxes and prom gowns cutting a rug.
Look at how much fun these people are having. It should make you think twice before you say you’re too cool for anything.
This was the queen of the zombie prom. I thought she said this dude was her dad but I have a feeling I misheard her.
Then Gwar went on and the crowd went nuts. True story: this chick was headbanging so wildly her hat flew off her head and landed on mine.
The dude with his shirt over his face was losing his mind too. In fact almost everyone was. You could tell who was there for Gwar and Gwar alone.
Like these guys. Was there an audition I didn’t know about? Maybe I’ll try out to be the new Slymenstra Hymen.
Oh yeah, Gwar was on stage during most of this.
My favorite part of the whole show was when someone threw a t-shirt on stage and it got stuck on Oderus’s monster cock.
My other favorite part was watching the bouncers in their raincoats get doused in blood. My not-so favorite part was when the blood spurting from the maggot’s head hit me dead in the ass and got on my records. Fittingly, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath took the main brunt of it.
These kids are in a band called Misanthropy which I am willing to bet is death metal. I thought they were adorable. I bet that would probably make them miserable.
Hanging out for five hours during a zombie apocalypse made me hungry, so I ducked out for a few minutes and wandered over to a nearby Whole Foods. It was a Saturday night in Union Square and the streets were mobbed. No one said a word about the dried blood now flaking off my right arm and scalp. This served as a reminder as to why I love New York City. You can go into a grocery store at 10:30 pm covered in fake blood and your clerk won’t even bat an eyelash while she discussed the merits of the new 21+ formulation of GT’s Kombucha Classic. This city has a rep for being rude but honestly, New Yorkers are super polite when it comes to letting weirdos do their thing.
That realization first really hit me during my third year here when I was waiting for the A train by Port Authority and a Puerto Rican tranny was singing and playing the flute while her elderly grandmother played the keyboard to accompany her only a few feet away from where I was sitting. No one paid them any mind and I had to shake myself into realizing that I was witnessing a very odd and special moment. When the show let out and the zombies piled onto the street it felt good to know I was part of one of those odd and special New York moments. A car with out of town plates pulled up to the intersection by the venue and I overheard an anguished teenage girl whine from the back “Ugh, mooooom! Stop staring,” to her mother sitting in the passenger seat.