• Sunday , 18 February 2018

Crawlin’ with the Undead in Northern Libertie’s Zombie Invasion

Professional make-up artist Sonja Century complies with Sharon Kozden’s request to be transformed into a “pretty goth.”

Story, photos by Sharon Kozden

“It’s so hard to be careful, so easy to be led
Somewhere beyond the pavement
You’ll find the living dead.” – Tom Petty, “Zombie Zoo”

What better way to spend a Friday the 13th evening than in the company of creepy and grotesquely incorporeal beings intent on feeding on my brain? Ironing my underwear? Navel-gazing? Nope and nope: I was out to get me some “organs that serve as the center of the nervous system.” I didn’t have to travel far to find them! The Piazza at The Schmidt’s Commons in Northern Libertie’s was crawling with the undead during its 6th annual Zombie Crawl and Halloween Fest and Bazaar. It was one action-packed night when PARTYPLANT and One Up Events Zombie Crawl intersected with Arts at Night: Friday the 13th Edition. All incorporeal beings as well as attendees were treated to a maxed-out menu of entertainment and drinks galore.

I was fortunate enough to be in possession of an Early Dead-level ticket, which got me a professional makeup application by the uber-talented Sonja Century. While I couldn’t go the full-on zombie distance, my transformation to goth girl was tres thriller. Ticket options ran the gamut from general admission to the coveted Early Dead and included those with titles such as Brain Crazed, Putrid Pals and Disembowel Discount. Was someone checking out baby names in a zombie parenting-guidebook?

Rob Wright, Owner and Founder of One Up Events, “keeping the public informed about the best nightlife events at the top bars, nightclubs and restaurants in Philadelphia” since 2013, organized the Zombie Crawl, which began at the Piazza and roamed through Northern Liberties with stops at participating bars, including Gunners Run, Crabby’s Sports Bar, Urban Village, North Bowl & Standard Tap, Mad Rex and The Barbary. Drink specials all night featured $3 select beers and $4 specialty Zombie cocktails.

With the crawl beginning around 10 p.m. and the check-in at 8 p.m., there was plenty of time to imbibe and enjoy the Arts at Night events, too numerous not to mention! Faces in the crowd took in everything as they wandered and meandered among artistic vendors, dancers, burlesque, drag and fire performers, sideshow acts, music and more.

Herewith the lineup: Lux Arati Fire Breathers (a femmes-only Belly and Fire Dancing Troupe), The Peek-A-Boo Revue (burlesque), Lelu Lenore, Lil’ Steph, Renee Rebelle, the drag show by Philly’s Foxes and Maria Top Catt, acrobatics by Secret Circus and imprint dances by Sanbrooka Productions, who debuted their hip-hop show.

But wait! There was more with an after-party at a secret location as well as zombie swag and giveaways. Don’t even ask me about the secret location, as this relatively speaking old head’s only place to crawl at such an hour was into my hotel room’s bed, too tired to care that I committed the cardinal sin most women are warned against, which is to never go to sleep without makeup removal. The following morning I looked more zombie than goth-like.

Maybe next year I’ll be ready for a full-on zombification rather than my wussification as merely goth, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

With a name such as Creep Records, your zombification is surely guaranteed.

When next in this ‘hood, check out this uniquely unique record shop. Purists and all alike: you won’t be disappointed.

Sonja Century works her creepy makeup magic, cutting one mean swath of forehead gash.

The finished, erm, product is one happily ghoulish undead ready to eat your brains out!

Tools of the trade. Don’t let the messiness fool you; the outcome is perfection.

Goth Girl Sharon Kozden models Sonja Century’s handiwork. Memo to M. Knight Shayamalan, “I’m ready for my close-up.”

Eew: gross but awesome as zomboids! Uh, is that an eyeball I see in whatever green muck he’s imbibing?

This gaggle of zombie chicks dressed for the occasion are ready to creepy-crawl. What’s a little axe in the head when you’re undead? Required head gear, if you axe me.

One goth sandwiched between two freakish zombies. Pray for my poor and potentially gorged on cerebral hemispheres.

Rob Wright strikes a pose. Lovin’ the lid and the red footwear. This is one stylin’ scary dude.

This isn’t how we roll: it’s how we crawl. Gavin DiRusso demonstrates the moves for the uninitiated.

Blood, gore and black: the chic trifecta for a zombie crawl.

Simply gorge-ous! That eye is the proverbial window to the soul. Wait: do the undead even have souls?

This is one zombie I’d love to fix up with one of my single male friends. Can you imagine that first date?

Reppin’ the zombie nation. I’ll need a fascinator such as this one for 2018’s crawl.

Nice sunnies, skelly. The others look equally handsome, in a undead sort of way.

Those without the coveted Early Dead tickets still had an opportunity to be gross of face.

Not sure what blood type this is, but for a zombie crawl, it’s got to be something positive.

Something tells me this isn’t Kool-Aid.

A skeletal acrobat from Secret Circus demonstrates how flexible bones, tendons and joints can be.

Sharon Kozden meets the heretofore pictured skelly acrobat. How she managed to extricate herself from the previous position to pose for a snap defies my notion of physics.

Caught in a spooky scene-setting white web.

Arts at Night artistic performances included crowd-engaging emcee Maria Top Catt.

Take your choice or preferably take both: Arts at Night featured both burlesque- and drag shows with high-energy and crowd-pleasing entertainers.

Is this the most girl-like of all girls? Mama Mia!

Wall signage at the Piazza at The Schmidt’s Commons. The intersection of Arts at Night with PARTYPLANT and One Up Events Zombie Crawl had something for everyone. If you heed said sign’s advice, “the rest will follow.”

Urban Village’s drink station tent was one of many bars with discounted beers and specialty cocktails serving corpses and attendees alike.

Swashbucklers get their arrr and their grog on.

Sneak-peak backstage at record store to catch a snap of the musical entertainment–one of soo but never too many.

Faces in the crowd enjoy brewskies around a welcoming, warming fire pit.

Who knew one could hire a poet as event entertainment? Maybe I need to get out more. On a Friday, the 13th in October, I’m calling POE-et.

Long view of the scene at The Piazza at The Schmidt’s Commons. Someone is surely capturing the crowds’ attention.

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