Monday, October 26, 2009

Zombie Walk FTW

Well, this year's zombie walk is in the books, and that means it's time to do another postmortem (heh.) For photos from the event, check out the official Flickr pool, which has over 300 photos and counting.

Someone has also set up a YouTube playlist with videos from Saturday night. I think this one in particular captures the event pretty well.

Anyway, on to the postmortem.

What Worked:

- The turnout was tremendous. The level of participation at this year's walk exceeded even our highest estimates. I'd wager we had 400-500 people walking, at least triple the number that showed up last year. A big thanks goes out to everyone who attended and put in the effort to zombify themselves. There were some great costumes out there, and I regret that I wasn't able to see them all. Among others, the Bea Arthur zombie cracked me up. As far as I'm concerned, it's never too soon.

Photo by Flickr user kingcool68.

- The movie worked out quite well. There was a capacity crowd which AFI described as the most rowdy they've ever seen. There was a spirited game of brain football prior to the show and during the movie there was plenty of audience participation, particularly when it came to expressing displeasure regarding the tragic death of zombies onscreen. On a side note, I really appreciate how AFI cranks up the volume in their theaters - especially for a loud movie like Shaun. At the Majestic I have to strain my ears just to catch the dialogue.

- The local community was really into the event. The Promenade was lined with onlookers snapping photos and shooting videos. The DTSS people even set up smoke machines to add to the effect. Also, despite our not coordinating with him whatsoever, The Man was extremely accommodating. The MoCo police stationed a few cruisers along the route to ensure that the no one in the zombie horde got their head run over by a car. From what I could tell, the cops were pretty much letting zombies be zombies, not dissuading them from swarming passing vehicles or generally creating mayhem.

- There was a good amount of press coverage of the event, including a news team from (of all places) the Indonesian branch of Voice of America. I noticed they interviewed a lot of zombies for their segment.

Areas for Improvement:

- We really need a bigger gathering space where we can properly marshal the zombie horde. An overcrowded Quarry House was the main issue we had last year, and with even greater attendance the space issue was exacerbated (What does "exacerbate" mean?) this year. People ended up just hanging out on Georgia Avenue as they couldn't fit in either the Quarry House or one of the other nearby restaurants. By the way, there was an epic fail on the part of Piratz Tavern, which, despite advertising specials related to the ZW, didn't seem to be aware about said specials and didn't seem particularly accommodating to zombies. I kind of got yelled at by a staff member when I ventured inside to check out the scene.

Next year, I'd love to have a large dedicated space for Zombies with a DJ, zombie trivia, costume contests, and food and drink. In the unlikely event that the Fillmore would actually be open by that time, it'd be perfect.

- An extended route for the walk. As great as it is to pass through a crowded Ellsworth Dr., I know some people expressed disappointment that the walk didn't last longer. Perhaps next year we'll start earlier and take a route that goes through more of Silver Spring. The key thing is that it needs to go through areas with plenty of unsuspecting pedestrians and businesses that can be terrorized. Through the Metro station, perhaps? (Someday the walk will pass through City Place.)

- Greater capacity for the post-walk movie. The entire 400-seat main theater at the AFI was sold out before the walk even started. AFI was able to add an overflow showing at 11:45, but I'm sure there were a lot of people who couldn't attend something that late. Optimally, we would have simultaneous screenings in all three of AFI's theaters of whatever movie is scheduled next year. Perhaps we could even give people a choice of three Zombie flicks. (Even better idea: an all-day Zombie film festival!)

Overall, I think the event was quite successful. If you've got suggestions for next year's walk, post them in the comments here or shoot me an email. To receive details on next year's walk as they become available, join the Silver Spring Zombie Walk Facebook group or follow our Twitter feed.

Special thanks to the following for making the Zombie Walk a success: AFI Silver Theatre, The Quarry House Tavern, Montgomery County Police Department, Axion (for hosting the website), The Peterson Cos., Brian Hefele and Alex Coblentz (for their poster design), and especially to all of you who showed up on Saturday - without you, there is no Zombie Walk. If I forgot anyone, I apologize!


The Silver Spring Penguin said...

Congratulations on a terrific event! If the Hook and Ladder pub opens by next fall, maybe the walk can start there. It looks like a big enough space.

Kraln said...

What about the small park on the corner of Wayne and Georgia? Plenty of space, and close enough to the bars.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that by this time next year we're supposed to have a civic center designed to host community events. Not sure if it will be able to handle 400+ zombies looking for beer, but it would be worth keeping in mind.

Sligo said...

RE: Park

That area might be a little too small/exposed for what we need. The idea, also, is to eliminate the need for bars. Food & Drink would be served there.

Re: Civic Center

That idea came up, but who knows what their rules will be. It'd definitely a possibility.

Damn, the old Armory would have been perfect!

Anonymous said...

First of all, I had a GREAT time on Saturday. As for locations next year, I know that Montgomery College will rent out the fairly large lobby space of their new performing arts center for events, but I've heard it's expensive. That location would make for a longer zombie walk to the theater, though, which woudl be cool...we could trudge along eastern avenue, up colesville road (and under the metro station), then cut through the parking lot by panera to walk up Ellsworth.

Dan Reed said...

Here's a story/photos in the Wall Street Journal about a zombie walk where Dawn of the Dead was filmed in Pennsylvania.

WashingtonGardener said...

Anon 2 - MoCo College is a ood idea - could walk straight up Fenton go up Bonifant to stumble by Quarry and Piratz too then up Georgia to Colesville and AFI. I bet if you asked nicely they might even give you the space gratis as a "community service."

Joel Sparks said...

For next year, what about a way for people to RSVP as Official Zombie Slayers? Keep the vigilanteism under control.

Maybe even suggest that if a Zombie gets blood on your neck, you should switch sides...

Pammy said...

We were extremely disappointed in Piratz Tavern. We got there at 8 and waited for half an hour before we even got drinks at our table. And there certainly were no specials, or Squid Ink shots! We never got to order, because around 9 we realized there was no way we would get our food in time to join the zombie horde for the walk. We bailed and headed to Panera for bagels instead. But I relished in freaking out passers-by at our table next to the window!

Vagrarian said...

The folks at Big Greek Cafe, bless their hearts, barely batted an eyelash when I went in to grab something to eat (QH was proving to be impossible, which bummed me out because I was hungry for one of their burgers). Then again, I get lunch at Big Greek about once a week so they're used to me.

Anonymous said...

It was great again- and a lot more people this time. Thanks to the organizers! It would be great if there was a place where we knew we could get food. Last year, I couldn't get anything at Qh and the guy at Gaylord freaked when Icame in and ordered samosas to go. This year, we ate at home


Heather said...

anyone know if that Voice of American footage is online anywhere? me and my friends were interviewed